Backing the Slaughter & Silencing the Critics

Western countries crack down on public support for Palestinians as the atrocities mount in Gaza.  The mask is off on the underlying brutality of the West’s disregard for civilian life and civil liberties, writes Elizabeth Vos.

Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza this week, where victims from the al-Ahli al-Arab hospital bombing were brought. (Wafa (Q2915969) in contract with (APAimages)??/Wikimedia Commons)

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

Hundreds of people were killed on Tuesday by a devastating airstrike on the Anglican al-Ahli al-Arab hospital in Gaza City. Although Israel now blames the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) for the bombing, observers including reporters from MSNBC and the BBC suggest that this is unlikely.

A reporter for the BBC stated on air: “The Israeli military.. have said they are investigating, but it’s hard to see what else this could be, really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli air strike…”

The Anglican News Service also reported that the same hospital was hit by an Israeli rocket the day before the massive explosion.

Hananya Naftali, who currently works for Benjamin Netanyahu as a deputy media advisor, initially posted via social media that Israel had bombed the al-Ahli hospital before deleting the post and blaming PIJ for the attack.

He eventually apologized and retracted his first post, as Israel blamed a misfired Hamas rocket for the grisly damage. An official Israeli government Twitter account also deleted a video they published as evidence of Hamas’s responsibility for the attack after it was exposed to have included a video dating from 2022.

Now deleted tweet admitting Israel hit the hospital.

As journalist Jonathan Cook observed:

“BBC News is going out of its way to lend a sympathetic ear to Israel’s patently ridiculous claim that Islamic Jihad, not Israel, hit al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, killing many hundreds of Palestinian families sheltering there. That’s even though every journalist at the BBC knows that no group in Gaza has a rocket capable of flattening an entire building. Their rockets would barely be able to knock a hole in one of the hospital’s wall”

In just the last few days, members of Israel’s military and police forces admitted publicly their intent to target civilians in Gaza.

Another Israeli strike destroyed a crucial UNRWA depot in central Gaza holding scarce supplies. Palestinian civilians were continuously shelled in their homes. The death toll of civilians continues to rise, with the real numbers unknown as untold numbers of people remain under the rubble, with no one left in some families to reclaim the bodies.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N. also reportedly pushed back on Netanyahu for denying Israel’s responsibility for the hospital bombing, saying: “He is a liar. His spokesperson and digital spokesperson tweeted that Israel did the hit thinking that this hospital was a base for Hamas. Then he deleted that tweet. Now they change the story to try to blame the Palestinians. It is a lie.”

Electronic Intifada further criticized Israel’s refusal to admit responsibility for the attack, deconstructing numerous official Israeli social media posts.

The attack at al-Ahli al-Arab hospital was so atrocious that doctors were forced to hold a press conference surrounded by casualties. During their press conference, the hospital’s director reportedly stated that “The IDF told us, ‘we warned you yesterday with two bombs. So why have you not evacuated the hospital until this moment?'” A doctor at the press conference said that Western officials who gave “unconditional support” to Israel had “blood on their hands” after this attack.

All this comes after the WHO reported that multiple medical facilities had been targeted by Israel during the recent bombing campaigns. Hospitals in Gaza were already on the verge of total collapse. Israel also continues to bomb medics and emergency personnel in the midst of their attempt to perform their duties.

Naftali claims this video shows that Islamic Jihad rockets hit the hospital. While they are seen flying over the hospital, none are seen in this video actually hitting it. How many of these simple rockets would have to detonate to cause the massive explosion that destroyed the building?  The next video shows, and has the distinct sound (turn up volume) of a more powerful JDAM bomb (listen) — which the Palestinians clearly don’t have — hitting the hospital. 

When morning came however, the damage done to the hospital grounds appear less than what might have been expected by such a huge blast. A BBC analysis appears to show that the explosion was restricted to the parking lot of the hospital, where thousands of internally displaced people had apparently been sheltering.  The analysis appears to indicate that the deaths (and there is no firm number yet) may have come from mostly from fire. Given the less than expected damage, it leaves open the possibility that it was an errant Palestinian rocket.

There is still one more possibility: the small crater and limited damage to the hospital structures might have come from an Israeli airburst bomb, with such a concussive blast causing the kind of amputation injuries seen all over the courtyard of the hospital. 

As Israel mentioned an Al Jazeera video as proof that Israel didn’t do it, Al Jazeera analyzed its own video and came up with the conclusion that it had to be Israel who was responsible.

