The U.S. prides itself in supporting people who yearn to be free. One prime example was in 1989, when Chinese dissidents protested in Tiananmen Square, the U.S. government and the media cheered, lent support and went to the UN to demand sanctions against the government. In more recent months, our government and the press, once again were abuzz in support of the Iranian protestors in Iran. Some in our government demanded that we take military action against the Iranian government. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley applauded the Iranian protestors and called them courageous, “It takes great bravery for Iranian people to use the power of their voice against their government, especially when their government has a long history of murdering its own people who dare to speak the truth.”
On March 30, 2018, the Palestinian people of Gaza marched peacefully to protest the Israeli occupation and to commemorate Land-Day. The protest was peaceful and non-violent. It was similar in nature to the rallies that the students of Parkland, Florida organized on March 24, throughout the U.S., where approximately 30,000 joined together to show the world their plight.
Like them, families from all the Gazan refugee camps wanted to show the world that their lives matter, too. They wanted the world to know about their living conditions in Gaza, literally, trapped in an open-air prison away from their ancestors’ homeland. They planned for a week of civil disobedience.
No weapons, guns or stones were used in peaceful protest about 300 yards from the no-mans land and the Israeli border. Yet, this did not stop Israeli snipers from shooting 1,100 unarmed civilians and killing 29 people including journalists and children. These Israeli snipers perched themselves on top of a hill overlooking the protestors, in clear-view of the protestors. Children were killed while flying their kites, men were killed as they tried to shelter their children and wives. A horrific scene of slaughtered Palestinian that takes place too often – all this as President Trump, the U.S. Congress, and the media stay silent as if the lives of these Palestinians do not matter.
To make matters worse, the usual barrage of words from our feckless leaders stenographed by the media as if it was the gospel truth. Ms. Haley not only lost her voice but found the audacity to block a UN vote condemning these blatant crimes against humanity. President Trump is willing to go to war to bomb Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad for allegedly killing his people, but does not mention the killing of civilians in Gaza, only to blame Hamas for instigating the violence. Even when the media could not ignore the obvious any longer after several Israeli and international human rights agencies sounded the alarm, they were quick to include a disclaimer that Israel has a right to defend itself and blamed the victims for their demise.
As Americans, we can no longer remain silent.
Dr. Hanna G. Hanania
President, American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine