IN the Palestinian territory of Gaza — as indeed in other parts of the occupied Arab land — Israel is free to shed innocent blood at will, with the world doing little other than expressing concern and often looking the other way. In the latest outbreak of violence, over 30 people were reported dead in Gaza, nearly half of them civilians, before a fragile truce took hold. The violence was sparked after Tel Aviv killed an alleged Islamic Jihad fighter and his wife; the armed resistance group responded with rocket fire targeting Israel, which triggered more air strikes by the Zionist state. In one particularly gruesome incident, a family of eight, including at least five children, were massacred by Israel in a midnight raid. Tel Aviv said it had targeted an “Islamic Jihad leader”. Though there was little by way of remorse, an Israeli army spokesman said they were “investigating the harm caused to civilians”.
Despite the Israeli statement, will those responsible for this cold-blooded murder of innocents be held accountable? If past precedent is anything to go by, Israel’s friends in high places — particularly in the US and Europe — will continue to protect their ally and defend its barbaric behaviour. It is argued that Israel has a right to defend itself from Palestinian rockets. While civilians should not be deliberately targeted anywhere, Palestinian rocket fire is a sign of frustration of the 6m people living in Gaza, often referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison. As the UN has described it, the Israeli blockade of Gaza “is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment”. Palestinian armed resistance is a reaction to Israel’s suffocating siege, as the Arabs are not free to work, farm and travel in the land of their fathers. And when hostilities do break out, children are mercilessly slaughtered as Israel trumpets its right of ‘self-defence’. Unless there is justice for the Palestinian people, this cycle of violence — especially Tel Aviv’s impunity — will continue.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019