A doctrine of impunity

Published: May 16, 2018

The phrase “a culture of impunity” is familiar. The phrase “a doctrine of impunity” rather less so. It is when culture has moved beyond, transitioned to something that can be used as a tool of the state, and that is the point which Israel has reached with the Palestinians. The numbers differ depending on source but not by much — 59 dead and over 2,400 injured in varying degrees. At least one of the dead was a baby who inhaled tear gas. At the time of writing there were no reports of any casualties on the Israeli side of the border or of any weapon other than stones launched from slingshots being discharged by Palestinians. May 14th 2018 is seen by some, but not all, of the world as a day of infamy when Israel transcended its own elastic norms.

The ritual — and fatuous — condemnation by the head of the UN was accompanied by a deafening silence from the international community. There were mutterings of discontent to be sure, after all 58 dead is a sizeable massacre, but there were no concerted efforts to spring to the defence of the Palestinians other than on social media which in this instance matters not a hill of beans.

The Israelis were all over the mainstream media telling the world that the Palestinians had nobody but themselves to blame and that it was all the fault of Hamas in Gaza. Israel, said Israel, was merely defending itself as is its right. In terms of media representation for the Palestinian perspective, it was largely confined to studio-bound academics and analysts.

The Palestinians, not unlike the Kashmiris, are not on the front burner, there is no global push for the resolution of what by any standards was the most appalling act of geopolitical terrorism in the wake of WW2 and the creation of the state of Israel. Having done its duty the world has stood back ever since, determinedly blind to the bloodletting (on all sides). The US has moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Others will follow. The Israelis will extend the doctrine of impunity. And the Palestinians? Who…?

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2018.

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