On the need for honesty as Gaza burns

We have no right to dishonesty of any sort. The Israeli massacre of Palestinians is political, it is what they judge to be required to maintain the current situation of political impasse. We must avoid calling for an end to violence by both sides and instead recognize that the explicit violence of massacres is part of an order of violence that maintains occupation, siege, colonization and dispossession. The violence that needs to end is not only the air strikes, but the settlements, the occupation, and the exclusion of refugees from their homeland.

 It is deeply misleading to characterize what’s happening in Palestine as a “cycle of revenge”. Israel occupies Palestinian land, and prevents refugees from returning to their homes, and this is maintained by a state of war which has lasted since the creation of the state. From the perspective of refugees, and people living under occupation, every day is a day of war – not only days of escalation. The escalation, just like all forms of resistance against the colonizer, is an attempt to make Israelis also experience the abnormality of the ongoing war which they do not normally experience. Rather than speaking of a “need for peace”, we should ask, “peace for who”, and realize that “peace” is only peace for the oppressor, and the continuation of war by other means for the one whose defeat is instituted as normality.

For Israel, war is something that begins and ends (with the exception of the October war) at the choice of the military leadership. For the occupied and the refugees every day is lived in a state of war. We should stop focussing on the need for “peace” and begin thinking about the unequal distribution of war in deeply one-sided conflicts.

We must have the courage to commit ourselves to the absoluteness of the distinction between violence that preserves institutionalized oppression, and violence that threatens and exposes that oppression as nothing but privileges defended by a regime of brutal domination.

 The true ground of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is the need to resist against colonial violence including dispossession and aggression. 

The truth is that the conflict is political, and it is over land and who gets to live in it – as Ahamad Yassin says, who has a greater right to the land, a refugee who was pushed out a few decades ago, or a Russian Jew descended from people who left the land 2000 years ago? It’s easy to say that there is enough room for everyone, and it’s easy to believe that from a position of safety in the first world, but would you believe there was enough room in the land for everyone if you were a refugee living in Gaza, and the Israelis had been keeping you out of your land, killing members of your community or family, and demolishing your houses, for the last 65 years? If there is room enough for everyone, let the Israelis say this, stop their aggression and welcome the refugees home. Do not ask the oppressed to first reach out the hand that builds trust. 

Most people in Gaza are refugees, and Hamas insists on their right of return, whereas the Fatah since the early 80s became politically associated with giving up this right. Is it any wonder that Hamas is popular in Gaza? 

As for the question of racism, why are we so quick to insist that there is no racism by racialized people against whites in the first world, and yet not apply the same analysis to Palestine? Israel is a white supremacist state, and it is not possible to be racist against those who act from a position of white privilege. Any similarities between statements about Jews coming from people suffering under Israeli oppression should not be called “racist” anymore than statements about whites coming from racialized people anywhere else where white privilege is a key structural factor in the oppression of one group by another.

The only countries supplying arms for the defence of Gaza [Iran, Syria] are the ones also supplying weapons for and carrying out the siege of Yarmouk.



One thought on “On the need for honesty as Gaza burns

  1. The truth is….horrific .
    The truth is being spun.
    The spin is being reported.
    Palestinian homes and civilians are being bombed. Children are being targeted. Over 1,000 dead many thousands maimed, many more thousands homeless.
    The horror is that this is not a problem in the Western media reports.
    I have watched numerous reports of the Gaza conflict on Sky news and BBC news. The format is always the same.
    The reporter will have an Israeli representative, usually a spokesman for the Israeli government.
    The staged reports plays out as follows….
    Reporter: how do you justify the number of civilians killed
    (I’m going to ask you this question so my channel looks like it’s trying to be fair)
    Israeli spokesman: we are retaliating to 1,500 Hamas rockets
    (I’m not going to mention how many of those rockets actually cause any damage, because I know it’s less than 0.01% and I won’t mention how many thousands of missiles we’ve fired back either)
    Reporter: will you agree to a ceasefire
    (I’m not going to mention the number of missiles fired by Israel or the minor relative damage caused by the Hamas rockets but I am now going to give you the next 10 minutes of prime time to put your side of the story across whilst I sit and nod my head in sympathy)
    Israelis Spokesman: we only want peace, Hamas don’t want peace so they won’t agree to a ceasefire, we had a truce and Hamas still fired rockets.
    (I won’t mention that none of the Hamas rockets hit any targets or that we did actually continue our military operations just that we stopped murdering women and children for 12 hours)
    Israeli spokesman: we only want peace, Hamas are terrorists so we have to take them out.
    (I won’t mention that Hamas are elected by the Palestinian people, or that we have no issue with killing many women and children or that we bomb water works, schools and hospitals as well as other infrastructure whilst we try and take out Hamas)
    Reporter: hmmm, so Hamas are not accepting the truce and there have been more Israelis killed
    (I will nod my head, and bring up the fact that Israelis have been killed, I won’t mention they are professional soldiers attacking the civilian population and committing war crimes along the way)
    Israeli Spokesman: yes that’s right one thousand five hundred rockets have been fired into Israel and still being fired even though we want peace
    (phew, managed to spin the murder of 1,000 people into the background and made it all about Hamas, hope this dumb bastard doesn’t twig and actually ask why Hamas are launching rockets in the first place)!
    Reporter: thank you

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