This is a transcript of an interview conducted by journalist Alberta Mora on Nicaragua’s Canal 4 with Fabrizio Casari and Stephen Sefton on the situation developing in Palestine. The interview aired on October 12, 2023.
Journalist Alberto Mora: We establish communication, via zoom, with our brothers Fabrizio Casari and Stephen Sefton, journalists and political analysts. Good morning here Fabrizio, there in the afternoon, and to Stephen here, good morning. Welcome to both of you, thank you for accepting our invitation.
I wanted us to talk a little bit about the situation in Palestine. I have read the opinion of both, there is quite a lot of information. The visit of the American Secretary of State is already well known, and he has said that he is with Israel; it is certainly nothing new, but he warned that they are going with all their might and will not allow other countries, other brothers to get involved in the defense of the struggle of the Palestinian People.
There are also questions about the handling of communication; as always, we know, and Fabrizio was saying, we are used to the issue of the constant attack of the Israelis on the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip. Well, nobody cares about that, but this time it was the other way around, rather Israel was attacked. The Palestinian people are rising up and now a tremendous genocide has been unleashed around this, and the Western Media is always trying to hide the truth and ignore the decades-long struggle that the Palestinian people have had in their defense against the Occupation, against the aggression of Israel.
I would like your comments, welcome, thank you for being with us. I want to start with Fabrizio, thank you Fabrizio; go ahead.
Fabrizio Casari: Good morning, brother, good morning to all who are listening to us, I just want to add in advance to the condolences for the compañera colleague and on that I also want to add, that I celebrate the pride, the anniversary celebration of Channel 4, because it has truly been a bastion of defense of the ideas and projects of Sandinismo, and with all merit it continues to be as you call it the best television.
Journalist Alberto Mora: Thank you, brother. Tell us a little about the situation, we saw Blinken who was with Netanyahu, and it was no surprise, you have said it Fabrizio, there is no surprise in this, the only thing now as it is about Israel, and we are not going to put a price on the life of any of the people, because every death is regrettable, and you were also saying that in every war it is difficult sometimes, or it is not difficult, but there is damage to the civilian population and everything else.
The struggle of the Palestinian people has been going on for decades, and now everyone goes against Palestine, when it carries out such an operation. Others have said that it will totally change the view that everyone had, or wanted to have about Israel, that it was impregnable, its intelligence, and so on. What is your analysis Fabrizio after all these days?
Fabrizio Casari: By the way, as Hemingway said, every death of a man diminishes me, because we are all part of humanity; then, as you said, it is not a matter of counting the dead, but while all the dead are equal, the responsibilities for those deaths are not equal.
The region has been in this situation for 75 years today, a situation that began in 1948 when Britain decided that it could give, with an agreement with France, a part of the territory of Palestine, to what was to be the nascent State of Israel, and without, of course, consulting Palestine if they agreed to take away their houses and their lands.
In order for Nicaraguans to understand well what we are talking about, I just want to give you two numbers: The Gaza Strip, that territory we are talking about, has an area of maybe a few hundred square kilometers, the entire Nicaragua has 130,000 square kilometers, the inhabitants of Nicaragua are 6 and a half million, something like that. The inhabitants who are there between Palestinians and others are a couple of million or more.
So this already counts the total atomization of two peoples whereby thanks to the United States and the collective West, a Peace Agreement that provides for two peoples and two States is rejected. This is what it’s all about.
The famous invincibility of Israel has already been put to the test, and there the myth of the fantastic narrative ended in Lebanon, where Hezbollah twice in a row defeated the Israeli invasion and the Israeli soldiers had to return with their tails between their legs to Israel.
It must be remembered that Israel not only occupies much of Gaza, not only occupies 60% of Gaza, that is, the most interesting part from the point of view of the land, but in the part supposedly left to the Palestinians it is customary to destroy the houses of the Palestinians for the Israelis to rebuild and take over. And it not only controls the Sinai of Egypt and the Golan Heights that is Syria; so that, what we can talk about is an Israeli expansionism, condemned by its very nature, to enter into conflict and war with everything that surrounds it.
The situation that a Palestinian lives was well recognized by Giulio Andreotti, leader of Italy’s Christian Democrats, a historic Italian leader, who said: If he had been born in a Palestinian prison camp, today instead of being an Italian minister he would be a terrorist. Why? Because the inhumane conditions in which the Palestinians live by decision of Israel and by interest of the West is such that it shows how desperation leads to the conclusion that: Either I live a life of degradation, a life that is not worth living, or I do something to change.
So there is a saying that says, when injustice is made a right, rebellion becomes a duty; and what the Palestinians are doing is that, a constant rebellion for 75 years, which nevertheless has not taken away their political wisdom.
