NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin was pulled from Gaza during the 2014 war after witnessing the killing of four Palestinian children by Israeli Gun Boats on Gaza Beach. Executives claimed the decision was due to security concerns as Israel was planning for a ground invasion. However, NBC replaced Mohyeldin who is fluent in Arabic and has experience covering Middle Eastern events with another non-Arabic speaking correspondent.
Mohyeldin was active on social media and shared how moments before the attack he was playing soccer with the boys on the beach. At the time, Israel was trying to blame Hamas, throwing around the human shield rhetoric. This narrative contradicts Mohyeldin’s first-hand observation. Due to angered staffers and viewers NBC eventually allowed him to return and continue reporting.
The claim initially being Hamas was responsible and Israel clearing themselves from any wrong doing, to an armed drone killed the four children playing soccer on the beach who were mistaken as Hamas militants by the IDF. The story seems to have changed and evolved over time. This raises the question, if Mohyeldin was not present, would we have known the truth?
Escalation in Gaza
Israel started a more recent escalation on Gaza and killed a family of eight November 14, 2019. They claim the intent had been to hit Islamic Jihad infrastructure and they thought the building was empty.
"The relatives who died in the attack have been identified by the Gaza Ministry of Health as Rasmi al-Sawarka, 45; Yusra al-Sawarka, 43; Mariam al-Sawarka, 45; Waseem al-Sawarka, 13; Muhannad al-Sawarka, 12; Moaz al-Sawarka, 7; and at least two other children whose names and ages were not specified."
Reported by Israeli daily Haaretz, associates and neighbors of the family claim that they had no connection to the Islamic Jihad commander: “This was a very simple, poor family, who lived from hand to mouth in a tin shack, with no water or electricity,” said a neighbor who knew the family. “They lived off herding sheep and were known as simple, poor people. Is this the way the head of a rocket unit or a senior Islamic Jihadist lives?
“Every child in Gaza knows the unit members and senior activists live in different conditions, they have houses, and even when they go underground their children and families don’t live in such squalor,” he said. “The story that they attacked a senior jihadist seems disconnected from reality.”
On March 25th, 2019 Prime Minister Netanyahu was visiting the United States and was supposed to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference and attend meetings with congressional leaders. His visit was cut short by a rocket attack on Tel Aviv. Before he left, Netanyahu met with President Trump and had the opportunity to address the American people, reiterating how America supports Israel’s right to defend itself. This visit and the subsequent attack happened within weeks of the Israeli elections.
IDF tweeted that a homemade Hamas rocket traveled 75 miles across Israel, and shared a video of the "damaged home". The report claimed that the exploding rocket severely damaged the house and set it on fire. Compare this instance to the coverage from November 14, 2019, when hundreds of Hamas rockets targeted Israel resulting in zero Israeli deaths, while at this time 21 Palestinian deaths had been reported, later the numbers went up to 34 being killed. Many mainstream media outlets reported the rocket fire from Gaza as the most important information and Palestinian deaths as an afterthought and almost as collateral damage.
Not only that; how do hundreds of homemade Hamas rockets do minimal damage over a short range in a town like Ashkelon - just 8 miles north of the Gazan border - but one homemade rocket completely destroys a home and sets it ablaze after traveling a remarkable 75 miles? Considering the timing of the event this raises more questions than answers.
Hamas has been used as a justification for bombing a mostly unarmed population of around 1.8 million people. Back in 2009, Congressman Ron Paul on the House Floor,"Hamas was encouraged and really started by Israel, because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasser Arafat."
At the start of the Great Return March on March 30th, 2018 people were shot while protesting near the border fence. People were shot praying, journalists covering the event in Press vests, a double amputee, people carrying a Palestinian flag, and people throwing rocks meters away from the border fence, none of whom posed any threat to Israel were shot and some killed.
If Hamas and Palestinians are a severe threat to the security of Israel, why does the Israeli civilian settler population come close to the border fence to watch and cheer on their Army taking on a population of unarmed civilians in an open-air prison?
The IDF tweeted on June 5th, 2018 “a small number of bullets were fired during the incident” suggesting the death of Razan was unintentional. However, this is contradicted by another tweet by the IDF at the start of the Great Return March, “nothing was carried out uncontrolled [...] we know where every bullet landed.”
Following criticism of her murder, the IDF issued a propaganda video claiming Razan worked for Hamas: it showed a clip of the medic picking up and throwing away an Israeli teargas canister to portray her as a terrorist.
MSNBC Correspondent Chris Hayes tweeted: The wording of that IDF video is so bizarre: Hamas “incited” a woman to...provide medical care to the wounded? That’s incitement?
Israel claims he had explosives while unarmed Palestinians are seen in the video trying to retrieve his body but could not due to the bulldozer.
The Great Return March has been ongoing every Friday since March 30th, 2018. The media sometimes reports on the violence but misses the intent of the protests altogether. They hardly focus on the humanitarian crisis in relation to health, basic rights and necessities almost as if Palestinians are not human and do not deserve a life of dignity and freedom.
This is not the first incident. There have been other similar injuries to children, followed by cover-ups by the Israeli military. One notorious incident occurred when Ahed Tamimi's cousin Mohammed al-Tamimi was shot in head at close range with a rubber coated steel bullet prior to her infamous slap on an Israeli Occupation Soldier. The IDF Claimed 15 year old Mohammed al-Tamimi fell off his bike and was not shot. However, hospital reports contradict their claim, “A surgeon removed the bullet from Tamimi's skull after he allegedly fell off his bike,” said Amit Gilutz, from the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. The video of the incident of Ahed slapping the Soldier was posted on social media and went viral. She was arrested days later in a nighttime raid, which resulted in her being sentenced to 8 months in prison. Tamimi who was 17 at the time of her arrest agreed to a plea bargain and was released on July 29, 2018.
Palestinian Mohammed al-Tamimi, 15, is seen at his family home in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Feb. 27. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)
The evidence points to Mohammed al-Tamimi being forced into a coerced confession. This is a systemic problem that has been documented by many human rights organizations which have investigated abuses in Palestine.
Palestinian children are prosecuted under Israeli military law but Israeli children cannot be. Palestinians have been held in prison for years at a time without charge and children are subjected to torture. US Representative Betty McCollum is actively working to make sure American tax dollars are not being used to fund inhumane policies towards Palestinian children.
AIPAC ran hateful Facebook ads in an attempt to smear Progressives to include US Representative Betty McCollum, suggesting they are more sinister than the terrorist organization ISIS. McCollum has denounced Israel’s “brutal” “cruel” policy of detaining and torturing children, which she has sought to sanction through groundbreaking legislation that would end U.S. aid that supports those practices. She said that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel: “why can’t I hold a foreign government accountable for how they abuse an entire population of people under their control?”
Her Bill is H.R.2407 - Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living under Israeli Military Occupation Act.
Here is her official statement to the attacks on her support of human rights for Palestinian children.
People who speak up for Palestinian Human Rights and against Israeli Policy are often smeared as anti-Semites or terrorist empathizers with overwhelming American public support. However, the American public is poorly informed of the situation on the ground in Palestine which resembles an apartheid system, the violence on Palestinians living under military occupation on their own land is ignored and the daily atrocities committed by the Israeli military is not reported in the mainstream media. The propaganda and biased reporting has led to Americans largely supporting the denigration of human rights and suffering of children, not just in Palestine but around the globe.