Following the deadliest year in 15 years for Palestinian children in 2022 when 34 were killed by Israeli forces, according to ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a more recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) shows that Israeli military and border police killed 34 children in the West Bank as of August 2023.
“Israeli forces are gunning down Palestinian children living under occupation with increasing frequency,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director of Human Rights Watch. “Unless Israel’s allies, particularly the United States, pressure Israel to change course, more Palestinian children will be killed.”
Under international law, children are offered special protection from violence at all times.
While the recent actions of the Hamas militant groups in Gaza can be considered detestable, it’s worth noting the whole story. As Western media calls on Palestinian voices to “denounce” the actions of Hamas, one has to wonder if the same questions will ever be asked of the far-right version of “radical extremists” from the Israeli side of things. So far, no one has done so.
When asked about the killings of children, Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller mentioned how no one has more disregard for Palestinian lives than Hamas. However, he refused to answer any questions about the atrocities leveled on the Palestinian people by the Israeli government in an attempt to seemingly maintain a one-sided narrative.
“There is no one that has more disregard for Palestinian civilian life than those terrorists because those terrorists launched this activity knowing there would be retaliation and knowing that Israel would have to defend itself … knowing that it would lead to the unfortunate loss of civilian lives by Palestinians and they did it anyway,” said Miller in response to questions about the killing of Palestinian children.
Meanwhile, Christian nationalists who have no understanding of the events throughout recent history, let alone, the long history of the conflict, continue using inflamed Islamophobic rhetoric as they call for the slaughter of all Palestinians, including women and children based on their perceived religious beliefs.
Their blatant misunderstanding of their own religion leads them to believe that all non-Christians are their enemy – including Jews in Israel, Muslims throughout the Middle East, and within the United States and Europe. It’s no wonder so many of them are anti-Semitic white nationalists.
However, even if we disregard their ignorance of facts, it serves no one to deny the atrocity that has befallen Palestine for over 75 years. What we’re seeing from the U.S. government and bolstered by Western media, for the most part, is a denial of the horrors committed by Israel. While we can go back and forth trying to discuss how and where it all began, the focus here on what’s being overlooked is based on the Israeli side of the story getting most of the attention from overtly biased reporting.
When asked again, Miller danced around addressing the constant violations of international law that manifest as attacks and provocation by Israelis and Israeli police against Palestinian civilians – including women, seniors, and children. Many have lost their homes to Israeli settlers from the West, and have been wrongfully and unjustly incarcerated, sexually assaulted, and murdered by Israeli authorities.
“Number one, as we said, Israel will conduct its operations in accordance with international law, said Miller to questions about the genocide of Palestinians after Israel cut off electricity, water, and food supplies. “Number two, there are going to be a number of statements made over the course of this conflict, when we have disagreements with them we will make those known privately.”
“Number three, some of the questions I’m getting today seem to ignore the fact that Israel just had hundreds of its citizens killed and people who were taken hostage and pretend that Israel shouldn’t be able to conduct any kind of operation to defend itself and hold accountable the terrorists who killed civilians,” Miller continued. “That is not Israel’s policy. That is not our policy.”
Meanwhile, just days before the Hamas attack on Israel, the United Nations held a debate about the human rights abuses committed by Israeli gangs and allowed by Israeli police as evidenced by there being no repercussions for the perpetrators of violent crimes against Palestinians – including women and children.
“Palestinian civilians, including children, continued to be subjected to daily and continuous killings, in addition to the policy of incursions and attacks on Palestinian villages, towns, and cities by the Israeli occupation forces and settler herds,” reads the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) report. “Speakers were also concerned about the forced eviction and displacement of many Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, which could amount to the war crime of forcible transfer. Colonization, confiscations, house demolitions, and forced displacement were illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Glossing over those atrocities is disingenuous (at best) and colonialist propaganda (at worst) leading to the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians. The military funding and support the United States sends to Israel does more to kill people on both sides of the equation than it helps. Especially when far-right racist actors take control of governments. Leaders that many Israelis themselves have protested against in recent months.
That seems to make no difference to a nation that has its sights set on continuing its “manifest destiny” in colonizing the Global South. We see these same types of actions when the U.S. installs far-right dictators all over the world who are friendly to Western corporate interests – more so in Eastern Europe and Latin America than in any other place around the globe. Israel is no different.
The motivations for the billions of dollars sent to Israel every year are revealed in President Joe Biden’s words when he says, “We would have to invent an Israel” to maintain our stakes in the Middle East. The naked self-interest of his commentary tells us that the United States is willing to sacrifice both Israeli and Palestinian lives in order to advance its own agenda in the region. The president reiterated those words as recently as September of 2023.