Other Means of Death

Regardless of who was responsible, bombing is not the only form of terror facing Palestinians: “A U.N. official just told me civilians in Gaza are reduced to drinking sea water because clean water has run out. Body bags are running out, fuel for hospital generators powering ventilators will run out in hours. Food supply low. The bombing is intensifying. There aren’t words.” So wrote The Independent’s award-winning chief international correspondent, Bel Trew on Monday.

Children in Gaza are killed and orphaned by the hour, with those who escape shelling facing imminent starvation and dehydration under Israel’s blockade. Israel bombed the crossing from Gaza into Egypt again on Monday, further delaying the entry of desperately needed supplies. The Guardian reported the words of a nurse in Gaza, who commented on wounded children brought to hospitals who are the last living members of their families: “This is a war against children. Even the survivors will spend the rest of their lives on their own.” 

This is the brutal, criminal reality below the niceties and the moral sloganeering, now in full view.

The media has thus far failed to fully control the public narrative around Israel’s worsening war crimes, especially as images of slaughter escape Gaza via social media, bypassing dishonestcorporate media framing. In response to massive public outcry in solidarity with Palestinians, multiple Western governments are cracking down on dissent and in doing so, further exposing the West’s real values when it comes to atrocities.

The Western propaganda machine excuses, obfuscates, and covers up Israeli crimes. In that sense, the ongoing atrocity genocide and the response to it is not simply a revelation of Israel’s efforts at ethnic cleansing. It is a mask-off moment for the underlying brutality of the entire architecture of the Western empire, its total disregard for civilian life and civil liberties.

The U.S., the U.K., and Europe also aid Israel in terms of financial and material support. Israel has always been propped up by the West: as President Joe Biden has said multiple times, if Israel didn’t exist, “we would have to invent one in the Middle East.” Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday and in a televised appearance with Netanyahu said that “from what I’ve seen,” the “other team, meaning not you” did this.

In attempting to excuse this escalating ethnic cleansing, the Western corporate press is revealing the true value of human life under empire: zero. Zero value for the lives of Palestinians and their children, and even for the Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Zero value in upholding Western democratic ideals that so many wars have been excused by. The world public has noticed, turning out in the thousands to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians despite the pro-Israel propaganda.

In response, many Western countries have stepped up efforts to criminalize support for the Palestinians, starkly demonstrating that the democratic ideals supposedly held by the West are dead.

Former U.K. ambassador and human rights activist Craig Murray was reportedly detained and questioned on Monday under the U.K.’s “Prevention of Terrorism Act,” after returning from a solidarity march in Iceland for Palestinians.

At least 57 members of Jewish Voices for Peace were arrested while showing their solidarity with Palestinians in New York City. Pro-Palestinian rallies in France and Germany have been outlawed. And the British home secretary likewise warned about criminalizing flying the Palestinian flag.

Within Israel, the government has grown nervous enough about public opinion on the ongoing atrocities to heavily criminalize dissent, including factual information, as reported by Haaretz. This came after multiple voices within Israel, including those whose relatives had been taken hostage, urged the Israeli government not to destroy Gaza.

If Israel’s new law seems anti-democratic, freedom of speech isn’t looking much freer in France or Germany: The Hill reports that French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin banned “all pro-Palestine protests in the country… He has ordered foreign nationals who violate the protest ban to be “systematically” deported.” After tens of thousands of people protested in solidarity with Palestinians anyway, tear gas was used against the French public:

Mnar Adley, CEO of the independent news organization Mintpress News, reported on apparent social media censorship of videos explaining the situation from a Palestinian perspective.

Meanwhile, independent journalist Eva Bartlett had her YouTube account completely removed. Bartlett wrote via X (formerly Twitter): “After over 15 years of having a Youtube account, now, while Israel is genociding Palestinians, Youtube has suddenly closed my account completely. This is not coincidental. I had many videos which I took in Gaza, under Israel’s bombs in 2009 & 2012 showing the reality of the terror Palestinians endured under relentless Israeli bombing & sniping.” 

According to Yahoo News, the BBC has removed six reporters for anti-Israel social media posts. After tens of thousands marched in multiple cities across Britain, the BBC was forced to apologize for mischaracterizing the rallies as if they were in support of Hamas, rather than in solidarity with the Palestinians living under apartheid and Israeli bombs.

All of Israel’s attacks on civilians, the West’s dishonest reporting on Israel’s war crimes, the attempts to silence solidarity with Palestinians, and the material aid sent by the West to Israel amidst its attacks on civilians in broad daylight, constitute a mask-off moment for Empire like we’ve never seen before.

Where the degradation of Palestinians by Israel was previously shoved to the side of public discourse, the entire world is now witnessing the reality of Israel and the West’s utter disregard for human life in Gaza. Despite its posturing, the Western establishment’s support for Israel as it commits atrocity after atrocity is demonstrating in real time that the West has no moral authority.

