Naftali Bennet in UAE: Normalizing Genocide?

Isreali Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (L) with UAE Prince Muhammad Bin Rayed. (Photo: via Bennett Twitter Page)

By Zubayr Alikhan

This past Sunday, in the latest in a series of proliferating normalisation and relationship-building activities, the UAE welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett into the country. In a profound twist of fate, the very same day, Israeli forces shot and killed Jamil al-Kayyal, a 31-year-old Palestinian man, in Nablus.

Just two days earlier, Palestinian Jamil Abu Ayyash sustained repeated gunshot injuries to the head and was killed by Israeli forces in Beita—Abu Ayyash is the ninth Palestinian to have been murdered in the village since May. Indeed, during a cabinet meeting on the release of Palestinian prisoners, Bennett himself admitted to conducting and endorsing such killings, stating, “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that”. These tragic events, and their telling synchrony with the UAE’s deuced welcoming of their perpetrator serves as an effective microcosm of the catastrophic consanguinity between international complicity and persistent governmental criminality.

The UAE provides Israel with over $6.8 billion in Israeli ‘security’ and surveillance equipment every year. Additionally, the UAE’s rapidly intensifying legal, ethical, and moral degradations have seen the nation announce a plan to strengthen its economic ties with the apartheid “state” to over $1 trillion within the next decade. Such international backing constitutes the backbone of the settler-colonial regime, enabling, facilitating, and legitimizing its crimes.

Since its first inception in theoretical and philosophical thought, the primary proponents of Zionism and the establishment of a “Jewish National State” in Palestine, have been categorical in stressing international backing as a fundamental prerequisite for the achievement of Zionism’s imperial ambitions. Considered the founding father of Political Zionism, Theodore Herzl’s vehement efforts to attain British support by embedding Zionism within all realms of British governance and society as an extension of its prevalent pre-existing Imperial ideologies, evidence the aforementioned point.

So too, do the writings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism, who stated in his publication “The Iron Wall”, that the idea of the Jewish national home in Palestine was solely attainable through brute force, and indiscriminate Jewish domination over the native populations. It was only this inescapable domination by a colossal and impenetrable force or the “Iron Wall” as he coined it, taking the form of an immovable “Jewish military force” backed by “a force that is not dependant on the local population”, that would quell the natives’ hopes, rendering them “powerless to break [the iron wall] down”.

It is, without doubt, this “Iron Wall” of imperial despotism beginning with the alliance of the British Empire—and solidifying itself in the notorious Balfour Declaration of 1917—which continues to strengthen and fortify itself to this day through the colossal military, economic, and diplomatic partnerships established between Israel and the UAE, among a heinous consortium of other deeply complicit nations.

Interestingly, the construction of this political and ideological “Iron Wall” stated by Jabotinsky in 1923, was not only realized in its philosophical essence, but also implemented physically through a recently completed colossal 65-kilometer barrier surrounding the horrifically besieged Gaza, which Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz himself termed an “Iron Wall”.

Of course, in both its physical design and morally bankrupted purpose, this “Iron Wall” draws immediate parables to its architectural predecessor: Israel’s infamous Separation Wall constructed in 2002—a structure which has been deemed brazenly illegal and condemned by both the International Court of Justice and the United Nations General Assembly. Fronted as a necessary security measure to protect Israel from the millions of native Palestinian children, women, and men, it so peremptorily deems “terrorists”, the criminality of the UAE’s annual $6.8 billion security and surveillance provisions is glaringly present in the cases of both the former and the latter.

It is indeed the recognition of this direct causal relationship between international complicity and the ever-widening sphere of Israel’s criminal activities that has formed the basis upon which popular movements such as BDS have established their strategy of resistance. A brutal occupation, apartheid, and genocide which has endured for over 73 years simply could not exist, let alone thrive, without international support and complicity. The latter is the primary enabler and facilitator of the first.

In light of the above, it is of paramount importance that the international community, and the various governmental and non-governmental bodies who claim to champion human rights and equality, accept their legal, ethical, and humanitarian obligation to fight for justice in Palestine and as such, abstain from and unequivocally condemn the establishment, formation, and propagation of both military and diplomatic ties with the apartheid “state”. So long as “we” insist on normalizing and turning a blind eye to Israel’s cataclysmic crimes, the impunity with which the nation has operated since its blood-filled birth through the Nakba in 1948, shall undoubtedly persevere, with devastating effect.

– Zubayr Alikhan is a student and writer whose primary focus is on the pursuit of justice with a particular emphasis on international human rights, anti-colonial resistance, and legal accountability. He writes on issues highlighting oppression and tyranny around the world. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out