Home Focus 75 Years of Victimization and Blood Letting: The Geopolitics of Israel-Palestinian Conflict

75 Years of Victimization and Blood Letting: The Geopolitics of Israel-Palestinian Conflict

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“Every free person who stands for justice should stand for Palestine !!” an Iraqi Cleric.

– Dr Sanobar Naheed

It is challenging to describe the horrifying events unfolding right before us, leaving us in a state of shock and sorrow. What we are witnessing is a situation where powerful nations are imposing their will on what they perceive as less civilized, treating the inhabitants as subhumans. I find myself overwhelmed with emotion, tears welling up in the eyes and a lump in the throat, as I attempt to document this unfolding tragedy.

The acts of resistance have often been unfairly labelled as acts of terror, a consequence of the limited perspective of figures like the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who, despite his Ivy League education, seems to have used little reason and be under the influence of the more senior members of the US government, advocating for the oppression of the oppressed. The insatiable thirst for further conflict knows no bounds, as yet another shipment of arms is sent across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean – fused, as they were and are, to their “partners” in Tel Aviv.

The nefarious scheme is as evident as Netanyahu’s despicable nature: Eliminate Gaza to put an end to it. Anyone, in any place, who refutes this reality is either dishonest, lacking insight, or willingly, joyfully, and contentedly both. Before diving deep into reality let’s scan through a few excerpts to make the point.

Some excerpts:

  • “The cataclysm that you and I are witnessing in Gaza is a genocide in the awful making. It is not an “onslaught”. It is not an “invasion”. It is not even a “war”. It is a genocide”, (Andrew Mitrovica, Al Jazeera columnist, 14th Oct 2023).
  • “All of this still is painful and horrifying. All of this will go down into Palestinian history as yet another episode of resistance by the Palestinians and mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing by Israel. The Palestinians have struck Israel where it has struck Palestinians for more than 75 years: lives and land. The Israeli arrogance and sense of security that it can oppress, kill and steal land with impunity have been shattered. As our oppressors are out, killing indiscriminately in blind rage, an uncomfortable feeling is creeping in among them that the prison they are holding us in is starting to crumble”. We’ve been held hostage by Israel for decades. We’ve been prisoners in our land for generations. But this October, the wimpy kid finally got his punch and the bully is now shaken. (Mariam Barghouti, Palestinian American writer based in Ramallah, On October 7, Gaza broke out of prison, https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2023/10/14/on-october-7-gaza-broke-out-of-prison).
  • “The terrorizing of innocent people … does not do any good for the Free Palestine movement. The idea that it does has fuelled a painful, devastating cycle of back & forth retaliation (which no innocent civilian, Palestinian or Israeli, deserves to be a casualty of) and helps to perpetuate the false idea that being Pro-Palestine = antisemitism,” (pro-Palestinian supermodel Gigi Hadid on Instagram).

Background to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, marked by a recent surge of violence, has deep historical roots dating back to the aftermath of World War I. The British mandate over Palestine, established through the Balfour Declaration, sowed the seeds of discord between the Jewish and Arab communities.

Balfour Declaration (1917): The Balfour Declaration was a letter issued by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in 1917, expressing the British government’s support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This declaration was made during World War I and was seen as a way to gain Jewish support for the British war effort. However, it also created tension and conflict between the Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine, as it seemed to promise the same land to two different national groups.

British Mandate for Palestine (1920-1948): After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain the mandate to govern Palestine. During this period, Britain struggled to manage the conflicting national aspirations of Jews and Arabs. The influx of Jewish immigrants to Palestine, driven by the Zionist movement and the Balfour Declaration, exacerbated tensions with the Arab population. This period witnessed numerous clashes and incidents between the two communities.

1947 UN Partition Plan: As British rule became increasingly untenable, the United Nations proposed a partition plan in 1947 that aimed to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem under international administration. The plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by Arab leaders, leading to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

Creation of Israel (1948): On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. This declaration was followed by a war between Israel and the surrounding Arab states, which resulted in significant displacement and suffering for the Palestinian Arab population.

These historical events, including the Balfour Declaration, British Mandate, and the subsequent creation of Israel, continue to shape the core issues and grievances in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflicting claims to the same land and the historical experiences of both the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities have fuelled ongoing tensions and disputes, making resolution of the conflict a deeply challenging endeavour.

Events that led up to the current crisis: In 2022, the number of conflict-related fatalities for both Israelis and Palestinians reached its highest point since 2015. Regrettably, in 2023, violence has continued to escalate, especially in the West Bank, which has seen its deadliest year since 2005, characterized by near-daily Israeli incursions. There have been confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, and tensions could potentially worsen following Israel’s approval of five thousand new settler homes in June 2023.

