Thursday, April 14, 2005


Mohammed Abed - Blaming the Victim

An editorial by Mohammed Abed in The Badger Herald has some interesting points to make about the campaign that Israel supporters use of blaming the victim. Here are a few excerpts: (also highly recommended reading is his article on Divestment

"In the early 1980s, Israel declassified state documents pertaining to its establishment in 1948, and for the first time, researchers were able to bring ‘acceptable’ evidence to bear on the debate over the creation of the Palestinian refugee ‘problem’ (as if the narrative of nearly a million human beings was not enough).

The work done by these researchers gave substantial if not overwhelming support to the Palestinian narrative concerning the events of 1948. Over a very short time, by force of arms, terror, and massacre, Zionist forces succeeded in driving the indigenous population out of their homes and into neighboring countries.

Covering up crimes of this magnitude is no easy task. To adequately cope with unwanted scrutiny and pressure from the international community, the Israeli government and propaganda system adopted the strategy of ‘blaming the victims.’ The idea was to shift moral culpability for these crimes onto the Palestinians themselves (the victims) by constructing a number of myths about the events of 1948."

He deftly debunks the “Barak’s Generous Offer” Myth:

"So, in return for giving up their right to return to their historic homeland, their right to share Jerusalem, and 40 percent of 22 percent of their historic homeland, the Palestinians get a formalization of the 35-year-old occupation of their lands, and a spatially non-contiguous state that cannot have free economic relations with any other country but Israel, since the areas annexed to Israel are along the outer boundaries of the West Bank, that is, the areas bordering other Arab countries like Jordan.

Movement of people and goods from one “Bantustan” or “autonomous area” to the other is controlled by the occupying colonial power, and the population of these areas function as a source of cheap labor for the Israeli labor market."

His comments about the criminal actions taken against Palestinian civilians, who Israel tries to push off as terrorists are very interesting:

"To get an idea of the kind of policy adopted toward civilians by the Israeli Occupation Forces, one need look no further than the pages of The Boston Globe.

Dan Ephron, Globe correspondent in Jerusalem reports (Nov. 4, 2000) on the findings of the Physicians for Human Rights delegation: “American doctors who examined Israel’s use of force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have concluded that Israeli soldiers appeared to be deliberately targeting the heads and legs of Palestinian protestors, even in non-life-threatening situations.”

This is confirmed by articles in the Israeli Press. In The Jerusalem Post of Oct. 27, 2000, in an article entitled “Nahshon Battalion Ready for Urban Warfare,” Arieh O’Sullivan interviewed an Occupation Force Soldier: “I shot two people … in their knees. It’s supposed to break their bones and neutralize them but not kill them,” says Sgt. Raz, a sharpshooter from the Nahshon battalion. “How did I feel? … Well actually, I felt pretty satisfied with myself,” the 20-year-old soldier confides. “I felt I could do what I was trained to do, and it gave me a lot of self-confidence to think that if we get into a real war situation I’d be able to defend my comrades and myself.”

The logic behind this is that the killing of civilians must proceed slowly in order to avoid unwanted attention from the international community, but maiming them, and putting them out of commission will do nicely thank you.

In the pages of the same Jerusalem Post Article, it is stated that “the overall IDF strategy is to deprive the Palestinians of the massive number of casualties the army maintains Palestinians want in order to win world support and consolidate their fight for independence.”

Finally, the Israeli Occupation Forces apparently attempted to minimize civilian casualties by fighting “hand-to-hand combat” in the Jenin refugee camp last April (2002). One wonders what the options were. Carpet bombing?"


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