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Why does Israel kill civilians deliberately?

November 21, 2023 at 11:33 am

Relatives of Palestinians who lost their lives in Israeli attacks, mourn as the bodies are taken from morgue of Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Hospital to bury on the 46th day of Israeli attacks in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on November 21, 2023 [Doaa Albaz/Anadolu Agency]

The number of civilians killed in Gaza is still rising, and it will continue to rise even after the bombing stops and the rubble begins to reveal the bodies it has entombed. We can also expect many of those wounded by Israeli bombs to succumb to their wounds. The death toll is going to be even more horrific than it is at present.

Israel is well aware that the vast majority of its victims are civilians — with no connection to the Hamas movement’s political or military wings — and that the majority of them are children and women, and some are UN employees. It is also aware that most of the buildings that it has destroyed are residential blocks and other civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, mosques, churches and UN facilities, as well as ambulances. It is aware of all of this, but doesn’t care.

Why does Israel kill civilians deliberately? It has a lot to do with its wish to complete the “transfer”, forced displacement, of Palestinians out of their own country. From the very beginning of the Zionist story, it has been known that the existing population in Palestine would be an obstacle to the settlement and colonisation of the land. By the 1940s, matters had developed to the stage that Zionist terrorists were engaged in killing and displacing Palestinians in order to make others flee for their lives, to be replaced by Jewish settlers from around the world.

In other words, the idea of intimidation and insecurity — both obvious in Gaza — is rooted in Zionist thought. It happened after Resolution 181 was passed by the UN General Assembly in 1947, calling for the partition of Palestine; then again after the Nakba which started in 1948. Since 1967, it has been a policy adopted and followed by the government of Israel with the aim of displacing the residents of the West Bank to Jordan.

READ: UNRWA: 1.7m displaced in Gaza since Israel’s aggression

In Gaza as I write, the killing of civilians is intended to make the Palestinians blame Hamas for the horrific death toll. It’s the old colonialist tactic of divide and rule. It also aims to get the Palestinians in Gaza to forget about the idea of resistance and accept the occupation as a fait accompli, which means a life of submission to Israel in exchange for personal security, with little in terms of dignity and self-respect.

As far as Israel is concerned, the right to self-determination and sovereignty in occupied Palestine rests solely with the Jews; Palestinians have no such rights

Israel strikes targets that have no military value even as it realises that it is hated by those who surround it because it lives according to the law of the jungle and treats international laws and conventions with contempt. It is a model of a rogue state that does not adhere to international law and civilised political systems. As far as the apartheid state is concerned, the right to self-determination and sovereignty in occupied Palestine rests solely with the Jews; Palestinians have no such rights, even over their own land, natural resources and religious sanctities. The Zionist state is a diasporic nation that can only be protected by killing on a large scale, forced displacement of the indigenous people and deception; it is a settler-colonial project supported by the West to protect Western interests. Claims of democracy are bogus.

The West created the Zionist entity to kill two birds with one stone: it solved the “Jewish problem” for Europe — which is why Theodor Herzl sought the help of anti-Semitic nations across Europe to get the Zionist project off the ground — and placed Jews on the front line in the heart of the oil-rich Middle East, while also fulfilling the dream of Jews to “return” to the Holy Land.

This is why Operation Al-Aqsa Flood has had such a major effect within Israel and among its Zionist supporters in Western capitals. It dealt a blow to those who promote normalisation of the Arab world with the occupation state, as well as those who want to normalise relations. It says a lot that support for the Palestinians has been galvanised across the Global South among nations which have also had to struggle for freedom and independence.

READ: Cuba president reiterates support for Palestine

The Israeli army hasn’t fought against a conventional army for 50 years. It has become a paramilitary police force bullying and killing civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories, and has lost the skills needed for guerrilla warfare. Hence the need to use massive bombardments of civilian areas to try to demoralise the Palestinians before sending troops in on the ground. In the occupied West Bank, the illegal Jewish settlers have become an armed militia in all but name. They too attack unarmed civilians. The resistance movement has shown Israel what can be achieved using relatively primitive weapons against armed forces equipped with the latest high-tech weapons.

Although it was founded by an atheist Jew, and is a political rather than a religious doctrine, Zionism uses the Jewish “chosen people” claim and looks upon non-Jews with contempt. The “human animals” insult uttered by Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant is an example of such arrogance which allows Israel and Israelis to oppress and kill Muslim and Christian Palestinians with ease, especially those who resist the occupation. The idea of being the Biblical “light unto the nations” as promoted by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was conditional, and many Jews believe that the conditions have not been met.

READ: WHO chief ‘appalled’ by attack on Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital

It is a paradox that Jews have faced persecution in Europe for centuries, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust, and yet Europe and European colonisers in North America and Australia are Israel’s greatest supporters. They are quite happy to export the “Jewish problem” to the Arab world, and let the Palestinians pay the price for Europe’s crimes. The pro-Israel lobbies in Europe and America make sure that this support is maintained, with craven politicians fearing the “anti-Semitism” label which would see them lose power.

The powerful and influential Christian Zionist movement backs Israel for its own religious reasons, not out of any love for the Jewish people or concern for their welfare. They want to “force God’s hand” and bring about “the Rapture”, which they believe will see Jews and other non-Christians slaughtered while Christians are saved. The influence of this lobby in the US is so strong that Washington is challenging the entire world to defend the aggressive “Jewish state”, no matter how many Palestinians it kills and maims, and no matter how many of those killed are civilians. Zionism has no qualms about this, and even non-Jewish Zionists embrace it without shame. Anyone and everyone who strives for justice and peace for all must reject Zionism in all its manifestations; it has no place in a civilised world.

OPINION: In both the old and new Nakba, the forced expulsion of Palestinians must be rejected

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 19 November 2023 

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