How is shooting unarmed protesters self-defense?


The U.S. has fallen back on the usual “Israel has a right to self-defense” meme as an excuse for Israel’s killing upwards of 20 unarmed protesters yesterday in the Occupied Golan Heights.

From Think Progress:

Mustafa Barghouti, a famous independent Palestinian politician and a critic of terrorism and corruption, was among the protesters. He described the event to Al Jazeera:

“What we saw in the Golan heights, in front of the checkpoint to Jerusalem, were peaceful Palestinian demonstrators demanding their freedom and the end of occupation, which has become the longest in modern history.

“And they were encountered by terrible violence from Israel. They have used gunshots, tear gas, sound bombs and canisters emanating dangerous chemicals against demonstrators.

“They also beat us. I was one of those who was beaten today by the Israel soldiers today while we were peacefully trying to reach the checkpoint to Jerusalem.”

[snip]

The State Department responded to the events with the following statement: “We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided. Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself.”

It is certainly true that the demonstrators were engaged in provocative actions — they were attempting to breach a border Israel had set up, even if it is widely agreed to be illegitimate by international law. Yet the United States and international community have often implored Palestinians to take up their cause nonviolently. President Obama, in his Cairo address, used the analogy of Black South Africans who used civil disobedience to protest apartheid.

[emphasis added]

Everyone keeps talking about Israel’s right to defend their borders but here’s the problem, international law doesn’t recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan. Of course the NYT and every other MSM outlet have decided to give the Golan to Israel without questioning the status of said borders.

The hypocrisy of the U.S. government is incredible. We have repeatedly lectured the Palestinians on the necessity of using nonviolent means of protest and then when they do just that, we sit back and give Israel the green light to kill them as if they pose some sort of threat to the very existence of Israel, which happens to be the region’s most powerful military state.

The word “Delegitimization” was created in order to prevent Israel, the lobby and the U.S. from having to support peaceful Palestinian resistance to the Israeli Occupation. How very clever of us. The problem is that the message we are sending to Palestinian youths is “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t” so I am hard-pressed to see why some more extremist groups like Hamas would be willing to forgo all armed resistance because Israel and the U.S. would just find a way to ensure that any criticism of the Occupation is silenced by claiming “anti-Semitism” or anti-Israel sentiment or *gasp* delegitimization.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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