From Palestine to South Africa: Fighting for Freedom is an Obligation

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate the launch of Al-Aqsa Flood operation on October 7. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Iqbal Jassat

Whatever spin emanates from the settler-colonial regime’s Hasbara (propaganda) unit to project the merciless slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza as a “War on Hamas”, must be rejected with disdain.

It is an utter misrepresentation of the genocide in Gaza and a calculated distortion of the tragic reality of the barbaric massacre of innocent civilians in their thousands.

To misname it as a war on Hamas while pounding civilian, medical, and religious infrastructure while wiping out entire families, is intended to obfuscate Israel’s main goal: ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians in Gaza.

A United Nations report related to Yugoslavia described ethnic cleansing as “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas”.

It is precisely what is being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza via deliberate military attacks, bombings, missiles, murder, extrajudicial executions, and the displacement and planned deportation of the population to the Sinai desert in Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his group of racist warmongers who include leaders of Western governments, have crafted a narrative not any different from the George W Bush era’s discredited “War on Terror”.

Many who are witnessing the bloodbath in Gaza will be aware that the ferocity of airstrikes across the densely populated Gaza Strip draws on the fury unleashed by US bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Many will also be reminded that the millions displaced, and thousands killed post-9/11, were overwhelmingly Muslim civilians.

Shackled and blindfolded, many hundreds of detainees held at gunpoint, physically abused, and violently tortured at the notorious jail built by the Americans inside the massive Bagram military base, were all Muslims.

They were held for years without charges or trials while mistreatment, waterboarding, and beatings were rife.

The same if not worse can be said about Guantanamo Bay. Known as Gitmo, it was an island outside the law where so-called “terrorism” suspects were detained without due process and interrogated without restraint.

Throughout the world, Gitmo became a symbol of injustice, abuse and disregard for the rule of law. More than 800 Muslim men including youth, passed through its cells since Bush opened it in 2002.

The notion of terrorism was undoubtedly conflated with Muslims and Islam. Thus, it would be logical and accurate to have depicted it as a “War on Muslims”.

As is the case in Gaza, the Palestinian population is predominantly Muslim.

The entire population of 2.3 million, as military targets of the horrific bombardments, have become casualties of the war under the dubious pretext that they are used as “human shields” by Hamas.

The ruse of “terror” by Israel is not any different to the one fabricated by the White House following 9/11 and piggy-backed upon by Britain’s warlord, Tony Blair.

As is the case today, it was not only deceptive and concocted to mislead public opinion, but it led to massive destruction of two sovereign states.

Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Gaza is not a country. The false impression created by Israel is that the besieged Strip is a “sovereign nation state”, possessing a navy, air force and army.

The fact is that Gaza is an occupied part of the rest of Palestine, under the brutal control of Israel. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t even possess an airport, much less an army or navy, Gaza is sealed and blockaded by air, sea and land by Israel.

As the occupying power, Israel has distinct legal, political and moral obligations as defined by the Geneva Convention in respect of occupied populations.

Instead, the colonial regime has for the past seventeen years imposed a suffocating regime of restrictions on Gaza and, at regular intervals, massacred thousands of Palestinians.

Not surprising, therefore, on the 18th day of Israel’s merciless slaughter, to finally hear UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres declare that it is important to recognize that the attacks by Hamas “did not happen in a vacuum”.

“The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” Guterres said.

Hamas, as the vanguard of Palestine’s Resistance movements, possesses, like most liberation struggles against colonialism and apartheid, the obligation to free its people.

In South Africa, we had a similar situation when freedom movements and leaders were demonized as terror outfits and terrorists.

All opposition to apartheid during the racist reign of the National Party was construed as the embodiment of communism, and a threat to white rule.

The war on Gaza is similarly justified by Netanyahu – who has a long history of vile Islamophobia – to eliminate Hamas as the embodiment of “militant Islam” in order to preserve white supremacism.

By all accounts, it is clear that he has miscalculated as he habitually does.

Wiping out Hamas as he declared “root and all from the face of the earth” is a tall order his army of mercenaries may find extremely painful to accomplish.

– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit:

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