Why are you so afraid to speak out??

Mar 7, 2024
21 October 2023, Palestinian Territories, Al Zahra: An aerial view of Madinat Al-Zahra near Khan Yunis. The number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip has risen by more than 200 to 4,385 since the beginning of the war with Israel two weeks ago, the Hamas-run Heath Ministry said. Photo: Alamy/ Shadi Tabatibi/dpa

The brilliant, compassionate peace scholar and activist Stuart Rees, a regular contributor to this publication, constantly searches for ways of jolting the consciences of journalists, the political class – anyone in fact witnessing the horrors in Gaza.

He’s simply asking people, especially those in power, to condemn and act upon the bleeding obvious: that a genocide of the Palestinian people is being committed before our very eyes.

But no. The exceptionalism afforded to the Zionist state of Israel seems impenetrable. This despite a trove of accumulated evidence showing that Israel regularly breaches international law and trashes human rights under a brutal occupation that has lasted over seven decades. Despite long ago reaching the threshold of an apartheid state, breaching hundreds of UN resolutions, thumbing its nose at its main sponsor (and weapons supplier), the US, ignoring international criticism and the International Court of Justice, and now gunning down starving Palestinians, the only thing we get is a drip feed of tut-tuts. To call for an immediate ceasefire so that food, water and desperately needed medical supplies can be given to a besieged people is, apparently, tantamount to appeasement.

Meanwhile, the bright-eyed, bushy tailed Israeli spokespeople assure us that Israel is abiding by international law and that the military is among the most ‘moral’ in the world. The facts suggest otherwise. There’s no need to repeat the numbers of slaughtered Palestinians, the mutilated, the traumatised, the utterly desperate and hopeless. We’ve all heard countless stories of entire families being wiped out, brave journalists, medical and aid workers killed en masse. But then the bushy tailed tell us it’s all Hamas’s fault. Oh, come off it! Really? Who is this nonsense designed to fool? It’s not legal under international law to flatten entire neighbourhoods to get at Hamas fighters, or to bomb schools, universities, mosques, hospitals etc with no regard for human life. The so-called ‘war’ is groaning with stories of people and places bombed with not a Hamas fighter in sight.

Yet still, here are people of conscience, like Stuart – none of them rabid anti semites, delusional fools or lunatics – begging, pleading, cajoling for a skerrick of humanity to be shown to a people, the Palestinians, who have suffered grievously for so long.

I have listened to countless ‘debates’ and interviews of people on ‘both sides’, followed daily news reports across various media, read a tonne of literature on the history of the ‘conflict’, perused loads of official reports, and so on. I’m certainly no expert. But, like you, I’m bearing witness to acts of genocide occurring live, right there on TV. The lying, obfuscation, deceit; the terrible failure to state openly and honestly what people in power and the rest of us are witnessing, is as nauseating as it is consequential. The diplomatic posturing, the faux concern among politicians is utterly nauseating. None of it leads to open condemnation. The hiding behind ‘considered’ responses as people are dying is a luxury afforded to those living at a distance from daily horror.

The constant excusing or playing down of Israel’s repeated atrocities, is beyond perplexing. Courage is a rare commodity among political elites, and moral outspokenness even less so. The next time I hear someone say that the situation in the ‘Middle East’ is complex (and therefore no ‘judgement’ should be made), or that there are ‘many sides’ to this ‘story’, I’ll vomit.

Just think of this: had the brutish British forces engaged in a scorched earth policy during the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, there would have been a worldwide outcry (they did of course, do many horrible things). But Gaza can be flattened, its people displaced, starved, burned, mutilated in supposed ‘safe zones’, and next to nothing is said. Only the mildest flicks of a tea towel are administered. Shame on Australia, shame on all those who bear witness and refuse to speak out, or continue supplying a murderous regime with even more weapons.

How much more of this can onlookers take? When will the violent excesses of the Israeli Zionist state be called out? Why are you so scared to speak out?

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