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Genocidal Israel: J’Accuse…!

October 26, 2023 at 3:56 pm

A Palestinian mother hugs the dead body of her child at En-Neccar hospital after the Israeli airstrikes which continues on its 15th day in Rafah, Gaza on October 21, 2023. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

For people far from Gaza, the past fortnight remains mostly beyond comprehension. The myth of the invincibility of the Israel Defence Forces has been one of the most enduring ever spun. To see the images of Israelis running for their life; of Kibbutzim taken over and bodies on street corners; to hear of Israeli soldiers and civilians taken as hostages; and to realise that the army was missing in action, these are a further nail in the coffin of the myths about colonial Israel, with multiplying reports on IDF responsibility for killing some of the Israeli victims.

The terrifying bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital and the murder of over 500 people sheltering there, is but the latest war crime in a an incredibly long list; Israel’s lies about this terrifying crime were soon disproved. Israel is out of control in its brutal attempt to exact retribution for the humiliating defeat that the IDF was dealt by Hamas on 7 October. After the atrocities committed by some of the attackers against Israeli civilians in border communities, far greater atrocities have been committed by the IDF bombing and targeting 2.3 million helpless, and half of them now homeless, Palestinian civilians in Gaza. There is a distinct feeling of a step-change, as the tanks encroach and the aircraft, artillery and drones crush Gaza into rubble. What is the game-plan, apart from mass-murder? Is there one? Many of Israel’s former military leaders are warning against this latest genocidal act, which is more than one can say for the leaders of the West queuing up to cheer Israel on in its indiscriminate, illegal murder of civilians.

READ: Ex-Israel diplomat: US fears paying the price for Israel’s mistakes in Gaza

The truth is, as I argue in my recent book An Army Like No Other (Verso, 2020) that the Israel Defence Forces have never won a battle clearly since 1967, and never fought against another regular army since 1973. When fighting small resistance groups, like the PLO (1982, Lebanon) Hezbollah (2006, Lebanon) or Hamas (2008/9, 2012, 2014 Gaza, and numerous other battles) the IDF’s success was rather limited, proving that a small guerrilla group numbering a few thousand fighters can delay, hamper, harm or even defeat a huge modern army equipped with the latest technology. Such small, highly motivated and innovative organisations know the territory, while the IDF is technology-reliant, too cumbersome to negotiate successfully small theatres of war like the Shouf Mountain range in Lebanon or Gaza City, dependent on complex supply lines, and despite the great investment in personnel, armaments, communication and logistics, clearly unprepared for fighting against armed groups; this army has been turned into a huge and brutal colonial police force, and like many before has fought unarmed men, women and children for too long. It is no longer trained to fight a war, and continuously underestimates the ability of its enemies, like it did in 1973, exactly five decades ago. The attitude of its military and political masters, combining Jewish supremacism with extreme Islamophobia, certainly does cloud judgement. Ironically, the IDF proved unable to protect Israeli Jews from attack; the so-called Jewish State is the only one in which Jewish life is in mortal danger.

Then again, Israel itself is not in great shape after almost two decades of Netanyahu’s rule. At least half the population has been opposing the government and its judicial coup, accurately describing the other half as fascists, although arguably both sides share such an identity, both being devoted to what is clearly an illegal apartheid state and to the subjugation of the Palestinians. The pilots and officers who marched against Netanyahu since January are now bombing civilians in Gaza or waiting in their armoured vehicles to attack and destroy the enclave. So, whatever divides Israelis – the judicial coup, government corruption, the disappearance of human rights, turning Israel into a religious state – they are united in their approach to Palestine and its people: settle, subjugate, confiscate (the land) and expel; get rid of as many Palestinians as possible, whenever possible. This was clear from the first moment of the Hamas attack, when the so-called Israeli Left criticised Netanyahu for being soft on Hamas, not for the brutal occupation, settlements and cruel illegal blockade. This should not surprise anyone. After all, Israel was built on colonial violence led by a left-wing army.

READ: Israel advances bill on the ‘consumption of terrorist materials’ with plan to jail people for their thoughts

Like other colonial regimes, Israel is mainly invested in separating the indigenous population from its land, and such projects are essentially militarised real estate operations, as seen in North and South America, Ireland, Nazi Germany, South Africa, Algeria and many other places. Indigenous populations have no choice; it is fight or die in most situations, clearly so in Palestine. Colonial projects do not define their boundaries, but, on the contrary, surpass and extend their control, avoiding clearly drawn and accepted borders. So it is with Zionism; as its population grows, Israel advances to grab more land, in the fashion and rationale described by Adolf Hitler as Lebensraum, “the territory which a group, state, or nation believes is needed for its natural development.” (OED) The national “living space” achieved by violent military means, linked to expulsion, ethnic cleansing or genocide.

