Palestine Now, Palestine Tomorrow, Palestine Forever – Part I

For and in Memory of All Palestinian Children, Dead and Alive 

We focus on Gaza at this moment because a genocidal attack is taking place. Ten thousand dead and 4,000 precious children. And don’t let anybody tell you that because you love Palestinians and Palestinian babies that you hate somebody else. It just doesn’t follow…. We loathe, we hate a vicious Israeli occupation. We loathe and we hate a vicious siege against Gaza. And the least we can do with this moment of overwhelming vulgarity is have a ceasefire. And yet you got these cowards in Washington, D.C., talking about a humanitarian pause. Please, get off the crack pipe, wake up, see the humanity of precious Palestinians brothers and sisters. 

Cornel West, ‘Genocidal Attack,’ Newsweek 13 November 2023: 5.[i]

image 1

Courtesy of Robrats Library Reading Room (University of Toronto)[ii]

Palestine Map Historical

Like everyone else, I have been following the carefully planned genocide that has gripped Palestine since October 8, 2023. Now that the year 2024 has settled in the region, the Palestinian population finds itself once again buried under the rubble or drowned under the downpour of USA-made bombs or simply sitting aside waiting for the breadcrumbs to fall from the sky, a sky controlled by a ruthless occupier whose intention, and indeed method, is to drive an entire people into the sea. Gaza, a Bantustan in the best of times and a concentration camp in the worst of times, as we knew it before the invasion is no more: with nearly 90% of its population uprooted (over 2.2 million in total) and 19,000 orphaned children to date, an ever-continuous shelling has reduced the open-air prison to ground zero. Today, the enclave finds itself reduced to mounds of rubble and dust. It would not be a sweeping statement to point to the human indignities and, by any impartial standard, the record of immoral subjugation practiced by Israel against Palestine. It is blood-curdling particularly when dealing with the deliberate post-October 7 destruction of all the infrastructure (hospitals, homes, trees, orchards, archives, schools, universities, markets, kindergartens, and even the very thread that keeps civil society together) and collective memory. Food, water, sanitation, and power are nonexistent at a time when the entire population is badly in need of shelter as an infamous spring sets in. The strip’s ordeal is made worse by the blockade that has been imposed on the border with Egypt—a country ruled by a certain Sissi disguised as a playboy whose attire is immaculate but whose brain is empty. That is all that can be said about El general

If we try to imagine how the situation will evolve on the ground in the days and weeks, let alone months, to come, we will lose all hope insofar as there is no doubt that the very future of the Palestinian people is being decided amid the most terrible of ordeals that has ever been inflicted upon them since 1948. In fact, we are witnessing a post-modern holocaust made to fit a plan the very design of which is to ‘starve,’ ‘humiliate,’ ‘transfer’ and kill in cold blood more than 2.2 million people. More importantly, the entire operation takes place under the gaze of Western eyes—a gaze that did not hesitate to swiftly condemn Iran for standing up to a Rambo-like Israeli regime. We are, I think, beginning to get hold of the true nature of the Bibi-state apparatus, one bent on transgressing all norms of international law and killing unarmed civilians as witness the attack on the Iranian Embassy in Syria that which resulted in the murder of seven officials. It is not enough that dislocation, homelessness, hunger, and famine have all too often played their part in the long Palestinian tragic saga. Even so, the ongoing mass slaughter has already racked them more than any other tragedy in the past, including the 1987 blockade imposed by pro-Syrian militants on the camps south of Beirut, which was so severe that the besieged population obtained a Fatwa authorizing them to eat cats and dogs. 

            During it all, how far can one go in voicing one’s disgust at and detestation of the Israeli action in Palestine is a question in time answered. For now, though, how can one grieve in silence for all those who have been killed in Palestine since 1948? How can one calm the anger of those who are convinced that the genocide in Palestine is minimized, or even justified, by the West, supported by most Western intellectuals, be they liberals or conservative? How can one explain that there are victims of State terrorism on the one hand and collateral damage on the other, when damning testimonies against Israel are multiplying? How can one argue the case for the plenty of tributes and ceremonies heaped on a few victims because they happen to British or Australian or Canadian or American and not on others who are mostly Palestinians? How can one put the death of seven aid workers above the death of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians—most of them women and children? After all, isn’t one human life worth another? How can one justify all the means put forward to release the hostages, but nothing is done to liberate the thousands of Palestinians political prisoners rotting in Israeli jails? How can one make the point to anti-Zionist activists that a bill criminalizing anti-Zionism in France was proposed in 2019 by the ruling party at the time—a bill that never saw the light of day because 127 Jewish academics mobilized and petitioned hard, asking them not to support the motion for a resolution equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism? 

