Israeli Blindness Highlights Unlearned Lessons from History

Israeli airstrikes on besieged Gaza continue. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Mohamed El Mokhtar

The enduring suffering is the result of an undeniable reality: the colonization of a territory and the sustained subjugation and dehumanization of its native population.

In recent weeks we’ve noticed ad nauseum a consistent pattern of one-sided condemnations from Western leaders. They unequivocally assert Israel’s absolute right to self-defense, and these messages effectively constitute a green light for indiscriminate killings, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and the mass deportations of Palestinians, reminiscent of historical occurrences such as the 1948 Nakba.

We have also observed a recurring pattern where prominent Western journalists, seemingly operating like automatons, pose a series of pre-scripted questions to Palestinian sympathizers or representatives.

These questions often revolve around condemning the actions of the militant group Hamas, devoid of any contextual information that would help explain the underlying reasons. They unquestioningly echo Israeli propaganda without daring to question its unfounded core principles.

Piers Morgan serves as an example in this context. He consistently raises the question of a “proportionate response” to justify the suffering inflicted on Gaza. However, many interviewees fail to emphasize from the beginning that there can be no proportionate response when one is the occupier. The act of occupation, in itself, forfeits the right to claim self-defense.

It is fundamentally contradictory to occupy, oppress, and brutalize a population and then invoke the right to self-defense when met with resistance from those who have endured such oppression, aside from the fact that self-defense would have to adhere to international law.

This is also the case with disingenuous pundits like Fareed Zakaria and Christiane Amanpour, who, despite their awareness of the situation, opt to disregard its underlying causes and, notably, appear to grapple with a sense of shame regarding their Muslim heritage.

‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’

These opportunistic individuals fail to acknowledge the enduring plight of Palestinians who have lived under a harsh occupation for decades, facing an unending cycle of humiliation, blockades, and recurrent bombings that deliberately target civilians, including children, women, and medical personnel.

These attacks extend even to places of worship and have severe environmental consequences. While the degree of violence may vary depending on the context, the suffocating reality of the situation in Palestine remains constant.

For decades, Israel has pursued an unofficial policy known as ‘death by a thousand cuts,’ aimed at maintaining continuous pressure on Palestinians, in the hope that they might ultimately forsake their pursuit of independence or consider relocating outside of Palestine.

Since October 7 it has become evident that Israel is discussing the idea of mass transfers to the Sinai Desert or Jordan as part of its strategy. Both Egypt and Jordan continue to resist, but the question arises: how long can they sustain this resistance?

As a ground invasion looms and a barbaric blockade grips both northern and southern Gaza, leaving people without shelter, food, water, or fuel, is it possible to prevent a large-scale forced relocation? By being complicit in the strangulation of Gaza, the leadership of Egypt will soon reap the bitter fruits of its criminal involvement in suffocating the territory.

The Sisi regime will, sooner or later, face significant destabilization, leading to far-reaching consequences in the region. The Sinai region has long been of interest to advocates of Greater Israel, and this perspective is gaining momentum within the current Israeli government, with specific members displaying a strong commitment to the notion of ethnic cleansing in Palestine. It’s important to highlight that Israel has not officially declared its borders, and even its demarcation with Gaza is considered an armistice line rather than an internationally recognized border.

A Man-Made Catastrophe

The repetitiveness of this ongoing drama is evident. The central characters are all too familiar, and the plot feels like a recurring theme. The enduring suffering is the result of an undeniable reality: the colonization of a territory and the sustained subjugation and dehumanization of its native population.

Consequently, Palestinian casualties are a direct outcome of the actions of their oppressors, and the subsequent violence, endured at times by Israel, no matter how shocking, is and remains an immediate consequence of what the Palestinians have endured for so long.

Those who claim to stand with Israel are dubiously selective in their moral indignation. If they were genuine in their humane feelings, they should extend the same sentiments to the Palestinians. It is they who are the primary victims. The selective empathy in this situation is simply disconcerting. How can one grieve the tragic loss of Israelis, minimizing their government’s accountability, while simultaneously disregarding the deaths of Palestinians and the fundamental causal factors that contributed to this tragedy?

Overlooking the underlying causes of suffering is tantamount to turning a blind eye to the painful consequences it entails.

An Ironic Paradox

How ironic that Israel perceives the possibility of forging peace agreements with Arab countries while at the same time oppressing the Palestinians. Despite its prior peace accords with Egypt and Jordan, the Egyptian and Jordanian populations remain resolutely opposed to normalizing relations with Israel.

Mauritania did, at one point, extend recognition to Israel, but it swiftly dissipated following the fall of the regime that had granted it. The recent demonstration of hundreds of thousands of Moroccans in Rabat, in support of Gaza, underscores the Arab attachment to the Palestinian cause. It serves as a stark reminder that sentiments among Arabs remain rooted in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Predominant Impetus of American Support for Israel

I am intrigued by the perplexing aspect of a people that has endured significant historical hardships at the hands of European powers, yet they seem to harbor a deep-seated belief in the unwavering commitment of the West.

Western leaders, especially Americans, do not seem to prioritize the future well-being of the Israeli people. If they did, they would have helped it achieve a lasting peace with its neighbors, but they have not.

The underlying reason is straightforward. The USA primarily views the Zionist state as a policy instrument to ensure perpetuating its hegemony in the region. This blind backing has prevented it from normalizing its relationship with its neighbors, making it entirely dependent on American aid and support.

Yet, despite the backing of Christian evangelicals and influential Jewish communities with strong emotional connections to Zionism, the predominant impetus for American support of Israel is rooted in imperialistic objectives. Israel serves as a pivotal military base for advancing US imperial interests in the Middle East and functions as a testing ground and lucrative resource for the country’s military-industrial complex, which significantly benefits from a substantial portion of the aid allocated to this so-called strategic ally.

Unlearned Lessons of History

How can Israeli elites and society hold onto the belief of perpetuating the existing status quo, which involves depending on indefinite external support to maintain an unsustainable hegemony? This pertains not only to bigots like Atamar Ben Guevir or Bezalel Smotrich, or religious extremists, but to the intellectual and cultured elites within a society which has fostered numerous thinkers and philosophers, yet continues to elect the likes of Naftali Bennet and Benyamin Netanyahu.

It’s indeed bewildering how a people who suffered so much at the hands of the West can forget so easily its most brutal historical atrocities and place its trust in it again!

Forgotten now are the mass deportations carried out by Petainist France, or the fact that US intervention during the Holocaust took place when their commercial vessels were directly threatened by German U-boats, not because Jews were being exterminated. Not to speak of Germany where they were nearly exterminated, notwithstanding being culturally and economically integrated.

Furthermore, Israeli officials don’t shy away from using genocidal terms straight from a textbook of Nazi Germany, as was recently exemplified by the Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant or the former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillmer. Both characterized Palestinians as subhuman animals, a troubling and disconcerting parallel.

Considering the historical context and the fascist tendencies exhibited by parties such as the National Rally (formerly known as the National Front) in France, the Sweden Democrats, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), and even elements within the GOP in the US, it would be irrational for Israelis to rely entirely on unwavering Western support.

Moreover, it would be even more foolish for Israeli leaders to believe that they can bypass the Palestinian issue and attain peaceful relations with 400 million Arab neighbors and 2 billion Muslims, for whom Palestine represents a clear case of colonization and outright racism.

– Mohamed El Mokhtar Sidi Haiba is a social and political analyst, whose research interest is focused on African and Middle Eastern Affairs. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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