The gap between
facts on the ground and Middle East coverage in many
mainstream US media is harmful to US public interest.
The fruits of
Israeli militarism in the past two weeks included over 500 Lebanese and
Palestinian civilians killed (including entire families), 20 percent of
Lebanese civilians displaced, over $4 billion of Lebanese civilian
infrastructure destroyed, and whole neighborhoods flattened by US-supplied
weapons. The Israeli army (already 4th or 5th strongest in the world) will see
its budget increased by nearly $500 million and the US is rushing delivery of
aviation fuels, bombs and munitions all funded buy the US taxpayer.
of Israeli children and two-thirds of Palestinians live below the poverty line.
Yet, many TV and newspapers simply regurgitate lies generated in Tel Aviv and
parroted by a well-funded network of lobbyists for Israel in the media, on
Capitol Hill, and in the White House.
narrative goes something along the lines that "the troubles started"
when Hamas "abducted" an Israeli soldier and Hezbollah �kidnapped�
two Israeli soldiers. As to why this happened, it is argued that Hamas and
Hezbollah are fanatical terrorist groups genetically predestined to make
trouble unless crushed by massive military force. But Israel is a colonial and
occupying state that has left two-thirds of the 9 million Palestinians as
refugees or displaced people by a systematic process of ethnic cleansing, land
grabs, and attacks on civilians, all perpetrated well before the establishment
of Hamas (acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement) in 1987. In fact, the first
suicide bombing came only in the mid 1990s after the massacre by an Israeli
settler of 29 worshippers in the Ibrahimi mosque in Alkhalil (Hebron).
government (backed by the US) responded to the massacre not by punishing the
colonial settlers but by rewarding them and punishing the native Palestinians
(clearing whole Palestinian neighborhoods to satisfy the few settlers).
In our visit to
that ancient city two weeks ago, we observed how 400 fanatical colonial
settlers (supported by nearly 4,000 Israeli occupation troops in the area) have
displaced thousands of native Hebronites and kept nearly a hundred thousand as
with the occupation forces, resulting in the capture of an Israeli occupation
soldier, an act of resistance supported by all existing International laws
(Gaza is still occupied, even by UN standards). By contrast, nearly 10,000
Palestinian political prisoners are held illegally in Israeli jails. They were
kidnapped from their own homes and towns and illegally transported to Israeli
Hezbollah is an indigenous Lebanese resistance force that formed AFTER the
Israeli invasion of Lebanon. For those with short memories, it is important to
recall that tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians (the latter refugees
from 1948) were massacred by the Israeli occupation forces and their proxies in
Lebanon in 1982 alone. Hezbollah earned wide popularity and support among all
sectors of Lebanese society (including its Christian population) for its
success in ousting the brutal Israeli occupation machine from most Lebanese
Of course, Israel
remains illegally occupying Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the
Sheba Farms, and the Golan. Israel also continues to defy international law by
preventing Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes and lands. All
Arab countries agreed in Beirut three years ago to a comprehensive peace plan
based on international law. As John F. Kennedy rightly pointed out "If we
make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution
Why does the US
government refuse to call on its client state to accept a ceasefire in Lebanon
let alone peace based on international law? Why does the US veto UN resolutions
critical of Israel even when the vast majority of countries support such
The reaction to a
paper on the Israeli lobby by two respected professors at Harvard and
University of Chicago (Mearsheimer and Walt) should give us hints. There was a
paranoid overreaction about this research simply because it showed that
Zionists push their interests at the expense of US interests.
millions around the world look in horror at the US complicity in Israeli war
crimes. Campaigns of boycotts, divestments and sanctions on Israel by civil
society are now gaining steam. Unless the US government changes course and
accepts applicability of human rights and International law, US economic
interests around the world would also be affected and we may be embarking on a
perpetual war in which everyone loses.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, FABMG, is a US citizen who just returned from occupied
Palestine and is a member of the steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Occupation