Smoke rises up in the air following an Israeli air attack on Gaza.
By Finian Cunningham
If ever the Israeli military intelligence motto “war by deception” needed exemplified, then it is the current resumption of state-sponsored slaughter in Gaza.
The official narrative out of Tel Aviv, and amplified as usual in the Western mainstream media, is that Israel implemented a unilateral ceasefire Tuesday morning. Six hours later, the Israeli forces resumed bombardment of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – the coastal enclave on the Mediterranean Sea that is home to 1.7 million people.
The ostensible reason for the continued Israeli onslaught is that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had rejected the ceasefire and allegedly kept firing rockets into Israeli-held territory.
“Israel ends ceasefire in response to rockets from Gaza Strip,” read a headline in the Washington Post. “Gaza ceasefire collapses,” reported the US-based Council for Foreign Relations.
In short, the cover story goes that the Israeli regime tried its best to give peace a chance, but Palestinian militants would not comply. Hence, Israel is now justified to “defend itself”.
The reality is that the Israeli regime has just given itself carte blanche to step up its genocide against the Palestinians – just as it was threatening to do so. The so-called ceasefire was nothing but a cynical charade to deceive this flagrant reality. Let’s make no mistake. What is happening in Gaza is unmitigated crimes against
humanity, an operation of state-sponsored terrorism against an illegally occupied people.
Already, nearly 200 people have been killed in just over a week of Israeli air strikes. Some 80 per cent of these Palestinian victims are civilians, according to UN figures. Over 20 per cent of fatalities are children. Shamefully, we will now see that death toll mount after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the six-hour
“ceasefire” has terminated. That was no ceasefire; it was merely a period for refuelling and rearming of Israeli warplanes.
The Israeli government claims that over 1,000 rockets have been fired into its territory by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip over the past week. So far, there has not been one Israeli fatality.
Yet the US government – the main sponsor of the Israeli regime – continues to indulge the obscene propaganda that “Israel has every right to defend itself”. Speaking this week in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed only his concern for “Israel’s security” while not sparing one word of condemnation for the mass murder of Palestinian civilians.
The speed with which this latest so-called ceasefire was organized is the giveaway to the ruse. The Egyptian military government – no friend of Hamas – proposed the truce on Monday night, and within hours the
Israeli regime had apparently implemented it. Hamas spokespeople said they had not even been informed directly of the proposal. Moreover, there was not a scintilla of substantive conditions for a ceasefire,
such as the end to the eight-year blockade on Gaza by Israeli forces, nor the long-overdue release of Palestinian prisoners rotting away in Israeli jails.
In other words, the so-called cessation of firing called this week was but a continuation of Israel’s criminal war by other means. No wonder Hamas could not acquiesce to that farce. No one in their right mind should.
What the international solidarity movement for Palestine must do is to firstly repudiate any notion that a genuine ceasefire was ever proposed and that somehow the Israeli regime attempted to give it a chance, while the Palestinians scuppered it. It was a cynical propaganda stunt, guided by the motto “war by deception”.
Secondly, the Israeli regime and its sponsors among Western governments, primarily the US, must be condemned for present and past crimes against humanity in Palestine. The ongoing violence must be stopped immediately and unconditionally, along with an international campaign to prosecute all criminals in political office.
Thirdly, the international community must always insist on Palestinian national rights as enshrined under international law. The only and proper grounds for any eventual ceasefire is for the Israeli regime and its Western sponsors to be held accountable for the ongoing
illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the ongoing genocidal policies, as defined by the Geneva Conventions and others universally acclaimed legal norms.
A ceasefire is not a temporary respite to reload; it must be the basis for a full political settlement that is underpinned by international law and justice.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is now located in East Africa as a freelance journalist, where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring, based on eyewitness experience working in the Persian Gulf as an editor of a business magazine and subsequently as a freelance news correspondent. The author was deported from Bahrain in June 2011 because of his critical journalism in which he highlighted systematic human rights violations by regime forces. He is now a columnist on international politics for Press TV and the Strategic Culture Foundation. More articles by Finian Cunningham