In what follows, I shall attempt to answer some of the questions raised here.

There is no rejoinder nor there is an easy way out of the mess we find ourselves in today unless, of course, one writes down one’s thoughts and shreds them to relieve anger. Better still, perhaps, one must take to heart the advice given by the Stoic Roman philosopher Seneca: ‘[M]y anger is likely to do me more harm than your wrong.’[iii] Even so, how can one not be stirred by the anguish of a people abandoned to their own fate at a time when Israel prominently employs a whole slew of state-of-the-art weapons designed to inflict maximum pain and cruelty on a helpless civilian population who have nowhere to go. To a very large extent, the arsenal is second to none. Think of the stellar performance of the ‘Iron Dome’ during the  attack by Iran and the case will be clear enough. Let us also look at the menu the so-called IDF, a trigger-happy army made of thugs,  has at its disposal to flatten the land we call ‘Palestine.’ Consider the 285-pound GBU-39 bombs, the gravity bombs (Mark 82, 83 and 84) fitted with JOAM guidance kits as well as GBU-38, GBU-32 and GBU-31 respectively giving the weapons capability to hit designated GPS coordinate. Moreover, Israel prominently employs the 2,000-pound GBU-31 (V) 4/B Bunker-Buster subvariant to level high rise buildings and 500-pound GBU-54 Laser Guided JOAM bombs intended for strikes on moving targets as well as Hermes 450 and 900 drones Tammuz NLOS anti-tank missile which have a staggering range of 16 miles. Needless to add how the usage of F-16 and F-35 armed with precision-guided bombs is lethal. The heavier-lifting F-15I Ra’ams  have also been used as have the US uniquely tailored F-35 I Adir stealth fighters that are meant to strengthen Israel’s so-called AI ‘Lavender System’ designed to identify targets and bomb them with immaculate accuracy. Along with such murderous acts, there are no agonies of guilt whatsoever! A telling sign of the time we live in—a time when we have become numb to violence and that includes the violence of the letter. The final judgment of Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz on his life, actions, and generally on humankind, and imperialism, when in part three of the story he screams: ‘The Horror! The Horror!’ succinctly conveys what I have in mind. In the meantime, the victims without a map (i.e. the Palestinians) lay there screaming in agony while the Enlightened West sings the praises of ethics in business, finance, oil, and, of course, war. Even the way we consume commodities—say, coffee or toothpaste—must adhere to an ethical code as should our waste management. One does not want to be around when the shit hits the fan, does one!

At bottom I suppose to speak of Christian/Judaic Zionism is to be reminded of its moral cowardice and indeed turpitude. Let me explain: the method used to engage in an ethnic cleansing of the first order—one that has become an accepted idea in the common discourse of so-called Enlightened Western liberal democracy—must be  documented immediately and decisively lest we fall prey to a sordid history that continues to drag its tentacles. Worst of all, to think about the ill-intentioned aspirations of certain Israelis, many of whom sit in the Bibi Government Murder Inc. but also in the Biden Administration, a new cleaning of the slate, so to speak, is under way in all Palestine where innocent people are shot like rabbits as I write, forgetting that  deportation of any kind will make the very substance of the ultimate crime—the one against humanity as defined by the IPC—a crime the Jews  have kept hurling at the world since time immemorial as if their pain were the only pain to reckon with. No other pain, no matter how inhuman it is, can measure up to theirs. Not even the genocide in Armenia or Rwanda or Sudan. And if you persist in making the point that a genocide is taking place in Palestine today, you are told to sod off. 

