Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click here for the original article

For the past five years, groups claiming the mantle of human rights and humanitarian aid have run campaigns based on the theme of ‘Free Gaza’ – repeating the myth that Israel’s security measures are responsible for the suffering of millions of Palestinians. These political activists have organised aid flotillas carrying almost no aid; held violent protests opposite Israeli embassies and universities and justified boycotts around the false images of ‘collective punishment’ and Palestinian victimisation.

Their motivations and rhetoric notwithstanding – organisations such as Oxfam, Amnesty, FIDH in France, War on Want, as well as their numerous Middle Eastern partners, share major moral responsibility for the latest decidedly non-humanitarian events. With their political support, Hamas leaders could expect that when they resume terror attacks the global network would quickly work to limit the Israeli responses. This strategy succeeded in the previous round – December 2008 to January 2009 – and also for Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon war. Hamas leaders also know that brutal crimes against their own people are ignored, such as this week’s ruthless execution of six so-called ‘collaborators’ – whose bodies were dragged through the streets by motorcycles.

These groups promote false accusations of Israeli ‘collective punishment’ and ‘disproportionate response’, as if any Israeli actions could be remotely proportionate to thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks targeting millions of civilians during the past decade. Erasing this reality, Amnesty has absurdly opined that Israel’s border closure “appears calculated to make an already dire humanitarian situation worse”. In the past week, Amnesty has falsely attacked Israel for “indiscriminate attacks” – a term used indiscriminately and with impunity.

Another statement revived their long-time campaign for an arms embargo, which would deprive Israelis of the right to self-defence. War on Want – another non-governmental organisation based in the United Kingdom that uses a humanitarian façade to dehumanise Israel – was quick to join the campaign. “Israel is attacking Gaza with drones, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets – Israeli military forces are launching airstrikes on the civilian population of Gaza, devastating the already strained hospitals,” it stated. In these stereotypes, Palestinians are condescendingly portrayed as helpless victims and Israelis as aggressors.

Similarly, Oxfam condemned Israel for “the assassination of a Palestinian leader” – no mention of Jabari’s centrist terrorist role – and alleging, without evidence, that “Palestinian organisations were ready for truce”. In this imaginary Gaza, the mass terror attacks – including bus bombings – and huge budgets spent on rockets and missiles to attack Israel is entirely erased. In the last decade, more than 13,000 rockets and mortars – an average of three per day – were launched against Israel. More than 1,200, an unimaginable number for anyone not living in the area and not seeing this destruction directly, have been fired against Israeli civilians in just one week.

The missile industry – the biggest in Gaza – consumes huge resources and tens of millions of dollars, pounds, euros and dinars. How many school lunches, infant care medical checks and other social welfare measures could this money have been used to buy, if only the Hamas overlords of Gaza were so inclined? What constructive activities could result if the “15,000 Qassam fighters who are responsible for most of the rocket blitzes” were forced to find alternative employment? In Palestinian society, prestige and money come from making and shooting rockets to kill Israeli civilians.

But all of this is erased in the distorted universe inhabited by political NGOs and their funders, particularly officials in the British and European governments. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – which has received millions annually from the European Union and the governments of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, as well as Oxfam and NOVIB in the Netherlands – plays a key role. In campaigning for the unilateral end to the Israeli blockade, the PCHR also makes no mention of Palestinian war crimes – every rocket and terror attack – and the intimidation through which Hamas controls Gaza.

On these issues, the EU-sponsored silence is deafening. A number of politicians claiming moral agendas, such as George Galloway – a British MP and former head of War on Want – and Jean Lambert, a British MEP in the Green Party), are veteran campaigners. Lambert again called on the EU to impose economic sanctions against Israel. Repeating the ‘Free Gaza’ victimisation mantra, Lambert refers to “a disproportionate conflict” in which “the human price is much higher for the Palestinians” and calls for the end of the Israeli blockade.

Perhaps she is unaware of Gaza’s deadly missile economy or Palestinian war crimes are of no consequence. Anyone who is seriously concerned about the welfare of the people of Gaza and does not belong to the church of ‘it’s all Israel’s fault’ would have focused the generous resources provided by foreign donors on liberating Gaza’s citizens and Israelis from Hamas. A moral ‘Free Gaza’ movement would close the missile industry and help Israelis and Palestinians in liberating themselves from the tyranny of Hamas.