J. Michael Springmann served in the US
government as a diplomat with the State Department's Foreign Service, with
postings in Germany, India, and Saudi Arabia. He left federal service and
currently practices law in the Washington, DC, area. Springmann’s works and
interviews have been published in numerous foreign policy publications,
including Covert Action Quarterly, Unclassified, Global Outlook, the Public
Record, OpEdNews, Global Research and Foreign Policy Journal.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Friday, Israeli forces shot dead four other Palestinians, including a
15-year-old boy, as tens of thousands gathered in a mass demonstration in
the besieged Gaza Strip demanding the right of return for Palestinian
refugees. The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed by
Israel since the protests began in late March to 45. According to the
Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 6,000 have been wounded. For the past
five Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered near the
borders in the Gaza Strip for what has been dubbed the "Great March of
Return”. Israel has responded with snipers firing live ammunition, as well
as tank shelling and airstrikes. What do you think about the developments
and the Israeli regime’s crimes?
view on Israel's vicious attacks on the unarmed Palestinians seeking the
return of their land, given away by the United Kingdom in the Balfour
Declaration of 1917: They are murder, war crimes, and human rights
violations. As I noted in an article for ArabAmeirca.com, "The focus of the
Lame Stream Media, as exemplified by the Washington Post of April 7, is that
the estimated 30,000 protesters threw rocks and Molotov Cocktails at Israeli
"Defense” Forces. Moreover, the Palestinians burned tires, creating smoke to
hide them from Israeli soldiers. Additionally, they crowded almost up to the
fence separating Gaza from the Zionist Entity. Therefore, ipso facto, the
Izzie army was justified in using deadly force against the dispossessed,
unemployed, starving Palestinians, bereft of all hope for a better life.
Naturally, Hamas, the "militant group controlling Gaza,” provided the
Israelis grounds for negative comments."
According to Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former
Palestinian negotiator, "From the video footage, we can see that people were
shot in the back. Others were shot for carrying tires or for simply walking
into these areas. These were individuals who posed no threat whatsoever.
Even if they were attempting to cross the border, you don’t use live fire to
kill people who are crossing a border.”
Moreover, she commented "the point of this was to highlight the fact that
Palestinians cannot return. Eighty percent of the Palestinian population of
the Gaza Strip does not come from the Gaza Strip. They are actually refugees
driven out by the Israelis. While Israel keeps claiming that there were
attempts to ‘infiltrate,’ in any case, this is not a proper response….The
fact that Israel was positioning snipers on the border indicates that they
were ready, willing and able to shoot protesters in the back. The head of
the Israeli defense establishment has said that every one of these snipers
should be commended.”
has rejected international calls for probes into recent deaths and insisted
that its open-fire rules for Gaza will not change. Some Western states,
particularly the US and Britain, who call themselves champions of human
rights, have supported the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes against Palestinians.
The UN has also failed to restore the rights of the people. What is your
assessment? What role can Muslim countries play in protecting the rights of
the oppressed people of Palestine?
many Western countries, such as the US and the United Kingdom, pay only lip
service to human rights. Those words to them are applicable only to certain
countries, usually those whose policies cannot be controlled by Washington.
Look at the vehement vituperation aimed at Iran, Syria, Russia, and China.
Western nations denounce them for all sorts of human rights violations. Then
look at the praise heaped on countries such as Israel, "the only democracy
in the Middle East". Whenever, the Zionist Entity engages in brutal
treatment of Palestinians, other Arabs, and Muslims, America and its pet
dogs loudly proclaim that Israel has a right to defend itself. And it is
the US and its "allies" who control the United Nations, preventing it from
taking any significant action against Israel.
Muslims countries can play a significant role in helping protect the rights
of the oppressed Palestinian people. First, they must be united. Second,
they must use their national and international resources to call out the US,
Great Britain, and other countries for turning a blind eye to Zionist
crimes. TV and radio and international journalists must show the blood, the
starvation, the misery of the Palestinians. Look what happened to the
American war in Vietnam. Once it made the evening news and showed middle
and upper class college students being killed, the American people rose up
against President Lyndon Johnson and his war. Third, Muslim countries, some
of which are oil producers, can withhold their petroleum exports to the US.
Fourth, Muslim countries can refuse acceptance of any new American or
British ambassador until Israel is brought to heel. In the alternative,
those countries can expel those ambassadors already in place until
meaningful action is taken.
Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has recently said that Israelis
"have the right to have their own land” and that formal relations between
Tel Aviv and Riyadh could be mutually beneficial. Given the fact that the
Saudi regime once opposed Israel’s right to exist, what do the comments
signal to the world’s public opinion? Do the remarks have an impact on the
oppression against Palestinians?
about Israel from Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, indicate
a major shift in the country's policy. By saying that Israel has a right to
its own land, Mohammad bin Salman is saying that the Palestinians do not
have a right to their own land. In reality, that real estate was taken away
from them by a country which did not own it and was given to a people who
had no claim to it.
Those remarks signal to the rest of the world that some Arab countries do
not care about other Arabs. The comments demonstrate that there is no united
"Arab World". They show that Arabs can be easily divided. All it takes is
a little political influence, a bit of money, and some help in working
against a perceived "enemy".