Not only was 2014 a year in which BDS managed to win the support of numerous civil society organizations, academicians, scientists, celebrities and to reach out to people from all walks of life, it did something else that is equally important: It normalized the debate on Israel in many circles around the world. While any criticism of Israel was considered a taboo in yesteryears, it has been forever broken.
The latest War on Gaza termed operation Protective Edge killed 2,104 Palestinians as of August 28th, 2014. 1,462 of them were civilians, including 495 children. This number is not hugely different than the other times that the state of Israel periodically “mows the lawn” in Gaza and kills off a lot of innocent civilians including many women and children. It is depressingly familiar. The Israeli government kills far more innocent civilians than militants and historically since 1926 the number is about four to one.
For decades this was barely reported in traditional media, the story line was always tiny little Israel protecting itself from an encroaching hoard. This was never true. It’s amazing how many people think it is perfectly alright to plunk down a nation by international fiat and declaration by David Ben-Gurion who thought such an idea would go off without a hitch. Any indigenous people would fight this just as did us American Indians. Thankfully things changed mightily since the founding of the United States and we got an apology (res’s still suck) and equal rights but no such luck for the Palestinians who are under the boot because of overt US military support.
It’s American weapons killing these children folks. We bear a direct responsibility for these deaths by not instructing the government to stop supporting Israeli Crimes Against Humanity.
This latest onslaught against Gaza and the Palestinians brought changes in coverage of Palestinian issues in ways never seen before in traditional media. Benjamin Wallace-Wells at New York Magazine did a piece on this new phenomenon and wrote:
In many ways, the story of this month’s eruption of violence in Israel and Palestine has been depressingly familiar. But in one interesting way it has been a little bit different from the beginning: American audiences are seeing the story of the conflict, perhaps more than ever before, through Palestinian eyes.
Colin Daileda over at Mashable ran a piece that talked about the lame tweets of the Israeli “Defense” Forces where the IDF is trying to paint a picture of Hamas causing the death of civilians that the Israeli Army kills with American supplied weapons and munitions:
“Nothing in those three tweets constitutes either a defense of, or explanation for, the killing of tens of non-combatants,” Mason wrote. “But in the space between them, anybody following the Gaza conflict from both sides would have seen tens of independently shot images and accounts of civilian death and the destruction of housing and civilian infrastructure. The incident shows who is winning the social media war over Gaza. It is evidence of a massive change in the balance of power between social media and the old, hierarchical media channels we used to rely on to understand wars.”
2014 has brought a lot of changes to Palestine, not the least of which is the breaking of the taboo in traditional media from not just covering the tragic death toll but also finally some of the actual background of the conflict. Not just in casualty terms but also in human terms that average people can understand. When finally confronted with the tiny bodies killed on a Gaza beach, or the destruction of hi-rise apartment buildings with endless rubble, people are starting to realize what is actually being done to Palestinians as a result of US foreign policy.
The best to hope for now is an abstention by President Obama in the bid for full UN statehood and a final end to the illegal occupation by Israel, of Palestine. Here’s hoping that 2015 will finally see the United States through President Obama cementing his legacy as a transformative US President that Palestine will finally get a fair deal from the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine by the state of Israel.