Israeli Forces Kill Palestinians, But Tom Friedman Has Other Theories

Far from condemning Israel’s inhumane actions, Tom Friedman says Hamas used Palestinians as “human sacrifices” and a “distraction.”


Thousands of Palestinians organized the Great March of Return towards the Gaza-Israel border on March 30 to seek their right to return. However, over there, they were met with violent resistance from Israeli snipers.

On May 14, the anniversary of the founding of Israel, the United States decided to open its embassy in Jerusalem, which further intensified the protests. The violence came to a head when Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians and injured over 2,000others for trying to acknowledge their roots in the territory that is now occupied by Israel.

However, there are some people who believe the huge amount of unnecessary deaths should not be blamed on the Israeli government. Instead, Israel’s favorite scapegoat, Hamas, should be blamed for the “human sacrifice.”

Thomas Friedman, a political commenter on foreign affairs, made an appearance on Anderson Cooper’s “360” and stated just such a view.

“That was an active human sacrifice. I am sorry, when you throw thousands… of the flower of your youth against an Israeli fence, supposedly to get into Israel, some of them surrounded by armed Hamas fighters, it was inevitable that a lot of people were going to get killed,” said Friedman. “Israel was not going to open the border to them. And Hamas knew that and this was entirely designed by Hamas.”

It is extremely offensive to call Palestinians — an oppressed people fighting for their right of freedom — “human sacrifices” as if they are mere sheep following the lead of Hamas.

They are not.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Gaza is linked to Hamas. The people of Gaza are human beings who have chosen to say their life in an Israel-sanctioned open-air prison has become intolerable and are acting on it.

Gaza faces extreme power cuts, which leaves its citizens with only 2-to-4 hours of electricity. Half of the population in Gaza is unemployed and those who are lucky enough to land a job, often working under insecure conditions, are at a risk of being laid off, have pay cuts or even get shot.

Israel has also restricted the movement of people and goods, which means Gaza has a perpetual dearth of food supplies, clean water, medical aid or commerce.

Faced with such dismal living conditions, is there any wonder that citizens of Gaza are protesting? And they don’t need Hamas’ rhetoric to do that.

As for Freidman’s claim that Palestinians were “throwing the flower of their youth against an Israeli fence,” that’s not entirely true either.

Israeli Defense Forces said Palestinian demonstrators, led by Hamas, were trying to storm the border fence and conduct “terror attacks,” which apparently included throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and burning tires.

However, many of the protesters were mostly peaceful. In fact, Israeli forces targeted reporters, doctors, amputees and even babies, who posed no threat to them at all.

Nevertheless, Israeli forces target all Palestinians indiscriminately with tear gas and live expanding bullets.

Among the dead were eight children, including 8-month-old Laila Anwar Ghandour, who was lying on her mother’s lap, when the Israeli forces threw tear gas at them, haphazardly. The infant died after inhaling the noxious gas.

An amputee, 28-year-old Fadi Abu Salameh, who lost both his legs in 2008 and posed no threat to Israeli soldiers, was also shot to death on May 14.

A Canadian doctor, Tarek Loubani, was also needlessly targeted by an Israeli sniper, despite the fact he did everything right and was in “high visibility.” The doctor was wearing a green surgeon’s outfit and was standing with a group of orange-vested paramedics, when he was shot in his legs.

It seems Friedman should get his facts straight and stop promoting conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality.

Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

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