They have participated in all the Peace Agreements where they have been invited, the latest Agreements, and they are ready to renounce what would be sacred rights for any other country, but without that having been enough in the face of the refusal of the State of Israel, supported by the United States, who have only one idea of how to solve the Palestinian problem; that is, doing away with the Palestinians.
Then there is the serious responsibility that there is on the part of the West, which does not force compliance with those United Nations Resolutions, which declare the Israeli presence in the West Bank illegal, and where they are ordered to get out of there.
This leads to Israel feeling that it is the total arbiter of life and death fo all the populations that live around it. Not only does she regularly bomb Syria, even though she is not part of the troops that attacked Syria, in the last war, they bombed Syria, she threatens Lebanon, and she threatens above all Iran with which she risks breaking her neck.
Now, the point is that Israel’s militaristic expansionism has to reach a point where the International Community says, so far only, and so far only means an International Conference on Palestine, which puts the United Nations Resolutions on the agenda, and which decides on a United Nations Military Force, of the International Community of intervention in the Gaza Strip, so that it cannot continue every day the forced eviction of all Palestinians from their homes, destroyed every day with cranes or dynamite, to make way for Jewish settlements. This condition is the minimum condition for the military crisis to break out.
Finally, I am not so sure that there will be a land attack of the troops, because it is convenient for Israel to continue bombing with airplanes or perhaps with tanks and missiles, but to enter on foot is not easy, because there you know how many enter, but you do not know how many will get to leave, because the Palestinians have prepared, trained, armed and have a high combative disposition.
And, enough already with the story that Hamas is a terrorist and that is why Israel reacts, because Hamas has existed for two decades. Before Hamas, when there was the PLO and Arafat’s ANP, it was the same story, so it has nothing to do with Hamas. What it has to do with is that Palestine has a sacred right to have a Nation, a Territory and a State like any people in the world. That is the condition on which they can reach an understanding and that will end any war, which really only cause pain, mourning and destruction of people.
Journalist Alberto Mora: Thank you, Fabrizio, I would like to listen to Stephen, good morning brother.
Stephen Sefton: Good morning, Alberto, I also join in the congratulations to you and all your colleagues at Channel 4 for being an important media company today; I also join in the expressions of condolences for compañera Virginia Lovo.
From my point of view it is important to try to understand the historical context of the founding of the State called Israel. And it is important because this Story indicates that from the beginning Israel has been a state based on terrorism and also on bad faith and lies.
For example, Fabrizio rightly says that the conflict began in 1948 with the founding of Israel, but it is also possible to argue that the conflict began many years earlier with which I mean the clear intention of the Zionist leadership that came to rule in the State of Israel.
In 1936 the 20th World Zionist Congress took place, and at that Congress they agreed to establish a Committee for the Transfer of the Population of Palestine; that was in 1936. And when the State of Israel was established, thanks to the imposition of the Western countries, mainly, that Transfer Committee was formed to deliberately move hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the territory of the new State of Israel. Why? Because the State of Israel at that time could not have a majority of Jews with the native population of Palestine.
So, we have to remember that, because this is indeed the beginning of the clearly Israeli policy of genocide against the Palestinians. In 1948, the Irgun terrorist gangs and the Stem gang and also the Haganah, which in 1948 became the Israeli Army, initiated a process of ethnic cleansing of the original population of Palestine; and that terrorist crime, a tremendous mass terrorism, was the origin of the State of Israel.
Since then Israel has lied about its origins; for example, as the Palestinian compañero reminded us in the interview with you, Alberto, he said that the Zionist slogan was, A Land without People for a People without Land; that it was a complete lie, a despicable lie, distorting reality.
Apart from that, it is important to understand that Zionist terrorist forces had been active in Palestine, which is a territory well established in history. Palestine appears on all the maps of the period of that time. Although the Israelis, the leader Golda Meir, notoriously said “There is no Palestine,” there has always been a Palestine over centuries.
And what happened after the beginning of the Second World War, with the establishment of a greater Jewish population in the territory of Palestine, was the beginning of a terrorist war on the part of the Zionist gangs, both against the Palestinian population and against the British who were the occupying power.
I don’t know if it is relevant, but I have spoken with direct witnesses of that terrorism, because my parents were members of the British Army in Palestine, although my mother was Irish, she was a member of the British Army, back then. They lost friends when the bomb exploded at the King David Hotel in 1946, and my father, a Captain, had the sad task of cutting from the trees the corpses of his Sergeants and Corporals killed and hanged by the Israeli terrorists. So Israeli terrorism is a real thing that has been foundational in the creation of Israel, and those origins have been lied about ever since.
