Right now the State of Israel is committing genocide against the people of Gaza. Many humans around the globe are horrified, grieving, raging. But people with the power to stop it are either defending it or remaining silent. And as we know, silence equals complicity.
In this post, I have collecting my Facebook posts from the past weeks, saving them here for my own reference, in reverse chronological order.
I have turned off commenting on this post.
Blaming victims for their own deaths is different than seeing actions in context. Or: providing political context is not victim-blaming.
"The left" was supposedly insensitive and morally bankrupt about the deaths of the Israelis terrorized and killed on October 7. I can't speak for "the left" (obviously), but I can say this. What happened on October 7 was mind-boggling, terrorizing, murderous, horrendous, and absolutely undeserved -- because no human beings deserve to be slaughtered. And I can say that Israeli apartheid, imperialism, and the continuing subjugation of Palestinians stoked Paliestinian hatred, put Israelis at risk, and led directly to terrorist violence. Both of these things are true.
I don't see anti-Semitism in that sentence, and the idea that there's a "fine line" between denouncing apartheid and hating Jews is bullshit. Maybe some who speak out against apartheid do hate Jews -- I've never encountered it, but of course it may exist, since Jew-hating is a popular pastime -- but that doesn't mean the two are the same or even similar. (I've encountered plenty of antisemitism, but none of it was connected to the anti-apartheid movement.)
It's important to write and talk about these things, and I'm glad that is happening, but meanwhile the world is debating these concepts WHILE GENOCIDE IS TAKING PLACE.
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Between 200 and 300 people were arrested in Grand Central Terminal two days ago, in a demonstration organized by Jewish Voices for Peace. I know that there were huge protests all over the world, but this, in my hometown, from Jewish people... it makes me weep. A feeling so profound, I cannot name it.
My friend Beth reports:
There is now no land or cell phone service in Gaza, no power, no water, no internet. Henceforth the people can be obliterated in a vaccuum. And no government cares.
Jews who have wondered how the world let the Holocaust happen, where are you now?? What can possibly justify this slaughter???
This was taken in Grand Central Terminal, NYC, on Friday October 27. Lots of arrests. I'm heartened to see so many people willing to get arrested for peace.
By Geoffrey York, Mark MacKinnon
With aid convoys stalled and dwindling, and Gaza on the verge of civil disorder, a senior United Nations official says the Palestinian territory and its humanitarian workers are victims of a system that was “set up to fail.”
Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, told The Globe and Mail that some of Gaza’s two million people will soon be dying from Israel’s siege of the territory, not just from the relentless bombardments that have reportedly killed thousands. Water, food, fuel and medicine are all nearly exhausted.
Mr. Lazzarini described a riot that erupted Thursday in a southern district of Gaza after people were falsely told in text messages that the UN would be distributing food there. “Civil order is breaking down,” he said. “People are just completely desperate.”
Aid agencies were able to get 40 trucks of relief supplies into Gaza from Egypt last weekend, and Western leaders said that was just the beginning, with an increase in the daily number of trucks expected. Instead, the number has dropped, with only 34 trucks entering the territory over four days this week. Aid trucks have routinely been held for many hours at Israeli inspection zones, with Israel saying it must ensure that no weapons or fuel are reaching Hamas fighters.
Before this war, Mr. Lazzarini noted, Israel was able to inspect about 500 trucks daily at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza. “So why does it take so long now for a handful of trucks?” he asked.
“It’s a very good question. There is certainly a lack of will. If there was a will, we would have much more. … The system in place today is set up to fail.”
“Everything is crumbling and collapsing,” Mr. Lazzarini said. “People are struggling the entire day to try to find some clean water. Sooner or later, under our watch, we will see people dying not just because of the bombardment but also because of the impact of the siege being imposed on the population of Gaza. How is this possible, when this is unfolding live, 24 hours a day, on all possible media, social media and television?”
The world’s focus on a small number of aid trucks is “almost disgraceful” when it is abundantly clear that the convoys are a tiny percentage of what is needed to avert deaths from starvation or dehydration, he said. The siege has resulted in the “collective punishment of an entire population.”
“You have a weakened community of the people. They are completely exhausted after two weeks of war. Many of them are displaced two or three times. They don’t find clean water or proper food.”