Most people would assume that such violent enterprises were all abandoned after 1945 and the defeat of Nazism. The facts prove otherwise: Israel may be an untypical colonial project, which started during the early 1900s, but its ethnic cleansing stage got going in 1947, just after the UN resolved to divide Palestine, offering the Zionists 55 per cent of the country, an outrageous injustice. Israel, though, fought to take over 78 per cent of Palestine, expelling 750,000 Palestinians in the process, and in 1967 gained control of the whole country, expelling another 250,000 Palestinians. Since then, it has used every conceivable means to dislodge the remaining Palestinians from their land: land theft, illegal settlements, daily brutalities, mass arrests, arbitrary killings, mass expulsion of villages and towns, holding thousands of Palestinians without charge under “administrative detention”, extra-judicial executions, and a cruel apartheid state controlling the whole of Palestine and using the Palestine Authority as its indigenous police force to subjugate the Palestinians.

In Gaza, this became much worse as early as 1971, but even before 1967 Israel subdued the people of the enclave by brutal military excursions throughout the 1950s and 1960s (250 Palestinians killed by the IDF in Khan Yunis in 1956, for example). Now has come the latest phase of the Zionist project, under the most extreme right-wing, brutal and Islamophobic government Israel has ever elected.

READ: Spanish minister calls on Europe to sever ties with Israel

Zionism has always been incendiary – intentionally inflaming situations and using outbursts as casus belli – and this looks to have been the case on 7 October. We have heard from various corners, especially the Egyptian security services, that urgent, numerous and specific warnings were delivered to the Israeli intelligence services about Hamas intentions, but all were ignored. Netanyahu is under fire from leftist circles for this, but it is unlikely to have been an error of judgement, like in 1973. More and more voices are sharing a more sinister but likely narrative, that Netanyahu chose to ignore the warnings because he welcomed a surprise attack which could be used as casus belli for taking over the whole Gaza Strip.

The truth may be discovered after the war, as this is a live wire for many of his political opponents in Israel, but in the meantime, the Nakba 2.0 genocidal bandwagon is in full swing, with US and UK navy strike groups sent to support Israel and its increasing number of war crimes. Of the more than half a million refugees who moved to the south of the enclave under pain of death, how many will ever see their homes in Gaza City again? It is rather likely that those who survive will never be allowed back but will be pushed further south into the Sinai desert. This plan has been discussed openly even before January this year, and is now referenced daily by the Israeli government; there they are, without food, water, fuel, medicines, as so many Jews were during the Holocaust, and they are likely to die from bombing, starvation, illness and epidemics in the largest ever refugee camp. If Israel succeeds in this genocidal enterprise, the West Bank is likely to follow, with the extreme neo-Nazi settlers just waiting in the wings to go on a murderous rampage. As opposed to the Holocaust, this is done in the full view of everyone on earth, with the West cheering Israel forward, as Western media aids and enables the atrocities.

READ: Opinion: Genocide in Palestine: journalists need to decolonise the mainstream narrative

Western reactions are themselves a war crime – US President Joe Biden and his western colleagues are braying for Palestinian blood by cheering on Israel’s attack and invasion of Gaza, by referring to “Israel’s right to defend itself”, as if this mighty militarised power, with total support from NATO and the West, is some tiny enclave suffering a sudden and unprovoked attack by a superior military power for no apparent reason. Such dishonest narrative inversions have been used numerous times before, but never so flagrantly.

There has been much talk in the past two decades about the non-existent “Judeo-Christian civilisation” or “tradition”. The only such relationship which is evident historically is that of anti-Semitism, historical Christian racism and hatred towards Jews. But now we are witnessing the rise of a real Judeo-Christian alliance, that of Islamophobia, focused on Palestine and the Muslim world, long being fingered for Islamic extremism and harbouring terrorists. In the UK, the leaders of such Islamophobic partnership are very evident, from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, sending the Royal Navy to protect Israel, to Labour leader Kier Starmer, who forbade his MPs to partake in pro-Palestine action: they face the sack if they participate in demonstrations, the largest of which to-date was held in London last Saturday, when more than 350,000 people marched for an end to the slaughter in Gaza.

Sunak and Starmer were joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has rejected the description of Israel as an apartheid state, despite the leading Israeli and international human rights organisations saying that the state has passed the legal threshold for such a label to be appropriate, including B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Such deluded politicians and public figures are likely to legislate against any further demonstrations for Palestine and peace, as Germany and France have done already.

READ: UK does not believe Israel has broken international law in Gaza, Minister says

Thus, as these lines are typed, in the cold light of day, and covered by all world news networks, we are watching this massive operation of genocidal ethnic cleansing roll forward, with no political leader in the west calling for a ceasefire, let alone for stopping the carnage altogether. Most of my own family was murdered in the Nazi Death Camps in Poland, mainly in Auschwitz and Treblinka, without anyone doing much to stop it. But then, it was all done in great secrecy and where no one could intervene. This current exercise of genocide is public and includes all of us as hypnotised by-standers, unwilling and distressed witnesses to the criminality of the West and its stranglehold over international politics. I wish I could believe in future justice, and the prosecution of this line-up of war criminals, from Netanyahu to his Western partners, but how likely is that? Blair and Bush have never faced justice for their crimes in Iraq twenty years ago, have they? The heart cries in agony and despair over such cruelty and indifference of the so-called political leaders of humanity, as we can but stand by and watch helplessly.

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