Palestinians, pushed beyond endurance, defend their homeland against violent apartheid

Oct 9, 2023
Israel and Palestine flags on cracked wall

As a start, and a prompt, I once again call upon our government to recognise Palestine. Have the courage to stand up to Israel, and its primary backer, the United States. Oh, and another thing, Mr. Prime Minister, and Ms. Foreign Minister – please don’t purport to speak for all Australians when you say “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

We awoke on Sunday morning to learn of the events in Israel/Palestine. Of course, our press/media used the usual phrases – ‘terrorism, terrorists, unprovoked attack, invasion’. It repeated the usual mantra emanating from the US that Israel ‘has a right to defend itself and its people’, whilst never alluding to the same right existing for the Palestinian people. It speaks of the US’ ‘unwavering’ commitment to Israel and presents that commitment as something to be lauded.

There is a pressing need for Australians to assess the situation from an informed and balanced position. Australians must understand that what they are seeing is the response of a people pushed beyond endurance. Since 1948 Israel has been perpetrating crimes against humanity, collective punishment, and has created an open-air prison for Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Palestinians have suffered relentless attacks by Jewish settlers on their towns, cities, and holy sites.

The situation in Gaza is bleak. It was partly addressed in the writer’s earlier article of 24 October 2022, Australia must overturn its listing of Hamas as a terrorist organisation. The first thing to remember is that under international law, Gaza remains under Israeli military occupation.

The humanitarian catastrophe has continued unabated in Gaza for years. The suffocating Israeli military and naval blockade has lasted for 16 years. That blockade has imprisoned and starved two million people and denied them medical aid. Palestinians in Gaza are routinely massacred, and children have been traumatised by recurring bombing campaigns. In essence, Gaza is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. The blockade extends to commercial goods, food, fuel, and even humanitarian aid. The ongoing siege is continuously destroying the lives of the people who live there, in extreme poverty, with little access to clean water and with about four hours of electricity a day. Hamas is responding to same, to occupation, oppression, illegal settlement, and desecration of Palestinian religious symbols, especially, and recently, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

But of course, it is not just Gazans. It is Palestinians. In the West Bank, since the election of the current government in Israel, that government has escalated its military occupation over Palestinians in the name of Jewish supremacy with violent expulsions and home demolitions, mass killings, military raids on refugee camps, and daily humiliation. Recently, Israeli forces have repeatedly stormed the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem. And then there are, as well, the attacks against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The occupation is over all Palestinians, creating an apartheid regime. Children are dragged from their beds in night raids by Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers and held without charge in military prisons. Palestinian homes are torched by settlers, or destroyed by the IDF. Entire Palestinian villages are forced to flee, abandoning homes and orchards and land that has been in their family for generations. What we have seen on the weekend is the resistance that naturally emerges as a response to violent apartheid.

Whilst this has followed the much vaunted alleged discussions between Israel and Saudi Arabia – the so-called ‘normalisation deal’ – it is interesting to note the Saudi Foreign Ministry Statement issued after the Palestinian attack. The statement was in these terms: “Saudi Arabia warned Israel of the possible risks of escalation due to the occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, as well as the systematic provocation against their holy sites.”

Australia’s involvement has mirrored that of its boss, the US. Australia’s failure to act has contributed to the current quagmire. Had the ALP on gaining office in 2022 done what its rank and file had called for at preceding National Conferences – namely to recognise Palestine – who knows what might have followed. It is reasonable to think that a chain re-action may have been set afoot. It is probable that New Zealand would have followed suit and others followed. This may have been the catalyst for a resolution of the dispute, possibly on the basis of two States on the 1967 borders.

Instead, where are we now heading? Israel’s current government wants to destroy the Palestinian Authority, take direct control of the entire historical Palestine – what they call ‘The Greater Land of Israel’ – and complete the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

The immediate Israeli response to the weekend attack is concerning. Netanyahu has called on Palestinians in Gaza to “Leave now” as Israeli forces “act everywhere” with “all the force”. Such a declaration must be recognised as one of genocide. Gaza’s two million plus Palestinians cannot escape Israel’s attacks. And are we seriously heading to a full re-occupation of Gaza?

What is needed is a solution based on justice, and not the destruction of one party. That solution can only be to bring an end to apartheid, and the occupation, and to promote a future based on justice and equality for all.

As a start, and a prompt, I once again call upon our government to recognise Palestine. Have the courage to stand up to Israel, and its primary backer, the United States. Oh, and another thing, Mr. Prime Minister, and Ms. Foreign Minister – please don’t purport to speak for all Australians when you say “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

Share and Enjoy !

Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter
Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter

 

Thank you for subscribing!