Interview with Ken O’Keefe, Human Rights Activist, Gaza.
Ken O’Keefe, a human rights activist in Gaza, talks with Press TV about the possibility of Palestine receiving assistance from its Arab and Muslim neighbors. Ken also weighs in on the US and Israeli agenda to have the Goldstone Report ‘disappear’ and expresses his views regarding the humanity of the Palestinian people while living under occupation.
Press TV: We know that military attacks by Israel against Gazans have been on the increase and Hamas has said that it is now waiting to see what the Arab regimes are going to do in reaction to the situation that is taking place, as more and more attacks take place on the innocent Palestinian people. How likely is that to happen?
We saw in the Israeli onslaught on Gaza (2009) that the Arab regimes basically met the situation with silence. Do you think it’s going to be different this time around?
Ken O’Keefe: It’s a dangerous tactic to take. I have not put a lot of stock in Egypt coming to the rescue; they’ve got their own battles going on internally. And there are still $1.3 billion in bribes being given to the Egyptian military.
We cannot ignore the root of the problem. Whatever Hamas is doing right now — whoever is firing the rockets — this is not the problem; that is a result of the problem. The problem is that we are 40 year plus into this blockade collective punishment policy of which Egypt was collaborating and which still hasn’t completely ended it.
Effectively, when you do that to people, they are going to bite back in the only way they can and in this case it’s the rockets.
I don’t agree with anyone who thinks that the Arab governments at this stage are going to come to the rescue of the Palestinians. I would say, to the contrary, that they are going to be sorely disappointed if they’re waiting for them right now.
Press TV: There would be some that would say basically it’s what came first, the chicken or the egg – who’s attacking whom – How would you answer that?
Ken O’Keefe: To me, there has been a tremendous amount of effort trying to confuse people on this issue; but it’s really quite simple. The beginning of the problem was the dispossession of the land from its people. And from then, it has spiraled and escalated in which the Palestinians have affectively been dealing with an occupier and invader who did not come with goodwill or neighborly respect; who has come and violated the Palestinian people from previous to 1948.
If you do that to any people….If the situation were changed, and it was an invading occupying entity that invaded Sweden, the Swedish people would fight back. If it was done to the American people, there would be blood spilling in the streets — Americans killing Americans in the most brutal ways if those Americans were collaborating with the invader and occupier. So it is obvious to those of us who have paid any attention.
It’s not as if no wrongs have been done on the Palestinian side – there are. However, the victim is not to be blamed for the circumstances to which he is resisting. If I was born and raised in Palestine — if I witnessed family members being murdered on a regular basis — I have no doubt whatsoever that I would be involved in resisting. Only because I’ve come from America am I not engaged in violent resistance. Ultimately though, resistance for the sake of resistance is not the answer – resistance must be for the sake of justice.
Press TV: Today, Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, said that she wanted a war crimes report in the 2008-2009 Gaza offensive to disappear. In light of everything that’s taking place right now in Gaza, how do you find these comments in general?
Ken O’Keefe: I’ve long since reached the point where any US official of any stature is just not even worth listening to. If anyone takes these people seriously as if they have any agenda other than to serve tyranny then they are living in la la land.
This Susan Rice is a traitor as far as I’m concerned. They all are – Barack Obama and all of the top level Senators. To even deny that a massive war crime was committed in Zeitoon where friends of mine, the Sulooni family lives, is beyond debate – a massive war crime was committed there. We could talk about the Araja family that had a white phosphorus bomb explode into their home; six family members killed – one of them, a baby, was burnt to a crisp instantly. That is a massive war crime.
To even entertain the idea, that because Goldstone is threatened or bribed or simply doesn’t have the backbone to stand by his words – to entertain the idea that Susan Rice has any legitimacy — is ridiculous. She has none, absolutely none.
Ultimately, I don’t blame governments anymore; I blame us as people that we allow this type of thing to continue. We are allowing the Susan Rices and the Barak Obamas and the Tony Blairs and the David Camerons and all of these jokers to actually say this stuff as if there’s any truth to it. It’s really quite disgusting and it says a lot about us that we even tolerate it.
You’re saying that the people are allowing it, but for example, the family that you talked about saying that their baby was burnt to a crisp – the average American person when they turn on their TV are not seeing these images. Can you understand that a lot of them really don’t have any idea of what is actually taking place in Gaza?
Yes I know this very well because I was a brainwashed indoctrinated American, as well, and I used to say the pledge of allegiance, which ends with ‘liberty and justice for all’. You say that sort of stuff every day and it becomes true even though it has nothing to do with reality.
So I do understand and appreciate the fact that American people are generally good people; however, if you were taken to court for an alleged crime and you said in court that you didn’t know it was a crime, that would be no defense.
And from the American people not knowing that their government is using their tax dollars to commit mass murder — to commit crimes against humanity, to use depleted uranium, cluster bombs and other things — to kill people in extrajudicial assassination and then to claim well I didn’t know, is no defense.
You are guilty. You are paying for the mass murder whether you like it or not and it doesn’t matter whether you didn’t vote for that person or this person; it doesn’t matter.
Before I forget, there is a no fly zone over Libya. Why don’t we have a no fly zone over Palestine? Why not? Because our world is inherently corrupt ad because those that are in charge have no respect, at all, for human life on any level. There must be a no fly zone over Palestine now. All the jets and helicopter gunships flying over Palestine right now should be shot out of the sky. That is where the world should go and I’m sure we can make it so if we really decide to do something.
Press TV: How likely is it that Israel will once again invade Gaza in a full-fledged war? At the start of these Middle East revolutions and uprisings, political experts were warning to keep your eyes on what Israel is doing because as the international community’s attention is looking at these other ME countries, that it is likely that events will take place in Israel.
Ken O’Keefe: We have known about the ‘Samson’ option for some time now. For those not familiar – Israel has made it clear on more than one occasion that it is willing to use the Samson option i.e. to use its nuclear weapons; to target places in Europe and other parts of the world – this has always been a potential threat from Israel.
That must be our motivation to confront Israel because no nation — whether it is Israel or the US or any other nation — can be allowed to try and intimidate the rest of us by fear of them using their weapons.
Israel is like a mad dog being driven into a corner because it is losing. The Zionist project has peaked just like the American empire and it is heading down fast; there is no question of it. All the lies that it was getting away with for decades — incredible lies, perpetuating the notion that it was the victim and the Palestinians were the criminal…That day is now over.
All of these lies that they have lived off for decades are now coming tumbling down and the world is seeing the truth and realizing that they have been duped and that in fact the Palestinian people are the most remarkable people because despite having been through hell for decades and having been abandoned by everyone, including their Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters, they have not lost their humanity; they remain one of the most hospitable and beautiful people that you would ever want to meet. And they will not become the monster that is attacking them.
What is Israel going to do? It is impossible to predict, they could do anything. I do know that they have an incentive to try and create a conflict right now because we have the next freedom flotilla coming and they’re scared to death of that, and there are other things happening also, which aren’t good for Israel such as the possibility for real representative democracy in the Arab world.
This is a nightmare for Israel, so like a mad dog driven into a corner, it’s impossible to predict exactly what it’s going to do; but it will fight back in some way. Options might include exacting war on Gaza again or the Samson option of nuclear detonation in Europe or another part of the world. It’s time to deal with this mad dog and deal with it right now.