UNRWA had warned that it would have to halt its humanitarian operations in Gaza if it did not receive fuel supplies by Wednesday night. It was able to push the deadline back by tightly rationing its use of fuel, he said.
“We have given less to hospitals, given less to bakeries, and that has allowed us to go one or two more days. Maybe we will decide not to go to our shelters every day, just to add one day or two. But we are coming to the end. We’ve done all possible to ration our limited remaining resource. We have agonizing decisions all the time. We are on the edge of a breakdown of our operations.”
He added that the situation in the West Bank, the other half of the Palestinian Territories – which he characterized as “already boiling” before Oct. 7 – was also deteriorating rapidly. He described a dangerous mix of economic pain, as Palestinians who work in Israel have lost their jobs since the Hamas attacks, alongside a rising number of attacks on Palestinians being carried out by Jewish settlers who live in illegal settlements in the occupied territory.
“All this is a recipe for more violence,” Mr. Lazzarini said, pointing out that October has already seen the highest death toll among Palestinians in the West Bank in two decades, since the height of the last intifada. More than 90 West Bank Palestinians have died in clashes with Israeli security forces since the start of the war in and around Gaza.
Mr. Lazzarini said the hardest part of his job has been managing the organization while 43 of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff members have been killed over the past three weeks, a number he said roughly correlated with an overall situation that has seen more than 7,000 Palestinians killed, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Just like the rest of Gaza, UNRWA staff have lost homes and families, and many have become aid recipients themselves.
“It’s deeply distressful to see so many colleagues, not just our staff [who have died] but all the other staff who have lost kids, have lost relatives. It’s just endless,” he said. “You feel powerless. Your word is not enough any more. Being UN is not enough any more to bring safety. You feel that Gaza is definitely a place where there is no safe place for anyone.”
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Please read this powerful, honest, heartbreaking essay by Hala Ayan, a Palestinian American writer, psychologist, and professor.
Oct. 25, 2023
By Hala Ayan
I’ve moved back to the United States twice since my birth. Once as a child, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Then again for graduate school. I’d had the privilege of a youth — adolescence and young adulthood — in countries where being Palestinian was fairly common. The identity could be heavy, but it wasn’t a contested one. I hadn’t had to learn the respectability politics of being a Palestinian adult. I learned quickly.
The task of the Palestinian is to be palatable or to be condemned. The task of the Palestinian, we’ve seen in the past two weeks, is to audition for empathy and compassion. To prove that we deserve it. To earn it.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve watched Palestinian activists, lawyers, professors get baited and interrupted on air, if not silenced altogether. They are being made to sing for the supper of airtime and fair coverage. They are begging reporters to do the most basic tasks of their job. At the same time, Palestinians fleeing from bombs have been misidentified. Even when under attack, they must be costumed as another people to elicit humanity. Even in death, they cannot rest — Palestinians are being buried in mass graves or in old graves dug up to make room, and still there is not enough space.
If that weren’t enough, Palestinian slaughter is too often presented ahistorically, untethered to reality: It is not attributed to real steel and missiles, to occupation, to policy. To earn compassion for their dead, Palestinians must first prove their innocence. The real problem with condemnation is the quiet, sly tenor of the questions that accompany it: Palestinians are presumed violent — and deserving of violence — until proved otherwise. Their deaths are presumed defensible until proved otherwise. What is the word of a Palestinian against a machinery that investigates itself, that absolves itself of accused crimes? What is it against a government whose representatives have referred to Palestinians as “human animals” and “wild beasts?” When a well-suited man can say brazenly and unflinchingly that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people?
It is, of course, a remarkably effective strategy. A slaughter isn’t a slaughter if those being slaughtered are at fault, if they’ve been quietly and effectively dehumanized — in the media, through policy — for years. If nobody is a civilian, nobody can be a victim.
In 2017, I published a novel about a Palestinian family. It was published by a respectable publisher, got a lot of lovely press, was given a book tour. I spoke on panels, to book clubs. I answered questions after readings. There was a refrain that kept coming up. People kept commenting on how human the story was. You’ve humanized the conflict. This is a human story.
Of course, literature and the arts play a crucial role in providing context — expanding our empathy, granting us glimpses into other worlds. But every time I was told I’d humanized the Palestinians, I would have to suppress the question it invoked: What had they been before?
