- by Emily Muagututia
- The Guardian
- Issue #1962
Israel has once again unleashed abhorrent attacks on the Palestinian people, justifying the disproportionate civilian deaths as merely collateral in their “stand against terrorism.”
In recent weeks tensions have been rising as the Israeli police have been further repressing Palestinian people by trying to prevent their access to the Old City and stopping their participation in prayer during the holy month of Ramadan – a blatant attempt to disrespect Islamic rituals and weaken traditions that contribute to the Palestinian identity.
In April, far-right groups of Israeli settlers marched in the streets of Jerusalem in a bid to “restore Jewish dignity.” They chanted hateful slogans such as “Death to Arabs” and attacked Palestinians, leaving around 110 Palestinian people injured. Palestinians who protested these marches were met with stun grenades, skunk water and brutal beatings by Israeli authorities.
The latest onslaught led by Israel began in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood that recently has been exhausting their legal avenues to fight against illegal evictions. The attacks then escalated to worshippers attending the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayer on the final Friday of Ramadan, eventually expanding to Gaza. As of now the death toll for Palestinians has been around 200, all of them civilians.
Israel has once again demonstrated to the world their flagrant disregard for human life and international law. Many countries remain hesitant to condemn Israel’s actions, thus proving the incredible influence Israel wields throughout the imperialist bloc. These countries will comfortably overlook genocide in efforts to protect their interests.
Israel has experienced rising internal conflict in recent months. A real or perceived crime wave has arisen, particularly in Israeli Arab towns. Many instances have been racially motivated. Demonstrations have been taking place as residents feel that the police and government are doing little to address the issue.
Political instability compounds this uncertain atmosphere. Israel’s parliament has undergone four elections in just two years each without a clear result. No governing coalition has been able to form, all while Netanyahu has faced corruption charges and challenges to his popularity.
Just last year, Netanyahu announced the annexation of the Jordan Valley to cultivate support from the dominant Israeli right. Netanyahu is now utilising intensified persecution and brutality against Palestinians in an attempt to solidify public approval. Although Israel’s circumstances are factually dependent upon American sponsorship, it is ideologically necessary – for the Zionists – to construct a facade of independent strength. These aggressions against the Palestinian people are both an opportunistic political move, and a continuation of Israel’s long-standing genocidal policy; the median of two forms of cowardice and brutality.
Palestine too has undergone its own internal political instability. On top of the now decade-and-a-half-long split between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority has also delayed a new election on the grounds of disruption due to the pandemic. There has been dissatisfaction surrounding this decision, with some claiming that it is merely insurance against a potential loss for Fatah. Whatever the validity of this concern, it is both, a product of the complicated circumstances, and a contributing factor to further inflammation of Palestinian political agitation.
Members of the United Nations Security Council have convened to vote for a cease-fire. Of the fifteen members, fourteen voted in support, including the UK, France, Russia, and China. But, the US used its veto power to oppose the motion. This highlights the truly international consensus against Israeli apartheid; the US and Israel stand alone in their colonial pursuits.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said: “There is no people on Earth that would tolerate this reality. Israel keeps saying, ‘Put yourselves in our shoes,’ but they aren’t wearing shoes, they are wearing military boots […] Why not put yourself in our shoes? What would you do if your country was occupied? What would you do to achieve independence? How many Palestinians killed is enough for condemnation? We know one Israeli is enough, but how many Palestinians?”
What right does the US have to stand in the way of these rights of the Palestinian people and the demands of the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations, and the UN Security Council?
For the Americans it is no question of right, but of interest.
Instability in the Middle East is in US interests – divided peoples are easier to exploit. Political instability is nothing more than an opportunity to seize resources.
Australia’s reaction has been less than surprising. News outlets across the nation are using the latest attacks as a time to reflect on “cycles of violence,” framing blatant genocide as a “conflict” and glorifying Israel’s “fight against terrorism.” All the while, Scott Morrison calls on Australians not to “bring Palestine’s problems to Australia.”
While the Australian government continues to provide monetary backing to Israel, still refusing to condemn Israel’s human rights abuses (even allowing Australian citizens to join the IDF with no legal consequences!) we are all complicit in Israel’s genocide. As Australian citizens, we have a responsibility to do what our government refuses to do: to stand in solidarity with Palestinian people and speak out against Israel’s perpetration of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Full support for Palestine need not mean full support for Hamas. Criticism of Hamas is often justified, as most Palestinians would agree. But Israel’s demonisation of Hamas, and assigning collective blame to all Palestinians for the real or claimed crimes of Hamas, extends far beyond a reasonable assessment. But there is no possibility of a “neutral” position in such an unequal situation.
The Communist Party of Australia demands a free Palestine, a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. We have no quarrel with any Israeli’s genuine demand for peace. What must be recognised is that the situation today is an asymmetrical one. The US has no place in the Middle East and it should be clear to anyone that their exit would drastically change the balance of forces in favour of reality – the Palestinian people have a right to live in their own country, without fear.