We expect better terminology from a diplomat, not uncouth jargon with no other purpose except to misrepresent a bad situation. US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides spoke out recently in favour of the colonial-occupation state’s latest aerial offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. His words were reminiscent of former US President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel propaganda.
“These are the bad guys,” said Nides. “We’re aware of the situation going on in Gaza. We understood this was an important mission for the Israelis.”
Bad guys? This is not a corny black and white Western movie, ambassador. Your words almost defeat the purpose of keeping the defunct two-state diplomacy alive, which the Biden administration of which you are part has been so keep to uphold, rhetorically at least.
Nides said that Israel had not informed the US beforehand about its planned aggression, but that there was awareness of the unfolding atrocity and clarified support for Israel’s security. Such statements are hardly surprising. However, the ongoing dilution of the Palestinian people’s legitimate anti-colonial resistance should have long been a cause for concern, were it not for the fact that the international community has a better time navigating its false constructs and forcing Palestinians to abide by them. To allow the Palestinian people’s narrative to take precedence diplomatically would require taking a stance against Israel, and that would never do.
For decades, Palestinian anti-colonial resistance has been labelled wrongly as “terrorism”, which led to Israel reinforcing the terror narrative post 9-11 in order to expand its military technology towards the West. By equating legitimate Palestinian resistance with terrorism, Israel fabricated another narrative about itself and the West facing a purported common enemy. It did the same after the Arab Spring and foreign intervention in Libya led to the infiltration of Daesh/ISIS across the region. Palestinian resistance, however, can be traced back to before the creation of Israel; it is legitimate under international law for a people resisting colonial domination; and is also proof of its own necessity considering that Palestinians have faced international complicity to rob them of their land, which led to the 1947 Partition Plan and near total inaction against the occupation state ever since.
From terrorism to “bad guys”, the US is severely downplaying the legitimacy of Palestinian anti-colonial resistance. The Abraham Accords makes such misrepresentation even more possible and “acceptable”. Since the US and Israel have publicised their intent to bring the Palestinian Authority into a normalisation agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has blackmailed the Palestinians in Gaza by threatening them with yet more violence should they not accept the terms of so-called “economic prosperity”.
In the same narrative, it is much easier for Israel to misrepresent Palestinian resistance, which is one unifying factor across the colonised Palestinian territories, and create the illusion of a select group of purported “bad guys” in a way which pits Palestinians active in resistance against the rest of the population. With such erroneous descriptions, Israel’s colonial process is sidelined to the point of irrelevance, along with decades of Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land. All that matters, as far as Israel and the US are concerned, is the appealing simplification that allows no space for Palestinians to speak of their history and their legitimate resistance. The “bad guys” narrative, as ludicrous as it sounds, bolsters Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians as it contemplates its next steps, especially if the PA capitulates to the occupation state’s demands.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.