How all this is supposed to lead to a comprehensive peaceful understanding defies analysis insofar as a massive transfer of Palestinians in the Sinai Desert or to any other country Israel/USA has managed to bribe so that it may take in refugees, would turn the demographic tug of war upside down. Such a plan to uproot a people against their will, were it to take place, would pave the way for Israel to build new colonial settlements in Gaza, which, in turn, would enable the Zionist/Nazi State to kill once and for all the by now infamous proposal of the two-state solution—an idea that has long since become nothing more than an incantation designed to mask the impotence of the ‘international community’ vis-à-vis Palestine. The war that is tearing the country apart shows  how lonely and abandoned to their fate its people are. Neither the majority vote at the UN for an immediate cease-fire, nor the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that continue to grip the entire world, including in America where a minority made of the ‘happy few’ of the Jewish people (Bernie Sanders, Norman Finkelstein, Judith Butler, Annelle Sheline, Noam Chomsky, among others, come to mind) have risen against the slaughter they refuse to see committed in their name, nor indeed the case for genocide against Israel brought about by South Africa, have succeeded to deter the Zionist/Nazi army to uproot, starve, and kill at will as well as flatten the landscape that was once Palestine. The ‘Flower Massacre’ that occurred on February 29, 2024, when at least 118 innocent and hungry people were intentionally shot and 760 injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire from a close range on civilians wanting food from aid trucks near Al-Nabulsi Roundabout on the coastal Al-Rashid Street in Gaza City is a good example of what I have in mind. 

It has probably always been true that human beings view their differences from one another as matters of interpretation. Consider October 7. It is a naked fact that every one of the resistance fighters who stormed the kibbutzim on that day had suffered a tragedy—the murder in cold blood by Israel—of his or her most cherished beings, who had hugged the cold body of a beloved parent, child, friend, sister, mother, grand-mother, neighbor, wife, husband, riddled with bullets or crushed by bombs.  Then, the question that comes to mind is: What does the said individual do in such circumstances? How does he or she manage their anger, revenge, and getting even at any cost? The answer is by no means an easy one. Whoever suffers such a loss feels outraged. They then decide to espouse a cause to which they become committed—at least in their mind. He or she then becomes involved in the struggle to fight back tooth and nail because the cause they embraced is greater, much greater, than themselves; it goes beyond their own modest motives and aspirations. It has to do with revenge at first and liberation second even he or she knows that revenge is unethical. In a sense, their desire to exact vengeance on their tormentors does not adhere to any code, except, perhaps to the one propounded by Frantz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth where he does not justify anything, not even ethics. What Fanon offers is an explanation of sorts. He calls it the ‘decolonization of physics’ as opposed to Michel Foucault’s ‘micro-physics of power.’ Fanon tells us about how and why we must engage in counter-violence. His stance is materialistic not moral in that to be materialistic we must consider the opposing forces and grasp how they mutually determine each other so that we may be able to foresee where they take us. In case we are not satisfied, we must then entertain the option of what he aptly calls the ‘intervention of an additional force’ that was not part of the original scheme.[iv] That is what the resistance fighters did on October 7. They resorted to an extra plan of action that was new and fresh and daring. Nowhere is this argument made with verve and clairvoyance than in the analysis given by Lordon, who writes:

Against the dynamics of vengeance, there is only one way: the interposition of a third party — an institution — capable of producing condemnation, but legal, and reparation. This is not the “ethical principle,” but the force to intervene in the situation. This is not the “ethical principle,” but the force to intervene in the situation. Now, who has seen a third party in Palestine? Who has seen repairs? Typical of all colonial situations, reparations arrears accumulate over a long period of time, 75 years in this case, promising the explosion to be more violent as time passes. And should the Palestinians adopt an “ethic of resistance” when they rise? But what kind of world do people live in who can say such things? One-third are absent subscribers, and the powers that might take their place have outrageously sided with the oppressor. Is it any wonder that after 75 years things go wrong, sometimes even horribly?[v]

Even with a sophisticated and farsighted a case like this one, one is tempted to note the belatedness of the prise de conscience of the situation on the ground where Palestinians have been dying since 1948. For it is futile to hold forth such a view no matter how fair-minded its author is.

