The journalist from the daily Haaretz, known for her lifelong opposition to the Israeli colonial enterprise, takes up her pen again this Tuesday, to cry out her despair when she notes the indifference of her fellow citizens in the face of the massacre of the Palestinian people.
(Translation from English by CAPJPO-EuroPalestine)
Title: Israel killed thousands of children in Gaza. Why do so many Israelis remain indifferent?
(by Amira Haas, Haaretz, December 19, 2023)
For decades, we were led to believe that only the use of military force guaranteed the survival of the state, while denying Palestinians their rights. So here is one of the sad answers to the question.
The Gaza Strip is gradually being razed, along with its inhabitants, its families, its children, their smiles and their laughter. How is it that the majority of Jewish Israelis approve of this systematic eradication?
What leads them to believe that this is the only acceptable response to the massacre perpetrated by Hamas and its accomplices, to the military humiliation inflicted on Israel, and to the indescribable suffering endured by the hostages, the injured, the survivors, their families, and the families of the hundreds who were killed?
The Israeli army from the streets of Gaza and the alleys of its refugee camps. It destroys Gaza’s beach promenades, villages, and agricultural lands. It destroys cultural institutions, universities, archaeological sites.
Hamas’ military infrastructure is being destroyed, and could be completely destroyed. Thousands of armed men have been killed or will be killed. But this organization will rebuild itself, and with it its leaders, wherever the destruction of the Gaza Strip continues.
How can we understand the fact that the majority of Jewish Israelis are not shocked when they know that in two months we killed approximately 7,000 children (and this total is only provisional) using sophisticated American bombs?
How can we interpret the fact that most Jews are incapable of grasping the horror of cramming 1.8 or 1.9 million people into 120 square kilometers, a so-called ‘safe zone’ but which is constantly bombed?
What stops these Jews from screaming when they learn of the hunger and thirst of 2.2 million Palestinian civilians, the outbreak of epidemics, the lack of water supply, and the collapse of the system? hospital?
What allows this eradication and killing of children, with our active or passive participation? Here are some answers:
• For decades, we were taught that only military force could ensure the country’s survival and ability to prosper, while denying Palestinians their rights.
• In doing so, we have prohibited the evocation of any ‘context’. Anyone who uses this notion is quickly treated as a Hamas henchman and justifies the horrors perpetrated by the latter.
• We Jews are convinced that we have a monopoly on suffering, inflicted by the cruelty of the Other.
• We chose to look away from these unbearable images of trembling Palestinian children, their faces gray with dust, pulled alive from the ruins of a bombed building. And who is luckier: the child who survived, or the one who was killed?
• Each of the massacres, or selective killings that we have carried out for years, each theft, each brutality and each humiliation of Palestinians has been put through the mill of the media, psychologists and academics. The result is that we say to ourselves that the Palestinians ultimately have a better fate than that of the Somalis or the Syrians, and that they have nothing to complain about.
• We have the memory of every massacre committed by Palestinians against Israelis. And we forget any massacre committed by Israelis against Palestinians.
• For decades, we have become accustomed to living in a certain comfort, while five minutes away Israel (in other words, ourselves) destroys the houses of Palestinians, and builds them for Jews, with pipes of water water for the Jews, leaving the Palestinians to their thirst. All of this can be found in detailed reports from human rights organizations like HamoKed, B’Tselem and Adalah.
• For decades, we ignored ‘moderate’ Palestinians who warned us that the continued theft of their land and settler violence – supported by the state and inspired by the latter’s own violence – was blocking the horizon of their children, generated despair, and the sole recourse to armed struggle as a means of revenge.
• We have adopted an essentialist view: Palestinians are terrorists, because that is who they are. They were born with the genes of hatred against us; they are the descendants of the Roman Emperor Titus and pogromists like Khmelnytsky in 17th century Eastern Europe.
• We are convinced that we are a democratic country, even though for 56 years we have ruled over millions of subjects deprived of civil rights, whose lands, currency and economy we control.
• We have a deep racist contempt for the Palestinians, a contempt that we have developed precisely to justify, both cognitively and psychologically, trampling on them.
• We are in denial of the history of Palestine, and of its roots between the River and the Sea.
• The destruction of the Gaza Strip was made possible because since 1994, we have deliberately seized the opportunities – offered to us by the Palestinians – to erase a part that makes us a colonial entity, and allow them to have a State on 22% of the territory between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea (Gaza included). I wrote, in July 2021, that “in all the fury of the debate over apartheid, an active, dynamic and dangerous component of the issue, namely Jewish colonialism, had been largely ignored.
» According to the ideology and politics of the colonial movement, the Palestinians were superfluous. In summary, it is possible, relevant and desirable to live without Palestinians between the sea and the Jordan. Their presence here is conditional on our good will. It’s just a matter of time. The ideology about the ‘superfluous’ nature of the Palestinian presence is a poison, especially in these times when the settler movement is at its peak… Colonization is a continual process of land grabbing, breaking of borders historical, and the expulsion of its natives,” I wrote.
I then warned about the intentions to expel Palestinians from the West Bank. But I thought then that for the settler movement, keeping the people of Gaza out of reach of the rest of the land (i.e. Israel and the West Bank) was enough.
But it now appears that this notion of “superfluous” inhabitants results in expulsion, disguised as voluntary departure to escape the bombs. This results in the physical destruction of Gazans, and the first plans to rebuild Jewish settlements in Gaza. Woe to them, woe to us.