David Levy
David Levy

Biden pressure ignores larger Palestinian reality

There are those who hold the State of Israel responsible for whatever problems Palestinians may have. A June 2017 UN Report claimed that it was Israel’s fault if Palestinian men beat their wives.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a telephone call with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi earlier in the month asked that Israel ensure “equal” treatment of the Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians, Blinken was reported to have said, should enjoy “equal measures of freedom, security, and democracy.”

Odd that the Biden administration is prepared to place the entire responsibility on the Jewish state, virtually none on Fatah in Judea-Samaria or Hamas in Gaza.

While the Palestinian Authority has guaranteed freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate for opponents of the regime such activity has become increasingly subject to restriction.

A couple of decades earlier Yasser Arafat’s security forces were found guilty of regularly abusing detainees, burning them with cigarettes, mutilating their genitals, forcing them to drink sewage water.

Not very much has changed. A Human Rights Watch report found both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regularly conduct arbitrary arrest and torture, with no serious attempt to hold wrongdoers to account or any apparent change in policy or practice.

Is the US State Department truly unaware of these things?

It is common knowledge that Fatah in Judea-Samaria and Hamas in Gaza regularly arrest peaceful critics and opponents. Between January 2018 through March 2019, the Palestinian Authority admitted detaining more than 1,600 people, while Hamas arrested more than 1,000 in the course of March 2019 protests against its rule.

In February of this year, the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza released 45 prisoners affiliated with Fatah, prisoners it was claimed arrested over security issues while at the same time claiming that there were no prisoners held for their political views and opinions in the Gaza Strip.

Though bitterly divided the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have adopted the same repressive measures to silence peaceful and legitimate dissent, though that aspect of the Israel-Palestine conflict is rarely raised.

In parts of Judea-Samaria, one may come upon the mansions of senior Palestinian Authority officials. In recent weeks, unmarked cars have been observed delivering COVID-19 vaccines to these residences apparently skimmed off the supply intended for Palestinian medical workers.

And of course, that same Palestinian Authority regularly compares Israel and Israeli leaders to Nazism and Nazi leaders.

About the Author
David Levy was born in Montreal where he has lived most of his life. He earned a Ph.D.in communications studies at McGill University. He has worked in cinema, television and radio, done journalism. He has travelled in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, created a very successful radio series for teaching English in China. Work in journalism includes an essay on media co-authored with Art Spiegelman for Raw magazine. Taught courses in cinema at McGill University. Published books include: Stalin's Man in Canada(2012), The Zionist Entity: The Jewish State in the 21st Century(2015).
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