Nor is this all. What we must again see is the issue involving domination, annexation, eviction and dispossession—an issue always lurking near the question of Palestinian resistance. With specific reference to the October 7 attack, which did not happen in a vacuum, what was to become another cry for another holocaust, Judith Butler the following argument at a meeting entitled ‘Against anti-Semitism and its instrumentalisation. For Revolutionary Peace in Palestine,’ on March 3, 2024, in Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis), she observed: ‘I think it’s more honest and historically correct to say that the October 7 uprising was an act of armed resistance. This is not a terrorist attack; this is not an anti-Semitic attack.’ One can only marvel at the courage, flair, and fair-mindedness of a scholar who has come under immense pressure and indeed attack from the Zionist Entity because she speaks truth to power as well as reads the world against the grain. Butler goes on to add that the October 7 attack was meant ‘to defy a colonial military power…  [It is]… a form of armed resistance to colonization.’ Where Butler is quite right remains in the deconstruction of the master narrative the occupier has nurtured and imposed on the world at every step of the way ever since 1948. Let me explain. Take the Oslo Accord as a case in point. The naked reality of the accord is that it does not stipulate in any way, shape, or form that the signatories are equal partners. On the contrary, it stands for a skewed arrangement between a ruthless colonizer and a helpless colonized as was the instance between—say, France and Algeria. Moreover, the balance of advantages has been very favorable to the first. The whole deal is couched in blurred, ambiguous terms. No halting of the settlements on the land that was meant to be returned to its original owners—namely, the Palestinians—a gesture that could have been at the root of bringing back peace to the region, is observed. Imperialism is the theory; colonialism is the practice. Every inch of the land that suggested waste, disorder, emptiness has been converted into productivity, order, taxable, potentially developed wealth. All of it has been done with the blessing and complacency of the US and the EU. In the meantime, the disfiguration of old Palestine continues, and the port of Gaza is waiting for the likes of Jarred Kushner to develop it (read the irony)!  Finally, the so-called ‘safe passage’ between Gaza and the West Bank opened for a brief time and closed for good. 

Today, the six-month war has wiped out the Gaza Strip. As far as the eye can see, roads strewn with rubble and gutted buildings give the impression that a massive  earthquake hit the area. The biggest ‘open-air prison’ on earth has become a vast field of ruins in which 2.2 million inhabitants are left to their own demise. The figures in the joint report by the World Bank and the United Nations show the extent of the obliteration in the territory. With 72% of homes destroyed, Gaza now has more than one million homeless people, twice as many as in the previous estimate, published in December 2023. By mid-March, three quarters of the road network had been destroyed. At the beginning of April, the destruction rate stood at 92%. As for the telecommunications network, it is considered in the report to be ‘non-existent.’ The health system has been levelled: 84% of the equipment is gone. Those who are trying to survive have neither water nor electricity. There is zilch to treat sick patients. At the end of March, damage to vital infrastructure in the enclave amounted to $22.5 billion. The Zionist aerial bombardment campaign has killed more than 33,000 people, many of them civilians. Add to that number the tens of thousands who have been missing since the start of the invasion. This figure has been established by the UN. Since October 8, three-quarters of the population have been displaced. More than half of Gazans are now close to starvation. And it is the entire population that is in a situation of humiliation, despair, and malnutrition. 

image 2

One must also consider the toll the war has had on children and their mental state of mind. The world must face up to its responsibility to deal with an entire generation of young boys and girls who have been marked for life. To say that the Zionist Entity wants ‘get rid’ of Hamas is a joke in that not only the resistance movement still goes on unabated, but the asymmetrical war has given birth to thousands of young resistance fighters who will grow up loathing a ruthless colonizer who will never rest no matter how powerful it thinks it is or how hard it will try to subjugate a people. Henceforth, the resistance movement called ‘Hamas’ will have no need to enlist persons for service in its armed forces. The genocide has paved the way for them to attract many more new members. The hatred is also directed at the West—the US and UK, in particular. The chicken will eventually come home to roost! After all, who is behind all the weapons Israel uses to obliterate Palestine? The answer is an obvious one. The West, The West, the West. It marvels at showing its bravura and technological prowess in making first class jets and tanks and missiles and ammunition the purpose of which is to kill an innocent population. It really is quite surreal to think about the matter in that we are witnessing the most powerful states in the world fighting a group of rebels with a cause called ‘Hamas.’ And irony of ironies, the said group is still alive and well and successful in keeping a so-called professional IDF in check.    

