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The Suicide Bombing Network, 24-7

On Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on April 12, 2002, a small woman named Nidal Daraghmeh mingled among a group of shoppers before detonating the explosives she was concealing. Her destruction killed six others and wounded up to 60 bystanders. Naturally, this event was front-page news across the US. The Washington Post allotted most of the top portion of its front page with a grisly photograph of the carnage, as well as a news story and its usual commentary.

From the news story, we learned that, "The blast was the third this month, and dramatically illustrated for [just arrived Colin] Powell what Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials have been saying for weeks: that Israel is in a fight for its survival against terrorism, and that the string of unrelenting attacks justifies its massive military incursion into Palestinian areas on the West Bank. (Washington Post, April 12, 2002)"

The Washington Post failed to mention that Ms. Daraghmeh had reportedly lost her entire family from Israel’s recent aggression in the Jenin refugee camp. Rather than frame the story as retaliation to what Israel had just recently done in Jenin, the news analysis informed us: "Jerusalemites have become sadly accustomed to this routine, particularly on Friday, and particularly at that street, and at that market place, favored by the suicide bombers. There was no mistaking what had happened – once again. Palestinian bombers have struck in the Jaffa Road neighborhood a dozen times in the past year. (Washington Post, April 12, 2002)"

Still, there is no mistaking what had happened prior to Daraghmeh’s suicide bombing. First, Israeli Prime-Minister Ariel Sharon orders an invasion into Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Israel’s cruelty, particularly with their aggression in the Jenin refugee camp, shocks the world. World condemnation is so pitched that even President-installed George Bush demands that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories. Colin Powell then is dispatched to make a slow and leisurely trip to the Middle East, either to allow Sharon to continue killing Palestinians or to imitate Phileas Fogg. When Powell finally arrives in Israel he ignores overwhelming world opinion and makes no public demand of Sharon to order Israel’s military to withdraw from the occupied territories. Few mainstream US newspapers criticize him for that. Then comes Daraghmeh’s suicide bombing. Instantly, her crime is made known to millions in the US as every mainstream newspaper in the US makes it a major story. The Washington Post then uncritically confirms (once again) that Bush and Sharon feel that the suicide bombing is justification for more killing of Palestinians.

Needless to say, the international media has overwhelmingly disagreed with the emphasis the US mainstream media has placed on the suicide bombings. News accounts republished on Common Dreams confirm that thousands of Palestinian men have disappeared in the West Bank. Torture is reportedly widespread in Israel’s prisons. Israel’s military has summarily executed Palestinians selected at random. About two-thirds of the Jenin refugee camp alone has been leveled by bulldozers; it is a scene that observers claim is worse than any earthquake they’ve seen. Helicopter gunships have fired missiles at civilians and strafed them. The elderly and young have been used as human shields in front of tanks and when the Israeli military storm into Palestinian homes. Most of the homes in Jenin, which have not been destroyed, have been defiled; many have been looted.

Throughout Israel’s "operations" in the West Bank, snipers continue to shoot at anything that ventures outdoors. The Israeli military has repeatedly denied medical personnel and their ambulances access to hospitals; this has caused many wounded civilians to bleed to death. The Israeli military has shot at ambulances and medical personnel. They’ve shot foreign journalists. They’ve shot people who were trying to surrender.

The military has enforced a siege across the West Bank for weeks. They’ve denied the trapped Palestinians food and water. There are reports of Palestinian children, whose cries for water are being ignored, have been forced to drink sewage.

At this writing Israel is besieging Bethelehem’s Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was allegedly born. Hundreds of Palestinians are inside. Israel says it is justified because there are armed men in the Church. (No one in the US media points out that if Israel had invaded any US town there certainly would be an armed resistance to it.) The Israeli military is blasting this religious sanctuary and historical monument with screeching sounds at all hours which are designed to cause desperation and panic.

These are just some of the reasons that George Bush praised Sharon as a "man of peace" in recent comments that received little criticism in the mainstream media.

With all this cruelty and barbarism being unleashed by Israel’s formidable military against largely defenseless civilians it is a crime against humanity for the US mainstream media to continue their relentless propaganda on behalf of Ariel Sharon. The argument that it is acceptable to kill all Palestinians because some will retaliate with suicide bombings is ridiculous. It was the same logic that was used by the White Man to exterminate the Native Americans. (That is, it was their reprisals which made them "savages" worthy of being killed off.) If we permit Sharon’s government (with heavy US support) to slaughter anyone in its illegal "war on terrorism" then we are likewise saying it would be acceptable for the US government to invade Montana and shoot at anything that moved, since this was where the UNABOMBER, Theodore Kaczynski came from.

If Washington really minded suicide bombings so much it would take steps to see that the Palestinians weren’t facing such an overwhelming gap in power when coping with Israel’s military. When we see the US mainstream media pretend that the latest suicide bombing even compares to the war crimes by Israel’s military which provoked it we should recognize this as propaganda. And, when we consider how low the mainstream media continues to sink on behalf of Sharon’s shocking crimes it isn’t hard to imagine that if the media continues its ways unchecked it will eventually destroy our own society as it is Palestine.

Scott Loughrey

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