The latest carnage in Gaza is yet another bout of ruthless persecution of the Palestinians by the Zionist Israeli government. More than 200 people, including women and children, have been killed on the pretext of self-defence against rockets fired on Israel by Hamas. The Israeli action is not just dis-propionate but part of a premeditated provocation beginning with the desecration of the Al Aqsa mosque and violence against worshipers there during Ramazan. Such provocations are part of the Zionist Likud party’s larger objective to exterminate or expel the Palestinians from their own land, thereby ensuring the Jewish “purity” of Israel and expropriate their properties for new Israeli settlements. Those Palestinians who refuse to comply are subjected to apartheid or forced into concentration camps like Gaza and the West Bank. Aided and abetted by the United States, the Israelis have virtual impunity to enforce such policies. Meanwhile, the Muslim world in general and the Arab countries in particular are reduced to taking token measures such as un-enforceable UN and OIC resolutions which Israel treats with contempt. In such circumstances, the Zionist genocide against the Palestinians continues. Their only hope is the popular armed resistance by Hamas and Hezbollah.
Ever since the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Faustian bargain between Britain and European Zionists, which allowed them to settle in Palestine, the Zionists have pursued a fascist policy based on their claim of being a superior race as God’s “chosen people”. Following the creation of Israel in 1948, as compensation for the Nazi holocaust against the Jews, the indigenous Palestinians were further marginalised, being compelled to either give up their lands and properties and become refugees in neighbouring Arab countries or live under systematic apartheid. Israeli military victories over the Arab countries in 1948 and 1967 with the help of the West not only added to their occupied territories but emboldened them to intensify persecution of the Palestinians. Palestinian resistance was demonised as “terrorism” whereas the Zionists themselves had been the first to use terrorist tactics, including the bombing of British army headquarters in the King David hotel on July 22, 1946. Members of these terrorist groups, the Irgun and the Stern gangs, went on to hold official positions in Israel including Menachem Begin who became prime minister in 1977.
Facing relentless opposition from the Palestinians, the comparatively more liberal Israeli Labour Party accepted the Oslo Accords calling for a two-state solution — the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Brokered by the US, the agreement was concluded between Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat in September 1993. But Rabin’s assassination by a fanatic Jew derailed the peace process. Even though the UN’s Security Council endorsed the two-state solution in 2003, the momentum for peace was lost.
Succeeding Israeli governments headed by Likud Zionists like Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the two-state agreement and unleashed a continuous reign of terror in Gaza, the West Bank and the occupied Arab territories in contravention of several UN resolutions. Since then Palestinians have been forced to live in virtual concentration camps, while their lands have been incrementally usurped for Israeli settlements. They have been repeatedly subjected to racist attacks and Islam’s holy sites such as the Al Aqsa mosque have been desecrated on several occasions. Extrajudicial detentions, torture, racial discrimination and other violations of human rights have been amply documented by international human rights organisations and UN bodies. Consequently, the Israelis are liable for violations of several international laws, including war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide. Taken together this is nothing short of a holocaust, ironically being perpetrated by people who were themselves subjected to such horrors by the Nazis.
Despite such persecution, the US has not just refrained from holding Israel accountable but has actually supported its policies. As exposed by leading American scholars like Noam Chomsky, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the Israeli lobby in the US is so powerful that no American politician, even the president, can act against Israel. Besides, Israeli domination of American politics, economy and media is so entrenched that only the Israeli narrative is accepted.
Even more unconscionable is the failure of the Muslim world to help the Palestinians, especially the rich Arab states who are not so much helpless as spineless. Instead they have betrayed the Palestinians by cutting separate deals with Israel for their selfish gains. Those who dared to stand up against Israel were demolished by the US like Iraq, Libya and Syria. To their credit only the Iranians have defied Israeli and its American patrons. But, paradoxically, it is Iran which is being targeted by the Arab world, including for its nuclear programme. Meanwhile, organisations such as the OIC and Arab League have become a sham.
The Palestinian leadership has also made mistakes. While accepting the Oslo solution, Arafat should not have renounced his armed struggle or accepted the Israeli state until and unless the Palestinian state had come into existence. Subsequently, even as Israelis reneged on the two-state solution, divisions emerged between PLO/Fatah and Hamas which has weakened the Palestinian struggle.
Nevertheless, the latest Gaza episode has prompted several new realities. The international media and especially social media have given global coverage to Israeli atrocities with Israelis losing control of the narrative. This has led to worldwide protests including in the US with leaders like Bernie Sanders calling for a durable solution. The cynical and ruthless thug, Benjamin Netanyahu, who instigated the recent clashes to avoid going to jail for corruption, has been fully exposed. But Netanyahu’s acceptance of a ceasefire, despite his bluster, indicates that the barrage of Hamas rocket attacks forced his hand, more than any other form of pressure. This underscores the reality of asymmetrical warfare that the Palestinians will win by not losing while Israel will lose by not winning. Eventually, the Palestinian struggle will succeed, leading to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2021.