The denial of Palestine by both Western Imperialism and its test tube baby, Zionism, which is a form of Naziism, has turned out to be a mistake like no other since the inception of the Zionist Entity in the late nineteenth century. All of it is done with the help, and indeed acquiescence, of Big Brother (America) led by none other than Zionist Biden, who flew to Tel-Aviv on October 18, 2023 to tell Gangster Bibi that he, too, is a  Zionist avant la lettre when in another instance that involved him debating Trump for the 2020 election, he played the card of victimhood by referring to himself as an ‘American of Irish stock’ being bullied by a WASP candidate. How ironic! Nor is this all. A heartfelt expression of solidarity across the world has not deterred Judaic Zionism and indeed Christian Zionism of  which Biden is the champion to halt the Israeli offensive that has claimed so many deaths of innocent people: mostly women and children.  This dizzying impotence leaves us to imagine the worst for Palestine in the months and years to come. Picture the following scenario. One wonders what will happen if an armed group—say, Katibat Jenin (The Brigade of Jenine), rooted in the West bank, decides to stand up to the settlers who commit daily heinous killings of young and old Palestinians as if they were grasshoppers?  No one can foresee the reaction of the Zionist Entity—an Entity determined to engage in a genocide that will be worse than the one that followed October 7. It will be twice as ruthless and bloody and cruel as the present one. Which country, what great power will tomorrow oppose the razing of whole swathes of Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, or Nablus to the ground? Not even one. In the meantime, the West continues to provide Israel with the carte blanche it needs to do whatever it deems vital for its so-called survival—a kind of blank cheque while at the same time delivering it with the most sophisticated and up-to-date weaponry and indeed diplomatic support.  The sale of thousands of firearm cartridge links by France and Germany, not to mention that other bête noire of planet earth, Great Britain, is a case in point. 

In fact, the mess Palestine is in today was spawned by none other an imperialist monster called the UK whose murderous record is well-documented: from Jamaica to Kenya to Zimbabwe. All this is happening while the Arab world continues to  distinguish itself by its impotence, cowardice, capitulation, and indeed inability to utter a single bark.  Gone are the days when in 1973, OPEC (Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) imposed an embargo on crude oil shipment to the West and the Rest that had supported Israel during the October War, plunging the world into the first ‘oil shock.’  An oil embargo like in 1973 after the Yom Kippur War? Lâ chay, you will see none of that this time around!   The move led to the assassination of King Faiçal of Saudi Arabia with the direct involvement of the CIA and the resignation of Golda Meir the following year.  The ban that crippled the West for the first time ever was engineered by none other than the famed Sheik Zaki Yamani.  Today, the Arab world watches the tragedy unfolding in Palestine from a distance. Nothing comparable has been done this time. It is no coincidence that it was South Africa who led the way against Israel by filing a petition for ‘acts of genocide’ before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on December 29, 2023. A bold initiative noArab country has dreamt of championing let alone entertaining. Boy! How have the times changed, haven’t they! 

As I said earlier, the offensive has decimated vast swaths of what is left of the territory we call ‘Palestine’ and driven 90% of its 2.2 million people from their homes. More than 100,000 Palestinians have been either killed, maimed, or incapacitated. How many more will die before a solution to the problem of Zionist Nazi occupation ends, if at all, no one knows for sure. What we recognise is that the suffering goes on unnoticed except in places like London where there is a full awareness of the tragedy even if Rishi Sunak, an adept and practitioner of Hinduism, keeps curtailing the right of demonstration as if only he, an almost brown English man, knows the limits of democracy. His stance on the Palestinian question is cowardly at best, and hypocritical at worst. He may want to portray himself as more royal than his Majesty the King, but he lacks the trappings, blue blood, and indeed the courage to deal with a matter that has gripped the entire world. And if the English are true to their servants insofar as they are now governed by them, they may as well sit back and enjoy the ride while the very once-upon-a-time subalterns feed on a diet that enables them to not only embody but also defend the very values they were once subjected to in the days of the Empire—an empire that sought to occupy most of the planet in the name of Enlightenment and Civilising Mission geared to educate and polish half-made individuals like Sunak, Patel, Braverman et al, what the late V.S. Naipaul aptly called mimic men and women. One can only marvel at the sordid reality we are faced with and remember with a deep sigh the lyrics of the song ‘…the times, they are a-Changin…’ by Bob Dylan whose prophetic voice propelled him to the mountain top even if at times, he, too, tends to drift apart. His song on Khaddafi is an example of what I have in mind.

