On 7 April, hundreds of mourners gathered in Gaza for the funeral of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was fatally shot by the Israeli army while covering a fresh round of deadly protests along the Israel-Gaza border. Photos show the 30-year-old journalist was wearing a flak jacket clearly marked ”PRESS” at the time of the shooting. He’s one of at least nine Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army during its brutal crackdown against Friday’s protests. The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed 31 people in total since Palestinians kicked off a 6-week-long nonviolent protest late last month, dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Both the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have rebuked Israel in recent days and warned its actions on the border could violate international human rights conventions. For more, we continue our conversation with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.
This is a rush transcript.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Saturday, hundreds of mourners gathered in Gaza for the funeral of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was fatally shot by the Israeli army while covering a fresh round of daily protests along the Israeli-Gaza border. Photos show the 30-year-old journalist was wearing a flak jacket clearly marked ”PRESS” at the time of the shooting. He’s one of at least nine Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army during its brutal crackdown against Friday’s protests. The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed 31 people in total since Palestinians kicked off a 6-week-long nonviolent protest late last month, dubbed “The Great March of Return.”
AMY GOODMAN: Both the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have rebuked Israel in recent days and warned its actions on the border could violate international human rights conventions.
We are continuing our conversation with Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Glenn, can you talk about what’s happened in Gaza over the last two weeks, with Avigdor Lieberman, the high-level Israeli official, saying that no Gazan is innocent?
GLENN GREENWALD: I think it’s just time to acknowledge and accept the reality of what Israel is. Whatever you thought of Israel in the past, believing that it was some kind of bastion of liberal democracy in the Middle East, that it was surrounded by primitive brutal enemies, all the propaganda, what’s clear now is that Israel is something quite different than all of that. And even people who once believed that are now starting to come and see that Israel is an apartheid, rogue, terrorist state. The conduct that it engages in, continually and without apology, proudly, and the comments that it makes, including the one you just referenced from the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who said there are no innocent people in Gaza, which is basically the mentality of a genocidal maniac, is reflective of what Israel is.
And I think the context here is so critical, which is that a lot of people have come to realize that Benjamin Netanyahu is this far-right, bloodthirsty, militaristic figure. And what’s amazing about it is that in the context of Israeli politics, Benjamin Netanyahu resides in the center of Israeli politics, if not almost now on the left. There’s very little political force to his left. All the political force is to his right. The younger generation of Israeli leaders think that Netanyahu is too moderate, that he’s too centrist, that he’s too soft on the Palestinians. They don’t believe in a Palestinian state. They don’t pretend to support the two-state solution. They want to dominate that land forever. They believe they’re religiously entitled to it. They want to—basically, they believe in apartheid, a policy of apartheid, forever suppressing what is soon to be the majority, the Palestinians, ruled by a minority of Israelis, using whatever war crimes and slaughter and murder they need to in order to suppress and intimidate that population.
And if seeing the Israeli military gun down children on a Gazan beach in 2014 while they played soccer, or end the life of a journalist on purpose, who is wearing a press jacket, by putting a bullet in him, through a sniper, doesn’t show you what the Israeli government really is, what will? And I think the question now is, you know, all these people in the West who love to go around urging humanitarian intervention, and the West needs to stop Assad, the West needs to stop Gaddafi, the West needs to stop Saddam Hussein—doesn’t the West need to stop the Israeli government? At the very least, stop arming it and sending it money and sending it intelligence and providing diplomatic cover? Because the Western governments that do that, led by the U.K. and the United States, are very much complicit in everything that’s being done to the Palestinians, which are war crimes and, increasingly, apartheid and genocide.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, quickly, the impact of the Palestinian nonviolent protests now that are occurring, the constant protests that—of the people pouring out of Gaza to the barrier with Israel?
GLENN GREENWALD: Look at how—what Western discourse says, Juan, about what Palestinians are permitted to do. So, if Palestinians kill troops, Israeli troops, occupying their land, which every country in the world would claim the right to do—if there were Russian troops occupying the U.S., it would be cheered if people killed them. But when Palestinians kill military soldiers occupying their land, they’re called terrorists. When Palestinians advocate a nonviolent boycott of Israel in order to pressure them to end the occupation, the way people did in the ’80s successfully against the South African apartheid regime, that’s called anti-Semitism. When Palestinians nonviolently protest at the border, they’re accused of being agents of Hamas who deserve to be slaughtered.
The discourse of the West is that Palestinians have no right to resist or protest this decades-long occupation. They don’t have a right to do so violently, and they have no right to do so nonviolently. The only thing Western discourse tells Palestinians they’re permitted to do is to meekly acquiesce and submit to and obey the dictates of the Israeli government. And I think the world is finally starting to wake up to the fact that this discourse is incredibly immoral and that—
AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.
GLENN GREENWALD: —Palestinians have just the same rights as everybody else to protest and resist.
Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.
Amy Goodman is a journalist and host at Democracy Now!
Juan González is a journalist and host at Democracy Now!