A few days ago Israel began yet another systematic campaign of destruction against Gaza. Israel has always been ‘at war’ with the Palestinian citizens trapped in the enclaves of Gaza and the West Bank, but since Israeli settlers moved away from the Gaza Strip in 2005 there has been an increasingly violent campaign focused specifically on the 1.7 million people cramped into this 141 square mile-large piece of land.
Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians and the Arab citizens within Israel itself are staggering. Almost every day since Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14 1948 Arab and Palestinian peoples across the lands of Judea and Samaria have been displaced, robbed, made homeless, beaten, kidnapped, raped, forcibly separated, imprisoned, starved, tortured, denied work and travel, forced to live by a a code of law separate from Jewish Israelis, and, of course, murdered in their thousands. All of Israel’s conflicts with its neighbors have been because they were harboring the Palestinian leadership or were sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause, from the Nakba at the time of independence, to the Six Day War, the invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982, the Intifadas of 1987 and 2000, the murder of Yasser Arafat in 2004, the Lebanon War of 2006 and all the untold killings and sufferings in between, and they have been many. In contrast, the vast majority of casualties have been Palestinian civilians, and most Israelis killed have been members of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) death squad. Indeed, the highest Israeli casualty of the whole conflict was Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a far-right Israeli university student.
Violence never solves a problem, it only sows the seeds for even greater violence. For every desperate attack from Gaza or the West Bank Israel retaliates with overwhelming force. The last major campaign against Gaza, in 2008-9, killed 1,500 people, only a tiny percentage of whom were armed militias. Every time Israel launches an assault to ‘halt the rockets coming from Hamas’ they never seem to kill many ‘militants’. You would’ve thought that an army equipped with the latest in weapons systems from the US, Britain and France would have no trouble limiting their targets to mainly those responsible for firing the rockets, but they always seem to spend most of the campaign ‘accidentally’ slaughtering thousands of innocent women, men and children, in rather unlikely ‘militant’ strongholds as schools, hospitals and other places where unarmed people gather. This latest assault comes after Israel executed a member of Hamas, so there was not even any real incident of provocation this time around; something similar happened when ‘Polish soldiers’ attacked a German radio station on August 31 1939, and even though the latter attack was a false flag, it still served as a hasty and pathetic pretext to launch a massive wave of destruction. These parallels would not exist if they did not repeat themselves, it’s not my fault that Israel has used exactly the same methods to excuse its latest exercise in murder and destruction.
The reasons for Israel’s existence are extremely dark and unpleasant, with nothing progressive about any of it. If Israel was supposed to be the ‘beacon of democracy in the Middle East’ as it is so often labelled by the Western media, surely this mess still wouldn’t be here after 64 years? The matter of Palestinian suffering is such a large part of Israeli life that it takes precedence over everything else, like the politics of South Korea with regards to its northern neighbour. Ordinary people cannot live in peace, they must always be mindful and wary of this ongoing disaster. The Israeli government just does not understand that it will never be able to ‘win’, because as long as the Palestinian people exist they will forever work to undo the crimes that are being committed against them. Of course, the ‘solution’ to that would be what Israel is already doing: a slow, massively painful, very deliberate pushing of the Palestinian people to extinction. You cannot look at a single Israeli policy towards its Arab citizens and not disassociate the two, because if you take these policies and put them in any other context for any other conflict in the world, past or present, they would quite rightly be called genocide.
That’s not a fatuous and overexaggerated use of a very important word. ‘Genocide’ is bandied about liberally by Western media when describing pretty much every act by a government or leader that resists Western imperialism (Gaddaffi, Assad, Iran, Cuba etc), and this drastically cheapens its meaning. It also deepens the taboo from using ‘genocide’ to describe Israel’s conduct to the Palestinians, because how could anyone dare to accuse the Jews of perpetrating genocide? Well, for a start, no human being is immune from committing acts of evil, and to collectively absolve the non-Arab citizens of the ability to commit a pre-meditated campaign of systematic extermination is just as ludicrous and prejudiced as blaming Jews for the death of Jesus. Isn’t that why Jews have been persecuted, raped and murdered for the last 2000 years? Presumably the Zionist movement of the early 20th century thought that after Jews got a state all to themselves then their imbued resistance to mass persecution would naturally forbid them from being able to commit such atrocities for themselves.
In an age of informed citizens, this hypothesis is quite clearly the most ridiculous bullshit, the consequences of which have been 64 years of untold suffering, death and destruction, with a new chapter being written right now.
Regardless of your politics and opinions, surely you can admit that innocent civilians, and especially children, should not have their blood spilled when they are not to blame? ‘Israel’ has every has every right to exist as a state, it has every right to decide rules and to defend itself when threatened, but so do the people whom it subjugates and actively discriminates against. Were Israel to allow Gaza to have proper food and water supplies, proper sanitation, proper access to electrical power, proper freedom over its own territorial waters, proper trade and political relations with the rest of the Palestinians within Israel’s borders, then you would instantly see a total cessation of all attacks, rocket or otherwise, from the Occupied Territories. The Palestinians and their representative organs, from the PLO to Hamas (which is a democratically elected governing body, something the media forgets to point out), have stated these very reasonable terms ad nauseum for 64 years, yet Israel, and the United States, completely ignore them and make the Palestinian people as a whole pay for the actions of a few desparate militias.
Whatever you think, at the end of the day, you must agree that this violence should stop, and that the hundreds of Gazans who lie maimed and mutilated should get the medical treatment they urgently require. Violence can only cease when BOTH sides put down their weapons. Please do all you can to help the people of Gaza; a link to Islamic Relief is below, to name just one of dozens of relief efforts. And hope this latest bloodletting ends soon, we cannot keep going through this tiresomely deadly business for much longer.