A couple of weeks ago, in a professional space, someone called Palestinians by name and spoke of the seven decades of their anguish. I sat among dozens of co-workers and realized my lip was quivering. I was crying before I understood it was happening. I fled the room, and it took 10 minutes for me to stop sobbing. I didn’t immediately understand my reaction. Over the years, I’ve faced meetings, classrooms and other institutional spaces where Palestinians went unnamed or were referred to only as terrorists. I came of professional age in a country where people lost all sorts of things for speaking of Palestine: social standing, university tenure, journalist positions. But in the end, I am undone not by silence or erasure but by empathy. By the simple naming of my people. By increasing recognition that liberation is linked. By spaces of Palestinian-Jewish solidarity. By what has become controversial: the simple speaking aloud of Palestinian suffering.
These days, everyone is trying to write about the children. An incomprehensible number of them dead and counting. We are up at night, combing through the flickering light of our phones, trying to find the metaphor, the clip, the photograph to prove a child is a child. It is an unbearable task. We ask: Will this be the image that finally does it? This half-child on a rooftop? This video, reposted by Al Jazeera, of an inconsolable girl appearing to recognize her mother’s body among the dead, screaming out, “It’s her, it’s her. I swear it’s her. I know her from her hair”?
Take it from a writer: There is nothing like the tedium of trying to come up with analogies. There is something humiliating in trying to earn solidarity. I keep seeing infographics desperately trying to appeal to American audiences. Imagine most of the population of Manhattan being told to evacuate in 24 hours. Imagine the president of [ ] going on NBC and saying all [ ] people are [ ]. Look! Here’s a strip on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. That’s Gaza. It is about the same size as Philadelphia. Or multiply the entire population of Las Vegas by three.
This is demoralizing work, to have to speak constantly in the vernacular of tragedies and atrocities, to say: Look, look. Remember? That other suffering that was eventually deemed unacceptable? Let me hold it up to this one. Let me show you proportion. Let me earn your outrage. Absent that, let me earn your memory. Please.
I don’t hesitate for a second to condemn the killing of any child, any massacre of civilians. It is the easiest ask in the world. And it is not in spite of that but because of that I say: Condemn the brutalization of bodies. By all means, do. Condemn murder. Condemn violence, imprisonment, all forms of oppression. But if your shock and distress comes only at the sight of certain brutalized bodies? If you speak out but not when Palestinian bodies are besieged and murdered, abducted and imprisoned? Then it is worth asking yourself which brutalization is acceptable to you, even quietly, even subconsciously, and which is not.
Name the discrepancy and own it. If you can’t be equitable, be honest.
There is nothing complicated about asking for freedom. Palestinians deserve equal rights, equal access to resources, equal access to fair elections and so forth. If this makes you uneasy, then you must ask yourself why.
Here is the truth of the diasporic Palestinians: They are not magically diasporic. Their diaspora-ness is a direct result of often violent, intentional and illegal dispossession. One day a house is yours; one day it is not. One day a neighborhood is yours; one day it is not. One day a territory is yours; one day it is not. This same sort of dispossession is grounded in the same mind-set and international complicity that is playing out in Gaza.
I’m a poet, a writer, a psychologist. I’m deeply familiar with the importance of language. I’ve agonized over an em dash. I’ve spent afternoons muttering about the aptness of a verb. I pay attention to language, my own and others. Being Palestinian in this country — in many countries — is a numbing exercise in gauging where pockets of safety are, sussing out which friends, co-workers or acquaintances will be allies, which will stay silent. Who will speak.
Here’s another thing I know as a writer and psychologist: It matters where you start a narrative. In addiction work, you call this playing the tape. Diasporically or not, being Palestinian is the quintessential disrupter: It messes with a curated, modified tape. We exist, and our existence presents an existential affront. As long as we exist, we challenge several falsehoods, not the least of which is that, for some, we never existed at all. That decades ago, a country was born in the delicious, glittering expanse of nothingness — a birthright, something due. Our very existence challenges a formidable, militarized narrative.
But the days of the Palestine exception are numbered. Palestine is increasingly becoming the litmus test for true liberatory practice.
In the meantime, Palestinians continue to be cast paradoxically — both terror and invisible, both people who never existed and people who cannot return.
Imagine being such a pest, such an obstacle. Or: Imagine being so powerful.
