9209Tutu's Trip to Gaza Censored by the US
- Jul 1, 2008Tutu's Trip to Gaza Censored by the US Media "There can be no
justice, no peace, no stability, not for Israel, not for the
Palestinians, without accountability for human rights violations."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Tutu's Trip to Gaza Censored by the US
By Mike Whitney
Mon, 2 Jun 2008
01/06/08 "ICH" -- - Why was Desmond Tutu's trip to Gaza censored by
the US media? When Nobel Laureate and world renowned peacemaker
Desmond Tutu goes to Gaza to visit the site of an Israeli massacre;
that's news, right? So why is it impossible to find any account of
his trip in America's leading newspapers? Is it because any
information that is incompatible with the territorial ambitions of
the Israeli leadership is simply "disappeared" into the media-ether?
Archbishop Tutu was a leader in the struggle against apartheid in
South Africa. He is neaither a terrorist nor an anti-Semite. His work
as a human rights activist spans 4 decades. Like former president
Jimmy Carter he was shunned by the Israeli government and refused
entry into Gaza. Why? Two days earlier author and university
professor Norman Finkelstein was refused entry into Israel even
though he's Jewish and had parents who survived the Holocaust. Isn't
that enough to gain entry or must one accept the prevailing doctrine
of the far-right extremists in the Olmert government who think that
it's okay to deprive Palestinians of their rights whenever they see
fit? Bishop Tutu had to go through Eqypt to get to Beit Hanoun; the
town where 18 members of the al-Athamna family--including 14 women
and children--were killed by Israeli artillery fire in November 2006.
Tutu said that hearing "from the survivors of the massacre" had left
him in a "state of shock". Christine Chinkin, professor of
international law at the London School of Economics, told the UK
Guardian that her preliminary assessment of the attack was that it
was a breach of international law.
"Firing in a way that cannot distinguish between civilians and
combatants is clearly a violation of international humanitarian law,"
she said. "I don't think that the idea of a technical mistake takes
away from the initial responsibility of the action of firing where
civilian casualties are clearly foreseeable ... it has to be
foreseeable when you give yourself such a small margin that any error
has the potential to lead to civilian casualties." (UK Guardian)
Chinkin is right, of course. It was a massacre and should be
thoroughly investigated by the international community. The
responsible parties need to be held accountable. According to the UK
Telegraph, "No soldiers were ever charged in connection with the
incident. Israel blocked attempts by the UN's Human Rights Council to
investigate the shelling, saying that members of the body
So now the members of the UN's Human Rights Council can't be trusted
either?!? Tutu ended his three day mission by calling for an end to
the blockade of food, medical supplies and economic assistance to the
Gaza Strip and by condemning the "culture of impunity" in which one
nation arbitrarily imprisons one and a half million civilians who are
left to languish in abject poverty and hopelessness.
"We saw a forlorn, deserted, desolate and eerie place," Tutu
said "The entire situation is abominable. We believe that ordinary
Israeli citizens would not support this blockade, this siege, if they
knew what it really meant to ordinary people like themselves."
Tutu is right. This is not the work of the Israeli public, which
(according to a recent poll in the Jewish newspaper Ha'aretz) 65%
want direct negotiations with Hamas. This is the work of fanatics at
the top-rung of the political system whomuch like the Bush
administration---operate without any regard for the will their people
and without any concern about the vast human suffering they are
creating. Tutu met with the Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh
on Tuesday and told him that, while he was opposed to the Israeli
occupation, he condemned the rocket fire by militants into Gaza.
"True security, peace, will not come from the barrel of a gun," he
said. "It will come through negotiation; negotiation not with your
friends, peace can come only when enemies sit down and talk. It
happened in South Africa. It has happened more recently in Northern
Ireland. It will happen here too."(UK Guardian)
Tutu went to Gaza for peace and not one newspaper in the United
States covered the story. Apparently, the "culture of impunity"
extends to America's media as well as the Israeli leaders who killed
the 18 Palestinians at Beit Hanoun.
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