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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/22/21

Why Israel Blows Up Media Offices and Targets Journalists

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From Roots Action

Israel destoys Gaza, including media
Israel destoys Gaza, including media
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: diario fotográfico 'desde Palestina', photographer)
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> Israel's missile attack on media offices in Gaza City last weekend was successful. A gratifying response came quickly from the head of The Associated Press, which had a bureau in the building for 15 years: "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today."

For people who care about truth, that's outrageous. For the Israeli government, that's terrific.

The AP president, Gary Pruitt, said "we are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza."

There's ample reason to be horrified. But not shocked.

Israel's military began threatening and targeting journalists several decades ago, in tandem with its longstanding cruel treatment of Palestinians. Rather than reduce the cruelty, the Israeli government keeps trying to reduce accurate news coverage.

The approach is a mix of deception and brutality. Blow up the cameras so the world won't see as many pictures of the atrocities.

Of course, there's no need to interfere with journalists documenting the also awful -- while relatively few -- deaths of Israelis due to rockets fired by Hamas. In recent days the Israeli government has spotlighted such visuals, some of them grimly authentic, others fake.

The suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragically real on both sides, while vastly asymmetrical. During the last 10 days, as reported by the BBC, 219 people have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, the number was 10. In Gaza, at least 63 of the dead were children. In Israel, two.

In the midst of all this, shamefully, President Biden is pushing ahead to sell $735 million worth of weapons to Israel, a move akin to selling more whips and thumbscrews to torturers while they're hard at work tormenting their victims.

On Wednesday, a few members of Congress introduced a bill that seeks to do what the Israeli targeting of media seeks to prevent -- the galvanizing of well-informed outrage. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan introduced a resolution opposing the sale of those weapons.

"For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions," Ocasio-Cortez pointed out.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, said: "The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza. Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world -- the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians."

As usual, Israel's latest killing spree can avail itself of deep pockets provided by U.S. taxpayers, currently $3.8 billion a year in military assistance. An article published last week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace makes a strong case that the massive subsidy is legally dubious and morally indefensible.

Not many members of Congress can be heard calling for an end to doling out huge sums to the Israeli government. But some progress is evident.

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Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

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