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Gaza is the dystopia that conspiracy theorists fear, so why do they still support Israel?

December 11, 2023 at 2:38 pm

Activists, participating in the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stage a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinians and condemning Israeli attacks on Gaza on December 09, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. [Fadel Dawod – Anadolu Agency]

Since the start of Israel’s renewed bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the invasion to eradicate Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, along with the entire Gazan population, it served to further shed light on which individuals, sectors of society and political affiliations persist in support for the occupation.

There emerged a plethora of analyses highlighting certain blatant contradictions, such as supporting Israel’s invasion while opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, justifying apartheid in Palestine while opposing it in South Africa or America, or refusing to oppose Israel’s brutality while staunchly condemning police brutality in the United States. There is no shortage of such contradictions and hypocrisy.

What has not yet been covered, however, is how the right-wing in the West – which largely continues to back Israel and disregard Palestinian rights – contradicts their own aspirations for freedom and their opposition to forms of state suppression, especially with the conspiracy theorists amongst them.

That sector has only grown and gathered support over the past four years, particularly in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, the restrictions and measures and all other conspiracy theories of global controls that have increasingly been revealed since.

It is a surprise, then, that those people fail to see that many of the very same measures they vehemently oppose have been and are currently being carried out in Gaza and the wider Occupied Palestinian Territories by Israel.

The Hunger Games and the 15-minute city

A key concern of conspiracy theorists in the West is that their governments would, someday, in a hypothetical state of emergency, restrict their movements and limit them to certain areas within their cities and vicinities.

The restrictions on movements and travel during the Covid-19 pandemic is cited by them as a tangible example of that, with the theorists convinced that it will become a long-term and permanent control imposed upon their daily lives. That has become ever more convincing following the discourse surrounding the idea of 15-minute cities throughout the West, in which every necessity, convenience and luxury is set up within a roughly 15-minute radius from residents’ homes, eliminating the need for travel outside those boundaries and leading to their lockdown within those vicinities, in an apparent effort to cut down on fossil fuel consumption.

Read: Gaza’s will to survive against all odds

That is almost exactly what Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza have been forced to endure, just without the benefits of all of those necessities within 15 minutes from them. In fact, even for many basic necessities, they must pass through a network of checkpoints imposed by the Israeli occupation. They are also unable to travel abroad without permission from the occupation authorities, making their ordeal a difficult one and forcing them to make their way to neighbouring Jordan to fly from.

In Gaza, it has also been taken to a wholly different level, particularly in the current and ongoing bombardment and invasion being carried out. The Strip remains not only besieged, but has even been split up into different sections and zones by the Israeli military as a tactic to order its bombing and destruction in a very Hunger Games-style fashion. Like ‘District 13’ – for those familiar with the iconic movies – Gaza is being laid out for destruction and ruined by the authoritarian ‘Capitol’, Tel Aviv.

US, UK, France, Germany: all complicit in the war crimes committed by Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor] 

US, UK, France, Germany: all complicit in the war crimes committed by Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Smart city experiment

Another concern amongst conspiracy theorists has been the grabbing of land for the purpose of building and developing land, often through a government’s emptying of a certain territory and provision of contracts to multinational corporations or asset management giants.

When the wildfires swept throughout the Hawaiian island of Maui, this year, causing massive destruction to wildlife and properties and displacing thousands of its native inhabitants, theories abounded regarding the actual cause of the fires, the potential intentions behind them and the result of the disaster. It was likely caused by the American and Hawaiian local authorities, many conspiracy theorists concluded, citing the poor emergency reaction and the police’s alleged attempts to prevent inhabitants from leaving the affected areas, further endangering their lives and properties.

The goal, they speculated, was to clear the island of its people and their homes in order to make way for the development of a smart city – a plan reportedly attempted many times before, through offers to financially compensate the islanders in exchange for their departure, which they refused. That theory was not calmed by reports that realtors and developers have contacted survivors with further offers to purchase their destroyed land with the apparent aim of beginning reconstruction efforts while having ownership.

