Journalist, activist and filmmaker Abby Martin joins Mintcast to discuss Israel, the United States, and the latest situation in Gaza.
Despite publicly urging caution, restraint and calling for a ceasefire, the United States government continues to aid Israel, this week approving $375 million worth of arms sales to the Jewish state, even as it uses U.S.-made weaponry to attack civilian buildings and other infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Hospitals, health clinics and homes have been destroyed, with reports confirming the deaths of at least 63 children in Gaza alone. Three pregnant women have also been killed. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll stands at 276.
Also destroyed was the largest bookshop and publishing house in Gaza. “They not only want to shut down our voices, but our access to other works. This is an attack on knowledge, education, literature, and the exchange of narratives,” wrote Palestinian writer Mariam Barghouti.
After more than one week of bombing, a reported 38,000 people have been displaced within Gaza alone, with thousands taking shelter in United Nations buildings and schools.
The Biden administration has stood firm in its support for Israel, blocking three times this week United Nations statements that condemned the Jewish state for its offensive. As the bombs rained down, President Joe Biden reiterated his belief that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” a statement that has drawn criticism from a growing number on the left. Senator Bernie Sanders, for instance, characterized the U.S. as an apologist for the far-right Netanyahu government. In response, Trump lawyer and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz labeled Sanders a “self-hating Jew” and accused media outlets like The New York Times of supporting Hamas.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton went further, justifying the unprovoked Israeli destruction of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera building in Gaza, suggesting that they were in league with Palestinian terrorists.
Global opinion, however, is distinctly more hostile towards Israel’s actions. Both Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have accused Israel of “war crimes” in targeting residential buildings and media outlets. The Israeli government has also been condemned by the Arab League and a number of Asian nations.
Palestinians of all persuasions in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel are currently holding a general strike, attempting to show their collective opposition to aggressive Israeli actions and disrupt the economy. Millions have put down tools this week, as stores closed and offices emptied. Instead, many headed to public squares, holding flags aloft in demonstration in a rare show of nationwide solidarity.
While the roots of the conflict can be traced back to at least the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the current violence was sparked on May 7, when Israeli forces stormed Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Worshippers celebrating Ramadan were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades, with more than 300 injuries reported.
In response, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel, actions that have caused 10 reported deaths. Israel escalated the situation by ordering airstrikes on Gaza, pounding the densely populated strip for days on end.
Joining MintPress to talk about the situation in Palestine is journalist, activist and filmmaker Abby Martin. Abby began her journalistic career in 2009, founding her own citizen journalism outlet, Media Roots. She later hosted Breaking the Set on RT America and is now an independent filmmaker for Empire Files. She recently made the 2019 feature-length documentary movie Gaza Fights for Freedom, free to watch on the Empire Files YouTube channel.
Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera
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Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.
Alan MacLeod assisted in the production of this episode.