Original Article by Hagit Borer, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California
Le Dignité-Al Karama Seized by Israeli Navy. One doesn't get to choose one's enemies, alas. But with friends like Huffington Post one does wonder.
Here is a bit of a deconstruction of Amy Teibel's story, in the Huffington Post on the morning of July 19.
The report, or so it appears, starts with a number of relatively neutral statements. They are, however, not so neutral upon further consideration. The activists on board are, we are told, 'pro Palestinian', but we are not told, until considerably later, why they are attempting to break the Israeli blockade.
In case you are wondering why, well, they report that "their mission was meant to make a "political statement" against the Israeli blockade." What, exactly, gets to them as concerning the "Israeli blockade", remains unspecified. Possibly they enjoy the attention.
On the other hand, we are told, and immediately, why Israel thinks it needs to stop them – it's "a measure to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group." Oh, wait, shouldn't this be "a measure to prevent "arms struggling" to Gaza"?
Pro-Palestinian activists; Hamas; Militant...
And here's more. Last year, we are reminded, "Israeli naval commandos clashed with knife and club-wielding activists on a Turkish ship trying to reach Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists." Knife wielding activists? Oh, I forgot, that photograph of kitchen knives! Clearly, Amy Teibel was not in on the day that was declared an Israeli propaganda mishap. Even Israel's own Tirkel Report doesn't mention knives. But I guess club-wielding sounds too much like a baseball team to justify the shooting of civilians. The reader is spared the fact that the Turkish boat, with civilians on board and no serious ammunition, was boarded 150 miles from the port of Gaza and in international water and that the surrounding naval ships opened fire on it even before any commandos landed.
Pro-Palestinian activists; Hamas; Militant; Arm smuggling; Knife and Club-wielding
Both sides, reports the balanced Huffington Post, claim to have acted in self-defense. But wait, there is some additional evidence bearing on the issue: "since the deadly May 2010 takeover, the navy has intercepted two blockade-busting boats without incident"
Israeli Blockade; Self-defense; Without Incident.
Have we gotten it already? In case we haven't, here's more: "The Hamas government in Gaza condemned the seizing of the boat." Of course, so have many other governments and organizations. But they don't really count, do they?
Let's do an interim summary:
Israeli Blockade; Self-defense; Without Incident; Condemned by Hamas.
Pro-Palestinian activists; Hamas; Militant; Arm Smuggling; Knife and Club-wielding.
To be absolutely thorough, here's a bit more about what there is in Teibel's piece: "Hamas militants.. "seized control of Gaza", whereas in actuality they won an internationally supervised fair elections. And lest we lose track of where we are going here, please take note of the fact that Israel "approved individual construction projects in coordination with the international community"!
And here's a bit more about what there isn't in Teibel's piece: not a single comment on the fact that Le Dignite -Al Karama was seized in international water; not a single comment on how and why Greece stopped the rest of the flotilla, or on the fact that Hillary Clinton is in Greece as we speak congratulating the Greek government on its austerity measures and on its support in stopping the flotilla.
Not a word about the fact that in the past week Israel has been using Gaza as a target practice, bombing the strip and the city daily; not a word about the fact that fishing boats are regularly shot at off the coast of Gaza, most recently less than a week ago, when Israel shot at an international observers' ship as well, while they were at it.
Not a word about the fact that 95% of drinking water in Gaza are below the World Health Organization standards as a direct result of the fact that Israel deliberately targeted the water system in its 2009 attack on Gaza, and has since systematically subverted any attempt to repair it!
What critics say, Ms. Teibel and Huffing Post, goes quite a bit beyond the fact that the blockade has hurt the territory's economy and punished its population collectively, which is in itself very true. What critics say is that the population of Gaza, and the West Bank, has lived under a military occupation now for 44 years. Israel may have left the streets of Gaza, but as long as it tightly controls its borders and invades and bombs it at will, Gaza is under occupation.
This has now been the longest military occupation of the modern era, and has simply no parallels.
The only analogies that come close involve colonial occupations in the 19th century or the control which the whites of South Africa exercised over the blacks prior to 1994.
Sixteen people on board the Le Dignité-Al Karama, trying to convey a peaceful message to the people of Gaza. Four Israeli navy ships, no doubt funded by US tax-payers' money, blocking their way.
700,000 children under 14 in Gaza, of whom 47% suffer from severe anemia and 75% suffer from some measure of malnutrition.
The State of Israel with its army, the United States of America, and now Greece, determined to keep them that way.
Who's David here? Who's the Goliath?
Neither alternative, Huff Post, nor press!
Hagit Borer was one of the passengers on the Audacity of Hope, International Flotilla - Stay Human