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Thomas Friedman blames it on Hamas

By Miko Peled | American Herald tribune | March 14, 2016

Tom Friedman thinks that if it weren’t for Hamas, Gaza would be another Singapore. If you look up Singapore you will find that it is an island city-state off southern Malaysia, with a population of about 5.5 million people and a GDP total of $452 Billion. It is a global financial center, a center for global commerce, and a financial and transportation hub. Its standings include: “Easiest place to do business” (World Bank) most “Technology-ready” nation, “top international meetings” city, city with “Best investment potential”, 2nd-most competitive country, 3rd-largest foreign exchange center, 4th-largest financial center, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry.

And there’s more. The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia, and none other than Israel made this possible. As a boy I remember my father, who at the time was still a general in the Israeli army, traveling to Singapore very frequently. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch, and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. As I write these words, Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems.

The Gaza Strip on the other hand is arguably the world’s largest concentration camp and is controlled entirely by Israel. For nearly seventy years it has been a refuge for poor, homeless refugees who were forced out of their homes and off of their land by Israel. The authorities in the Gaza Strip are not permitted to build an airport or seaport, and people have no access to trade or commerce; The UN declared the Gaza Strip as “food insecure” largely because of the siege that is imposed and strictly enforced upon it by Israel; the people of Gaza are victims of constant carpet bombings and massive attacks by the Israeli army. So, how exactly was Gaza going to be like Singapore? One has to wonder, was Thomas Friedman high when he wrote this, or is he really so poorly informed?

It was early in February 2016, when Friedman wrote this piece in the NY Times The piece is broad-stroked and superficial, and his main argument is that everyone is to blame for the collapse of the peace talks and the death of the Two State Solution. But what is particularly nauseating is the following sentence: “Hamas” Friedman writes, “devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore.” Wow! Hamas prevented Gaza from becoming another Singapore! This means that Hamas at one point had the ability and the resources to create a paradise on earth in Gaza, to establish a major center for finance and commerce, but chose to spend all those resources to attack Israel instead.

So it was Hamas that imposed the siege on Gaza; Hamas that destroyed the water supply in Gaza making the water unfit for human consumption; Hamas is to blame for the massacres Israel committed in Gaza over the past seven decades; Hamas is the reason that Gaza is in ruins; Hamas is the reason that medical facilities cannot function, and that the basic most medicine is impossible to find; Hamas is the reason that schools are in ruins. Hamas is to blame for the fact that for seven decades the refugees have not been able to return to their homes and their land. Or perhaps Tom Friedman is just spewing all this nonsense because that is what liberal Zionists want to believe?

Hamas is certainly the excuse for all of this, but not the reason for any of it. Some tunnels, were built as traps for Israeli soldiers, and during the Israeli invasion into Gaza in 2014 they were used in several daring operations against the Israeli forces. However, the majority of the tunnels were used as a lifeline. They were used to bring in much needed aid, food, medicine, cash and they allowed people (like me for example) to travel in and out of the Gaza strip, albeit “illegally.” The reason Gaza is not Singapore is that Israel, with the aid of the Egyptian and the US governments and the complicity of the international community has created a concentration camp and implemented genocidal policies in Gaza.

While today Israel uses Hamas as an excuse for the murder, destruction and imprisonment of close to two million Palestinians in Gaza, this was not always the case. When Israeli commandos would enter Gaza and commit atrocities there in the early 1950s, the excuse was “infiltrators.” Arabs were infiltrating the newly established Jewish state and had to be stopped. These were refugees who wanted to exercise their right to return to their lands and their homes. But Israeli law made it illegal for them to exercise this right, and the Israeli army established a murder squad to deal with them. It was made up of young, bloodthirsty Jews, headed by the butcher-in-chief Ariel Sharon. They would enter the newly formed Gaza Strip and massacre Palestinians as punishment. Their thirst for Palestinian blood turned out to be unquenchable and they became an embarrassment even by Israeli standards, so this terror squad, called “Unit 101” eventually had to be dismantled.

Later on the excuse for the killing was no longer “infiltrators” but “Fedayeen” or fighters, and later on the name changed again and Israel used the term “terrorists.” The murderous attacks on Gaza continued, many of them led by Ariel Sharon who rose in the ranks of the Israeli Army and would command larger forces during these raids thus increasing the death toll. In recent years Israel has been using Hamas as an excuse for its genocidal policies against the people of Gaza. The firepower utilized by Israel today is the kind of which Sharon could have only dreamed: In 2014 Israeli fighter jets executed six thousands fly overs dropping millions of tons of bombs on Gaza, and that was prior to the massive ground invasion. Yes, Sharon may be dead but his legacy lives on.

So, perhaps Thomas Friedman can explain further how Hamas is at fault that Gaza isn’t another Singapore? Hamas was not yet created when Israel decided that people in Gaza would always live among death and ruins. And while it is true that Hamas is dedicated to fighting Israel, and it is true that Gaza has brave fighters, Tom Friedman might be interested to know that in spite of seven decades of oppression and violence and in spite of the fact that Gazans are forced to live in a concentration camp, people in Gaza have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Gazans are some of the finest teachers, writers, poets, engineers, doctors and therapists. They are all Gazans, all dedicated to making Gaza livable for its children.

Friedman lays the blame for the death of the “Peace process” on everyone: “So many people stuck knives into the peace process it’s hard to know who delivered the mortal blow.” Indeed? It really isn’t that hard to see the massive building of Jewish only cities and towns, shopping malls and highways in the West Bank. It isn’t that hard to see the ethnic cleansing that goes on in East Jerusalem, spreading Jewish only communities at the expense of Palestinians. And it really isn’t hard to see the ongoing Jewish expansion on Palestinian land taking place in the Naqab desert, the Galilee and everywhere else that Palestinians reside. It certainly isn’t hard to see how Israel has been turning all of Palestine into a single Jewish Apartheid state.

“Bibi won” Friedman writes, “He’s now a historic figure — the founding father of the one-state solution.” As much as Bibi Netanyahu would love for this to be true, it isn’t. Israel’s Labor governments established the One State solution when Bibi was still a boy. The foundations for a single apartheid state in Palestine were laid when Israel occupied the lion’s share of Palestine in 1948, and then it was cemented and made permanent when Israel completed the occupation of Palestine in June 1967.

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

March 14, 2016 - Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , ,

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