For the fourth week running, the world continued to keep count of Israeli atrocities in Gaza, even though no one expects a backlash in the form of a UN sanction against the Jewish colonial state’s genocide of Palestinians. In a single day in Shujjayyea, 100 lives were wiped out by Israel; on Wednesday 30th of July another 19 lives were killed by Israeli shelling of a UN refugee school in Jabalya in what Christopher Gunness of the United Nations Relief Work Agency (UNRWA) said was a “source of universal shame” for which Israel is to blame.
Before this, an entire family was wiped out in Khan Younis when Israel fired into a family house on the claim that an HAMAS member was visiting the house at the time. Since Israel launched its ground offensive the death toll has soared even though it has suffered some casualties itself. No place is sacred, mosques, schools, hospitals, and even UN buildings have been hit.
As at the last count, the death toll was approaching 2000 Palestinians among which are some 300 children below the age of ten and still counting. Israel claims HAMAS is using civilians as human shield to launch rocket attacks; yet the definition of what constitutes ‘human shield’ which is prohibited under international law is clear: it involves the forcing of civilians to directly assist in military operations or using them to shield a military object or troops from attack.
Neither the attack on Khan Younis nor the shelling of the UN school falls under such category. Besides, international law requires ‘precision’ when considering an object for military attacks, and in order for any object to qualify for such, it must be used for military purposes such that its total or partial destruction would result in a definite military advantage. Yet like all other international laws and conventions, this law is flouted by Israel with impunity. Even a Madeline Albright (former American Secretary of State who in all callousness justified the death of more than half a million Iraqi children under US imposed sanctions in the first Gulf War) was convinced that Israel has transgressed all bound.
Israel claims HAMAS was responsible for the death of its own citizens by using them as human shield, but such propaganda is difficult to sustain. In the build up to the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah war, pamphlets were dropped from air throughout southern Lebanon by Israeli forces telling the people that the impending bombing soon to be unleashed by Israel was brought upon them by Hezbollah. The intent was clear: create panic and turn the people against Hezbollah. However, the end of the war saw Hezbollah inflicting a historic defeat on Israel which led to Israel’s unilateral cessation of hostilities.
HAMAS is in the same situation. The truth which Israeli propaganda intends to shield was that it was fighting a ‘peoples’ war’ in Gaza where its continuous aggression on the people has only led to a hardened, more determined citizenry against its occupation with loyalty to HAMAS on a sporadic increase. Yet it is not true that Israel is invincible. In fact the loss of over 43 soldiers to a people whose only source of weapon procurement are dug-tunnels gives an insight into how formidable such people would be under a formal arrangement of a legitimate state!
This is the real reason why Israel has rejected all solutions including the much touted ‘two-states’ solution, and also why peace has remained elusive; because an independent Palestinian state would not only put paid to the project of a ‘Greater Israel’ which envisions the whole of the Middle East as Jewish territory, but would equally retract the illegal territorial gains made in the course of the last 50 years, since the basis of such a Palestinian state would be a return to the 1947 UN border demarcation
But one important thing to note in the whole scenario is how the US is breaking a lot of sweat for what Israel doe not care a hoot about! American policy makers know their country has to pick up the ‘bill’ for whatever damage Israel does, hence the old rhetoric “Israel has the right to defend itself’. But if prior to 9/11, Americans do not know why they are hated worldwide, they know better today. In fact, many Americans are beginning to see the connection between their own insecurity and Israel’s atrocities on other nations especially in the Middle East.
From shielding Israel from sanction-able crimes, to arming it with billions of dollars and then, an unspecified military aid, all for Israel to pursue a racial project which has the dispossession and genocide of others as its twin objectives; then, junketing around the world in search of a ‘peace’ that promotes, protects, and allows more time for such project to get to fruition is the silliest thing any sane human being would accept.
This explains why HAMAS is the one putting the ‘globe trotting’ John Kerry under pressure. If only HAMAS would accept the ‘peace deal’ as packaged on behalf of Israel by America, with such interventions like the El SIsi brokered ceasefire with Israel – nonetheless rejected by HAMAS – then there would have been ‘PEACE’ even if that of a graveyard! Noam Chomsky was apt in his explanation of America’s sympathy for the Jewish nation: being itself founded upon the dispossession and genocide of the aboriginal population, America can not but sympathizes with a nation re enacting a similar scenario.
As it is now, more death on the side of the people of Gaza makes no difference, except and until the blockade of the strip is removed. For Israel, its project of ‘Greater Israel’ is surely impossible except with more wars, which may not produce the same lopsided casualty figures in future encounters. For the Americans especially pro Israeli Republicans, an urgent decision is inevitable as to whether to continue to treat Israel as the 51st state of the United States (alongside its ramifying consequences) or allow it face the consequences of its own atrocities.
The world would not remain static as changes that would radicalize thinking and produce options that would continually diminish Western, nay American influence in global affairs are bound to surface. The recent announcement by the BRICS nations to create an alternative ‘World Bank’ may be just a tip of the iceberg; and so, at this natural and inevitable diminution of influence, fighting for its own survival may come to pre occupy America than attending to a distant no-cousin that the Jews are; then perhaps the reality would dawn on everyone.
Gaza: Whither the Nigerian Humanists
Coming back home to Nigeria, one is forced to ask the question, ‘whither Nigerian humanists’? For more than three weeks now, none of our ‘celebrated humanists’ has been heard expressing ‘shock’ at the scale of killing in Gaza. Is it that they are out of planet Earth and could not communicate with the rest of us; or the humanity in them suddenly atrophied?
One would have expected them to rally round humanity as they did on the occasion of the attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. It is not that their comments could change anything, one is only worried by some of their submissions as one of them opined (in a mimicry of some orientalists) that a civilization and its essence was responsible for the ugly scene in the Kenyan incident; he therefore saw a need for a legislation to outlaw the religion of that civilization. The other wrote that Muslims should stand up to be counted.
Neither of them was able to connect the ‘politics’ and/or the hegemonic agenda of those self acclaimed global gendarme with visions such ‘a century of unchallenged supremacy’ or that of a ‘greater racial entity’ to be built, presumably upon the ruins of others! Only reactions to such agenda are demonized by these humanists, and this perhaps explains why they are unperturbed at the ongoing genocide in Gaza; it is nothing but a reflection of their selective rendition of the term HUMANITY!
Contrarily across the world including at the Harvard University, on the streets of London, and in the whole of Latin America where almost all the countries have recalled their ambassadors to Israel, genuine humanists identified with the Palestinians, calling Israeli aggression the crime against humanity that it is.
In Nigeria however, a peaceful pro- Palestinian protest led by a prominent religious leader Ibrahim El Zakhzakhy was met with military action resulting in the death of about 30 protesters including three sons of El Zakhzakhy.
As usual, mainstream media ensured the news did not go beyond 24 hours, and even on the social media it has vanished! There is still no official comment or investigation from the government; perhaps the intention is to radicalize another ‘sect’ who would eventually be labeled as wanting to ‘Islamize’ Nigeria. Yet none of our humanists is stirred to at least stand up to be counted on the side of justice!
YEKINNI SHAKIRU A.
ED: CGPI (Center for Global Peace Initiative)