Palestinian casualties of Israeli bombs that according to Mr. Netanyahu, targeted the “terrorists” in Gaza
Like most Israeli/Palestinian clashes of the past, recent clash was also triggered and fomented by the Israelis. Al Jazeera reports that “Anger has been growing over the forced expulsion of Palestinian families [by the Israelis] from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, who have been facing multiple court cases filed against them by several pro-settler organisations since 1972.” This has been a well-planned pogrom “to displace as many Palestinians from Jerusalem to retain a majority Jewish identity in the city.”
UN did warn that these planned expulsions could amount to “war crimes” but Israel paid no attention, they never do.
What started as protests and scuffles between the Israeli police and the Palestinians has now turned into a full-fledged war. Israeli attacks on the Palestinians have been vicious and as could be expected, Hamas responded with rockets which gave Israelis the perfect excuse to bomb Gaza – the Hamas territory – that have destroyed homes, buildings including a multi-storied building that house Al Jazeera and there have been many casualties.
So far Israel’s bombs that according to the Israeli government, targeted “Palestinian terrorists”, a term that makes murder by Israelis kosher in some quarters, have killed till today (May 16, 2021) 198 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 58 children in the Gaza Strip and more than 1,300 have been wounded. Hamas rockets have killed 10 Israelis. Among the Palestinians who have been killed included their top doctor, his wife and his five kids.
Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister who failed to secure majority in the parliament in the recently held election and thus was on the verge of being dumped as the Prime Minister, has promised more bombs, more carnage, and more deaths in the Gaza strip, the only source of Palestinian resistance of some sort.
Thousands of people from around the world, from New York and London to Cape Town, Melbourne, and Auckland have taken to the streets demanding an end to deadly Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.
UN Security Council made efforts to pass a resolution that condemned Israel’s military response and called for a ceasefire has been vetoed by the US – three in a row in a week. Sadly, the US veto has given Mr. Netanyahu the much-needed encouragement to pursue his killing mission more viciously and in an undeterred manner and in the process, may have consolidated his bid for the Prime Ministership.
In any conflict, the role of media is key to knowing facts, understanding issues, and finding fair solution. However, when it concerns Israel/Palestine conflict, not so. Thus, not surprisingly, the media – mostly, media in the West – are trying to depict the conflict as a round of meaningless violence from “both sides” of an equally matched contest with scant mention of the reality on the ground. Indeed, the current conflict and as has been all past Israeli/Palestinian conflicts, is between two grossly unmatched parties – one with full-fledged army equipped with tanks, bombs (including nuclear bomb), fighter jets etc. etc. and the other, with stones and few rockets. Furthermore, many also ignore – some willingly – that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with two countries having border skirmishes but that these are conflicts between expansionism and resistance, responses to injustices. According to the Indian actress Swara Bhaskar, the fight of the Palestinians “is an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and anti-apartheid cause.”
When will these conflicts stop? When will the Israeli bombs cease its killing missions?
Thanks to the US vetos, UN has been rendered impotent. Under the circumstances, only US, Israel’s most powerful ally can stop the mayhem. But will they? Reportedly, the Secretary of State, Blinken has indicated that US is working ‘behind the scenes’ to end violence while at the same time it has also come to light that US completed a new $735mn arms deal with Israel.
In the US House of Representatives several Democratic members “have spoken out against the United States’ military support for Israel and called for the protection of Palestinians’ rights” while others have “expressed their full support for Israel during the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip”.
Many thought that after few years of erratic and rude foreign policy of Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden would herald a new era of principled initiatives in international affairs though I in one of my recent articles in Countercurrents.org observed that “given that US foreign policy domain is almost entirely controlled by a network of vested interest that operates both within and outside and in tandem, has rendered the prospects of abatement of US led and/or their encouragement to illegal and immoral wars, deaths, destructions, and mayhem overseas, less promising.”
So where do we go from here?
I believe that things would have been very different had the right-wing Israelis not scuttled the Rabin/Arafat Oslo agreement and murdered Rabin but that did not happen. With Rabin’s murder and with rise of Netanyahu and aggressive implementation of his ultra-racist expansionist programmes, hopes of a viable and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and for that matter, peace in Israel itself seemed to have been dashed forever. Thus, in this grim scenario, how exactly the political chemistry between the defiant Palestinians and a tired Israel eventuates in future is difficult to predict but what is certain is that along with Israel, its backers may also become tired of nurturing a state that consistently flouts international law, prefers violence to peace, twist arms to justify its injustices and refuses to live within the boundaries that the international community gifted it/endorsed 70 years ago.
The author is an academic and a former senior policy manager of the UN