It appears true that ‘the world was never fair and will never be', particularly for the weak and vulnerable. At the moment, the plight of Palestinians and Palestine at the hands of powerful and so-called 'civilised' nations is proving this statement true. This is happening not behind closed doors in ‘situation rooms’ or secret hallways but before the full glare of global media and through public pronouncements; they have torn asunder the thin veneer of civilisation behind which they hide their ugly faces.
The world has also gotten a glimpse at the biased diplomacy at play by a global power that claims to be a champion of human rights and the master of maintaining the balance of power internationally. United States of America’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently on a whirlwind world diplomatic tour, stopping over in different capitals across the Middle East to coerce and co-opt rulers, particularly those of neighbouring Arab states. On Wednesday, his efforts will be capped by a summit involving US President Joe Biden. Blinken has given them two options: to either side with the US and Israel or spectate silently the execution of Israel's long desire to wipe out Palestinians from their last toehold in Gaza.
The Hamas attack of October 7 has turned into a handy excuse for Israel to justify the genocide of Palestinians. Conspiracy theories apart, some argue what real option the Palestinians are left with apart from resisting in any way they could against the aggressive Israeli occupation, which has seen in recent times complete immunity for armed settlers to harass Palestinians, even drag them from their homes and seal their water wells.
A regional and international political environment bereft of any empathy for Palestinians and their future could have only produced despair and desperation, the perfect grounds for a group such as Hamas to bolster its ranks
Since establishing the state of Israel, Palestinians have faced a relentless and spiralling cycle of violence, humiliation and forced evictions from their homes and lands. They have been displaced and squeezed into the open-air prison of Gaza, a 41-kilometre long and six to 12-kilometre-wide strip that hosts some 2.2 million Palestinians (a population density of 5,479 people square kilometres; by comparison, Lahore has a population density of 6,300 per square kilometre). They are under the constant shadow of the ‘Depth Corp’ of the Israeli army on land, the Israeli navy from the sea and the Israeli air force flying over their heads. The Palestinians and their aspirations for a free Palestinian state are being slowly murdered.
With a wave of 'normalisation' to establish diplomatic ties with Israel sweeping Muslim states in general and neighbouring Arab states in particular, there is an unshakable feeling that these ties come at the cost of Palestinians and their struggle for an independent homeland. Such a regional and international political environment bereft of any empathy for Palestinians and their future could have only produced despair and desperation, the perfect grounds for a group such as Hamas to bolster its ranks.
No sane mind can approve wanton acts of violence against the innocent and the unarmed in any situation. However, it is also extremely necessary to sift the truth from falsehoods and to put facts in their proper historical and contemporary context.
The foremost fact is that Israel has occupied the land of Palestine with sheer force, depriving them of their state, homes and properties by evicting them forcefully and replacing them with Jewish settlers while snatching the freedom and right to life for Palestinians.
Even with a strict interpretation of the term civilian, one can hardly find and differentiate between a civilian and a combatant
It is no secret that, if not all, most of the settlers were encouraged by Israel to possess and carry weapons. Veterans of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), reservists, police officers and firefighters are exempted from a personal interview to obtain firearm licences. On top of this, army personnel ranked first lieutenant or higher and non-commissioned officers ranked first sergeant or higher are allowed to keep their military-assigned weapons even after having left service.
Given the mandatory conscription and basic combat training in Israel for all citizens from age 18, these laws theoretically apply to most of the state's population. Even with a strict interpretation of the term civilian, one can hardly find and differentiate between a civilian and a combatant.
Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel are exempted from the mandatory military service. Thus, one can assume that when a situation such as October 7 unfolded, Israelis did not need to wear a uniform and rush to the nearest army unit to fight against militants.
One must also contest the Israeli claim for the number of civilian casualties and if they were exaggerated to justify Israeli genocide and ethnic cleansing to wipe out Palestinians from their remaining strip of land. This is why the sweeping statement from American President Joe Biden is curious. It gives currency to the fact that America and the Western world are not only buying the propaganda of Israel but are key to spreading it.
To recall, after the Hamas attack on Israel, apart from other exaggerations, Biden stated that "Hamas is beheading babies." This statement was proven false; even the White House had to issue a clarification. Yet, many in the West kept its general idea a part of their narrative against Hamas. Blinken, too, is still harping on the mantra of Hamas atrocities, the killing of civilians and of "proportionality of response" in his press conferences in different capitals. Unsurprisingly, he failed to show even an iota of morality to say a single word about Israeli actions, many of which can be considered war crimes since they resulted in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians, including babies, children, women, the old, rescue and emergency workers homes, schools, hospitals, ambulances and mosques.
The disproportionate Israeli 'defensive' retaliation to Hamas' attacks, coupled with the unequivocal and aggressive support from America and its Western allies, have all emboldened Israel to push for a genocide of Palestinians
Israel, though illegitimate, is a state and not a group and, therefore, should abide by international law, conventions and laws of war. Unfortunately, since its inception, the West, led by America, legitimised the terrorism and crimes of the Israeli state. The German stance is understandable, given it is still mired in the shame of the holocaust, but America's impulsive and discriminate response to the conflict further erodes credibility and tarnishes her image as a world power which is unable to maintain moderation and resolve a conflict on the bases of justice - without which it will find fewer and fewer takers of its diplomacy.
The disproportionate Israeli 'defensive' retaliation to Hamas' attacks, coupled with the unequivocal and aggressive support from America and its Western allies, have all emboldened Israel to push for a genocide of Palestinians. It is no wonder it is igniting outrage amongst the citizens of these countries, including Jews.
As this anger attains critical mass, it could threaten to spill over into a new conflict. In the prevailing circumstances, Israel, with the backing of America and the West, can kill and forcefully expel the remaining Palestinians from Gaza. Yet nothing they do can win peace nor undo the notion and claim of Palestinians to a free state.
The state of Israel is itself a glaring example of this simple fact. Therefore, it is in vain to think about obliterating Palestinians from the face of the earth. Israel should accept the two-state solution and effectively implement it. It is the only thing that can ensure lasting security and peace for everyone in the region.