The Israeli military has also stepped up its operations, which include two raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque in a single day, an operation in Ramallah that resulted in 35 injuries, and missile launches from helicopters in the Jenin refugee camp. In May, Israel engaged in a five-day clash with Gazans, involving nearly two thousand missile launches from both Hamas and Israeli forces. Later, in July, Israel deployed nearly two thousand troops and carried out drone strikes in a large-scale raid on the Jenin refugee camp, leading to the deaths of 12 Palestinians and 50 injuries. Israel asserted that all those killed were ‘militants’. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped down, he suggested that this incursion wasn’t an isolated event; Israel aims to prevent the camp from serving as a safe haven for ‘militant’ groups like the Jenin Brigades. In response to the raid, Hamas conducted an attack in Tel Aviv and launched missiles at Israel.

However, it’s not particularly surprising that oppressive colonial powers, given their horrific history of causing harm to countless innocent people in numerous scarred regions, would readily offer their full support to yet another colonial power responsible for causing harm to and disfiguring many innocent Palestinians in Gaza and beyond, whether in the past, present, or future.

Some glimpses of Victimization: A Palestinian man who was detained from Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem was brutally abused, according to Israeli media outlets, and branded the Star of David on his cheek picture in inset.

This is just one from the several incidents of use of force and torture. They are aware that their actions against Palestinians, regardless of when, where, or why, are unlikely to face any accountability.

For some, like myself, the distressing images deeply affected our sense of morality. However, for others, including angered Israelis, these images serve as a shocking illustration of the moral decay that an apartheid state fosters and tolerates in its relentless, systematic pursuit of ethnic and religious dominance over an occupied population.

Gross violation of international laws
Activists say the Israeli government’s decision to cut power, water and fuel supply to the enclave amounts to collective punishment of its entire population of 2.3 million people and violates international laws.

The scenes of devastation and the harrowing sounds coming from Gaza provide evidence of the sinister intentions of a brutal occupying army. Their primary objective seems to be the obliteration of whatever is left of an already ravaged piece of land and the indiscriminate killing of defenceless, weary individuals – children, women, and men.

Bombarded Ambulance

Throughout several decades, a series of immune Israeli administrations, along with the marauding settler militias they have relied on, have engaged in a gradual process of genocide, step by step. This has been done with the explicit sanction, approval, and even encouragement of Western governments, who, in a predictable display of symbolic support for their ruthless ally, have illuminated their tourist attractions with the colours of blue and white or the Star of David.

The following are in clear violation of International Law:

  • Preventing the essential necessities of life, such as food and water, from reaching Gaza’s captive population.
  • Halting the supply of fuel and electricity to households and medical facilities.
  • Targeting United Nations schools that provide refuge to desperate Palestinian families amid relentless aerial bombardments.
  • Interfering with ambulances trying to transport injured children to darkened hospitals in need of urgent treatment.
  • Deploying white phosphorus to cause severe burns to Palestinian individuals.
  • Letting go of the false claims of “precision strikes” aimed at avoiding “civilian casualties” and, instead, take satisfaction in transforming Gaza into dust.
  • Closing the prison that is Gaza even more tightly, making escape and hope impossible.
  • International law stipulates that hospitals should be considered safe zones, immune from attacks. Unfortunately, in Gaza, this fundamental principle is not respected.
  • Then, insistence that 1.1 million people evacuate to an unknown destination within a matter of hours or else, in all probability, face almost certain death.
  • This was not enough that they finally did what they did bombing Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, a sheer show of cowardice.

In a predictable manner, the typical assembly of self-assured presidents and prime ministers have expressed their condemnation of the atrocities carried out by the Palestinians, while simultaneously endorsing the actions of the Israelis as a necessary and favourable response to self-defence.

Therefore, I see no point in urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague to take any action whatsoever to hold “both parties” accountable. It hasn’t occurred, and it is unlikely to transpire because the consistently cooperative ICC understands that it cannot, and will not, upset the influential figures in Washington, D.C. who oversee the entire deceptive charade, of western hypocrisy.

This serves as a litmus test for all morally upright individuals worldwide. My contention is not to beg the world for charity on behalf of the distressed victims but to adopt a more rational approach by unflinchingly speaking the truth instead of shifting blame onto others for their transgressions.

The military issued an order for the evacuation of over 1 million individuals from northern to southern Gaza. However, despite this directive, they continued to carry out airstrikes in the southern regions, even targeting a road that the military had indicated as a safe route for civilians to escape.

