Contributed by Jim Hayes
World attention has turned to the Middle east again after the surprise incursion of the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas into Israel and the capture of Israeli mostly soldier and some civilian hostages. Reports claim that more than1000 people died on both sides. This should not have happened.
But before rushing too quickly to condemn, the wise would consider the circumstances that led to this. The Israeli state has held much of the Palestinian population, especially in Gaza, in what amounts to a giant prison camp. Over the years, hostages have been routinely taken, and many, including children have been murdered by soldiers and military protected settlers. The routine bombing of civilians has added to the body count. Thousands of Palestinians are in prison as security threats. Many of them because of the opinions they hold.
The immediate cause of the attack was that only days earlier, hundreds of race supremacists, backed by the Israeli armed Forces launched an attack on the Al Aqsa Morgue in Jerusalem. This is Islam’s third most holy site. This comes on top of decades of terrorising the Palestinian population. One means has been the use of collective punishment. This means that every perceived challenge to Israeli authority is avenged on the Palestinian population.
So it is with the response to the weekend’s attack. Food, water, and other necessities are being prevented from reaching the Palestinian population. Expect brutal reprisals in the coming days, not against combatants, but against men, women, and children going about their ordinary lives.
Critics have called the treatment of Palestinians Israeli Apartheid
Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution
Video from Human /rights Watch
This has been the modus operandi of the Israeli state for decades. Israel’s corrupt and hardline leader, Benjamin Netanyahu has moved to accelerate the Apartheid system and promoted race supremacists into his government. Under his watch, the taking of Palestinian land and homes has been increased.
Netanyahu has also been facing a broad backlash from the Israeli population and used provocations to distract attention from other issues.
Is it any wonder that there has been a response from the Palestinian side? The conditions were there for some to feel they had no alternative but to mount an attack on Israel, to secure the release of political prisoners and lift the ongoing siege that is killing their people.
The weekend’s response was a predictable of Israeli brutality.
Those who condemn the Hamas action and remain silent on the occupation and ongoing murder of Palestinians are guilty of hypocrisy. Sure, condemn the taking of civilians, but don’t appease Israel for doing much worse.
The United States, much of Europe, and of course Australia, have moved in behind Israel.
A big difference between the Israeli state and the Palestinian organisations, including Hamas, is that Israel is an occupation force, and the others are waging resistance to this occupation. This difference matters.
A long running war has just become hotter. More violence is on the horizon. Israel’s air force has begun to pound Palestinian homes and thousands of troops are moving in to mop up. Palestinians will continue to resist. They have done so for generations. More blood will be shed.
Video clips +note showing the Israeli line have mostly been censored by internet platforms. below is one that has got through via the Guardian. It provides a glimpse of the attack on Gaza. Shown is the targeting of a Palestinian building near where many journalists were stationed in a residential neighbourhood.
Part of the blame must be levelled at those governments, including Australian ones, which have consistently chosen to turn a blind eye to Palestinian suffering. Despite numerous resolutions carried in the United Nations calling on Israel to stop the persecution, nothing has been done to put a stop to it.
Even now, the same governments appease the policies of Apartheid and collective punishment, and they will probably appease their further escalation.
They will appease a likely more brutal occupation in the days ahead. By doing this they will have blood on their own hands.
Israel will not vanquish its claimed enemy. If guns were going to work, they would have succeeded a long time ago. Palestinians have learned to put up with the pain of resistance. The biggest danger is that by escalating the conflict and expanding this to nearby Lebanon, as Netanyahu has threatened, Hezbollah might be drawn in. This is the force that defeated the Israeli army invasion in 2006. There is also the prospect of heightened guerilla warfare in the occupied territories and Israel itself.
Around the world, including Australia, significant numbers have already come out into the streets to support the Palestinians.
This should drive home the fact that the only way to end the conflict is for the world to press on and ensure a Palestinian homeland without threat.