Dec 1, 2023

Mainstream Media Largely Ignore Israel’s Duplicity and Deceit

Photograph Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/danebrian/ – CC BY-SA 2.0

Over the years, particularly during the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982, the Israelis have lied about their military campaigns, and have tried to deceive U.S. administrations about their actions.  In 1954, Israeli intelligence operatives bombed a U.S. Information Agency Library in Egypt, and tried to make it appear to have been an Egyptian act of violence.  The Israelis were trying to compromise U.S.-Egyptian relations, particularly the efforts of the Eisenhower administration to finance the Aswan Dam.  In the 1980s, the Israelis denied that Jonathan Pollard was spying on behalf of Israeli intelligence; they continued to do so throughout Pollard’s thirty-year prison sentence.  However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally welcomed Pollard to Israel upon his release from prison in 2020 with the greeting “You’re home.”

Israeli duplicity on key national security issues began in their War for Independence, 75 years ago, when they lied about the Nakba (the catastrophe) that involved the forced removal of 700,000 Palestinians from their villages. Israel claimed that the Palestinians made their own decision to leave, when in fact there was an Israeli plan (Plan Dalet) that prescribed the ethnic cleansing of Israeli territory.  The plan was developed in 1948 by Zionist political and military leaders, including Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.  It included operational military orders that specified which Palestinian population centers should be targeted and detailed a blueprint for their forcible removal and destruction. The plan is rarely cited, although it was Israeli historians who used archival documents to trace the official policy of displacement.

Israeli deceit has been present in all of their subsequent wars. The Israelis have never released sensitive documents that demonstrate their secret dealings with Britain and France to regain control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956.  The secret plan called for an Israeli invasion of Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in order to justify a British and French invasion along the Suez Canal.  Political pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union led to withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli forces.  The episode strengthened Nasser; humiliated Britain and France; ended Britain’s role as a global power; and convinced Arab States that Israel was a part of European colonialism in the Middle East.

In 1967, Israelis officials at the highest level lied to the White House about the start of the six-day war.  The Israeli Ambassador to the United States assured the Johnson administration that the Israelis would not attack first under any circumstances, ruling out even a preemptive attack.  Israel then attacked and claimed it was preemptive.  I served on the CIA’s Task Force for the war, and there was no evidence of an Egyptian battle plan that would justify preemption.  In face, half of the Egyptian army was fighting in a civil war in Yemen.  The Israeli attack against the Egyptian air force was extremely successful because Egypt’s fighter jets were parked on airfields wingtip-to-wingtip, another indicator of Egypt’s lack of a plan to attack Israel.

Nevertheless, Israeli officials told President Lyndon Johnson that the Egyptians had initiated firing on Israel settlements, and that an Egyptian squadron had been observed heading toward Israel.  Neither statement was true.  Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan had done his best to convince his government not to lie to the United States.

In addition to lying about the start of the Six-Day War, the Israelis were even more deceitful three days later when they attributed their malicious attack on the USS Liberty to a random accident.  In actual fact, the “accident” was well planned.  The ship was a U.S. intelligence vessel in international waters, both slow-moving and lightly armed.  It brandished a five-foot-by-eight-foot Stars and Stripes, and resembled no ship in any other navy, let alone a ship in the arsenal of one of Israel’s enemies.  Yet, the Israelis claimed they believed they were attacking an Egyptian vessel.

The Israeli attack took place after six hours of intense, low-level reconnaissance, which was followed by an attack conducted over a two-hour period by unmarked Mirage jets using cannons and rockets.  Israeli boats fired machine guns at close range at those helping the wounded, including a Soviet warship, then machine-gunned life rafts that survivors dropped in hopes of abandoning the ship.  The National Security Agency’s investigation of the disaster remains classified to this day, fifty-six years later.

Israeli duplicity played a significant role in the end game of the October War of 1973.  National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger used Israeli disinformation about a possible Soviet intervention in the war to justify the declaration of a DefCon-III nuclear alert, which could have worsened the Arab-Israeli war and provoked a Soviet-American confrontation.  Kissinger himself lied to our NATO allies in Europe as well as to China about a Soviet alert to their airborne divisions to prepare for intervention in the Middle East.  (The Soviets never introduced their airborne forces into areas that were not contiguous to the Soviet Union.)  The Israelis also violated the cease-fire that had been carefully arranged by Kissinger and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin; it took a Kissinger threat to Defense Minister Dayan to put a stop to the Israeli violations.

In 1982, the Israelis lied about their role in allowing Lebanese Christian Phalangists to enter the Sabra and Shitila refugee camps, where they committed horrific war crimes against defenseless Palestinians.  The Israelis have never conceded that the Phalangist militia were under the political and military control of the State of Israel.  Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon maintained that the Israeli Defense Forces “did not know exactly what was taking place” in the refugee camps, although it was Sharon himself who encouraged the Phalangists to attack.

This time it is the Israeli Defense Forces that are committing horrific war crimes in Gaza, where more women and children have been killed in one month than the Russians have killed in Ukraine in nearly two years of fighting.  Israel’s use of 2,000-pound bombs in dense civilian areas is unprecedented.  Yet, the mainstream media continue to cite Israeli officials who maintain that the “smallest available ordnance” is used to cause the “minimal adverse effect on civilians.”  Israelis maintain that the “focus is on Hamas,” but the Israelis have slaughtered more civilians in one month than the the United States and its allies killed in Afghanistan over two decades.

There is no question that Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is employing overwhelming military power to terrorize 2.3 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza in the name of defeating Hamas military forces.  This would be consistent with an Israeli policy that began in 1948 to use every military engagement with Arab states to displace as many Palestinians civilians as possible from their homes, and to never acknowledge a right of return for Palestinian refugees.  No U.S. administration has ever put pressure on Israel to allow the return of Palestinians to their homes in Israel.

Meanwhile, mainstream media support Israel’s contention that the Israel-Hamas War began on October 7th, which ignores Israel’s punishment of Palestinian civilians over the past 16 years.  Israeli policy has limited the usage of electricity in Gaza, which has created the need to dump sewage into the Mediterranean Sea, making the water undrinkable.  Israeli-imposed fuel shortages caused sanitation plants to be shut down.  Netanyahu, who once boasted that I “stopped the Oslo accords,” never indicated any interest in lessening these punishments, let alone pursuing a diplomatic or political solution to the Palestinian tragedy.

Sadly, U.S. administrations have paid lip service to the idea of a two-state solution, but have never pressed an Israeli government to move toward Palestinian statehood.  At the very least, the Biden administration should recognize Palestine as a member state in the United Nations, and press Israel to enter talks with Palestinians regarding borders, Jerusalem, and security from Israeli settlers on the West Bank.

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