By Ramzy Baroud
Gaza has disrupted the political equation in Palestine. Moreover, the repercussions of the ongoing devastating war are likely to alter the political field throughout the Middle East and refocus Palestine as the most pressing political crisis in the world for years to come.
Since Israel’s creation in 1948, supported by Britain and protected by the United States and other Western countries, the priorities have been entirely Israeli. “Israel’s security, Israel’s military advantage, Israel’s right to defend itself…and much more, are the mantras that have defined the West’s political discourse on the Israeli occupation and apartheid in Palestine.
This strange American-Western conception of the so-called conflict, according to which the oppressor has “rights” over the oppressed and the occupier has “rights” over the occupied, has allowed Israel to maintain a military occupation of the territories Palestinians which has lasted for more than 56 years.
But many claim that it has lasted for more than 75 years.
It also allowed Israel to put aside the roots of this “conflict”, namely the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and the right of return of Palestinian refugees, long denied and totally legitimate.
In this context, all Palestinian-Arab peace overtures were rejected. Even the so-called “peace process”, namely the Oslo Accords, has turned into a great opportunity for Tel Aviv to strengthen its military occupation, expand its illegal settlements and confine Palestinians to spaces similar to bantustansby humiliating them and subjecting them to racial segregation.
Some Palestinians, seduced by American gifts or broken by a lingering sense of defeat, have lined up to receive the dividends of American-Israeli peace: pitiful crumbs of empty prestige, hollow titles and limited power, granted or refused by Israel itself.
However, the Israeli war against the Palestinians of Gaza is already changing much of this painful status quo.
The occupation state’s continued insistence that its murderous war is being waged against the Hamas movement, against “terror,” against Islamic fundamentalism and all the rest, has perhaps convinced those willing to accept the Israeli version of events for what they are.
But when the bodies of thousands of Palestinian civilians, including thousands of children, began piling up in Gaza’s hospital morgues and, tragically, in the streets, the narrative began to change.
The pulverized bodies of Palestinian children, of entire families who perished together, bear witness to Israel’s brutality, the immoral support of its allies and the inhumanity of an international order that rewards the murderer and afflicts the victim.
Of all the biased and shameful statements made by US President Joe Biden, the one where he suggested that Palestinians were lying about their own death toll was perhaps the most inhumane.
Washington may not realize it yet, but the repercussions of its unconditional support for Israel will prove disastrous in the future, especially in a region that is fed up with war, hegemony, double standards, sectarian divisions and endless conflicts.
But it is in Israel itself that the impact will be strongest.
When Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, delivered a powerful and moving speech on October 26, he could not hold back his tears.
International delegations at the UN General Assembly continued to applaud, reflecting the growing support for Palestine, not only at the UN, but also in hundreds of cities and countless spaces. in the whole world.
When Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, who had defended many of the lies spouted by Tel Aviv, particularly in the early days of the war, finished his speech, not a single person applauded. The contempt was palpable.
The Israeli narrative has clearly fallen into a thousand pieces. Israel has never been so isolated. This is certainly not the “new Middle East” that Netanyahu prophesied in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 22.
Unable to understand how at least open sympathy for Israel turned so quickly into total contempt, the settler state resorted to its old tactics.
On October 25, Mr. Erdan demanded that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres resign because he is “unfit to lead the UN.” The first UN leader’s supposedly unforgivable crime was to suggest that “Hamas attacks did not occur in a vacuum.” In which he was absolutely right.
When it comes to Israel and its American benefactors, however, no context is allowed to taint the perfect image the Israelis have created for their genocide in Gaza.
In this perfect Israeli world, no one is allowed to talk about military occupation, siege, lack of political prospects, displacement, lack of just peace for the Palestinians.
Although Amnesty International said both sides had committed “serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes,” Israel continued to attack it, accusing it of being “anti-Semitic.” In Israel’s mind, even the leading international human rights group is not allowed to put the atrocities in Gaza into context or dare to suggest that one of the “root causes” of the conflict is “the Israeli system of apartheid imposed on all Palestinians”.
Israel is no longer all-powerful, as it wants us to believe. Recent events have proven that his “invincible army” – a brand image that has allowed Israel to become, from 2022, the world’s tenth exporter of military equipment – has turned out to be a paper tiger.
This is what infuriates Israel the most. “Muslims are no longer afraid of us,” former Knesset member Moshe Feiglin told Arutz Sheva-Israel National News. To restore this fear, the genocidal fascist politician called for burning “Gaza to ashes immediately.”
But nothing will reduce Gaza to ashes. Not even the more than 12,000 tons of explosives dropped on the strip during the first two weeks of war, which have already incinerated at least 45% of homes, according to the United Nations humanitarian office.
Gaza will not die, because it is a powerful idea, deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of every Arab, every Muslim and millions and millions of people around the world.
This new idea challenges the old belief that the world must respond to Israel’s priorities, its security, its selfish definitions of peace and all other illusions.
The focus must now be where it always should have been: the priorities of the oppressed, not the oppressor. It is time to talk about Palestinian rights, Palestinian security, and the right – indeed, the obligation – of the Palestinian people to defend themselves.
It is time for us to talk about justice – real justice – whose outcome is non-negotiable: equality, full political rights, freedom and the right of return.
Gaza tells the world all this and more. It’s time for us to listen.
October 31, 2023 – The Middle East Monitor – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine – Boutros