Hala Alyan is a clinical psychologist and professor in New York City. She is the author of the novels “Salt Houses” and “The Arsonists’ City,” and several collections of poetry, including the forthcoming “The Moon That Turns You Back.”
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Headline of Nicholas Kristof's column: "We must not kill Gazan children in order to protect Israel's children." I'm glad he's writing this but WHY DOES THIS EVEN NEED TO BE SAID????? WTF people??? And seriously, if you believe for one moment that Israel did not bomb that hospital, you need a crash course in the history of imperialism.
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As a Jewish youngster growing up in Budapest, an infant survivor of the Nazi genocide, I was for years haunted by a question resounding in my brain with such force that sometimes my head would spin: “How was it possible? How could the world have let such horrors happen?”
It was a naïve question, that of a child. I know better now: such is reality. Whether in Vietnam or Rwanda or Syria, humanity stands by either complicitly or unconsciously or helplessly, as it always does. In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents playing soccer on a beach.
In Israel-Palestine the powerful party has succeeded in painting itself as the victim, while the ones being killed and maimed become the perpetrators. “They don’t care about life,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, abetted by the Obamas and Harpers of this world, “we do.” Netanyahu, you who with surgical precision slaughter innocents, the young and the old, you who have cruelly blockaded Gaza for years, starving it of necessities, you who deprive Palestinians of more and more of their land, their water, their crops, their trees — you care about life?
There is no understanding Gaza out of context — Hamas rockets or unjustifiable terrorist attacks on civilians — and that context is the longest ongoing ethnic cleansing operation in the recent and present centuries, the ongoing attempt to destroy Palestinian nationhood.
The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unlike Israel, Palestinians lack Apache helicopters, guided drones, jet fighters with bombs, laser-guided artillery. Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm. With such a gross imbalance of power, there is no equivalence of culpability.
Israel wants peace? Perhaps, but as the veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has pointed out, it does not want a just peace. Occupation and creeping annexation, an inhumane blockade, the destruction of olive groves, the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, torture, daily humiliation of civilians, house demolitions: these are not policies compatible with any desire for a just peace. In Tel Aviv Gideon Levy now moves around with a bodyguard, the price of speaking the truth.
I have visited Gaza and the West Bank. I saw multi-generational Palestinian families weeping in hospitals around the bedsides of their wounded, at the graves of their dead. These are not people who do not care about life. They are like us — Canadians, Jews, like anyone: they celebrate life, family, work, education, food, peace, joy. And they are capable of hatred, they can harbour vengeance in the hearts, just like we can.
One could debate details, historical and current, back and forth. Since my days as a young Zionist and, later, as a member of Jews for a Just Peace, I have often done so. I used to believe that if people knew the facts, they would open to the truth. That, too, was naïve. This issue is far too charged with emotion. As the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has pointed out, the accumulated mutual pain in the Middle East is so acute, “a significant part of the population finds itself forced to act it out in an endless cycle of perpetration and retribution.”
“People’s leaders have been misleaders, so they that are led have been confused,” in the words of the prophet Jeremiah. The voices of justice and sanity are not heeded. Netanyahu has his reasons. Harper and Obama have theirs.
And what shall we do, we ordinary people? I pray we can listen to our hearts. My heart tells me that “never again” is not a tribal slogan, that the murder of my grandparents in Auschwitz does not justify the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, that justice, truth, peace are not tribal prerogatives. That Israel’s “right to defend itself,” unarguable in principle, does not validate mass killing.
A few days ago I met with one of my dearest friends, a comrade from Zionist days and now professor emeritus at an Israeli university. We spoke of everything but the daily savagery depicted on our TV screens. We both feared the rancour that would arise.
But, I want to say to my friend, can we not be sad together at what that beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to? Can we not grieve the death of innocents? I am sad these days. Can we not at least mourn together?
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A national Muslim civil rights group said Thursday it is moving its annual banquet out of a Virginia hotel that received bomb and death threats possibly linked to the group's concern for Palestinians caught in the Israel-Hamas war.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, canceled plans to hold its 29th annual banquet on Saturday at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The group, which has used the hotel for a decade, will imove the banquet to an undisclosed location with heightened security, the group's statement said.
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You claim your point of view is righteous and just. Then why is it necessary to silence opposing views? Job offers pulled, academic admissions rescinded, books removed from prestigious conference. Hiding behind specious claims of anti-Semitism -- while pretending that all Palestinian people are terrorists. Jewish people should know better, and should do better.
