[Marxism] Stop Turning the Gaza Massacre into Symmetrical Warfare!

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Wed Aug 6 03:59:01 MDT 2014

Nothing unusual to anyone here of course, but I thought this was quite a 
useful piece on this issue to throw at any liberal friends still 
confused (if any of them are still liberals on Palestine after the 
latest: one useful thing the savage entity seems to have done is 
convince a lot of liberals that, hey! it's not really two equal nasty 
sides after all!)

Stop Turning the Gaza Massacre into Symmetrical Warfare!


Throughout the latest round of Israeli aggression against Palestinians, 
particularly in Gaza, it is refreshing to see that both ‘mainstream’ and 
‘alternative’ media outets alike have widely
covered the horrendous murder of 16 year-old Mohammad Abu Khdair, and 
the brutal beating and unlawful arrest of his cousin, young 
Palestinian-American Tariq Khadair, by Israeli police.

While the former genuinely caught attention for being horrific (he was 
burned alive), it is likely that the latter did so because he was a 
citizen of the west, and so the issue was much closer to home (and we 
all know how much more valuable western lives are, in comparison to Arab 
or Muslim lives), it helped to widely publicise the atrocities which 
Israel’s regime has directed against the Palestinians.

But there’s still a huge problem. Namely, the universal problem of the 
way the media is
portraying all this. They’re portraying it as if it’s a conventional, 
symmetrical war in which both sides are trading equal levels of 
violence, and as if both sides are a match for each other. Lets look at 
some extracts from a CNN report on the situation something of a template 
for all the media coverage on the latest atrocities, and lets see what’s 
wrong here:

    Jerusalem (CNN) — Eight activists formed a human shield outside a 
hospital in Gaza Saturday, a doctor said, as Hamas and Israel battled it 
out with rockets and airstrikes.

    The death toll from the airstrikes now stands at 127, according to a 
CNN count of official
    Palestinian reports. More than 900 people have been injured, the 
Gaza health ministry said.

    In one incident Saturday, an Israeli airstrike killed six 
Palestinians in Gaza City, according to local medical sources. And, an 
Israeli airstrike hit a facility housing the disabled, killing two 
women, the health ministry said Saturday. The Israel Defense Forces said 
it was looking into that claim.

    Attackers in Gaza opened fire and damaged an IDF vehicle patrolling 
the security fence in
    northern Gaza, the IDF said.

    Gaza militants have fired about 690 rockets and mortars toward 
Israel, 138 of which the latter intercepted, according to the Israeli 

    As the two sides exchange blows, hospitals hoped to remain open.

What’s wrong with that, you may be thinking at this point? Surely, both 
sides are indeed exchanging rocket fire, both sides have had casualties, 
and so on, right?

While it is indeed the case that both sides have exchanged fire, the 
problem is that the media reports make it seem as if both sides are 
equally powerful; they attempt to EQUALISE the levels of violence. With 
lines such as “Hamas and Israel battled it out with rockets and 
airstrikes”, they make it sound as if both sides have equal levels of 
military power at their disposal, as if they can both do equal damage to 
each other.

Wrong. Israel has a huge, mechanised army, armed with the latest, 
up-to-date weaponry, and with hundreds of thousands of well-trained men. 
The Palestinian resistance groups have several thousand men, non of whom 
have  similar levels of training, and none of whom have anything close 
to the amount of equipment that the Israelis have. The Palestinians, 
over one million of them, are squashed into several miles of 
impoverished land, and are caught like fish in a barrel. The Israelis 
have all the space in the world to move around outside Gaza, trapping 
the Palestinians in Gaza under a brutal siege, and arbitrarily throwing 
bombs onto them at will.

