Palestine

Shireen Abu Akleh


Shireen Abu Akleh was an esteemed American-Palestinian journalist who was killed earlier this week in the West Bank city of Jenin, where Israeli forces have been making military arrests and raids.

Abu Akleh was a reporter for Al Jazeera who’s been reporting for the past 25 years on Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation. Millions watched her report the news on TV on a near-nightly basis. She should have been allowed to do her job, not murdered for it.

Shireen Abu Akleh is an icon in the Middle East and foreign journalists who report there hold her in high esteem as well. Now, Arab journalists are staging sit-ins around the world in protest of Israel and wanting her death covered. Qatar lit up a building in her image. Nearly every cartoonist in the Middle East has covered her death (and I may be the first in the United States). Newborn daughters are being named after her. She has become a symbol of Palestine.

Israel’s first response to news of her death was to publish a video of a Palestinian gunman shooting indiscriminately from inside the Jenin refugee camp, blaming Palestinians for her death. The only problem is she wasn’t anywhere near that location.

Israel’s usual strategy for explaining its killing of civilians is to deny and deflect. They often blame Palestinians for the Israeli Defense Forces’ murder of Palestinians. They will claim the civilian they killed was in the same area as terrorists. Or, they’ll claim the civilian was a terrorist. Israel bombed an 11-story building last year which housed Palestinian media networks and the Associated Press but justified it by saying it was being used by Hamas.

After Israel published their video blaming Palestinians for shooting Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera posted footage showing Abu Akleh face down on the ground in a less built-up area and her colleagues trying helplessly to reach her as bullets continued to fly. The word “PRESS” was visible in large letters on her protective gear. Her producer, Ali Samudi, who was also shot, said, “We saw the soldiers in the area and there were no Palestinians there. The soldiers were about 150 meters away….I did not see who was shooting, but I see from where the bullets coming. They coming from the area where the soldiers. There were no fighters in the area.” 

Two hours later, a local researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem filmed a video geolocating the clip of the Palestinian gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp, hundreds of yards and several turns away from the spot where Abu Akleh was killed.

Israel backtracked and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told reporters he was very sorry “for what happened.” Israel wants all the forensic evidence so they can “investigate,” but the Palestinians don’t trust them. Israeli minister Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai said, “Israel’s credibility is not great in situations like this.”

Last week, The International Federation of Journalists, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians filed a formal complaint at The Hague for Israel’s “systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists.” An estimated 50 Palestinian journalists have been killed since 2000, according to the PJS.

This morning during Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral service, Israeli police teargassed the crowd, fired flash grenades, and used batons to beat the people carrying her coffin. They’re still working on that credibility.

When Vladimir Putin’s government kills a journalist, we call it out. We condemned Russia for the death of Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski last March covering the war in Ukraine.

When Mohammed bin Salmen had Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered and his body sliced up into multiple pieces with a bone saw in the basement of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey, we condemned it and demanded accountability. At the time of Khashoggi’s murder, we had a president (sic) who deflected for MBS. Recently, Trump’s goon son-in-law, who never asked questions or demanded justice for the murder, got a huge financial reward from MBS. This is what happens when you put people into power who don’t respect democracy or press freedom.

Al Jazeera is calling out western media for its coverage of Abu Akleh’s murder. They’re accusing western media of “whitewashing” the story and shying away from implicating Israeli forces in her death.

Beth Miller, the political director of Jewish Voice for Peace, slammed the New York Times for a headline that said Abu Akleh “dies at 51”, without mentioning the cause of her death. Bassam Khawaja, the co-director of NYU Law’s Human Rights and Privatization Project, tweeted: “‘Dies at 51’ is a really strange way to say a journalist was shot in the head.”

The Associated Press, the BBC, and other western news outlets have been accused of taking the Israeli narrative, that Abu Akley was killed by “random” gunfire. Even after being bombed by Israeli forces, the AP still carries the Israeli Defense Forces’ water. ‘Tis but a scratch.

We’re always cautious with the Israeli government, a caution we don’t have for Saudi Arabia or Russia. But it’s not antisemitic to call out a corrupt government that murders journalists just like it’s not Islamophobic to call out Saudi Arabia’s monarchy for butchering a Washington Post reporter. It doesn’t mean you hate Russian people by being against poisoning journalists or throwing them off buildings.

As a political cartoonist, I recognize we cartoonists stand on the shoulders of journalists like Shireen Abu Akleh, who put her life in danger to report the news. Journalists should be protected by governments while they do their jobs, not murdered by them.

Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.

Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 19 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.

Watch me draw:

Hamas To Bibi


Cjones05202021

Like Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu is desperate to cling to power and he’ll do so through violent means. Other than losing power if he leaves office, like Trump, Netanyahu faces possible prison time for corruption. Trump mostly created boogeymen out of thin air while Bibi actually has one in Hamas, who are very willing to play the part.

