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Cumartesi, Temmuz 13, 2024

What Some Jews and Arabs Forget: The Truth

Mutlaka Oku

By James E. Pogue, NEW YORK- A sticking point in Israel’s war on Gaza after the brutal October 7 attack by Hamas along the Gaza border, has been a constant – often violent confrontation of two opposing sides who have yet to make peace with reality on the ground in Gaza and Israel. The reality on the ground as the head of the World Food Program, (WFP) Cindy McCain has repeatedly told the American press is that there is widespread famine throughout Gaza and minimal humanitarian aid getting through. The reason McCain said is because the aid is being “blocked” or “held up” at the border crossings and explained how dangerous the situation is for aid workers in delivering humanitarian assistance to those so desperately in need. The reality on the ground in Israel is that a majority of Israelis have been vociferously protesting Netanyahu and his government, even calling for his resignation. This has been going on for months while Netanyahu and his far-right cronies refuse any peace deal because that would mean Netanyahu would have to face longstanding corruption charges. 

What is especially counterproductive under such heinous circumstances is disinformation and misinformation not only coming out of Israel but coming out of the mouths of those who refuse to read or listen to the news and those who know what’s happening but refuse to acknowledge it by either lies, omission or minimizing the abhorrent nature of real scenes on the ground. Those real scenes include extremist settlers attacking Palestinians at their homes, burning their cars and beating them. Palestinians especially women have recounted incidents of Israeli soldiers sexually assaulting them as well as men being stripped naked, beaten and evidence of war crimes by both Israel and Hamas from a recent U.N. report. Video reports don’t lie and eyewitnesses don’t make up stories about they have witnessed. The latest incidents include the U.S. State Department blacklisting an Israeli group Tzav 9 for disrupting aid deliveries with the State Department reiterating there is no tolerance for “acts of sabotage and violence targeting this essential humanitarian assistance.”

It was on June 14 that the Biden administration announced sanctions against the far-right Israeli group who are behind numerous attacks on humanitarian aid convoys bound for the Gaza Strip. The group has ties to Israeli army reservists and Israeli settlers concerning activities that include blocking, harassing and damaging aid shipments. Director of the State Department’s office of Sanctions Policy and Implementation Aaron Forsberg told Reuters, “We’re using the authority to sanction an ever-broadening selection of actors, targeting individuals and entities that threaten the peace, security and stability of the West Bank, regardless of religion, ethnicity or location.” Financial sanctions are to be imposed under an executive order on West Bank violence that President Joe Biden signed in February that previously imposed financial sanctions on violent settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians and Israeli peace activists. Friday’s sanctions announcement is the fourth set issued under the executive order. Palestinians and human rights groups have consistently accused the Israeli military and police of purposefully failing to intervene when settlers attack Palestinians in the West Bank.

What is especially shocking about all of this, is that anyone who supports peace and humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza is being branded as “antisemitic” by groups of  conservative and extremist Jews whose agenda is to support Israel at all costs, regardless of whether Israel is in the right or not. This was demonstrated time and again throughout 2024 when major Jewish donors to Harvard and other universities, pulled their funding based on students’ earnest pro-Palestinian peace protests, calling for a ceasefire and an end to the suffering of a people whose land has been occupied for over 50 years. How can desiring justice for innocent civilians under a famine, being maimed and killed because of a Hamas attack on October 7 – be considered “antisemitic?” Let’s do the reality check: On May 13, 2024, Tsav 9 members looted and set fire to two aid trucks near the West Bank city of Hebron. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “For months, individuals from Tzav 9 have repeatedly sought to thwart the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including by blocking roads, sometimes violently, along their route from Jordan to Gaza, including transiting the West Bank.” Miller added “They also have damaged aid trucks and dumped lifesaving humanitarian aid onto the road” and further stated “We will not tolerate acts of sabotage and violence targeting this essential humanitarian assistance.” He said that the U.S. State Department will “continue to use all tools at our disposal to promote accountability for those who attempt or undertake such heinous acts, and we expect and urge that Israeli authorities do the same.” Any assets the group holds under U.S. jurisdiction is frozen and the sanctions bar Americans from dealing with the group. Human rights groups and Palestinians have continued to highlight the crimes committed by the Israeli military and police of not intervening in settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. Miller said the issue has repeatedly been raised with Israeli authorities and it will continue to be raised.

The crux of the Arab-Israeli conundrum is that there needs to be meaningful dialogue between these two Semitic groups. Both sides need to understand one another not undermine each other and for that to happen, there must be a sense of compassion, empathy and emotional equilibrium along with open-minded, non-discriminatory mediators from both sides. As one prominent orthodox Jewish rabbi in New York City told Turkiye’s TRT World International – “This is not what Judaism is about,” referring to the attacks by extremist Jews on Palestinians. He is right, conservative and extremist Jews need to stop lying to the world and to themselves about history and who has a right to the land. What does Judaism have to do with beating innocent Palestinians while far-right minister Smotrich claims “It’s moral” to deport Palestinians to other countries. There is NOTHING moral about it and NOTHING moral about him. The Israelis have spoken: they want Netanyahu out, they said he is an “obstacle to peace” – he is and he needs to go.

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