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9209Tutu's Trip to Gaza Censored by the US

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  • World View
    Jul 1, 2008
      Tutu'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
      were "biased".

      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 who¬ómuch 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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