Its defense of human rights and democracy is a lie.

UPDATED with new information about the bomb site on the morning after from a BBC analysis, including the possibility that minimal structural damage was caused by an airburst bomb.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter, co-host of CN Live! and regular contributor to Consortium News.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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11 comments for “Backing the Slaughter & Silencing the Critics

  1. Tony
    October 19, 2023 at 08:57

    In October 1961, a demonstration for Algerian independence was attacked by the authorities in Paris. Some historians put the death toll as high as three hundred.

  2. J Anthony
    October 19, 2023 at 07:29

    Let the fascists expose themselves, confirming every decent person’s worst nightmare, and others’ better-informed suspicions. There is no way to justify or sugarcoat slow genocide. They will still try to spin it but it will no longer stick, the hypocrisy is just too deep.

  3. Anon
    October 19, 2023 at 02:49

    The Electronic Intifada mentioned by Vos also had this:

    Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says
    Ali Abunimah and David Sheen
    The Electronic Intifada
    16 October 2023

    An Israeli woman who survived the Hamas assault on settlements near the Gaza boundary on 7 October says Israeli civilians were “undoubtedly” killed by their own security forces.

    It happened when Israeli forces engaged in fierce gun battles with Palestinian fighters in Kibbutz Be’eri and fired indiscriminately at both the fighters and their Israeli prisoners.

    “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” she told Israeli radio. “There was very, very heavy crossfire” and even tank shelling.

    The woman, 44-year-old mother of three Yasmin Porat, said that prior to that, she and other civilians had been held by the Palestinians for several hours and treated “humanely.” She had fled the nearby “Nova” rave.

    A recording of her interview, from the radio program Haboker Hazeh (“This Morning”) hosted by Aryeh Golan on state broadcaster Kan, has been circulating on social media.

  4. ray Peterson
    October 18, 2023 at 12:17

    What a tremendous expression of Christian courage!
    “Mask-off moment.” So we Americans have to decide now
    who is the biggest liar: Biden or Netanyahu?
    And not to forget that all those supporting the US/NATO-
    Israeli genocide are: “You are of your father the devil, and
    your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer
    from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth,
    because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks
    according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father
    of lies” (John:8.44). [said to the Israeli ruling class then and

  5. Lois Gagnon
    October 18, 2023 at 12:08

    It seems we have arrived at the end game of this depraved and faltering empire. The mask is indeed off and the world is no longer fooled by the advertising. May we survive the final stages in order to transition to a better world for all living things.

  6. Rudy Haugeneder
    October 18, 2023 at 11:56

    There is no press freedom in the so-called West. Increasingly, it is forbidden.

    • Valerie
      October 18, 2023 at 12:31

      “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

      A.J. Liebling

  7. Daniel
    October 18, 2023 at 11:37

    “[Attacks on civilians, aid, and the censorship of reporting on same] constitute a mask-off moment for Empire like we’ve never seen before.” We’ve seen the mask drop already … in Ukraine, during Covid, with Russiagate, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, as a result of 9/11 and the Patriot Act, with the Tuesday Kill List, at Guantanamo Bay, etc., etc.

    The fist of fascism punches down in many halls of power. But you’re right, it’s getting harder to deny now that Western nations embrace it.

    • Susan Siens
      October 18, 2023 at 14:33

      Anyone who thinks they have a critical analysis of Western society and who denies that fascism is being actively embraced and promoted must be living in an underground bunker with no access to information!

      • Arthur Kuntsler
        October 19, 2023 at 00:16

        Who needs Fascism when there’s plenty of Zionism for everybody?

        Not really buying the “analysis” put forth by the BBC and echoed by The Guardian, both of which are basically NeoCon operations these days. Citing a bunch of MIC “authorities” about what reality is supposed to be seems rather deranged. The PIJ rocket rises, flares out, then hits the ground some distance away from the hospital, which is then immediately lit up by a large blast, something Gazan rockets are more or less incapable of doing. From that one video, it would seem the hospital strike was from a completely different projectile, one with an actual payload.

        As though some racist IDF ghoul would never think, “Hey, they’re firing from near the hospital. Lets drop one on the hospital and point fingers at PIJ. Western media will buy that, if they want their schmaltz and shekels.”

        Shall wait for new facts to emerge.

        Hope Potato Joe gets well-schmaltzed while he’s over there. Might rejuvenate him, make him seem less like a tuber and more like a tomato.

  8. Drew Hunkins
    October 18, 2023 at 10:46

    The excellent indie journalists aren’t just being deplatformed and censored, but activists are being blacklisted from future employment.

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