Israel has had four elections over the past two years with Netanyahu barely clinging to power while failing to put together a government. Fighting Bibi also helps keep Hamas in power on their side. Netanyahu is the boogeyman to Palestine. Voters normally doesn’t remove a leader during wartime.

Hamas was formed with a “death to Israel” mantra. Bibi has always operated with a “death to Palestine” philosophy and has adamantly refused to include Israeli Arabs in his government. Israel has always been a U.S. ally, but during the Obama administration, Netanyahu treated our president as an enemy. With Donald Trump, he found a nationalistic hateful partner. There were no real attempts by the U.S. and Israel to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians during the Orange Shitgibbon era. Moving the U.S. embassy squashed any chances of that.

Israel is an Apartheid state. Even when it’s not being bombed by Israeli airstrikes, Gaza experiences power outages daily between eight to twelve hours. The Gaza Strip has been under a U.S.-led economic boycott since 2006. The strip is 25 miles long and seven and a half miles wide. It’s the third-most densely populated area in the word and an Israeli buffer zone leaves a lot of the land off limits to Palestinians. The population is not allowed to leave or enter the strip or import and export goods, but the Israeli military is free to enter at will. Gaza is dependent on Israel for power, water, telecommunications, and other utilities. The people in Gaza are second-class citizens living in poverty. The Israeli government, Netanyahu in particular, does not care about them.

To preserve its Jewish majority in Jerusalem (which is not in Gaza), with both Israel and Palestinians claim, the Netanyahu government was preparing to evict up to a thousand Palestinian families from the holy city. This is what Jared Kushner would call a real-estate deal. After weeks of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police, Hamas started firing long-range missiles at Jerusalem and other cities. In response, Israel has hit Gaza with airstrikes.

Neither Hamas or Netanyahu refrain from hitting civilian targets. Even if Hamas only aimed at military targets, their rockets are wildly inaccurate. Over the weekend, Netanyahu hit a building containing offices for news outlets which he has justified. Hitting news outlets with air strikes is probably something Donald Trump would be down with.

The Associated Press reports that at least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes, including 59 children and 35 women, with 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Eight people in Israel have been killed in rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.

At some point, Hamas will stop firing rockets and Israel will stop delivering airstrikes…until next time. Netanyahu and Hamas will both cling to power while using the other to do so. This conflict will continue indefinitely. I hate to be negative but I don’t ever expect to see a change.

Note: I am appealing, but this cartoon has already been removed by Facebook and my account has been suspended for 24 hours. I’ll update if there is a change to that.

Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 9103, Fredericksburg, VA 22403. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.

Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: I have Three copies of my book in stock, which I’m selling for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 9103, Fredericksburg, VA 22403.

Watch me draw:

Falling On Netty And His Little Broom Too


cjones12272016

After the United Nations Security Council voted 14-0 to condemn Israel for continuing to build settlements in East Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.” As Vincent Vega said to Butch in Pulp Fiction, “I’m not your friend, Palooka.”

Netanyahu was so upset over the vote that he summoned ambassadors from the voting nations that have a diplomatic presence in the Jewish state to give them an official scolding. He’s even accused the Obama administration, which could have vetoed the ruling but instead abstained, of orchestrating the vote.

It would take a lot of orchestrating to convince fourteen nations to give your country an international lashing. The nations of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela were unanimous that Israel needs to stop building settlements on territory claimed by the Palestinians. When 15 nations are against you, you might be the on the wrong side.

The land in question was taken in the Six-Day War in 1967. The Geneva Convention forbids building settlements on land taken in war. Israel’s continued defiance of international law puts them in the pariah type of company of Iran and North Korea, except no one really gives Israel a hard time about possessing nuclear weapons.

In 1947 Jerusalem was intended to be an international area administered by the United Nations. Jordan captured the Eastern half with Israel taking the West. Israel captured the East in 1967 and later declared the city as their capital. You can see how that can peeve everyone off and be an obstacle to a two-nation state solution. Other nations do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as it violates international law, but Donald Trump is promising to do so and to move our embassy to the city while stating he’ll create peace between Israel and Palestine. That’s going to be interesting.

Trump doesn’t realize he’s not actually president yet and he’s stepping on Obama’s toes in several matters including this one. Before the vote he Tweeted that the U.S. should veto the resolution and afterward sent another tweet stating that the UN “is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” The ironic thing is he sent that tweet from his Mar-a-Lago golf club.

Another case of irony in this is Netanyahu’s statement about our friendship. This is a guy who spoke before the U.S. Congress, without an invitation from the president, to basically campaign for Republicans against the president.

Netanyahu is probably more excited about a Trump presidency than David Duke, which is another case of irony.

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