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Canadians, you can make tax-deductible donations to humanitarian aid to Gaza through the CJPME Foundation.
As I'm sure you know, Facebook posts are being blocked, job offers are being rescinded, people have been fired, novels (longlisted for the Booker Prize!) dropped from international book fairs -- all for showing support to the Palestinian people. And in at least one instance, for being Palestinian.
This week Israel dropped bombs on a hospital -- and we're being censored for supporting the victims.
I hope American Jews who are still defending Israel's actions in Gaza will read and heed this column by Michelle Goldberg. She is a Jewish person who supports Israel and who sympathizes with Jews who equate Hamas' attacks in Israel with genocide. I hope that any of my American Jewish friends who are still seeing my feed (i.e. have not yet un-followed me) will read and share this with their own communities.
Piling Horror Upon Horror
New York Times
October 16, 2023
Watching from afar as people race toward an abyss, I find it hard to know what to write except “no,” over and over. In the face of massacres that for Jews around the world brought back memories of genocide, the language of some Israeli leaders has, in turn, become murderous. On the cusp of a likely ground invasion of Gaza, many people I’ve spoken to, Jewish and Palestinian alike, are terrified that this rhetoric will become reality.
Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, said that the “entire nation” of Gaza was “responsible” for the attacks at a news conference on Friday, telling reporters, “It is not true, this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved.” Herzog later clarified that civilians are not legitimate targets, but his words, coming from a member of Israel’s center-left Labor Party, were still chilling, suggesting a broad political consensus that Gazans are collectively to blame for the horror that befell Israel. “All gloves are off,” Ron Prosor, a distinguished Israeli diplomat, told Politico.
In such an environment, the ruling Israeli right, some of whose members spoke of forcing Palestinians out of Israel even before Hamas’s latest rampage, has little to restrain it. Tally Gotliv, a member of the Knesset from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, urged the use of “doomsday weapons” on Gaza. Another member of Likud called for a second nakba, the Arabic word referring to the mass expulsion of Palestinians at Israel’s creation in 1948.
I can empathize with liberal Jews both in Israel and throughout the diaspora who feel too overwhelmed, at this moment of great fear and vulnerability, to protest the escalating suffering inflicted on Palestinians. It is not fair that events are moving too quickly to give people time to grieve the victimization of their own community before being asked to try to prevent the victimization of others. Nevertheless, as atrocities are piled on atrocities, I hope Jews will attend to what is being threatened in our name. And all Americans should pay attention, given how much our country underwrites Israel’s military.
In Gaza, mass death has already begun. Last week the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, announced that Israel was cutting off Gaza’s water, electricity, food and fuel. There was hopeful reporting over the weekend that at the urging of President Biden’s administration, water to a town in Gaza’s south had been turned back on, but for many, drinking water is still unavailable. The Associated Press reported on Sunday that clean water has run out in U.N. shelters across Gaza. On Saturday, UNICEF reported that, according to local sources, more than 700 children in Gaza had been killed. The number by now is surely higher.
Some readers, I suspect, will respond that while this is all terrible, it is also all Hamas’s fault. In many ways, I agree. Hamas’s terror is clearly the immediate cause of the hell raining down on Gaza; most countries attacked as Israel was attacked would respond with war. That does not, however, license Israeli indifference, or worse, to the lives of civilians. Israelis have a right to their rage; I imagine that if I were Israeli, I would share it. But incitement against Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of whom have nothing to do with Hamas terrorism, is leading us toward somewhere even darker than where we are right now.
Influential voices in America are intensifying the bloodthirsty atmosphere. Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” the Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas dismissed worries that mass civilian casualties in Gaza will work to Hamas’s advantage on the world stage. “As far as I’m concerned, Israel can bounce the rubble in Gaza,” he said. That phrase, “bounce the rubble,” is a reference to a Winston Churchill quote about apocalyptic military overkill. To Cotton’s right, the language is even more incendiary. “If it comes down to ethnic cleansing — you want to cleanse my people, I’ll cleanse yours first,” said Joel Pollak, a senior editor at large at Breitbart News, on the webcast of the leading young conservative Charlie Kirk.
