By Carlton Joseph
Thousands of people celebrated the recent ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, ending Israel’s eleven-day bombardment of #Gaza, Two hundred and fory-three #Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the airstrikes and bombings and rockets fired from Gaza killed 12 people in Israel. Hopefully, this ceasefire brokered by Egypt and Qatar, allows the US to stay in the background since she is incapable of being an honest broker.
Since 1948 there has been the constant cycle of removal of Palestinians from their homes and lands followed by “war” intense massacre of Palestinians, followed by cease fires, then peace talks; then a period of calm; then the cycle repeats itself. Then we get the usual response from the US that Israel has a right to defend itself, followed by the US veto of any UN attempts at a cease fire, until some non-disclosed goal is achieved by Israel before a cease fire is adopted.
Historically this is the white supremacist, settler colonialism ideology that created #America, #Canada, Australia, South Africa and other countries where #indigenous peoples were massacred, forced into slave labor, or slave labor was imported and white people were incentivized to come to the new lands and make it their homeland. This is precisely what is happening in Gaza today and it is supported by the US.
Some might take issue with my statement that the US is supporting genocide, apartheid and settler colonialism in Gaza. Since Joe Biden is now president, let’s start with his 1986 address to Congress when he stated that Israel is the best three-billion-dollar investment the United States makes, and that if there were not an Israel, the US would have to invent a one to protect US interests in the region. From his current actions in the UN, he obviously maintains this position.
In 2006, Palestinian’s election turnout was 77 per cent. Hamas won the 76 seats and the ruling Fatah party got 43 seats. Instead of supporting democracy and the people of Palestine, President George W Bush said the election was a “wake-up call” for the Palestine’s leadership, but he hoped Mahamoud Abbas would stay in power. How can the leader of the world’s democracies show such contempt for democracy? If election results don’t matter, why should countries have elections?
Israel insisted it will not deal with an authority, including Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah party stated that he was committed to a peaceful settlement, Hamas leader reiterated that his main objective is to end the occupation and have an independent Palestinian state. Finally, the UN, US, Russia and the EU withheld all financial assistance to Palestine after Hamas rejected conditions of non-violence and recognition of Israel. The unwritten rule is to accede to the demands of the major powers, regardless of the outcome of democratic elections.
A brief overview is necessary at this point.. The creation of a secular homeland for Jews was perceived as a solution to widespread anti-Semitism within Europe. As a result, in 1917 the Basel program was adopted. This established a publicly and legally assured home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
In 1935 the Nuremberg Laws enforced the persecution of Jews, racism, Nazi eugenics, and antisemitism which were the main ideological feature of the regime. Hitler eventually decided that all Jews were to be exterminated and an estimated six million, including one million children were murdered in gas chambers at Auschwitz.
After Hitler’s defeat, in 1947 the UN United General Assembly Resolution 181 called for the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Why does Israel have a state today, and Palestine does not? Why is the two-state solution still being debated? What is the purpose of the UN if their resolutions are not enforceable?
A few years ago, in my quest to understand this unresolved issue, I travelled to Auschwitz, Israel, and Palestine. At Auschwitz, I visited the gas chambers, saw the glass case with human hair, the shoe polish, because the Jews not know they were going to be gassed. It was horrible and Hitler was a monster, but does this make Palestinians death by bombs acceptable? If Hitler is a monster, then Benjamin Netanyahu is also a monster, Israel is doing to the Palestinians what Hitler did to the Jews.
In Israel, I visited the wailing wall, where the Jews pray on one side and the Palestinians on the other. It is the most sacred place for Jews who believe it to be the only surviving structure of the Herodian temple; the other side is sacred to Muslims who believe that their prophet Muhammed tied the Buraq during the Night of Ascension.
At the end of one tour the Israeli guide reached the end of the Israel area and informed me that I should not go into the other area because the Palestinian markets were dangerous and he will not be responsible if anything happened to me. I decided to ignore his advice and went into the market. I met friendly people, and spent hours talking about cricket and soccer. The shops had the same products as Israel but at half the price. It was one of the most memorable days of my stay in Israel.
It was Friday evening and I got the surprise of my life, the Jewish sabbath had begun and the Palestinian food markets, and bakeries were full of Jewish shoppers. I checked in with my Jewish guide who informed me that the Jewish people did not do anything during the sabbath and that they totally relied on the Palestinians during this time. Many questions came to mind- Why and how can people hate those they depend on for any period of time? Why would you trust “terrorist” to supply you with food?
I became convinced that it is not the Jewish people who hate Palestinians, It’s the Jewish political leadership with their own agenda of genocide that keep the carnage ongoing. Racism and anti-Palestinian seems to be the ideology of Netanyahu. In his frantic effort to stay in power and avoid prosecution for corruption, he has cultivated an authoritarian type of racist nationalism. It’s unbelievable that a people who suffered extermination under Hitler, who wants the world to remember the holocaust, is now doing what Hitler did to them.
A global pandemic is raging and only three percent of Palestinians have received the vaccine.Rcent bombings have left thousands homeless, Gaza’s infrastructure, from sewage systems to clean drinking water supplies, electricity and hospitals have been destroyed. Under these conditions the virus will complete the genocide.
President Biden’s reaction to this massacre was that the United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely, and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. He went on to say that Netanyahu had shared his appreciation for the Iron Drone System that was developed by the US and Israel.
Israel remains the one sovereign authority in the land of Israel and Palestine, and rather than preparing for peace and justice, it has been entrenching its unequal and undemocratic control. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, receiving some $3.8 billion a year, and I am concerned that Gaza is being used as a testing site for US military weapons. It is time for Israel and the US to stop the genocide.
I believe that the international community has to stand up against Israel for the carnage that is taking place in Gaza. Netanyahu’s efforts to marginalize and demonize Palestinian citizens of Israel, pursue settlement policies designed to foreclose the possibility of a two-state solution and pass laws that entrench systemic inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, must be challenged.
( Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)