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‘Why Do We Deserve This?’

Her residence in Gaza has been reduced to rubble by Israeli airstrikes. The 10-year-old girl has experienced the death of some of her family members and neighbours. As the little Palestinian girl does not have the power to stop the War, Nadin-Abdel-Taif has broken down in tears while drawing the media’s attention to the rubble. “I’m always sick… I can’t do anything… I’m only 10,” the child has been seen saying in a video. She added: “What am I supposed to do? Fix it? I’m only 10. I can’t even deal with this anymore.” In a shaky voice, Nadine further said: “I just want to be a doctor or anything to help my people. But I can’t. I’m just a kid. I get scared… I’d do anything for my people. But, I don’t know what to do. Why do we deserve this? … because we are Muslims? What did we do for this?

The civilised world is yet to answer Nadin’s question. The 11-day Israeli strikes claimed at least 250 lives, including 61 children. The Middle East Eye reported that more than 1,000 people were wounded and many of them were minors!

Geopolitical Expert Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee believes that Israel is yet again breaking international norms of justice, in its attempt to violently subvert the Rights of Palestinians to Live (forget about dignity) in East Jerusalem. On the Social Media, Palestinians were registering the names of their dead from bombing by the Israeli fighter jets. When a tree at Al-Aqsa Mosque caught fire, young Zionists across the wall, danced chanting to ‘Yimach shemam’ (‘May their names be erased’). These words can only be uttered by people, who do not deserve to refer to the Holocaust any longer. They have hollowed out their ties with their own history.

The Nakba, or the day of catastrophe, marks the date, May 4, 1948, when the Israelis had moved into Palestine, exiled the Arabs in their own land, evicted them from their homes, and made them political refugees in what was till then considered to be their own country. Since that day 70 years ago, the date has taken on a grave significance, as the story of Israel’s occupation of Palestine has turned graver by the year. The graves of Palestinians have multiplied, including the graves of their children.

Meanwhile, The Wire online portal has reported that sooner or later, severe oppression rebounds against the perpetrator. When that happens in Israel, the answer is always and inevitably to use more violence. In an article published in the portal on May 15, David Shulman stated that something important happened in Israel in May 2021, which was not ‘just the fact that Hamas in Gaza surprised the Israeli Army and Intelligence Services, not to mention the Government of Israel, by its ability to take command of a volatile situation, to hit deep into Israel with precision rocketry, and to impose its agenda on an overwhelming more powerful enemy. Not only the fact that the Israeli Government and the Police have lost control of much of the country, especially mixed Arab-Jewish cities, such as Lod, Ramleh, Jaffa, Acre and East Jerusalem, where conditions close to Civil War are now in evidence. Not only the acute failure of the Benjamin Netanyahu Government to restore some semblance of normalcy, to say nothing of articulating a viable policy for the future.’

Shulman also mentioned that all these were there for all to see. However, the crucial point is that the deeper currents of life in Israel-Palestine, and above all the regnant delusions that have driven Israeli thinking for the past many decades, have been exposed as never before. What the Global Community will witness over the coming weeks is a desperate attempt to re-establish these self-destructive axioms as political norms, despite the disaster they have, unsurprisingly, brought about.

Palestinians

According to Shulman, it is not difficult to trace the stages through which the current round of violence evolved. One particularly not-so-wise move, he strongly felt, was the decision by the newly appointed Police Commissioner, Kobi Shabtai, to barricade the wide steps, leading into the Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. During Ramadan, these steps are a favourite place for Palestinian families to celebrate the evening Iftar meal. There was no apparent logic to closing them off from a wish to humiliate Muslim Palestinians at a particularly sensitive moment. As expected, fiery protests erupted, and eventually, the Police removed the barriers. By then, other processes had been set in motion.

There were other factors in play. Elections were supposed to take place in Palestine this spring; and the Palestinian Authority (PA) cancelled them, fearing they would lose ground to Hamas. It’s a reasonable fear; the PA has failed miserably to deliver anything of lasting value to the Palestinian National Movement. Hamas, furious at President Abu Mazen’s decision, eagerly took over the role of defending Jerusalem, the Haram, Sheikh Jarrah and the West Bank, the latter languishing for the last 74 years under a regime of State Terror and Institutionalised Theft of Palestinian land for Israeli settlement.

And, there is one more far from negligible element. It cannot be by chance that this crisis developed, to the point of war, just as the Israeli Opposition parties seemed to be close to establishing a Government in the wake of the last Israeli elections. Netanyahu, who has driven the country through four indecisive elections in the last two years for the sole purpose of evading the criminal charges pending against him in court, was likely to lose power. The new Government-that-almost-was is now on hold, possibly ruled out. Readers can draw their own conclusions about Netanyahu’s role in running this politically useful catastrophe.

For most Israelis, the causal chain is either invisible or forgotten, as the war unfolds. And Hamas has its own lethal actions to account for. However, the core of the matter lies in the axioms mentioned in the opening paragraph. It isn’t possible to enslave forever a population of millions, to deny them all basic Human Rights, to steal their lands, to humiliate them in a thousand ways, to hurt them, even kill them, with impunity, to create a regime meant to ensure permanent supremacy of one population over another, and all this by the exercise of massive military force. In fact, “forever” is an overstatement. A tiny state, like Israel, can apparently get away with such a policy for some decades, using (actually misusing) the memory of the Holocaust as its moral capital. Most of the countries, and especially their elected leaderships, suffer from a chronic learning disability.

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