Comedian John Oliver accused Israel of committing war crimes in its response to Hamas terrorist attacks in a Sunday episode of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”
“While some things are incredibly complex and require a great deal of context, others are just wrong,” Oliver said as he introduced the topic. ” He then downplayed Hamas rocket attacks, and alleged that the United States “implicitly co-signed… a form of apartheid.”
“It is true. The militants from Palestinian groups like Hamas fired over a thousand rockets towards Israel this week, and that is reprehensible. But, and I realize this is the most load-bearing conjunction in history, but the majority of those rockets thankfully didn’t reach their target for a very clear reason. The casualties and the damage would have been greater but for Israeli interceptor rockets, the so-called Iron Dome, which blew most of the incoming missiles to pieces. Yes, Israel has a so-called Iron Dome and I know, ‘what if we blew up the rockets with more rockets?’ sounds like something someone drunkenly wrote down on a napkin once, but it is a real military defense system that really works.”
The Iron Dome did deflect thousands of Hamas rockets, but at least ten Israelis have been killed. Other rockets misfired and fell back into Gaza, causing Palestinian deaths. (RELATED: Watch The Moment Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts A Barrage Of Rockets Over A Major City)
Oliver also described the destruction of buildings that allegedly house Hamas militants as “war crimes” since they were also apartment complexes.
Oliver then claimed that Palestinians have “been living under a suffocating blockade for 14 years. In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Palestinians are essentially being governed by a form of apartheid, an assessment echoed by both international and Israeli human rights groups. Life in Gaza is hard even when they are not being bombed and the US government has implicitly co-signed on the brutally hard line Israel’s been taking.”
Israel removed all soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005. “I see the families with tears in their eyes and soldiers and police with tears running down their cheeks, too, as they help them pack their possessions and the children’s toys… I’m proud that our army and police are capable of displaying such great sensitivity alongside the effort to fulfill all the instructions they have been given,” then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said.
Palestinians gave Hamas 76 out of 132 parliamentary seats in a 2006 election that the Congressional Research Service described as “free and fair.” The territories have not had an election since then, with President Mahmoud Abbas announcing on April 29 that May elections would be cancelled indefinitely. Hamas controls Gaza and Abbas controls the West Bank.
In contrast, Israel has held four elections over the past two years, as no leader has been able to form a coalition government. The Arab Joint List received the third-most votes of any party in the most recent election.