A rude awakening: Israel’s occupation shaken to the core

Nov 14, 2023
President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel before a press conference at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)..President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a press conference at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the early hours of that fateful morning, October 7th 2023, the silence was broken by a wake-up call like no other. A group of Palestinian freedom fighters, young men who had never known anything but occupation, siege, and subjugation shook the Israeli Occupation foundations to the core. Like birds of prey, those fighters flew on their motorcycles over the electronic steel fence, breached that same fence on their jeeps and attacked the illegal settlements on the periphery of the besieged Gaza Strip. They killed 1400 people and captured over 200 others. The casualties were a mixture of Israeli soldiers, reservists and, of course, civilians. And the cry for Freedom and basic human dignity reverberated across the land.

Western governments and western media echoed the Israeli cry that this was an unprovoked barbaric attack. Any sane person might think that 75 years of occupation, land theft, displacement, murder, incarceration without charge, torture and cold blooded assassinations would be provocation enough. But, it seems we are going through an insane period at this moment in time. So, no I will not condemn this desperate cry for help, nor will I condemn Hamas for carrying it out.

There was a moment of sanity ten years ago when the then President of the United States of America, Mr Barack Obama, said, while addressing Israeli university students.

“Put yourselves in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own, living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements, not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day—it’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished or displaces Palestinian families from their homes. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.”

Yet, the mere idea that we are afforded the sobriquet of ‘humans’ offends the occupiers of our land. Gideon Levy, renowned Israeli journalist, pointed out that this view of the Palestinians as ‘not human like us’ is widespread. “if you rub any Israeli you’ll find that most believe that we are are the ‘chosen people’ and can do whatever we like to whoever we like.” They have been doing it to us for 75 years and continue to do so with the tacit approval, so as not to say, encouragement of the ‘civilised’ world.

As for Mr Obama’s warning of the use of ’Occupation and expulsion’ this is exactly what Mr Netanyahu and his war cabinet are calling for.

Why Not? According to the current Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, “Palestinians, are nothing but ‘ human animals’, and should be eradicated.”

Another government minister, Amichai Eliyahu, not satisfied with a death toll of 11078 Palestinians, 4506 of which were children and 3027 were women, and has said that that the nuclear option would be “one way” to deal with Gaza, proving once and for all that not only is Israel in possession of nuclear weapons – something the country has never admitted – but is also willing to use them. The settlers, that Mr Obama also mentioned, have been on the rampage in the West Bank for the last five weeks, aided and abetted by the Israeli Occupation Forces that wreaked havoc in Jenin, my place of birth, Tulkarim and Hebron. The bitter harvest of this is also 200 Palestinians killed, mostly young men.

But, despite this, if you listen to any western politician, diplomat or pundit, the cry is ‘Israel has a right to defend itself.’ Never should it cross their minds, let alone their lips, that we, the Palestinians have rights as well.

Yitzhak Shamir, former zionist terrorist and perpetrator of the massacres of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin and the Jerusalem headquarters of the British Army, the King David Hotel, who became Prime Minister of Israel, said that his main aim in life was to break the back of the Palestinian resistance. Shimon Peres, the godfather of Israel’s nuclear programme and former Israeli President, once said that he wished that the sea would swallow Gaza.

If these are not enough, let me remind you further of the level of callousness and inhumanity of Israeli leaders since the very inception of the state. Mrs Golda Meir once said. “We will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill their children”. Stop for a moment. Close your eyes and let this blood curdling thought hang in the air. Just as an addendum, Moshe Fieglin, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset has said that there are no civilians in Gaza. All are combatants and should be pushed into the Sinai Desert. He repeated the call for genocide only last week.

As for the danger of ‘expulsion’ that Mr Obama spoke of, this is exactly what the Israelis have been planning all along. To empty Gaza of its Palestinian inhabitants and push them into ‘tent cities’ in the Sinai desert. ‘Tent cities’. When Egypt resisted this obvious ethnic cleansing, despite inducement and financial bribery, Israeli war planes bombarded Gaza with leaflets, ordering the people to move down south. When they did, they were bombed. Relentlessly. Not only down south, but in the ‘safe corridor’ that was apparently provided for them. Men, women, children, ambulances, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, UN facilities. Nothing is safe in Gaza. Yet Mr Netanyahu, while addressing foreign diplomats in Jerusalem, said “we are attacking the barbarians to protect you”.

The United Nations’ Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, said that what happened on October 7th did not come from a vacuum. He was jumped upon, called names and the Israelis demanded his resignation. Mr Guterres was not to be deterred. A few days ago he described the situation in Gaza as becoming ‘a graveyard for children’. “It is more, “ he said “ than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity.”

Where is humanity through all of this? Are we not deserving of attention, let alone compassion? As the ordinary people of the western world fill their streets with demonstrations for Palestine, government after western government call our cry for help ‘an act of terror’ and stand by Israel. Not only in words but in deeds. The Home Secretary of Britain, Suella Braverman, accused the British police of double standards and bias towards pro-Palestine protesters. She wants to ban them and she called them ‘hate speech’. It’s a similar story in France and Germany. Don’t you sometimes wonder what happened to the freedom of speech in our much hallowed democracies? Those same leaders have despatched armadas to the eastern Mediterranean, including nuclear submarines. They despatched special forces to aid Israel in its genocide in Palestine. They used the Security Council to stop the call for ‘cease fire’ and supplemented it with ‘a pause’. A pause? Are we watching a movie and we need to pause for a cup of tea and then resume unabated? In the United States in particular, politicians like Nikki Hayley and Lindsey Graham are egging Israel on. “Finish the job”, Ms Hayley says.

“Flatten Gaza,” Lindsey Graham says.

During a speech in support of a ceasefire, Democratic representative Angie Nixon said, “We are at 10,000 dead Palestinians. How many will be enough?”

Michelle Salzman, Republican state representative from Florida called out, “all of them”.

The newly elected leader of the house, Mike Johnson, was not to be denied his piece of this toxic pie. “The First bill will be in support of our dear friend, Israel. We are going to show Israel – and the entire world that the barbarism of Hamas..is wretched and wrong and we are going to stand for the good in that conflict.”

Mr. Netanyahu, in one of his fiery speeches aimed at the US Congress, compared this attack against Israel with the American horror of 9/11, threatening the people of Gaza with fire and brimstone. He fulfilled that threat. The fire power that Israel has inflicted upon Gaza over the last five weeks, in full view of the world, is disproportionate to an astounding degree. Immense, almost unbelievable.

After all the above, and believe me there is much more, what are the Palestinians to do? Lie down, accept their lot ? Or lie down and die?

Haven’t the leaders of the so-called civilised world learned yet that brute force and disregard of ‘the other’ will not work?

It would seem not.

Republican front runner, Mr Donald Trump, threatening what he calls ‘the enemies of America’ had this to say, in his latest ad campaign for the Presidency.

“History shows very plainly that evil only respects one thing. Unyielding strength. If you spill one drop of American blood we will spill a gallon of yours.”

Are we witnessing Armageddon?

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