In relation to what Fabrizio was commenting about the need for a Conference, or some kind of new arrangement, I would say that the position of our Government is the position of the vast majority of the Majority of the World, which is that United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 should be implemented.
It should be recalled that since 1948 there have been more than 200 resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly, almost exclusively trying to vindicate the rights of the Palestinians. And in the United Nations Security Council, I think the last count was 96, or maybe I’m wrong about that, resolutions also in the vast majority condemning the Zionist State of Israel.
Resolution 242, which was promulgated in November 1967, calls for the termination of all States’ claims to belligerence, respect and recognition of the Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Political Independence of all States in the area, which includes Palestine and the State called Israel. It calls on Israel’s neighbors to end the state of belligerence, and calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from the lands claimed by other parties in the 1967 war.
After that, as Fabrizio explained, we have had more wars, there has been a constant state of war: The 1982 war with the invasion of Lebanon by Israel and they were kicked out, as Fabrizio explained to us; in 2000 by Hezbollah and then the defeat of Israel in 2006 at the hands of Hezbollah.
But it must be remembered that Israel has been invading Gaza on multiple occasions. Since 2006 when Hamas won the elections legitimately, there were 2 attacks in Gaza in 2008; 2 attacks in 2012; the deadliest attack until this latest attempted genocide in Gaza was in 2014.
Then another one in 2019 and 2022, a constant series of Zionist attacks against Palestinians in Gaza who were trying to claim their right to a life, never mind their right to their national territory.
The Israelis project that they are the victims while the Europeans and the United States are complicit in this huge, hateful lie, and that is shameful. It is another example of the hypocrisy and sadism of Western countries that boast about being the defenders of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Journalist Alberto Mora: Fabrizio and Stephen there is also the issue of the treatment of the Western Media, and they are reducing it solely to the fact of the action, of the Hamas Operation and not going to the bottom of the matter. That is, Hamas attacked, then there is a response and it came out to the Pontiff saying that the State of Israel has the right to defend itself. Then they make some statements that try to smooth things over, and from their headlines they celebrate the fact that Israel says, this time there will be nothing left of Gaza, it will not be the same again.
Well, there are the images of destruction, although as Fabrizio says they are not new, because the attacks have been constant, but there is a situation of genocide and everything that has been done around cutting off water, electricity, the supply of medicines and everything that that people is suffering.
There is a double standard, as always we are not surprised, in the treatment of the information of the international media and these people who handle the information. We saw an Ambassador defend the position of Palestine and complain to one of the BBC News interviewers, the treatment they give to this coverage. What is your opinion as a specialist on the subject?
Fabrizio Casari: Well, information is a topic that we have already discussed on another occasion. There is no information about this, there is the Political Propaganda Training School of Hysteria, as I call it, because they completely refuse to report how events really are, and prefer to paint a historical narrative that does not exist.
Let’s see, in some symbolic elements, for example, when talking about the Ukrainian war, in order to convince the Europeans to stand by Zelensky, they tell us that Russia is invading and that Ukraine is invaded; however, that was the argument, but it no longer applies when talking about Palestine, because Israel is the one invading and Palestine is invaded, but it doesn’t matter there.
I asked a presenter yesterday on an Italian radio broadcast, if the paradigm had been reversed, and I was told that was not the issue in question. So, when they kill Palestinian children, which is 6,000 dead a year, that’s called Israel’s national defense; when Hamas kills Israelis it’s called terrorism. So then words are used that hide very well the complete and total manipulation of the facts, the reality of their historical background and their perspective.
Until the contrary is proven, Palestine pays every year in the destruction of property and human life, an enormous price for the existence of a State like Israel, which is exempt from respect for any Norm of International Law, which all the 194 States that make up the International Community are obliged to observe.
That is to say, Israel is the only State in the world that has no borders, and it has no borders because every year that border is modified according to the settlements of the settlers. Israel is the only country in the world that can afford to ignore United Nations resolutions, the only State in the world that takes as a tickle what it is ordered to do, even two days ago, by both the European Union and the United Nations, which invited it in its reaction, to maintain the helm of respect for civilian life and respect for the Geneva Convention with those arrested, and respect for the rules of International law.
That is to say, you cannot enter a city that has 2 million 200,000 Palestinians saying that you want to return them to the stone age just like their Defense Minister said. To go in and massacre thousands of Palestinians, just because you say “there you go”.
It is false, if they want to hit Hamas it is useless because they are not in Gaza, they never go into the tunnels of Gaza nor they are out and about on the street. So it is not true, they are bombing Gaza because they want to destroy it and they want to give the space that is in Gaza to the Israeli settlers, because they want to expel the Palestinians from Palestine once and for all.
The European Union guaranteed that it continues to give aid to Palestine, and the United Nations said that they better not dare to go further. But let’s see, apart from those words, what concrete action is there? But the European Union, if it were consistent, should be arming the Palestinians, if it were consistent with what they are doing in Ukraine, they should do the same, and if it were consistent with what they are doing to Ukraine, they should tell Israel, look if you dare to do that, we are going to go all in, apply any kind of sanctions possible to imagine so that you do not continue what you are doing ever again; then there is the political hypocrisy that builds the mendacious reaction, and the manipulated information.
The truth is that the Palestinians are alone, because to tell the whole truth, not all Arabs have always done anything to help the Palestinians. But today the international conditions in general and the international arena makes the political situation different from the past. It is a situation that can completely change the idea, the scheme that one has that the Israelis are all powerful and the Palestinians are only destined to be corpses. Be careful, it’s not going to be like that!
Stephen Sefton: We are touching on a deep topic when we talk about the coverage, about the events that are taking place in Palestine and in Gaza. I have constantly argued in recent years that journalism ceased to exist a long time ago.
What Western Media coverage is all about now is the deliberate creation of false beliefs, in order to facilitate the sadistic and hypocritical policies of their respective governments, and also creating what are in effect false memories of what has been the recent history in the world.
We can see that in the case of the Russian Federation’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine; we can see it in different places and we are especially looking at it here, and we in Nicaragua have direct experience of that. We can see in the media coverage of what is happening in Palestine and Gaza, the same false behaviors that were dealt with in 2018 here in Nicaragua.
For example, and I’m sure you remember the Channel 10 clown reporters who threw themselves on the ground, I think it was at the UCA, pretending that they were under attack by the police, and when you saw the area around them there were a lot of people chatting, enjoying life freely. It was all a fake set-up.
We just saw exactly that through CNN back in Palestine, two of their reporters threw themselves on the ground and made out as if they were under an attack by Hamas, but there was calm all around them. It was another set-up; so that’s just one example of other examples. That terrible story that was spread by a propagandist of the Zionist Army, that Hamas fighters had cut off the heads of 40 babies, which was published in practically all Western Media, turned out to be a complete lie.
The same, as in the Iraq War, which was notorious and false that Saddam Hussein’s soldiers threw newborn babies out of their incubators, which was completely false, and the source turned out to be someone very close to the government of Kuwait, at that time. We are facing the same types of false information, psychological warfare, and that is what is appearing in the vast majority of Western media.
After making that comment, I must also comment on the geopolitical situation in the Region. Fabrizio made a comment regarding that, and he is absolutely right. Now the situation is going to be very different. For example Saudi Arabia had been about to recognize the State of Israel, under an American initiative; apparently they were about to join the Group of Arab Countries that have recognized Israel.
With this war, especially the genocidal response of the Zionist regime, that becomes impossible again. I saw a report today that the Saudi King had telephoned President Raisi of Iran for the first time in recent history, and they agreed that they were both going to do everything possible to defend the rights of the Palestinians and oppose the Israeli genocidal offensive, which so far I understand has killed almost 2,000 people in Gaza, including hundreds of children, women and the elderly, and have injured more than 5,000.
But that is going to get worse, because it is obvious that the United States and the European Union are completely backing the State of Israel, albeit in a hypocritical way; their official spokespersons say that they want an end to the war and that Israel should not act disproportionately. These are absurd statements, given that they have just sent a strike group with a nuclear aircraft carrier to the coast of Palestine.
Journalist Alberto Mora: For both. Fabrizio, you were talking about a kind of Conference to address the issue and find a solution to it, but in the face of the inoperability of the United Nations, they considered Palestine invaded in 1967, but no one pays attention to the Resolutions, and we know that and we know who they obey. In such a way that if it is not through the United Nations, what other option could be possible to seek respect for Palestinian rights and the issue of the two States that was consigned many years ago. What can the world expect?
Fabrizio Casari: Among other reasons for the Hamas attack, because one can ask, why are you attacking, since there is no military, economic and political symmetry? Why do you do it if then the reaction of your enemy is going to be so hard for you? Well, among one of the reasons, one may be to interrupt the agreement that was going to be signed between Saudi Arabia and Israel, in principle, of recognition.
But among one of the reasons I think you can see the different framework that Hamas is giving; that is, the Palestinians. Because Hamas is the solution that the Palestinians found when the door to a more progressive and smarter political solution like the PLO was closed to them.
