An eye for an eyelash: Sec. Pompeo visits Israel, supports snipers shooting 14 year olds.

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Jordan at the end of a four-day, four-nation tour through the Middle East, expressed support on Monday for Israel and its response to weekly protests in Gaza that have left dozens of people dead.

“We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that,” he said at a news conference with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, when asked about the protests. — www.nytimes.com/…

Let us be clear, what Pompeo called “defense” was a nuclear-armed state sending young men and women to shoot at protesters in Gaza, most of whom have been trapped within the 140 square mile territory their entire lives. Israeli snipers have taken up positions along a fence constructed by Israel within Gaza, and are shooting at protesters.  This is not the only place where Israeli authorities have taken over Palestinian lands for “security purposes”. The same is true in the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, dozens of places in the West Bank and along the northern border. It is a strange point of view that characterizes Israeli soldiers shooting or bombing people on the other side of a purported border as “defense”.

The same madness that drives our media to use terms like “officer involved shooting” for the killing of unarmed people by police, also drives reporting of Israel’s military.

And who did Pompeo think the nuclear-armed IDF was defending itself from? Palestinians have neither an army, nor a navy, nor an air-force, and have never had one. But we do know where this rhetoric of “defense” comes from. Pompeo shares Trump’s view of brown and black people in the US as a threat to white supremacy. So just as 14 year olds like Trayvon Martin are murdered by vigilantes with impunity in the US, 14 year olds like Mohammad Ayoub are murdered with impunity by Israeli soldiers.

Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Ayoub ignored his mother’s objection and slipped away to join this week’s protest along the Gaza-Israel border, just hours after Israel’s military dropped leaflets in his Gaza village warning residents to stay away.

A few hours later, the teenager was killed by an Israeli bullet to the head, Palestinian health officials said. “He asked his aunt to tell me he would be back in an hour,” said his mother, Raeda, who instead buried her son late on Friday.

— www.reuters.com/…

Or 15 year olds like Azzam Awaidah.

DCI-Palestine is reporting that Israeli authorities are holding 26 children in solitary confinement and have a total of 310 in prison. These are children are essentially political prisoners.

Defense for Children International – Palestine has confirmed that three children, Hussein Mohammad Adnan Madi, 13, Aladdin Yahia Ismail Zamili, 15, and Ibrahim Abu Sha’er, 17, all died after Israeli forces shot them during two weeks of Friday “March of Return” protests that took place on the Gaza side of the border. DCIP also documented three serious injuries to children in Gaza on March 30, both by live ammunition. Under international law, all individuals below the age of 18 are children. — www.dci-palestine.org/…

Pompeo was confirmed 57-42, with six Democratic senators (plus Angus King, who is an independent) voting to confirm Mike Pompeo. They were: Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN), Joe Manchin III (WV), Claire McCaskill (MO), Bill Nelson (FL), Angust King (ME) and Doug Jones (AL). All except Jones are up for election in 2018, Jones will be on the ballot in 2020.

It is noteworthy that Jon Tester (MT) did not vote for Pompeo, though he faces a tough re-election battle. He is on the ballot this year, in a state Trump won by 20 points. For those who have long supported Jon Tester, this was welcome news.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Israel Sunday in the midst of the worst crisis in relations between Israelis and Palestinians in years, but he did not meet a single Palestinian representative and mentioned them publicly once. […]

“No meeting in Ramallah on his first visit sets an ominous tone about prospects for any progress, or even dialogue, with the Palestinians,” said Daniel B. Shapiro, an American ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration. — www.nytimes.com/…

For anyone who’s watched Pompeo’s career, this is not a surprise. He’s among the group of American politicians whose foreign policy is guided by his belief in the “rapture”.

For Pompeo, American patriotism and a narrowly defined brand of Christian pugilism are inextricable from one another. He’s not subtle about it, either. “To worship our Lord and celebrate our nation at the same place is not only our right,” he told attendees at a Kansas rally in 2015, “it is our duty.” He added that politics is “a never-ending struggle … until the rapture.”

Pompeo’s reference to the rapture here is particularly noteworthy. The rapture is a distinctively American fringe theology that says Christians will be taken up, or “raptured,” into heaven at the onset of the end times.

[…] For many evangelicals, apocalyptic “good versus evil” battles, particularly centered over the “Holy Land” of the Middle East, are signs that the longed-for end may be at hand. — www.vox.com/…

Earlier this month, TYT reported that Mike Pompeo had been discussing the rapture with CIA staff and demonstrated an intolerance towards anyone who wasn’t a fundamentalist Christian.

Pompeo’s deep biases, bigotry, war-mongering and advocacy of torture are well understood from his time in the House, and numerous public statements. Inevitably, some of the Democrats who voted for either Pompeo confirmation, will disavow one of his actions. At the time, they should be asked why they voted for him knowing who he was.

The “defense” Pompeo refers to has resulted in dozens of protesters killed, and thousands more maimed and injured in the past four weeks alone.

The Washington Post has a story about the thousands of devastating injuries inflicted by Israeli snipers firing on protesters in Gaza. The snipers are on the other side of an electrified fence built entirely within Gaza by Israeli authorities on Palestinian farmer’s property. This is similar to the “West Bank barrier”, which is also built within the West Bank, on land owned by Palestinians.

In 2009, during another Israeli bombing of Gaza, Avi Shlaim wrote:

The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel’s insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash. After eight days of bombing, with a death toll of more than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis, the gung-ho cabinet ordered a land invasion of Gaza the consequences of which are incalculable. — www.theguardian.com/…

Politicians who support and defend Israeli violence against Palestinians should expect to see grass-roots protests against their positions.

— @subirgrewal