Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel has no one to blame but itself

October 9, 2023 at 11:00 am

Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades hold a Palestinian flag as they destroy a tank of Israeli forces in Gaza City, Gaza on October 07, 2023. [Hani Alshaer – Anadolu Agency]

The reporting by mainstream media of the events unfolding in Israel and Palestine over the weekend was always going to be one-sided. The usual pro-Israel rhetoric and inflammatory terminology, and almost total lack of context, produces a grossly distorted picture of what actually happened on the ground. Social media has been invaluable for the people living under the Israeli occupation to make the wider world aware of the circumstances surrounding the escalation of tension in the region.

While it would be convenient to accept that Operation Al-Aqsa Storm launched by Hamas falls under the pro-Israel narrative of “Palestinian terrorism”, the context is missing. What precipitated the attack? Aside from the gruelling effects of systematic and often brutal military occupation over the past 75 years, the extreme far right in Israel is growing rapidly and infiltrating every level of society.

READ: Remembering the Nakba 1948

Right-wing Jewish settlers protected by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops attack Palestinians and their homes without accountability. They also enter the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa daily, and threaten to take over the compound, knock down the mosques and build a temple. They provoke the Palestinians, attack and even kill them in one of the holiest sites in the Islamic world. Despite the fact that the idea of a Jewish temple being rebuilt is completely forbidden in Orthodox Judaism — as are Jews from entering the “Temple Mount” in case they step inside the “Holy of Holies” — modern Zionism has twisted religious thought to suit its pernicious political agenda.

In the past decades and especially the past couple of years, this idea has mainstreamed into Israeli society as Zionist fundamentalism has taken prominence. But this religious fanaticism isn’t the only daily violation of human rights which occur against Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. Having visited both places, I am well acquainted with the humiliation Palestinians face in every aspect of their lives.

Reactions are always a consequence of actions, and one cannot play the victim and claim “self-defence” after perpetuating years of oppression

With numerous reports by renowned NGOs and rights organisations on the ground documenting Israeli violations of human rights and international law over the years, the question of Israel’s morality has always been more than questionable. Yet somehow, when this appears in the news (if it ever does), people gloss over it, fatigued by the monotony of such atrocities and resigned to the fact that “there will never be peace in the Middle East”. Is it then a surprise that the Palestinians have had to resort to armed resistance — legitimate under international law — merely to survive? Reactions are always a consequence of actions, and one cannot play the victim and claim “self-defence” after perpetuating years of oppression.

Read MEMO’s live blog on the situation on the ground

The resistance unleashes the ‘Floods of Al-Aqsa’ campaign after Israel’s continued targeting of Palestinians, their homes and religious sites - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The resistance unleashes the ‘Floods of Al-Aqsa’ campaign after Israel’s continued targeting of Palestinians, their homes and religious sites – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Examples of the Zionist regime’s human rights abuses are not difficult to find. Almost 28,000 detentions of children by Israel between 2008 and 2022 have been documented formally by Defence for Children International, for example. In these cases, the children are held without trial, interrogated without their parents’ or legal presence, and sometimes jailed for lengthy terms with no charge. Israel kills Palestinian children with impunity.

Why is Israel not held to account to the same standards of morality and legality as the rest of the world? This is a question that has long been left unanswered.

OPINION: Stop the collective punishment and end the siege of Gaza now

However, a more heinous breach of sanctity which resonates with me given my profession is the apartheid state’s frequent targeting of hospitals, doctors, and paramedics. Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International are just a few of the reputable organisations which have lent their voices to the chorus of outcries at such barbarity. There is no lack of evidence when it comes to these crimes.

Ofer Cassif, a member of the Knesset and leftist Hadash coalition, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that his party had repeatedly warned the Israeli regime that the way they treated the Palestinians would have serious repercussions. The “fascist” regime, he said, “supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians.”

Recognised by its own leaders, never in history has an occupier continued to oppress people indefinitely without repercussions; and Israel is no exception. Systematic apartheid, wanton murders and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian leaders; disregard for the extremes of age in the murdering of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians; uprooting of crops and destruction of homes; and impingement of holy sites: every red line has been crossed when it comes to human rights, of which Israel has respected none. Whilst some will call out “Palestinian terrorism”, examination of the facts reveals that this is legitimate resistance in the face of Israel’s state terrorism. Meticulously planned and bravely executed, the Palestinian resistance is showing the world that it is both willing and able to fight back in defence of Palestinian land and people. Israel has no one to blame but itself.

OPINION: Why do Palestinians not deserve support for their self-defence?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.