“Were there not an Israel the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect our interest in the region.” – Joe Biden (1986)
In response to the attack by Hamas on October 7, President Biden ordered an aircraft carrier fleet with thousands of sailors, dozens of aircraft, and various battle cruisers into the region in support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Like Ukraine and the so-called 20-year war on terror, no concern is given for the thousands of lives that are to be lost to yet another senseless war. Instead, prioritizing the profits of the military-industrial complex supersedes human life.
Alternatively, warmongering bluster takes center stage as corporate media, with equal interest in the region, continue to promote the narrative that Palestinians are savages and animals. Once we begin to dehumanize our fellow man, western society justifies their inhumane treatment, torture, and oftentimes, murder. The U.S. is currently seeing this in action within its own borders as both Republican and Democrat politicians mount campaigns of degrading immigrants from the Global South as less than human.
Meanwhile, Miller seemed to say the quiet part out loud when he suggested that the two paths forward for Palestinians involve conflict, not peace, democracy, or freedom for Palestine.
“I think the point that we would like to make [is] there are two paths forward for the region,” said Miller about a path forward for Palestinians. “There is a path of stability and conflict and normalization of relations with Israel and then there is a path of death and destruction. It’s Hamas that favors that path of death and destruction”
When people discuss the colonization of the Middle East, it goes much deeper than Israel stealing homes, lands and lives in Palestine. Western powers pull the strings as they seek to overthrow non-white groups from control of their lands and steal their resources as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Historically, the U.S. leaves nations in a worse state than when they invaded them for no justifiable reason. We see it in Latin America and Eastern Europe as well.
It’s also worth noting that prior to the Hamas terrorist attacks, evidence shows the Israeli government allowing far-right actors to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque to harass and intimidate Palestinians while being escorted by Israeli police. This has been a flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades yet, the provocations were not only allowed but supported by Israeli authorities.
Additionally, Israeli police and military personnel have been seen removing Palestinians from their homes for years and handing them over to Israelis who traveled to the country from the U.S. and were granted immediate citizenship and the power to steal homes and land. Incidents that have not been mentioned in legacy media and have only been discussed by independent media outlets committed to countering propaganda and providing the full story.
While the Hamas terrorist attacks are considered reprehensible, they were not unprovoked. To suggest they were is not only disingenuous but dangerous disinformation leading to broad generalizations about Palestinians and Muslims both in Gaza and here at home in the U.S. False categorizations of entire ethnic groups lead to destructive Islamophobia hate groups are now used to justify attacks against Muslims – including murder.
Now, as hate groups and extremists plot attacks on Jews and Muslims in the U.S. and Europe, they are including asylum-seekers as sympathizers to one side or the other and are placing targets on Latino, African, and Indian immigrants (as noted by social media posts on various platforms like TikTok and Telegram). When asked, neither the White House nor the Department of State admonished the hate being generated by their use of one-sided language.
Instead, President Biden and the Department of State offered but a few hollow words.
“We do not have any quarrel with the Palestinian people which is why we think it’s important to provide humanitarian aid to benefit them, not the terrorists who ultimately are going to be responsible for the loss of many Palestinian lives,” said Miller in response to a question about providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Toward the end of Matt Miller’s Department of State briefing, the reporter who asked about the killings of Palestinian children reacted to Miller by saying, “That’s amazing! Baby killing is okay here! Baby killing is okay here!” At another point, the same reporter yelled, “You’re allowing the normalization of war crimes, Matt! The normalization of war crimes!”
President Biden saying the attack by Hamas is unprovoked is intentional misinformation.
Report of Unlawful Killing of Palestinians
The Antagonist Magazine reached out to the Department of State and the White House in an effort to counter the rhetoric domestic extremists are using to target Muslims and Jewish people in the U.S. and abroad. We received no response as of this article being published.
Here is what we asked:
– Video on social media shows the aftermath of what appears to be the use of phosphorous munitions against Palestinian civilians. Despite claims that Israel only used flares, the aftermath seems to indicate otherwise. Could you provide comment on that and if the Department of State will denounce the use of such munitions?
– [We were] also wondering why there has been no mention of the provocations towards Palestinians that occurred at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the lead-up to the Hamas terrorist attacks, the theft of Palestinian homes and land, or the killing of hundreds of Palestinians as of August this year.
– According to the United Nations and several NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, 34 Palestinian children were killed this year within the same timeframe noting the worst year in 15 years for Palestinian children. Will the Department of State be condemning these actions as well?
– With statements being wholly one-sided, there are narratives being used by many that result in broad generalizations about entire ethnic groups that put Palestinians and Muslims both at home and abroad in danger of attacks by hate groups and extremists.
– These questions and their responses are intended to quell some of the Islamophobic rhetoric that seems to be growing along with tons of misinformation related to statements that have been made yet remain unverified.
*Based on the most recent briefings by the Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller, the White House, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, it appears the United States government plans to maintain a one-sided approach to the Israeli-Palestine conflict as it escalates the situation
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