Don’t just mow the grass – burn down the entire forest

Feb 16, 2024
Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023.

You know there is a shocking decimation taking place when news footage shows only two colours – grey and red. Images of the persecution and murder of Gazans are utterly heartbreaking. Israel is asking the world to allow it to commit genocide. The US, and the West, are saying “Yes, go ahead”.

If Israel were truly aggrieved at having to hunt out a few Hamas operatives at the cost of the annihilation of the Palestinians, they would be desperately trying to come up with a truce and agreement with Hamas to avoid this humanitarian disaster. But they aren’t.

Is the invasion of Gaza to do with recovering the hostages? If so that’s an easy one to solve. Israel could release the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners it holds in its jails. Israel’s systematic detention of Palestinian children runs into the tens of thousands over the last twenty years. The charge…throwing stones. (I can’t believe I’m writing this in 2024 because it sounds like something out of the Middle Ages).

880 Palestinian children were arrested in 2023. If and when children are released, there is a high likelihood that they will be arrested again. Perhaps this time charged with breathing. Save the Children noted that these are, “the only children in the world who are systematically prosecuted in military courts”. One such child who was released was told that if he or his family celebrated his homecoming or made any fuss in any way, he would be back in jail. What a revolting society for children to grow up in – on both sides – because both Palestinian and Israeli children are terrorised one way or another. Persecuted, brain washed or taught to hate.

It would be more than a fair swap to release innocent children, so where’s the dilemma? If a prisoner swap had been negotiated within days of the jail break from prison Gaza, perhaps we would not have this atrocious situation.

A further step would have been a negotiation of a Palestinian state and a release from the military occupation. What is stopping the Palestinians from simply declaring their own state in exactly the same way Israel had the audacity to do in 1948? Go ahead, state your place in this world and demand that the world takes notice. Entreaty countries who will help you do this. If it worked for European Jews in 1948 who moved to a foreign destination and suddenly call someone else’s land, Israel, then indigenous people should have no problem with legitimacy to claim it as a separate state – Palestine.

But…October 7 was for Israel a golden opportunity to get rid of the thorn in their side, their arch nemesis, their “human animal” neighbours. A truce would spoil that chance for Israel. It would spoil the chance to not only “mow the grass” but to burn down the entire forest – all in the name of self-defence. Israel and the United States will not recover from the scorching of their supposed democratic and human rights positions. No longer can they point the finger at countries they deem to be in violation of human rights.

Russia got the full force of the world’s ire when it invaded Ukraine. Hand wringing and sanctions, condemnation and outright racism were ramped up within weeks. Russia became a dirty word as the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin. Why not Netanyahu?

The hubris and exceptionalism that both Israel and the U.S. possess is not often challenged. They try to con the world into believing that they are well within their rights of exceptionalism to behave in a way that other countries would never get away with.

Biden is looking to be re-elected in November this year. His position and that of his party are far more important to him and to America than the lives of over 2 million people. How he sleeps at night is anybody’s guess; maybe with a pacifier. He may well lose the election purely on the genocidal green light he’s given to his mate, Bibi.

Keep protesting, objecting and speaking up. Fire up your outrage at what is happening to human beings who share our planet. We won’t look away nor murmur c’est la vie. A late-night talk show host carelessly and ignorantly suggested that the Palestinians ‘get with the program’ and move on. (To where, one may ask). I wonder if he would think the same thing if his neighbour decided that he wanted to take over his home and demanded he pick up his necessary belongings and shove off.

No one is safe if the U.S. and Israel don’t heed the warning that the rest of the world is bellowing loudly in their ears. As the saying goes, ‘if your neighbour’s house is on fire, you are also at risk’.

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