We can already see where the total dehumanization of Palestinians leads. This weekend, a 6-year-old boy in Illinois was allegedly stabbed to death by his landlord, who is also accused of gravely injuring the boy’s mother. According to the local sheriff’s office, the victims were targeted “due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”
If this is the atmosphere in parts of the United States, it is exponentially more fevered in Israel. On Monday morning I spoke to Diana Buttu, a Canadian Palestinian lawyer in Haifa who once served as a legal adviser for the Palestine Liberation Organization. “I can understand what my grandmother felt in 1948 when she fled” from a town near Nazareth, Buttu said. “Because it’s a climate of total fear that you’re next. And this isn’t just in the Gaza Strip; it’s also spread to the West Bank.” Already, according to Al Jazeera, at least 55 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed, some by soldiers and others by settlers. Haaretz reported that five Palestinians were shot dead by settlers in the village of Qusra. A message to the village on WhatsApp said, “We have no red lines. We’ll punish you in order to make an example out of you.”
Buttu sent me a link to a mostly Hebrew-language Telegram group with over 82,000 subscribers in which people had posted celebratory photographs of dead and injured Palestinians. “The people of Gaza are not innocent!” said an introductory message for English speakers. If and when those who believe this act on it, we can’t pretend we weren’t warned.
I stand with Fred. I stand for peace and justice for all people, including Palestinians. I also believe in the right of every person to express their views. Thank you Fred Hahn for being a voice for truth and justice. Please share and tag CUPE Ontario.
"Israel has a right to defend itself." That's what the Zionists say.
Any Jewish person who defends or rationalizes this has lost their way.
As per usual, anything less than 100%, unequivocal, lockstep support for Israel meets accusations of antisemitism and support of terrorism. I am so friggin sick of that. I hope Fred Hahn does not apologize for anything he has said.
Sharing this oldie but goodie from wmtc (with all the great comments gone: a simple lesson: how to tell the difference between hatred of a people and criticism of a nation's policies
Here's something to think about. Every Israeli attack on Gaza -- every single bomb, every blockade, every shooting, every bulldozing, every siege -- and there have been many -- for years and for decades -- have been attacks on civilians. ALL OF THEM. This does not justify the Hamas attacks in any way. It does, however, make me wonder at all the horror and sadness being poured out for Israeli dead -- all the shock over civilian targets. I've never heard that kind of shock and horror when Israeli bombs drop on the civilians of Gaza.
Is it really so shocking that after a country isolates, abuses, and subjugates a people, that some of those subjugated people will strike back with violence? Is it shocking that Israel's imperialism has put its own people at risk? Not only isn't it shocking, it's inevitable.
Does "Never Again" mean never, for all the world's peoples, or does it only mean never again *to us*? Because if you don't support freedom and independence for Palestine, if you support Israel's apartheid state, you're not concerned with humanity. You're only concerned with your own kind. How does that square with the rest of your values?
Hearts are breaking for the deaths of Israelis, and rightly so. But for the deaths of Gaza? Silence.
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Oct 9, 2023
Behind all this lies Israeli arrogance; the idea that we can do whatever we like, that we’ll never pay the price and be punished for it. We’ll carry on undisturbed.
Behind all this lies Israeli arrogance; the idea that we can do whatever we like, that we’ll never pay the price and be punished for it. We’ll carry on undisturbed.
We’ll arrest, kill, harass, dispossess and protect the settlers busy with their pogroms. We'll visit Joseph’s Tomb, Othniel’s Tomb and Joshua’s Altar in the Palestinian territories, and of course the Temple Mount – over 5,000 Jews on Sukkot alone.
We’ll fire at innocent people, take out people’s eyes and smash their faces, expel, confiscate, rob, grab people from their beds, carry out ethnic cleansing and of course continue with the unbelievable siege of the Gaza Strip, and everything will be all right.
We’ll build a terrifying obstacle around Gaza – the underground wall alone cost 3 billion shekels ($765 million) – and we’ll be safe. We’ll rely on the geniuses of the army's 8200 cyber-intelligence unit and on the Shin Bet security service agents who know everything. They’ll warn us in time.
We’ll transfer half an army from the Gaza border to the Hawara border in the West Bank, only to protect far-right lawmaker Zvi Sukkot and the settlers. And everything will be all right, both in Hawara and at the Erez crossing into Gaza.