Other than that, what is Hamas saying? If they won’t give us a chance for a political-diplomatic solution to the question of the State of Palestine, we will leave that olive branch that Arafat left and return to arms. In other words, we are telling Israel that the price it is going to pay with each passing day is going to be much higher than it was believed that it could have had until recently.
This reasoning may seem suicidal, extremist, illusory or whatever, but we are talking again, and I repeat it, of a people who are desperate now, because no matter how much they suffer and no matter how much they ask for international help and attention, they do not receive it.
Then, the International Organizations should give it that attention, or the Organizations that are at work internationally to address a unipolar order that is not only unfair but ridiculous, unable to put a stop to their capitulation. Either there is an International Initiative by them, or there is a direct military initiative by the Palestinians, and by everyone who wants to help the Palestinians.
That is to say, that on the one hand there is the diplomatic solution, and on the other hand there is the escalation of the war; nothing but the war from that moment on, I think that is the other signal, it will not only be the Palestinians who will be counting their corpses but also the Israelis who are going to be counting their own.
Anyone who has two fingers of forehead and a little human sensitivity hopes that this way of understanding Hamas’ initiative will not be the one that prevails. That is to say, that the world, like the United Nations, like any other organization, should resolve with the United States, once and for all, the modality of Israel’s presence in the Region. Let’s be clear, no one should think that Israel will disappear from there, but the bottom line is there and everyone knows that Israel is the guardian of the interests of the United States in that Region, which is a vital region of the world.
But no one can should think either that they can continue with the cost of the lives of thousands and thousands of Palestinians every year. So, it is up to the people who reject the solution of the Peoples and States to propose another solution that is not the final extermination of the Palestinians; it is up to them, the ball is in their court. Palestine has already declared every readiness to sit at a negotiating table and find a viable, decent solution, and that respects the international readiness already declared on several occasions as to the birth of a Palestinian state. Any Palestinian citizen wants to live, but if necessary, even to die, but at least with a passport that says: State of Palestine, as so do all people of other countries.
Either the so called International Community finds a solution to this or the Palestinians will continue to take in hand the only thing they have, which are the weapons of despair and actual weapons. It would really be the worst solution for Palestine, but the important thing that is not in sight is that should not be the only one, that is the important issue.
I would call on all nations that are not anxious for continued powerful domination of the United States and the collective West, to take an International Initiative on the side of Palestine, everyone. And let them take that to the most important diplomatic consequences.
This is the only way I see in the face of the inertia of the United Nations, the declared impotence of the United Nations, and also in the face of the arrogance of Israel and the United States, who think that there is one International Law for everyone and another only for themselves. I think this is the only possible solution and let’s talk clearly, I close with that.
A Palestinian who is born has a limited sphere of life, a bad life, because being without water, without electricity, practically in a prison with 2 million people crammed into a medium-sized city, without the possibility of working, of healing, and of eating, which is not allowed to you and the condition that the Israelis want, is a life that is not worth living; it’s that simple.
That, as I said before, takes two directions: Either you give me the possibility of living a dignified life with my People, my Nation and my Country, my people, my language, my Culture, or else I look for it some other way. This is the dilemma where the world is now, let’s see which path they will decide to take.
Journalist Alberto Mora: Thanks Fabrizio. Stephen you have two minutes.
Stephen Sefton: Thanks to Fabrizio for that very eloquent summary of the situation. I would say that there are two objectives and two very important things: One is that in the short term, what is called the International Community has to urgently solve the humanitarian catastrophe that is happening in Gaza; they have to look for how to stop the genocidal bombardment of Israel, and they have to respond in the most concrete way possible to the health and food needs of the population that has been displaced, which I understand are already more than 150,000 people.
That is an urgent objective that the United Nations and the members of the United Nations must resolve. And the other goal is longer-term because Israel has no future as it is. This Hamas operation was called the Al-Aqsa Flood, because Israel was trying to occupy and take over a holy place for Muslims not only in Palestine, but in the entire Region, and had plans to destroy it and put a Jewish temple in its place.
They have to put an end to this arrogance, this racist arrogance, because if they don’t put an end to it, the Israeli population itself is signing its own death sentence. The United States is losing its influence in the world, as is the European Union, and that means that Israel has to change its policies, it has to change its Zionist regime, to a more humane, more amenable regime, and that is not only for the good of the Palestinian people but for its own good, to guarantee its future.
Journalist Alberto Mora: Thank you very much to both of you. Thank you Fabrizio, thank you Stephen for having been with us. And well, we will continue to invite you over the course of the days, as events progress. Hopefully a way out can be found. Thank you Fabrizio, thank you Stephen.