SOME in the West might well have a different point of view, but the fact is that the victims of a genocide in Germany have now become the perpetrators of a genocide in Gaza. It has been reported by some international media outlets that Israel has ravaged Gaza with almost the same gravity as that of the infamous ‘Little Boy’, the nuclear bomb that decimated the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945. White phosphorus bombs have also been used by the Israeli forces on the unarmed citizens of Gaza even though such weapons have long been prohibited by the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCWC).

Western countries, especially the so-called and self-proclaimed champions of liberal democracy, have yet again chosen to be on the wrong side of history. The United States has clearly let its founding fathers down. “Where liberty dwells, there is my country,” said Benjamin Franklin rather pompously. By muzzling the liberty of Palestinians and giving a clean chit to the Israelis, the current US administration has shown how twisted its definition of liberty is. It is all about having the liberty to do wrong.

Away from the founding fathers, John F. Kennedy, a modern American statesman, had also warned the nation of the perils of myopia. “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind,” he had said. His words have surely fallen on the tone-deaf ears of current American administration.

Freedom-fighters, such as those in Gaza, happen to be fighting against occupation by external forces, and, as such, cannot be called terrorists. In his 2005 book Dying to Win, Robert Pape, an American political scientist, argued that the foreign occupation of a territory often breeds terrorism. What the innocent Palestinians are doing for long is not even terrorism; it is a freedom movement by any definition.

Pakistan has rightly associated the Palestinian cause with the Kashmir issue. In March, China had successfully mediated rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, signalling the prospect of stability in the Middle East. Now, as the ongoing strife aggravates, and, as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned, it has the potential of engulfing the whole region and there may even be possible spillovers. The Middle East is once again the global flashpoint.

Even after the Afghanistan fiasco and the Russo-Ukrainian war, America has failed to read the room. Being the self-appointed global policeman, it bore the responsibility to ‘manage’ Israel. It did not do that, and made no effort to even try. This failure resulted in well over 10,000 Palestinian deaths.

No longer do terminologies, such as genocide, apartheid, pogrom, hecatomb and ethnic cleansing, matter. Indulging in diverse terminologies has divided opinions. It is the clash of civilisations at its worst. It is a grave humanitarian crisis that demands cooperation and coordination of both Western and Islamic countries.

The Balfour Declaration is the root cause of the conflagration. Extremist and terrorist elements have inter-mittently cited it as the basis of their nefarious activities. Avi Shlaim, an Israeli-British historian, put it in the right perspective when he called it the ‘original sin’.

Even if one goes with the much-touted two-state option, who will guarantee Israel will behave like a modern state is supposed to behave? The Americans will certainly not do that, for they want, among several other things, their arms and ammunition industry to thrive.

Taha Muneer
Nawabshah

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2023

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