Palestine has been burning for close to two weeks now under disproportionate use of force by Israel military tanks, artillery fire, ground troops and air power. The latest episode was triggered by Israel police squad who matched into Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to remove loudspeakers used during prayers, an act of deliberate provocation and contrary to basic common sense. So far 217 Palestinians in Gaza had been killed by mid this week. The State of Israel is said to be so powerful in military and world diplomatic affairs that it has been permitted to terrorize some of its Arab neighbours, Palestine and hapless Palestinians in such a criminal fashion without the so-called international community raising an effective response.
It is true that Israel faces threats from Arab extremists but the reigning wisdom is that whoever questions its culpability in the conflict in the Middle East is put on watch list and accused of siding with ‘terrorists’ who seek to destroy Israel and cause genocide against Jews as fascist German under Adolf Hitler did during World War II. That blackmail has forced many people of good conscience into international conspiracy of silence, leaving Israel to behave as it pleases, continuously expanding its illegal occupation of Palestinian land of West Bank, blockading the Gaza Strip, and waging wars through disproportionate force whose main victims are children, women and civilians.
While Hamas is accused by Israel of throwing made explosives that it throws and sometimes fires rockets into occupied territories, Israel responds with heavy artillery and airpower often destroying buildings, livelihoods and killing massively. It’s incompressible that Israel still believes the strong-arm tactics that have failed many times in the past will help it resolve the intractable problems based on its illegal occupation of land, marginalization, racism, wanton destruction and disregard to international rules on Palestine.
Curiously, it is the Hamas militia that Israel, its US and European backers blame for the brutal conflict underway dominated by Israel constant military airstrikes supposedly to degrade and eventually dismantle Hamas hostile capabilities. Hamas was designated long ago as a terrorist organization and accused of holding the two million Palestinians hostage in the small Gaza strip of only 362 square kilometers. The fact that Israel with a free hand, very advanced military technology and loads of US money has still failed to eliminate Hamas boxed in that small enclave, casts doubt on the claims of Israel superiority. It’s like the laughable and embarrassing scapegoats by US and UK to blame Russia whenever their politics and technology systems faulter which isn’t compliment to the arrogant super powers.
Iran and Syria, also designated as state sponsors of terrorism have for long been under international sanctions, blackmail and are held responsible for aiding Hamas and Hezbollah. It is an absurd narrative that has been woven by Israel, US, Europeans and some of their quisling Arab allies, and spread by the international media outlets like the BBC, CNN, and Reuters among others for such a very long time that few in the diplomatic, academic and policy world have failed to vigorously challenge. Iraq was destroyed partly because Israel and CIA deliberately falsified intelligence that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. In Washington and London no one is talking about how they created the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, the precursor to Al Qaeda.
In the decades gone by, it was Yasser Arafat, the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), the main target of insidious accusations, harassment, political and diplomatic sanctions, blockade and multiple assassination attempts until he was left to die a dejected man without timely and proper medical attention. That conflict has gone on for seven decades with long plight for the Palestinians, characterized by horrors of destructive wars, violence, occupation, intifada, dispossession, exclusion, and repeated expulsions from their homes and land.
Such actions by Israel continue to fuel the deep sense of abandonment that Palestinians have felt over the decades. It should be known that a similar feeling of isolation is what drove Arafat to seek support from Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 following Iranian revolution. After successive Arab defeats by Israel, Egypt capitulated, and was seen as betrayal, when Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel, in 1977. Today with the UN, US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and EU all on the back pedal, there is diminishing hope among Palestinians that anyone of significance is speaking for them. The Palestinians are mostly on their own.
Although their anger is firstly directed against Israel, there is also rage against all those who Palestinians see as should be helping them like President Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority who has been in power since 2005. Added to that list are Arab countries that profess brotherhood and common cause but mostly pay lip service to the Palestinian cause. There is the US, which publicly claims commitment to human rights and justice but has done so little to hold its allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, accountable on these fronts.
The writer, is Government Spokesperson and head of Uganda Media Centre