Not only that, but such reports are deliberately vague in regard to the 
levels of military force which are being used – when they mention 
Israeli and Palestinian clashes in which Israel has used airstrikes and 
heavy artillery against civilian areas, they are actually vague as to 
who has used the airstrikes and indiscriminate force. They try not to 
directly imply that it was Israel, while not trying to imply that it was 
the Palestinians (who are all homogenised as ‘Hamas’) either, e.g. 
“Hamas and Israel battled it out with rockets and airstrikes”.  Not only 
is the media failing to mention which side launched the deadly bombings 
and airstrikes on Gaza, as if trying to imply that the Palestinians (who 
have no air force, no advanced weapons, and no army) did it themselves, 
but they attempt to play down Palestinian desperation by using the same 
tactics; in this instance, they mention that Palestinians are using a 
human shield to protect a hospital, but they don’t say who from:

    Eight activists formed a human shield outside a hospital in Gaza 
Saturday a doctor said, as Hamas and Israel battled it out with rockets 
and airstrikes.

They know, and we know, that they can’t possibly be forming a human 
shield against Palestinian rocket fire; Palestinians have enough 
problems, and would never rocket their own people. But, to tone down 
Israel’s actions, they don’t mention that they’re protecting the 
hospital from Israeli bombing either… They just leave it in limbo. They’re 
not protecting the hospital from anyone in particular. Not from any one 
group. Just protecting it. Finito. At least, that’s what various media 
reports seem to want you to believe.

Why do they use such methods of reporting? Because that’s the only way 
that they can tone down Israel’s brutality, by vainly trying to 
disassociate them from their own brutal bombardment of innocent people. 
They imply that both sides are equally matched, and that they can both 
fight each other on equal terms, in an attempt to cover up the reality 
that Israel is using its huge advantage in weapons and international 
backing to simply slaughter the innocent people of Gaza with impunity. 
The truth is that the only weapons the Palestinians can use in a 
desperate attempt to defend themselves are primitive, home-made rockets, 
which according to IDF propaganda, are some sort of huge threat to 
Israel. Well, shall we assess the result of a Palestinian rocket, in 
comparison to an Israeli airstrike?
Yep. Clearly Hamas are the greater threat.

Yep. Clearly Hamas are the greater threat.

Then shall we look at the death toll, in terms of how many people the 
Palestinians of Gaza have managed to kill with these inaccurate rockets 
and other tactics, in comparison to how many people the Israelis have 
killed? Via the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the 
Occupied Territories:

    B’Tselem’s research indicates that, from June 2004 to 17 April 2013, 
24 Israeli civilians (four of them minors) and one foreign national were 
killed in Israel by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire. In addition, 
five soldiers were killed, three in Israel and two in the Gaza Strip. 
Another Israeli civilian and three foreign nationals were killed by 
rocket fire at settlements in the Gaza Strip, before they were 
evacuated. Palestinian rocket fire also killed at least ten Palestinians 
(seven of them minors).One Israeli civilian (a minor inIsrael) and one 
soldier (in the Gaza Strip) were killed by an anti-tank missile fire.

    A total of 44 persons have been killed by rocket and mortar fire, 
and two persons have been killed by anti-tank missiles.

Palestinian rockets have killed 44. Then shall we see how many people in 
Gaza have been killed by the Israelis? According to the Israeli 
Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the 
number is over 2,200, and that number has yet to be updated, given 
Israel’s latest round of aggression. 2,200+. Compare that to the death 
toll from Palestinian actions, and then tell me that this is a 
symmetrical conflict. Think about it. That doesn’t even include the 
numbers of people killed in the occupied territories such as the West 
Bank, which is steadily rising.

Plus, look at the death toll from the latest round of Israeli 
aggression, since July 8th. In four days, the IDF has killed 127 
Palestinians… 88 were civilians. A further 924 were wounded, again, the 
majority being civilians. If that isn’t deliberate, I don’t know what 

How many Israelis were killed? None. 22 were wounded; 20 civilians and 
two soldiers. Presenting this as a conflict, and calling for “both 
 sides” to show restraint is like calling for the Jews in the Warsaw 
Ghetto to show restraint. Because Israel is using the same tactics the 
Nazis used back then. To see the oppressed become the oppressors is 
always tragic.