Even so, one redemptive measure of the October 7 act of resistance has been to put Palestine once again on the map—a matter of fact both Arabs and Americans and Europeans and Jews wanted to forget about and sweep under the rug by giving birth to the Abraham Accord. It has also heralded a new era that says nothing can be planned without solving the Palestinian question. The history of the last half century has shown that there is a Palestine with a stubborn civil society determined not give up its most essential right to exist, to be, and to endure the harshest human condition no matter how hard the Zionist colonial system tries to marginalise, quell, or negate it. Its quest is like that of any other people wanting to be free, to live with dignity on the land of their ancestry. It is a fact the world has finally noticed, especially by the Global South. From now on, the status quo will not do even if the price Palestine has paid is too high. This is done against the grain because even taking so basic a step in the right direction has become impossible inasmuch as any effort to call a spade a spade is labelled anti-Semitic. (The witch hunt and indeed the intellectual terrorism inside and outside Academia of those who voice their opinion in favor of Palestine is a reminder of the filthy climate we live in). For the first, ridiculously small, attempt at coming down on Nazi Zionism and telling the story of the denial of a people that has been going on for a long time can leave deep scars. After all, lest we forget, the Jewish national emancipation has taken place upon the ruins of another existence—namely, the subjugation of Palestine, a people and a country with its people and flora and fauna and air and sea that does not have the Andersons, the Blitzers, the BHLs, the Finkielkrauts, the Cohn-Bendits, the Pujadas, the Elkriefs, the Speilbergs, the Blinkens, the Dershowitzes, the Salamés, the Glucksmann’s, the Bacharans, the Mahers, the Ferrys, the CNNs, the BBCs, BFMs, and the list goes on, to speak for it. Still, for once, though, Palestine is not alone in claiming a Self, in not being ignored or misunderstood by a pro-Israeli West, the US particularly, a country led by a government blinded by its own deliberate ignorance, as it tries to construct a being for itself in the world. That alone deserves admiration in going forward and setting its energy free even if the price it has paid is too dear to bear as more than 33,000 already dead at the last count and the toll is rising every day. 

As to the Arabs, one is reminded of the motto that Ibn Khaldûn put forward in his Al-muqaddima (Introduction) some six hundred years ago: ‘The Arabs agreed never to get along.’ [vi] This is true insofar as one must deplore the rivalries, divisions, and jealousies that have plagued the Arab world from Damascus to Casablanca via Tunis for centuries. It is a telling fact that today while Palestine burns, the sheiks, dictators, generals, colonels, presidents for life, kings, princes, emirs, sultans are busy meeting to show their impotence as was the case in their gathering on November 11, 2023, in Saudi Arabia.  Akram Belkaïd put it eloquently: ‘[The] Israeli military intervention in Gaza invalidates the [Ibn Khaldûn] maxim, as this time the twenty-two countries of the Arab League agree to do nothing. Each urgent meeting of the body confirms its inaction, despite a few grandiloquent tirades, despite a pontificating final communiqué. One can only imagine them too well: around a large round table, excellencies and centripetences, marshal-presidents, former factious men who have become honourable, males who have chosen to lead in the same way.’[vii] The tendency to run away like chicken is not new. In 2018, the Arab League agreed to draw up a ‘strategic plan’ to counter the decision of the Trump’s administration to remove the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Nothing constructive came out of it. Still, no matter how one views the plight of an ancient land and people, dignity in defeat has been at the heart of the Palestinian tragedy. 

To speak of a turning point in history, a room of one’s own at the rendez-vous of victory, as C.L. R. James once put it, is to be reminded of the resilience of the Palestinian consciousness, which keeps rising day after day in the face of adversity—an adversity totally ignored by an Arab world that has capitulated to a pernicious West led by America/Israel, who have used AI under the misnomer ‘Lavender’ System to identify and conduct an inimical war against thousands of innocent targets. Today, both the slaughter and famine are an atrocity foretold. The predicament continues as the so-called Palestinian leadership, made of stooges and corrupt pawns, keeps squabbling over who will get the next big, fat office while the carnage unfolds before our very eyes. In the meantime, the redemption lies in the determination of a people who refuse to bend one way or another. Indeed, they are fighting back vigorously. There could have been no doubt whatsoever in their minds that Mahmoud Abbas Collaborator Inc. has lost all strategic vision and most of its legitimacy. As to the Arab world at large, it has other things to worry about—preparing for the 2034 soccer world cup in Saudi Arabia is an example. Normalising its relations with the Zionist Entity is another. In fact, the Arabs from Morocco to Syria have altogether ignored the question of Palestine. As to the morally bankrupt West, it is busy fighting a plague of its own making—namely, what an Orientalist avant-la-lettre—a certain Gilles Kepel has called ‘Atmospheric Jihadism’ as if the resistance fighters in Palestine and elsewhere were extra terrestrial creatures.[viii] How peachy! This West sees the Palestinian tragedy as a warfare game at best; a game held on a pitch that showcases their high-tech weaponry (Iron Dome and F-35 and all that) used by a no less morally defunct army whose moral credo is to kill at random hence the argument to justify Israel to behave like a fascist gangster whose sole raison for being is to maim and murder a helpless innocent population in the name of self-defence. 

            It may be futile to question the savagery of the horrendous challenge Palestine faces today. Yet the solemn plight of a country, reduced to a piecemeal enclave of sorts, has raised an awareness, and indeed garnered a global support, the like of which we have not seen since the Vietnam war or the ANC resistance movement in South Africa.  The stand is monumental in that it speaks to the resilience of a beleaguered people who have been pushed around for so long, yet they still stand tall. In fact, they embody the hope that one day they too will be free at last. In doing so, they teach us a lesson in determination, one made of steel and forged in exile both at home and abroad and indeed at times from underneath the rubble as is the case today. Their unshakable national consciousness, confirmed by their resistance in the darkest hour, reminds us, all of us, of their stubborn, obstinate, and patient refusal to capitulate. If the end game of war is ‘to compel the adversary to carry out our will,’ as Carl von Clausewitz put it, in this respect at least, the Zionist Entity has failed miserably to force the will a people to yield.[ix] For that alone, Palestine stands tall. It is also alive and well and buoyant. And it is this fact with which the search for peace and accommodation of the Other, whether it be Palestinian or Israeli in the Middle East must begin, and with which the West and the Rest have not yet even begun to deal. Otherwise, the cycle of violence and counter-violence will go on unabated if we continue to pretend that we are unable to see the pain of a people who have proven daring and courageous and brave in the face of all the ordeals imposed on them by a ruthless and inhumane and cruel occupier. What is said privately about Israeli military policy and political arrogance must be said out loud in public. Only then, can we hope for a better future for all because the bravery of such a people must be celebrated in all sorts of ways. I want to end this piece by quoting the late Edward Said, who asked us to never turn our heads and pretend that we just do not see the horror of Zionism and what it has done to the soul of Palestine. 

There are Zionism and Israel for Jews, and Zionism and Israel for non-Jews. Zionism has drawn a sharp line between Jew and non-Jew; Israel built a whole system for keeping them apart, including the much admired (but completely apartheid) kibbutzim, to which no Palestinian has ever belonged. In effect, the Palestinians are ruled by a separate government premised on the impossibility of isonomic rule for both Jews and non-Jews. Out of this radical notion it became natural for the Palestinian Gulag Archipelago to develop its own life, to create its own precision, its own detail.[x]

Its ‘own detail’ indeed as far as the resistance movement has brought a kind of analytic quality and attention to the plight of Palestine. Otherwise, how can one make sense of the quest for liberation and, related to it, the ideas of modernization, peace, independence, development, and revolutionary progress is a matter in time dealt with. For now, the entire world watches Gaza burning while the entire world watches an immoral bourgeois West gazing at Gaza. As Ilan Pappé has brilliantly demonstrated, the ultimate intention and method of colonization when it is a settler one, like the French in Algeria or the Afrikaners in South Africa, is that it involves the doing away with any presence of the occupied people — in the case of the Palestinian people, either by expulsion and deportation or, as we now know, by genocide.[xi]

            Finally, there is a particularly good case to be made for the eternal quest of what the late Pierre Bourdieu aptly called ‘La Bourgeoisie Occidentale’ to dominate the rest of the world both in thought and action.  Otherwise, how can one explain the attitude of the ruling Upper Class from Sunak to Macron to Scholz to Biden to Blinken, not to mention a whole slew of so-called intellectuals and maîtres-à-penser, toward the genocide that is taking place in Gaza? It remains unhinged as it would not be about—say, the environment or the class struggle or AI. That the genocide in Gaza has galvanised the entire world is an understatement. It has done so because the said Bourgeoisie is viscerally on the side of Israel. In fact, it links its fate to that of the Zionist Entity while engaging in an imaginary, quasi-conscious relationship and indeed sympathy, which are perfectly unaverred: ‘sympathy for domination,’ Lordon   perceptively observes, ‘sympathy for racism—which is perhaps the purest form of domination, and therefore the most exciting for the dominant.’ [xii]  Where he falls short in his otherwise brilliant argument is that when he tackles the concept of ‘sympathy.’  Every kind of sympathy, no matter how genuine it is, tends to crumble when the subjugation of a people reaches a crisis: the case was true in Algeria under the French and South Africa under Apartheid, because the mobilization that goes on the offensive is ‘organic’ as Gramsci would have it.  The same goes for the present colonial crisis in Palestine. Put differently, when the downtrodden rise to take control of their destiny as was the case on October 7, the coloniser has only one recourse: quell and crush the uprising to reassert his domination. Nowhere is this sadist attitude more obvious than in the levelling of the landscape of Palestine. Indeed, its annihilation stands out in the complete destruction of the sacred (i.e.) every cemetery in Gaza. Such a deliberate and well-intentioned cruel action has only one aim: total eradication of the most revered collective memory. Even the dead cannot escape the moral bankruptcy of an over-fed army who has lost its moral compass, its inner sense which distinguishes what is right from what is wrong; in short, an army that has no longer a guide for morally appropriate behaviour.  What saddens us is that the massacre that is tearing Palestine apart is conducted with enjoyment—an enjoyment that borders on pleasure and gratification born out of perversity and sadism from inflicting pain on and indeed humiliation of Palestine. Such a harrowing deed recalls the concept of herem by Spinoza: ‘May his name be erased in this world and forever.’[xiii] By doing so, both Israel and the West behind it, have lost their innocence, if innocence be.

Mustapha Marrouchi is a writer on a wide range of topics including literature, politics, cultural criticism, and Islamic issues. He is the author of half a dozen books, including Edward Said at the Limits.

[i] Cornel West has been at the forefront of the struggle for justice not only for Palestine but for all oppressed people as well. He is a tireless model to follow. His November 13, 2023 ‘Genocidal Attack’ speech is a milestone in the Palestinian saga. His numerous TV interventions have been geared to speak on behalf of the helpless victims in Gaza and the West Bank. It is no exaggeration to say that they are a waking up call to all of us who are bent on standing tall for the cause of justice.

[ii] All three pictures are a courtesy provided by Robarts Library (Reading Room), University of Toronto. Thank you, U. of. T.

[iii] There is a perceptive analysis of anger by Seneca in Yang Jingji, Philodemus and Seneca on Anger (Oxford UP, 2021): 45-71.  

[iv] Frantz Fanon, ‘On Violence,’ in The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Richard Philcox (New York: Grove Press, 2021). 

[v] Frédéric Lordon, ‘Butler, Alimi et l’éthique,’ Le Monde Diplomatique 28 Mars 2024.

[vi] Ibn Khadûn, Al-nuqaddima (Paris : Maison Arts, 2006) : 56. 

[vii] Akram Belkaïd, ‘Gaza, Enfer à Ciel Ouvert,’ Le Monde Diplomatique 24 Avril 20024.

[viii] Gilles Kepel has become the darling of the Far Right led by none other than Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion-Marechal Le Pen and indeed Eric Zemmour. He has a way of inventing concepts like ‘stratospheric Jihad’ that resonate with BFM TV and CNews and Le Figaro. His book, Le Prophète et la Pandémie : Du Moyen-Orient au Jihadisme d’Atmosphère (Paris : Gallimard, 2021), says it all. He is one of those pseudo-scholars who find pleasure in stereotyping the Orient while remaining silent on the belligerency of The West and the Israeli murderous acts in the region.  

[ix] Carl von Clausewitz, On War (New York: Barnes and Noble, 2006): 56.

[x] Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1979): 

[xi] Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (London: Oneworld Publications, 2007, and The Biggest Prison on Earth (London: Oneworld Publications, 2017) are stellar testimonies of the plight of Palestine since 1948. In Pappe one finds the verve and courage propounded before him by Edward Said. Their voices resonate with what is happening today in Palestine.  See also Marius Schattner, ‘Far Right’s Biblical Pretexts for Mass Expulsion,’ Le Monde Diplomatique, English Version, April 2024.

[xii] Frédéric Lordon, ‘La Fin de l’Innocence,’ Le Monde Diplomatique 24 Avril 2024.

[xiii]The Works of Baruch Spinoza (New York: Barnes and Noble, 2013): 123. Let us remember how Spinoza was marginalized by his fellow Jews for standing for what is right.

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Gaza And The Israeli Killer Instinct

The Israeli war on Gaza is moving full-blast ahead despite international pressure to have it stopped. The Israeli government is neither listening to the International Court of Justice nor to…

Israel Bombs School, Kills 10 People

Ten martyrs were killed and 17 others injured when Israeli warplanes launched another deadly attack on the Al Nazla School in Al Saftawi in north Gaza. This is another massacre carried under…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News