Israeli occupation for profit
The military-industrial complex in Israel has transformed the Palestinian territory under occupation into a laboratory for testing cutting-edge weaponry and surveillance technology, which it subsequently exports across the globe. This includes sophisticated tools like the Pegasus software, employed in hacking the phones of notable figures like Jeff Bezos and Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the sale of drones to the European Union for monitoring individuals attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Israel’s technological advancements have positioned it as a prominent global player in various conflicts worldwide.

Current developments
I am deeply horrified as the events continue to unfold before us, revealing what appears to be calculated acts of violence. The scenes of utter chaos and the frantic rush of residents to hospitals with their injured loved ones, desperately hoping to save them, are heart-wrenching. Rows of deceased family members surrounded by mourners paint a devastating picture.

I also recall a frantic call from someone holding a palm-sized foetus, a testament to the scale of the atrocities committed by Israel, seemingly without external assistance or sympathizers for the plight. This was in the early days of the siege. Now, as I gather my thoughts to document an even more horrifying reality, a powerful explosion has taken place at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, leading to the tragic loss of at least 500 Palestinian lives. This incident has triggered global condemnation as many of the victims sought refuge from nearly two weeks of relentless Israeli airstrikes on the besieged area. The health ministry in Gaza now says over 5,000 Palestinians lives have been taken in Israeli air attacks, while another 12,000 people have been wounded.

It’s indeed heartbreaking to acknowledge that, as I continue with writing, there is a high likelihood that even more lives have been lost, all in the name of what some perceive as retaliation. The ongoing violence in the region continues to exact a heavy toll on innocent civilians, deepening the tragedy further.

A question that naturally emerges in the minds of many who seek balance and justice is whether the international community has lost its moral commitment to demand an end to the siege and the suffering of innocent civilians. The global community, including individuals within Israel, stands in opposition to the regime in question. Yet, the oppressor persists, often with the unwavering support of its powerful ally, the United States, which remains largely unaccountable for the use of taxpayers’ funds in this context.

Israeli-Palestinian war sends ripple effects across region, globe
Muslim footballers Atal, El Ghazi suspended for social media posts. Other fans, however, have called on English side Tottenham Hotspur to take similar action against their Israeli winger Manor Solomon, who purportedly blamed Palestinians for “killing their own people and blaming Israel” following the attack on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital.

Lives have been tragically lost in America as hate takes hold, and the deliberate targeting of a six-year-old child and his mother holds testimony to that. Such incidents are a result of the false narratives and propaganda being perpetuated by so-called world leaders. Regrettably, similar reactions are unfolding, even within academic institutions, where both academics and students who support Palestine are being unfairly targeted.

Social Media Influence
Israel’s media influence now extends online, affecting Palestinian coverage of Gaza, which faces censorship and “shadow bans” on social media platforms. Nevertheless, pro-Palestinian accounts are finding innovative ways to combat these challenges.

This is especially troubling since social media often serves as the primary source of evidence for exposing brutality and violence, countering false narratives, and shedding light on mass human rights abuses. Palestinians and their supporters on social media have documented acts of violence using images, videos, and hashtags in both English and Arabic. Nevertheless, activists, advocates for digital rights, and users have criticized social media platforms for the increasing instances of unjustified removal of pro-Palestinian content. The algorithms and community guidelines on these platforms have hampered the online efforts of those who support Palestine.

Numerous Instagram and Facebook users have voiced their concerns about being shadow banned, which results in their stories and posts no longer receiving engagement or reaching their followers.

Nonetheless, avoiding exposure to Palestinian experiences, particularly for young individuals, has become more challenging due to the influence of social media. Whether it’s through the sharing and re-sharing of content or exploring Instagram and TikTok pages, the dissemination of information is rapidly expanding.

Users now have access to voices from across the globe, particularly from those directly impacted by oppression. Consequently, accounts like Let’s Talk Palestine, the IMEU, and Eye On Palestine have emerged to educate and provide their followers with a glimpse into the harsh reality of Palestinian occupation.

The overwhelming public opinion has made a huge difference in political policies and the leaders in the region do not want to be seen being against the Palestinians, cancelling meetings with Biden is a slap in the face. The EU too are contradicting itself with regard to the stances they are taking and is spilling over.

Failure of a Muslim Leadership
The current crisis starkly reveals a leadership vacuum within the Muslim community. Despite being a collective of approximately 51 or so countries, our silence is overwhelmingly conspicuous, and our representation is lacking, presenting a significant issue. We boast considerable resources, yet many of our people are left without basic rights, vulnerable, and deprived of necessities. This is indeed a deeply regrettable reality that calls for serious reflection and action. The greatest tragedy of this ummah is that it believes it is weak, when everybody else believes it is strong. I will like to wind up quoting a desperate victim,

“Dying is more merciful”.