Gaza – as well as the entirety of the Palestinian Territories – has been subject to such a land grab for almost eight decades, and not through the pretence of an emergency or seemingly-natural disaster, but through a clear and blatant seizure of territory and expulsion of their inhabitants due to an extremist ideology and its international backers.

To placate the conspiratorial appetites of those theorists, there may also be some indications that the current Israeli land grab of Gaza could be part of a similar plot to redevelop it into a smart city. Elon Musk, the owner of X and Tesla and connoisseur of all things futuristic, said in his recent discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Hertzog that he would be ready to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after the occupation’s military operation, sparking a wave of new theories that there may be plans to turn the Territory – emptied of its native people and now ripe for redevelopment – into a smart city or hub.

The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel expands the technology of occupation around the world

Such a theory cannot yet be verified and remains in the realm of speculation, but even if that is not the case, the situation in Gaza has partially taken on some attributes of a smart city over the past decade. Following the widespread destruction after the Israeli bombardment in 2014, the Strip’s reconstruction was managed through an online database – the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) – which recorded all building materials entering into the Territory in order to ensure their use and civilian destination.

It was meant to be a temporary mechanism, but the Israelis realised it as a way of further monitoring Gaza. According to architect and author, Francesco Sebregondi, in his thesis titled ‘The Smart City of Gaza: Technologies of Containment and the Urban Condition’, he highlighted the Israeli occupation’s method of control in the besieged Territory as one producing “an urban condition of deep security” which proved more effective than boots on the ground.

Sebregondi cited Gaza as an “efficiently managed containment zone for a fast-growing population of two million outcasts”, which may “form a blueprint for smart urban solutions to the social and ecological breakdowns of tomorrow”.

That was achieved through a myriad of techniques employed by the Israelis, which he listed as “administrative mechanisms such as censuses and biometric identification; optical observation enabled by strategically located watchtowers, facial recognition-enabled cameras or aerial drones; electronic surveillance systems … environmental sensing relying on satellites, underground, or underwater sensory systems; as well as, increasingly, data-driven, algororithmically augmented scrutiny of digital communications through, notably, the monitoring of social media use.”

Overall, he stated, “this complex apparatus of surveillance gives Israel access to a high-resolution, real-time map of the contained population and Territory which, in turn, enables its efficient management and control.”

Gaza, then, has long been a smart city in the making, just an inverted kind. Whether it will be wholly redeveloped into one is yet to be seen, but the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have undoubtedly been living under the very system that Western conspiracy theorists fear.

Calorie restrictions and illegal water

According to many of the conspiracy theorists, the ‘globalist’ elites and anthropologists aim to put in place restrictions on the amount of calories and food that citizens throughout the world will consume in the future, primarily to combat what they allegedly perceive as over-consumption of limited resources that the world currently produces and to minimise our carbon footprint in terms of foods, such as meat.

In that aspect, multinational corporations and international bodies with direct and indirect ties to those elites are reportedly working on implementing those plans by certain milestones. A key example they cite is the commitment made by numerous cities across the world, back in 2019, through the C40 group – consisting of cities and their mayors across the world – in which they agreed to drastically cut their citizens’ consumption of meat, dairy and other resources that involve the production of carbon, by the year 2030.

While such measures are not yet forced and are implemented through means of encouragement and discouragement, conspiracy theorists fear they could be passed into law in order to allow governments to enforce those policies. Suggestions by some studies and scientists to ration meat and household energy consumption in a fashion resembling Britain’s World War Two rations during the 1940s have only exacerbated those suspicions.