It turns out that even the world's most sophisticated and expensive obstacle can be breached with a smoky old bulldozer when the motivation is great. This arrogant barrier can be crossed by bicycle and moped despite the billions poured into it and all the famous experts and fat-cat contractors.
The Gaza Palestinians are willing to pay any price for a moment of freedom. Will Israel learn its lesson? No.
We thought we’d continue to go down to Gaza, scatter a few crumbs in the form of tens of thousands of Israeli work permits – always contingent on good behavior – and still keep them in prison. We’ll make peace with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinians will be forgotten until they’re erased, as quite a few Israelis would like.
We’ll keep holding thousands of Palestinian prisoners, sometimes without trial, most of them political prisoners. And we won’t agree to discuss their release even after they've been in prison for decades.
We’ll tell them that only by force will their prisoners see freedom. We thought we would arrogantly keep rejecting any attempt at a diplomatic solution, only because we don’t want to deal with all that, and everything would continue that way forever.
Once again it was proved that this isn’t how it is. A few hundred armed Palestinians breached the barrier and invaded Israel in a way no Israeli imagined was possible. A few hundred people proved that it’s impossible to imprison 2 million people forever without paying a cruel price.
Just as the smoky old Palestinian bulldozer tore through the world’s smartest barrier Saturday, it tore away at Israel’s arrogance and complacency. And that’s also how it tore away at the idea that it’s enough to occasionally attack Gaza with suicide drones – and sell them to half the world – to maintain security.
On Saturday, Israel saw pictures it has never seen before. Palestinian vehicles patrolling its cities, bike riders entering through the Gaza gates. These pictures tear away at that arrogance. The Gaza Palestinians have decided they’re willing to pay any price for a moment of freedom. Is there any hope in that? No. Will Israel learn its lesson? No.
On Saturday they were already talking about wiping out entire neighborhoods in Gaza, about occupying the Strip and punishing Gaza “as it has never been punished before.” But Israel hasn’t stopped punishing Gaza since 1948, not for a moment.
After 75 years of abuse, the worst possible scenario awaits it once again. The threats of “flattening Gaza” prove only one thing: We haven’t learned a thing. The arrogance is here to stay, even though Israel is paying a high price once again.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears very great responsibility for what happened, and he must pay the price, but it didn’t start with him and it won’t end after he goes. We now have to cry bitterly for the Israeli victims, but we should also cry for Gaza.
Gaza, most of whose residents are refugees created by Israel. Gaza, which has never known a single day of freedom.
I can see how if a person sees only US or Canadian mainstream sources, it could seem like Hamas attacked Israel out of the blue, unprovoked. That's how one-sided the coverage is. There's no context. Occupation, pogroms, blockades, deliberate power and water outages, settlers claiming more and more land, a denial of the very right to exist. The daily brutality that Americans and Canadians are rarely, if ever, exposed to. When a colonized people lash out, it is never out of the blue.
When the oppressed rise up against their oppressor, they are not starting a war.
Ofer Cassif says he warned the situation would ‘erupt’ if Israel did not change its treatment of Palestinians.
By Eliyahu Freedman
8 Oct 2023
An Israeli lawmaker has told Al Jazeera that his party warned about events like Saturday’s Hamas attack on Israel if the country’s government continued its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.
Hamas launched a multipronged assault at dawn on Saturday with thousands of rockets fired at Israel, and the Gaza-based group’s fighters infiltrating Israeli towns and illegal settlements.
The attack left at least 600 Israelis dead, including dozens of soldiers, with bodies strewn on roads. Meanwhile, at least 313 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,700 others wounded in Israeli bombardments of the besieged Gaza enclave.
Ofer Cassif, a member of the Knesset and leftist Hadash coalition, said he warned the situation would “erupt” if the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not change its policies towards Palestinians. Hadash has four seats in the 120-member Knesset.
“We condemn and oppose any assault on innocent civilians. But in contrast to the Israeli government that means that we oppose any assault on Palestinian civilians as well. We must analyse those terrible incidents [the attacks] in the right context – and that is the ongoing occupation,” Cassif said.
“We have been warning time and time again… everything is going to erupt and everybody is going to pay a price – mainly innocent civilians on both sides. And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened,” he said.
“The Israeli government, which is a fascist government, supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians – and unfortunately now Israelis as well,” he added.