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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/10/17

Only the Israeli Dead Matter: Israel's Failure at Investigating Its Bloody Wars

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From Palestine Chronicle


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At a glance, Israel appears a true democracy. Take a closer look and that facade of democracy will soon dissipate, turning into something else entirely.

Tuesday 28 February was one of those moments. The chain of events was as follows:

An official Israeli State Comptroller issued another report on the Israeli government's handling of the July 2014 war on Gaza; it chastised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon -- among others -- for the lack of preparedness and for their mishandling of the subsequent 51-day conflict; Netanyahu reacted angrily; Ya'alon took to Facebook to defend his record; the opposition in the Israeli Knesset went on the offensive; politicians lined up, taking sides; a media frenzy followed; the country was in an uproar.

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This is not a precedent. It is a repeat of a recurring scenario that often follows Israel's military plunders. When such reports are issued, Israelis sort out their differences in fierce parliamentary and media battles.

While Israelis begin to examine their failures, demanding accountability from their government, western mainstream media finds the perfect opportunity to whitewash its own record of failing to criticize Israel's military onslaught at the time.

(Over 2,200 -- of whom over 70 percent were Palestinian civilians -- were killed and thousands more wounded in Israel's so-called "Operation Protective Edge" in 2014.)

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According to US media logic, for example, Israel's investigation of its own action is a tribute to its thriving democracy, often juxtaposed with Arab governments' lack of self-examination.

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, instigating a war that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians, culminating in the Sabra and Shatilla Massacres, a familiar scenario ensued: The United States did its utmost to prevent any international intervention or meaningful investigation, while Israel was allowed to investigate itself.

The outcome was the Kahan Commission Report, the conclusion of which was summarized by international law expert Professor Richard Falk: "The full measure of Israel's victory is rather its vindication, despite all, as a moral force in the region -- as a superior state, especially as compared to its Arab rivals."

The US media touted Israel's "moral victory," which, somehow, made everything okay and, with a magic wand, wiped the record clean.

The Washington Post editorial led the congratulatory chorus: "The whole process of the Israeli reaction to the Beirut massacre is a tribute to the vitality of democracy in Israel and to the country's moral character."

This sorry state of affairs has been in constant replay for nearly 70 years, ever since Israel declared its independence in 1948.

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International law is clear regarding the legal responsibility of Occupying Powers but since Israel is rarely an enthusiast of international law, it has forbidden any attempt at being investigated for its actions.

In fact, Israel abhors the very idea of being "investigated." Every attempt by the United Nations, or any other organization dedicated to upholding international law, has either been rejected or failed.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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