Lets look at further extracts from the CNN report – in a tactic 
typically used by the media, they avoid directly quoting suffering 
Palestinians, yet they are quick to jump to attention and quote 
Israelis. Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, is immediately offered a 

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left all possibilities 
open, saying the international community will not influence his actions 
against Hamas. He reiterated that there is one path to a cease-fire: the 
cessation of attacks from Gaza.

    “We are considering all options and getting ready for every possible 
scenario,” he said. “All the citizens of Israel are aware of my major 
goal, and this is to bring back the quiet to all Israeli territories. 
Hamas keeps attacking us, and therefore we are fighting them back.”

The Palestinian perspective is left woefully ignored. They never stop 
for a moment to speculate on the motives for Palestinian retaliation 
against Israel, or to interview those on the ground in Gaza, who lost 
their children and loved ones to Israeli bombing.

Have they not considered the possibility that when you ethnically 
cleanse, murder, beat, and treat a whole people like second class 
citizens, and back them into a corner by trapping them in a small, 
impoverished strip of land, they may just have a justification for 
retaliating? They also fail to dispute Netanyahu’s lie that Hamas 
attacked first – was it Hamas that ordered the Israeli army to begin 
bombing last week?
"We ethnically cleansed your people, committed mass murder against them, 
beat them, and drove them into an impoverished strip of land. How DARE 
they retaliate in desperate ways!" - Israeli logic

“We ethnically cleansed your people, committed mass murder against them, 
beat them, and drove them into an impoverished strip of land. How DARE 
they retaliate in desperate ways!” – Israeli logic

In addition, all those who resist are routinely described in the media 
as “Hamas militants“. The media has spent years vilifying Hamas, and so 
whenever they need to demonise any Palestinians who wage armed 
resistance, they homogenise them as Hamas, with all the negative 
connotations that implies. Of course the spineless, Quisling PA (which 
spends all its time shielding the illegal Israeli settlements and 
oppressing Palestinians on Israel’s behalf) gets off scott free.

The truth is that it isn’t just Hamas that engage in resistance in Gaza. 
the Popular Resistance Committees’ Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades are 
fighting, as is Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing (the Saraya 
al-Quds Brigades, or the ‘Jerusalem Brigade’ in English), the Al-Aqsa 
Martyrs Brigades (formerly part of Fatah), the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine’s Mustafa Brigades, the Democratic Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine’s National Resistance Brigades, you name it.

But no. According to the media, only the evil Hamas organisation is 
fighting, and Hamas unequivocally equals all Palestinians. The way they 
present Hamas as being synonymous with the Palestinians is done to 
justifying Israel’s murderous actions; by their logic, Hamas are awful, 
so that must mean that all Palestinians must face bombing.

I’ll end my article with a quote from an excellent article in The 
Independent, by Yara Hawari:

    In the wake of the latest appalling flare-up in violence between 
Israel and Palestine, the buzzword among international leaders has been 
“restraint”. In most conflicts, this would seem like the obvious 
solution. But in this case, there is a problem with the word.
    Calling for restraint on both sides frames the situation as an equal 
conflict, with two sides inflicting near equal amounts of violence on 
each other.

    This is simply not the case. The Israel-Palestine situation is not a 
fair battle, but a prolonged process of colonisation by Israel which 
that has led to a brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.

    The kidnappings and murder of the three Israeli settler teenagers is 
a horrible tragedy, but many people are failing to understand it as a 
symptom of the Israeli occupation.

    Haneen Zoabi, an member of the country’s parliament, has made one of 
the most rational evaluations of the situation. “Is it strange that 
people living under occupation and living impossible lives [...] act 
this way?” she has asked. “They are not terrorists. Even if I do not 
agree with them, they are people who do not see any way open to change 
their reality, and they are compelled to use means like these until 
Israel wakes up and sees the suffering, feels the suffering of the 

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