Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 01:27 pm est

Backed by U.S., Israel oppresses Palestinians

Posted on November 26, 2012 | by Samantha Wischnia and Alaa Yousef

Supporters of the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza have placed a disproportionate focus on the rockets fired into Israel and have demonstrated a willful blindness to the tragedy on the other side. The Palestinian death count stands at 167. In total, the Israeli military injured over 1,200 Palestinians. Compared to the six Israeli deaths, one can see that this is not a war between two equal adversaries; it is an ongoing massacre by a military powerhouse against a relatively defenseless population.

Those who support Israel’s aggression, including the U.S. government and media outlets, emphasize Israeli casualties and insistently label attacks from Gaza as acts of terror. Put into context, however, it is clear that Gaza’s missiles are the desperate attempts at resistance by a people who were made refugees in 1948 and have been systematically oppressed ever since, with U.S. taxpayers helping foot the bill.

In defense of Israel’s attack on Gaza, some observers have cited Hamas’ rocket attacks, as if the matter were clear-cut and the slightest incursion were reason enough to justify an outright invasion. But these rockets, which have killed far fewer civilians over the past decade than Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense killed in a few days, cannot be discussed outside the context of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The blockade began in 2006 and has rendered the strip of land an “open-air prison” according to Noam Chomsky, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Israel controls everything that goes in and out of Gaza, including essentials such as food and medical supplies. Between 2007 and 2010, Israel calculated the bare minimum caloric intake that Gazans would need to qualify as “nourished” and has only allowed this amount since the blockade.

This is only part of the picture of oppression left undiscussed by popular media, the extent of which would make it much harder to dismiss Gaza’s missiles as offensive or terrorist. One fact of particular interest for WSN readers is that Israel’s occupation is made possible by U.S. political and economic aid, including $3.1 billion in military assistance this year alone.

Beyond their primary failure to acknowledge the siege and occupation of Gaza, supporters of the Israeli assault have also misconstrued the conflict’s timeline. Gaza’s rockets are not the decisive factor that forced Israel to respond. In fact, they were preceded by Israeli offensives, such as the shooting of 13-year-old Hameed Abu Daqqa while he played soccer in Khan Yunis, the murder of an unarmed and mentally disabled man who unknowingly approached a border fence, and the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, who was working on a truce agreement at the time of his extra-judicial murder. Despite Israel’s clear initiation of this bloody conflict, the U.S. government maintains that Israel’s assault is merely self-defense, and media coverage has thus far obliged in repeating this fiction. But as Chomsky stated, “When Israelis … claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing … That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.”

Israel broke the recent ceasefire Saturday morning, killing an unarmed protester and injuring 19 people. We hope Israel will permit the re-establishment of a ceasefire soon. But even if that holds, the suffering of the Palestinians will not end as long as Israel, with full U.S. government backing, persists in its illegal blockade and occupation — the true source of the violence.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 26 print edition. Samantha Wischnia and Alaa Yousef are contributing writers. Email them at opinion@nyunews.com.

Comments

  • Arafat

    Are people who support Hamas akin to people who supported the Nazis?

    Seems to me they are.

    Nazis destroyed all the Jews of Europe. Hamas never stops talking about destroying Jews.

    Nazis depicted Jews as beneath contempt just as Hamas does. Nazis blamed Jews for all their problems and so does Hamas.

    Seems to me the only difference is Hamas does not have the military required to really kill off all the Jews of Israel. If they did have these weapons everyone knows they would use…

    • John Smith

      Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad calls on Israel to ‘flatten Gaza’.
      Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai has urged the Israel Defense Forces “to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages” and destroy the enclave’s infrastructure.

      Hamas is a group that has been democratically elected by the Gazan people. Israel has continued to increase settlements in Gaza and West Bank, violating numerous UN resolutions.

      How dare you equate the Nazis with Hamas? The Nazis killed an entire neighborhood if one Jew…

  • Khelil

    Great op-ed!!!

  • Steven Aiello

    Any sort of objective perspective is sorely lacking from this piece. Fundamental aspects of the article, such as the suggestion in the third paragraph that attacks on Israel began following the 2006 blockade. Rocket attacks by Palestinian terror groups have occurred since at least 2001. Their escalation began in 2005, when Israel forcibly removed any Jewish population from the region, NOT in 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rocket_and_mortar_attacks_in_Israel_in_2001_through_2006

  • Arafat

    How dare me do what, John? Write the truth as opposed to your lies?

    If Israeli leaders wanted to turn Gaza into a sheet of glass they could do so in a nanosecond. Instead the IDF takes great care to avoid injuring or killing civilians which is a tricky business since the Nazi-like Hamas hide underneath their women’s skirts.

    I will agree with you on one point, though, Hamas was democratically elected! No argument there. And Hitler was too, a point that seemed to escape your remarkable…

  • Kelly

    Well if anyone invades my backyard and tells me that their ancestors used to own it, I’d want to kill them too.

    • Arafat

      Kelly,

      Muslims invade everyone’s backyard: Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Thailand, Maldives, Russia, NW China, Somalia, Kashmir. Islam spread through vioent conquest and it’s doing more of the same today.

      Interesting that your anger is saved only for the Jews, though.

      Gee…I wonder what that tells us about you.

  • http://none Inday B

    Let there be PEACE in the world by promoting justice. Stop OPPRESSION! Fear our CREATOR on the day that oppressors will be punished forever. Obama, be the ambassador of true democracy not demoncrazy. Israel observe peace and do not demonize the world. America wake up now let peace and justice prevail.

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next