Palestine’s right to exist
‘Israel’s right to exist’, those words a stock phrase, typical of the mainstream media, instantaneously stir up deep seated sensitivities over the so-called conflict between the state of Israel and Palestine.
I say so-called because the word conflict implies some sort of equality and level playing field to begin with. However, this is not the case.
This fact is reflected in the most recent attack on the Gaza strip, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 Palestinians. No Israeli’s were killed.
In my opinion, the ludicrous and widespread assumption that Israel is somehow the victim in this narrative and Palestine an existential threat to its existence, ensures that meaningful attempts of discussion around the question are turned upside down from the outset; if you side with the humanity of the Palestinians you are starting from a minus. I strongly feel that if you think Israel’s consistent violations of international law and human rights abuses are immoral you are likely to be labelled an anti semite.
‘Israel’s right to exist’ and ‘defend herself’ as platitudes without substance, exploit genuine emotion, evoking memories of the crimes inflicted upon Jewish people during WW2.
They typify the kind of propaganda which ensures that interpretation and analysis of today’s conflict is blurred. They irresponsibly evoke one memory to justify an equally horrifying crime.
To be clear, any innocent loss of life is wrong and tragic and we must remember that many Israelis have become innocent victims in this narrative too.
But we need to look at this conflict for what it is and through a human lens first and foremost.
800,000 Palestinians were forced from their land to make way for the establishment of the Jewish state, and their land continues to be occupied. They as a people fight for justice and recognition. But Palestinians continue to die at the hands of colonial rule.
To deny Palestinians justice, is to deny the humanity and memory of victims of oppression and injustice everywhere, including those who died during the holocaust. There is nothing more cynical than evoking that tragedy to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
That is what Israel’s policy on the Palestinian people amounts to.
There have been several recent cases of Palestinian hunger strikers attracting much attention, including that of Hana al Shalabi protesting the practice of ‘administrative detention’. Held without charge, she is one of hundreds of Palestinians held captive and denied a trial by the Israeli government, and she is one of more than 20,000 detainees detained since 2001. By Wednesday Hana had entered 35th day on hunger strike with doctors describing her condition as being “at risk of imminent death”. By the evening she had been transferred to an Israeli military hospital.
In February, Khader Adnan, ended a 66-day hunger strike after the Israeli government eventually agreed to release him in April.
Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza strip, leaving more than 20 civilians dead is a reminder that while talk elsewhere centers on calling out so-called terrorism, while actually manufacturing consent, one of the most abhorrent examples of terrorism continues to take place un-checked-and is furthermore supported endorsed with apathy, and the deafening sound of silence.
The recent report from CERD, the branch of the UN tasked with eliminating racial discrimination affirmed as much in its strong criticism of Israel’s systematic persecution of Palestinians.
When we are talking about the Israel Palestine question we are talking about a conflict whereby one side enjoys status as a military superpower and receives billions of dollars in support from the USA. The other side are an occupied people-colonised.
Indeed, Palestinians have yet to gain full recognition of statehood in the eyes of the very same international quartet that began this tragedy, partitioned away their land, and which continues to stand by while Palestinian homes are bulldozed to make way for settlers-the same international community that continues to stay silent and remain complicit while the status quo remains-and worsens.
International law calls for the withdrawal of Israel from occupied Palestinian territories, not the expansion of existing settlements and the commandeering of Palestinian homes and land.
The reality of the situation is that the blockade itself is not confined to the West Bank nor the Gaza strip where one and a half million people are effectively imprisoned, humiliated daily, and denied basic rights and necessities.
Quite clearly the blockade also stretches its tentacles throughout media and news services and is the main reason as to why – despite the reality on the ground acknowledged by the UN, not to mention the majority of the rest of the international community – the prevailing platitudes that meet any calls for justice are met with; “What about Israel’s right to exist?” Even in the face of Palestinian genocide, during the massacre commonly know as operation Cast Lead, the mantra still prevailed in the overriding consensus from the media.
The actions of the state, juxtaposed with the propaganda which runs opposite, contradict the myth that Israel is under threat; in actuality it is Israel that is a militarized state, acting with impunity ignoring international law, and it Is Israel that refuses to allow weapons inspectors through its borders for an inventory.
If you argue this however, you are met with accusations of being anti Semitic or of being biased. When looking at the facts which characterize this debate, it is impossible to not arrive at a conclusion which acknowledges the inherent bias that characterizes this so-called conflict. That bias favors the side of the expansionist state, the occupier, Israel.
Palestinians are fighting for recognition as human beings, nevermind their quest for statehood.
The continued perseverance and spirit of the Palestinian people in the face of wave after wave of attack, reminds us that their struggle is a human struggle first and foremost. Therefore it is our struggle too.Tagged in: CERD, gaza strip, israel, Khader Adnan, Palestine
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter