Six months of Israeli genocide in Gaza: A window into times to come?

Gaza Rafah

The Israeli aggression and genocide being committed in Palestine is the defining historical moment of our time, showing that colonialism as a system and a way of thought and life has not gone away anywhere in the so-called ‘postcolonial’ world order. Palestinians have been struggling and resisting against the occupation of their homeland and all the resultant oppression and suffering that comes with it for over 75 years, watching the whole world turn its back on them. Israel’s logic of occupation, domination, and ethnic cleansing follows the tried-and-tested model of settler colonialism wherein outsiders claim the right to expel the natives and take the land for themselves, bolstered by any number of mythologies and narratives. Israel as a state and as an idea could not have existed without the active support and intervention of the West, going back to the Balfour declaration adopted by Britain in 1917 and the British Mandate in Palestine granted in 1920, which saw a bloody and violent end in 1948 with the mass expulsion of Arabs, the Nakba.

Israel has perpetrated thousands of atrocities, injustices, and egregious violations of international law against the Arab population of Palestine ever since its inception. In a true settler colonial fashion, Israel has given to itself the true ‘right’ and ownership of the land, declaring themselves as its rightful ‘inheritors’, twisting itself into a rhetorical pretzel by insisting on a supposed ‘Biblical’ basis for the Jewish “right to return” to the land after thousands of years, but not the Palestinian right to return after only seven decades of expulsion. Israel has banned the very mention of the 1948 Nakba or any discussion around it even as it has perpetrated a second Nakba in these six months of unrelenting, inhumane campaign of genocide.

While the Western states are strategically invested in maintaining the Israeli state in the Middle East, they also share the foundational logic of settler colonialism and the original sin of widespread antisemitism which caused the horrors of the Holocaust and Shoah (genocide of the Jewish community) together with their great imperialist-capitalist ‘world wars’ over territory, influence, and resources. It is extremely hypocritical of these states to now adopt a sanctimonious stance on ‘antisemitism’ and professing a steadfast support for Israel on that basis, since it shows that their supposed ‘remorse’ does not include a totalized moral condemnation of those events but is cynically performative in the sense of saying ‘never again…. except if it’s Arabs or other brown people!’

No atrocity left to be seen, or even imagined!

In the months since the Hamas-led efforts to break out of the concentration camp that is Gaza on October 7, 2023, Israel went on an all-out war not only against the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank, but also against anyone anywhere in the world who dared to express the most basic human revulsion and opposition to their barbarities. The Israeli state, through its senior leadership, made numerous genocidal and dehumanizing statements against Palestinians, expressing their crystal-clear intent to perpetrate genocide. It openly announced its plans to starve and deny water to “human beasts” and committed heinous violations of all rules of war by bombing hospitals and targeting ambulances, which it first denied and then rationalized as targeting “terrorists” and “Hamas” supposedly hiding in tunnels under hospitals. It systematically destroyed all forms of life-sustaining infrastructure in the enclave including its limited bakeries, water supply, hospitals, schools, universities, and homes. As famine, disease, and desperation began taking hold, Israel worsened the hell-on-earth in Gaza by deliberately opening fire on hungry people attempting to get food from aid trucks (while ‘Israeli citizens’, i.e., a collective of criminal occupiers) trooped at the walls of Gaza and prevented aid trucks from coming in, gleefully declaring with their own children by their side that they intend to starve all the Palestinians to death.

Social media feeds on Twitter, TikTok, and Meta-owned platforms like Instagram and Facebook are choking up with extremely disturbing and heart-wrenching visuals of little children being starved slowly with each excruciating moment, malnourished and wasted. Even infants and toddlers have not been spared this fate. Their innocent faces and eyes are disfigured with the pain, horror, confusion, and shock at their conditions: some have had amputations, others suffered burns and all manner of horrific injuries that are hard to even think or write about. This is not to mention being buried under the rubble caused by Israeli bombs that rain down from the sky at the same time as the farcical American ‘aid’ that many in the West are patting themselves on the back for.

All these actions by Israel have drawn condemnation from all the legitimate institutions of the world because everyone can see that this state and society does not belong in the collective of civilized humanity and should have been punished and brought to its knees long ago, were it not for the backing of American money and muscle, which includes the choice gifts of autographed missiles and bombs dropping on the heads of Palestinians, crushing their skulls, rupturing their eardrums, blowing them limb from limb, and leaving families with the dismembered bits of their children to bury in mass graves. And yet, the Palestinians continue to offer heroic resistance like nothing ever seen in history. Their actions and faith hold up the mirror from which we cannot look away. Their fate will be shared by much of the world in the times to come as the climate catastrophe takes hold and fascist extractive capitalism sinks its fangs deeper into everybody’s flesh. If Gaza and the Palestinians are made into a precedent of how white supremacist, settler states can impose their will on the rest of the world with their guns, propaganda, and financial muscle, there is no telling who will be next.

The value of all the peoples in the world is only as much as its most marginalized and disposable. When we see the plight of the Palestinians and choose to look away or do nothing, we allow the aggressors to strip away a part of our own soul, and engage in a cheap bargain in which safety, convenience, and comfort is bought with the price of silence and indifference towards our fellow man. This is not just you and me in our own historical moment. What we do and say right now reflects on who we would have been in any of the eras when large-scale inhumanity was perpetrated. Our solidarity cuts across the bounds of our own location, language, and even lifetime. Let us raise our voices louder and redouble our efforts to end the Israeli genocide in Palestine.

Arjun Banerjee is a writer and political commentator. He is a postgraduate in English literature from the University of Delhi. He writes about current events and culture 

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