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The Long and Bloody Hypocrisy of U.S.-Israeli Acts of Terrorism

Without an extreme double standard on terrorism, it's hard to see how today's bloodbath in Gaza would be possible.
 
 
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Israel, a nation that was born out of Zionist terrorism, has launched massive airstrikes against targets in Gaza using high-tech weapons produced by the United States, a country that often has aided and abetted terrorism by its client military forces, such as Chile’s Operation Condor and the Nicaraguan contras, and even today harbors right-wing Cuban terrorists implicated in blowing up a civilian airliner.

Yet, with that moral ambiguity excluded from the debate, the justification for the Israeli attacks, which have killed at least 364 people, is the righteous fight against “terrorism,” since Gaza is ruled by the militant Palestinian group, Hamas.

Hamas rose to power in January 2006 through Palestinian elections, which ironically the Bush administration had demanded. However, after Hamas won a parliamentary majority, Israel and the United States denounced the outcome because they deem Hamas a “terrorist organization.”

Hamas then wrested control of Gaza from Fatah, a rival group that once was considered “terrorist” but is now viewed as a U.S.-Israeli partner, so it has been cleansed of the “terrorist” label.

Unwilling to negotiate seriously with Hamas because of its acts of terrorism -- which have included firing indiscriminate short-range missiles into southern Israel -- the United States and Israel sat back as the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza worsened, with 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians packed into what amounts to a giant open-air prison.

When Hamas ended a temporary cease-fire on Dec. 19 because of a lack of progress in those negotiations and began lobbing its little missiles into Israel once more, the Israeli government reacted on Saturday with its lethal “shock and awe” firepower -- even though no Israelis had been killed by the post-cease-fire missiles launched from Gaza. [Since Saturday, four Israelis have died in more intensive Hamas missile attacks.]

Israel claimed that its smart bombs targeted sites related to the Hamas security forces, including a school for police cadets and even regular policemen walking down the street. But it soon became clear that Israel was taking an expansive view of what was part of the Hamas military infrastructure, with Israeli bombs taking out a television station and a university building as well as killing a significant number of civilians.

As the slaughter continued on Monday, Israeli officials confided to Western journalists that the war plan was to destroy the vast support network of social and other programs that undergird Hamas’s political clout.

“There are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel,” a senior Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post.

“Hamas’s civilian infrastructure is a very, very sensitive target,” added Matti Steinberg, a former top adviser to Israel’s domestic security service. “If you want to put pressure on them, this is how.” [ Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2008]

Since the classic definition of “terrorism” is the use of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal, Israel would seem to be inviting an objective analysis that it has chosen its own terrorist path. But it is clearly counting on the U.S. news media to continue wearing the blinders that effectively limit condemnations about terrorism to people and groups that are regarded as Washington’s enemies.

Whose Terrorism?

As a Washington-based reporter for the Associated Press in the 1980s, I once questioned the seeming bias that the U.S.-based wire service applied to its use of the word “terrorist” when covering Middle East issues. A senior AP executive responded to my concerns with a quip. “Terrorist is the word that follows Arab,” he said.

 
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