By Deirdre Griswold
Published Apr 17, 2011 10:18 AM
Israel has been rewarded by the U.S. imperialist government for its latest assault on the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza, which began on April 7 at the same time as the federal budget showdown in Washington.
The short-term budget agreement crafted by Republicans and Democrats is cutting $38 billion from services vitally needed by the working class of the U.S. But the Obama administration made sure that the budget included rushing $205 million to Israel to build more anti-missile batteries called “Iron Dome.” That’s $205 million above the $3 billion that the U.S. will give Israel over the next year.
Iron Domes cost $60 million each. Israel just deployed several against Gaza. While Israeli warplanes were carrying out intense air strikes on the heavily populated Palestinian territory and its tanks were lobbing shells on farmers there, the Iron Dome batteries were intercepting rockets fired from Gaza.
The result: 18 Palestinians were killed and 60 wounded in the five days beginning April 7.
No Israelis were killed; one was injured.
As of April 11, a shaky cease-fire seems to be in place.
Have the big-business media shown any sympathy for the heroic Palestinians who face these enormous odds when they confront the U.S.-armed Israeli state?
Do they explain that Israel had so tightened its blockade around Gaza that only about a fourth of the food and fuel to satisfy its needs was being allowed in by the Israeli occupiers?
Do they report on the reaction and views of millions of people around the world who support the Palestinian people’s struggle to return to the homeland that was taken away from them with the creation of Israel?
No, they focus on Israel’s role as a long-time ally of Washington in the Middle East. They present this alliance as all to the good, even though stability in the area has meant the brutal rule of such hated U.S. allies as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the oil dynasties in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Of course, this reliance on Israel as a military superpower in the region, built up by the Pentagon, has suited the huge U.S. oil companies very nicely.
U.S.-armed Israel ignored first cease-fire
In this latest explosion of violence, the media talk all about the rockets that were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, even though Israeli bombs pounded Gaza City on March 22, killing 20 people, including children. The Palestinians, unlike Israel, have no jet fighters, no drones, no tanks. But they have enormous will to continue their struggle for self-determination. The rockets, which are not sophisticated and cannot be precisely aimed, are virtually their only weapon in the struggle to break the Israeli blockade that cuts them off from the world.
In the first 48 hours after a Palestinian rocket hit a school bus in Israel on April 7, wounding a teenager, the Israelis carried out 46 air strikes on Gaza, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli army. Gaza medical authorities say the strikes killed 10 people and wounded 45 others.
On the very first night, Hamas, the governing party elected by the people of Gaza, had accepted “a cease-fire with Israel after agreeing with other factions and militant groups to halt rockets on Israel.” (Xinhua, April 9)
But Israel, claiming it was not officially informed of the cease-fire, instead launched more air strikes on densely populated Gaza City.
Having inflicted great pain and suffering on the people of Gaza, and having collected their reward from the U.S. government, Israel’s rulers seem to have pulled back for now — although another outright invasion of Gaza, like the one two winters ago, is always a strong possibility.
But Israel’s hawks, undoubtedly emboldened by the aggression launched by the U.S. and NATO on Libya, also know that in Egypt, along Gaza’s other border, the ground is shaking under the feet of those who have collaborated with Tel Aviv and Washington.
The awakening of the masses in North Africa and the Middle East holds great promise for the Palestinian people and their aspiration to be free — “from the river to the sea.”