Palestine: The right to defence of stolen land

Oct 12, 2023
Gaza City, aerial photography by abdallah ElHajj

PM Albanese supports indigenous Australians but not indigenous Palestinians, whose land has also been stolen from them. Why?

Albanese claims that the recent Hamas attack is “a dreadful circumstance that people didn’t see coming”, a damning admission of his ignorance about the genesis and history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Anyone who didn’t see this coming hasn’t been paying attention, including Israel.

Both he and FM Wong repeat the tired assertion that Israel has a “right to defend itself”, neglecting to admit that Israel wouldn’t have to defend itself if it complied with international law and UN resolutions, halted and reversed illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and facilitated the creation of a Palestinian State.

With regard to Palestine, Israel has consistently failed to adhere to the “rules-based international order” for a very long time. It is in flagrant violation of international law by creating settlements of its own citizens in the Occupied Territories. This annexation by stealth has been studiously ignored by Western governments, but it is nothing less than a progressive theft of Palestinian land countenanced by the West.

Western corporate-state media routinely describes the Palestinian resistance as terrorists, but the Israeli system of repression is always cast as defensive. It’s not: it is a slow suffocation, by one of the most powerful militaries on the planet, of an indigenous people’s rights, hopes, lives, freedoms and future.

Last year Amnesty International found that Israel’s “continuing oppressive and discriminatory system of governing Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) constituted a system of apartheid.” It also found that “the 15-year ongoing Israeli blockade [of Gaza] amounts to illegal collective punishment and further fragments Palestinian territory.”

After 50 years of continuous humiliation and the severest repression, the Palestinians are at the end of their tether. They know better than most the capacity and willingness of the State of Israel to inflict cruel and savage reprisals on civilian populations. Hamas has attacked with full knowledge of the inevitable and terrifying consequences. Indeed, the Israeli government has already spoken of “special methods” which will be necessary in dealing with this embarrassingly flagrant security breach. These are chilling and blood-curdling words.

Israel has now cut supplies of electricity, fuel, food and water to Gaza. The lethal consequences of this are as plain as day. It seems that the state of Israel will now apply this method of reprisal by collective punishment at an unprecedented scale. If so, it will be adopting the heinous methods used by the Imperial Japanese Army and the German Wehrmacht in WWII, universally condemned by the international community.

The ahistorical, reflexive responses by Australian politicians will serve to legitimise the coming catastrophe. Dutton has repudiated any idea of restraint; Marles will support Israel doing “whatever it takes”.

How far will the Jewish state be permitted to proceed further down the road to moral turpitude?

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