Read: As a struggle for indigenous people’s rights, Gaza has united the world

Those conspiracy theorists may be surprised to know, however, that such measures or worse have already been implemented and tested by Israel’s occupation on the Gazan population over the ears. After Israel imposed its land, sea, and air blockade on the Territory, it severely restricted – at least for the first three years – the amount of food and other resources that could enter the Strip, infamously calculating the amount of calories each Gazan was allowed to have according to its ‘Red Lines’ document. Preventing malnutrition, while also preventing satisfaction, was apparently the goal of that, maintaining a perpetual state of hunger and dependence without outright starvation.

Furthermore, the restrictions did not stop at food and calories, but also the one resource more necessary to one’s very survival: water. It is generally well-known that Palestinians throughout all of the besieged and Occupied Territories are in a state of dependence on Israel for their water supply, but it is less common knowledge that Israeli occupation authorities even prevents the collection of rainwater by Palestinians.

Under Military Order 158, Israel also requires that the development of any new water infrastructure and the alteration of existing infrastructure by Palestinians must first attain permission from the occupation army – something “impossible to get” in most cases, according to Amnesty International – and as an additional measure, Palestinians are denied access to any freshwater springs and the Jordan River.

Not only can Israel deny Palestinians water resources, but even the very water rained down upon them by God. The result has been, and continues to be, a total state of dependence on the Israeli occupation for water, something right-wing conspiracy theorists would certainly rally against.

Depopulation agenda

Depopulation has long been at the forefront of right-wing conspiracy theorists’ discourse surrounding their perception of elitists’ plans for the world, with examples that they cite including calls by ‘experts’ to reduce and maintain the world’s population significantly. As British anthropologist Jane Goodall said at the Davos summit in 2020, “all these things we talk about wouldn’t be a problem if there was the size of population that there was five hundred years ago”, referring to the oft-cited optimal world population being 500 million.

The mysterious ‘Georgia Guidestones’ in the United States – which were desecrated and destroyed last year – also iterated the same point: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature” and to “Guide reproduction wisely”. Such propagations have not called for the killing of the remaining seven and a half billion people on the planet, of course, and have largely focused on encouraging contraceptive measures and discouraging high birth rates, yet conspiracy theorists insist that there is an active and sinister depopulation agenda being put into place throughout developed and developing nations.

What if those conspiracy theorists were to be informed that there is, indeed, such a plan already in place which is definitive and confirmed? That has been the Israeli occupation’s policy for Gaza and its population over at least the past decade, as an infamous paper by Israeli military strategists, Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir, stated in 2014.

Israel’s regular, often yearly, attacks on Gaza was part of a process of “mowing the grass”, they admitted. “The use of force in such a conflict is not intended to attain impossible political goals, but a strategy of attrition designed primarily to debilitate the enemy capabilities”, they said, seemingly referring primarily to the capabilities of Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, and other armed factions in the Strip.

Perhaps they did not mean Gaza’s civilian population itself, one may argue, but the occupation’s broader policy has been one of managing and cutting down the besieged Territory’s overall population. As the newspaper, Israel Hayom, reported recently, one option considered by the Israeli war cabinet is “thinning out the Gazan population to the minimum possible level”, aligning with Tel Aviv’s established plan to exile the Strip’s over 2 million Palestinians into Egypt’s Sinai desert and then to scatter them around the Middle East and the West.

Dystopia for thee, but not for me

Only a few of the popular conspiracy theories predicted by figures amongst the right-wing in the West have been presented here, yet all of those controls and measures they fear being implemented have already been, and continue to be, implemented against Palestinians in Gaza and the wider Occupied Territories.

If those individuals truly oppose such restrictions and ‘globalist’ agendas, then they must logically oppose them in all of their forms and wherever they emerge. Regardless of whether their theories are true or not – there is truth to some and hysteria to others – Gaza is the very dystopian vision and model for those authoritarian controls that they fear and claim to oppose.

There is no longer any reason for the conspiratorial-minded Western right to support Israel and its occupation, but there is rather every reason to oppose it – unless, of course, they see some reasons to justify such a dystopian system for Palestinians but not for themselves.

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