GAZA, November 2023: The Jabalia Refugee Camp after an Israeli airstrike [photo: Reuters]
For 75 years, Israel has been terrorizing Gaza, attacking and bombing the very people it ethnically cleansed from their homes in 1948. When finally on 7 October the Gaza concentration camp blew wide open, the ‘West’ feigned outrage — and blamed Gaza. Herewith a crash-course for the media and US presidents…
What is Gaza?
● Gaza is an ancient region of Palestine. But the world now knows it as the Gaza strip, a specific area severed from the rest of Palestine by Israel’s acquisition of territory by force.
Who are its people?
● Although Gaza has been home to Palestinians since ancient times, most of Gaza’s people today are originally from land now under Israeli control, ethnically cleansed by Israel because they are not Jewish. Israel continues to block them from returning home for that singular reason, sealing the “strip” as a ghetto for non-Jews.
Certainly they can at least get to the West Bank to escape the carnage?
● No. Already in 1948, Israel began shooting Palestinians attempting to cross from Gaza to the West Bank. In 1967 Israel created bantustans out of the Palestinian land it seized in the Six Day War, and assigned all non-Jews ID cards for one bantustan or another.
But today this has to do with Hamas, a terrorist organization
● The word ‘terrorist’ has lost all meaning in political parlance. Terrorism is deliberate violence against civilians to achieve a political end — precisely the tactic Israel was born by, and continues to exist by. Palestinian violence, terror or not, justifiable in means or not, is in self-defense against Israeli terror.
● Israel uses terror to achieve its goals because those very goals constitute crimes against humanity. Palestinian goals are those of human rights, equality, and freedom, but we, the ‘international community’, have for 75 years denied them any conventional means of defense, while empowering their tormentors.
● Hamas’ breach of the Gaza ‘fence’ on October 7 was not in itself an act of terror — as the elected government responsible for the Palestinians’ security, it had the very obligation to breach the concentration camp walls.
But Hamas killed 1400 Israelis, took 200 hostages, and committed atrocities
● Hamas’ capturing or killing of Israeli soldiers enforcing the concentration camp is legitimate self-defense. Hamas’ killing of civilians is not. But if we are to be reduced to argument by body count, even just a single Israeli massacre against Gaza (2014) killed twice as many civilians, and the US Congress applauded it.
● The “1400” figure is repeated despite substantial evidence that the IDF, not Hamas, was responsible for many of those deaths, whether through indiscriminate fire or because of the so-called ‘Hannibal Directive’ in which Israel deliberately eliminates captives to avoid hostages.
● Hamas did indeed take civilian hostages. Yet Israel holds at any time five-to-ten thousand Palestinian kidnapped civilians, many of them children; but instead of calling them hostages, calls them ‘prisoners’, and we go along with it.
● As regards Hamas atrocities, surely Israel would have documented them? Forty beheaded babies and not even a photograph for war crimes trials? We have instead only words parroted by the media and US president. This is not to say that atrocities could not have occurred; yet the few survivors whose accounts have been made public speak instead of being well-treated, even respectfully treated, despite the inherently terrifying situation.
GAZA, 2009: A girl wanders about the ruins of her family’s home, destroyed by Israel [photo: T Suárez]
Antisemitism is through the roof
● It is an offense against common decency — and indeed against Jewish identity — that the cloud of antisemitism is raised to smokescreen genocide. Contrary to the spin of US politicians, Hamas did not attack Israel because it hated Jews. This exploitation of antisemitism to cover Israel’s ongoing crimes should be condemned, not obeyed.
● Ironically, those bigots who indeed blame ‘the Jews’ for the carnage against Gaza are merely taking Israel at its word — that Israel acts in the name of Jews, as Jews.
● The organizations supplying the ever-rising antisemitism figures repeated by the media use a fictitious definition of antisemitism (IHRA) that was specifically engineered to smear voices critical of Israel as antisemitic. Even my pointing this out adds another tick to their tally.
There is no answer to this ‘conflict’
● There has always been an answer: the end of apartheid, equal rights for everyone river-to-sea in a secular state. Israel blocked this in 1947, and continues to block it today, because the end of apartheid means the end of Israel. That is and always has been the cause of these decades of misery.
● Thus the end to this 75-year catastrophe lies entirely in the hands of Israel and its benefactors. There are no ‘two sides’ to this. No Palestinian has ever occupied Israeli land, placed Israelis under apartheid, ethnically cleansed Israelis, or blocked Israelis from going home or getting medical treatment or going to school or pursuing their dreams. The present horror is not the result of evolutionary events, but of the singular goal of the Zionist movement for well over a century: a messianic state based on racial supremacy and ‘purity’, achievable only through the dehumanization and elimination of another people.
Tom Suárez is a London-based historical researcher as well as a professional Juilliard-trained violinist and composer. A former West Bank resident, his books include three works on the history of cartography, and four on Palestine, most recently “Palestine Hijacked – how Zionism forged an apartheid state from river to sea”.