Greater Israel

Published February 17, 2024
The writer is an architect
The writer is an architect

THE barbaric war waged by Israel against Hamas has violated the UN Charter of Human Rights and the laws of war, and is being judged as possible genocide by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Calls for a ceasefire in the Security Council have been vetoed by the US and its allies, all of whom are EU and/ or Nato members. UN agencies have not only expressed their concern about the scale of devastation in Gaza, they have also expressed their horror and called for a ceasefire. Israeli atrocities have led to demonstrations by millions of people across the world censoring Israel and asking for an end to the war and the accommodation of Palestinian rights.

The Palestinians have conducted a well-organised campaign explaining the history of their struggle and the role that the European powers and the US have played in the creation of Israel and in maintaining it. This role includes fake media news campaigns in Israel’s favour; dehumanising Arabs and Muslims in whose lands oil, gas, and trade routes between the Middle East, Europe, and the US are located; the purchase of US politicians, involving billions of dollars; and the provision of every form of military hardware and intelligence, including massive financial aid.

In previous Palestine-Israel conflicts, religion did not figure overtly in justifying Israel’s acts of war, but it does in this one, making discussions at a rational level difficult, if not impossible. In the present conflict, Israel has used religion in trying to create legitimacy for its occupation and its intention of further expansion. The Torah (Old Testament) describes God’s covenant with Abraham. The chapter on ‘Genesis’ (15:18) reads, “To your descendants, I give this land from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates.” But this is not all, Moses, in the chapter ‘Deuteronomy’ (11:24), tells the Jews that “every place where you put the soles of your feet shall be yours” and that their borders “shall run from the wilderness of Lebanon and the Euphrates to the western sea”.

Israel’s politicians, prime minister and ministers, state officials, newscasters, soldiers, and citizens interviewed for the media, and slogans in demonstrations justify Israel’s occupation and future annexation of Palestinian land by quoting from the scriptures.

According to the borders defined in the Bible, today’s Israel would consist of Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and much of Iraq. A similar map was displayed by the Israeli prime minister at a recent UNGA meeting. But the aspirations of the Israelis are much larger. Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, presented a plan at a right-wing meeting in Paris in March 2023 which included parts of Saudi Arabia. An Israeli politician believes Israel will capture Makkah and Madina and “purify them”.

Israel has used religion in trying to create legitimacy for expansion.

Ever since the Iraq-Iran war in 1981, Israel has played a strategic role in providing intelligence, logistics, weapons, and, in many cases, direct armed intervention in support of the US and its allies to weaken and divide strong Arab states along ethnic and political lines, thus reducing their capability to stand up to Israel in an armed conflict. As a result, the US has a military presence both in Iraq and Syria, and it can bomb Lebanon at will. At the same time, the Israelis have wooed right-wing Arab states into agreeing to form a coalition against the more radical societies in the Arab world.

Because of the portrayal in Western media and films of Arabs as subhuman, Arab lives did not matter. However, due to the exposure of Western hypocrisy, lies, and Israeli barbarism by social media and Al Jazeera, Wes­tern audiences have come to know of the Pa­­l­estinians as a cultured, kind, and highly civilised and courageous people, and as a result, an enormous admiration for them and their society has developed. This has increased the distance between Western societies and their governments.

The war in Palestine continues, with the Netanyahu government firm in its resolve to exterminate the Palestinians of Gaza, Rafah and the West Bank, and making these territories a part of Greater Israel in complete disregard of the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the ICJ interim order.

In this situation, one is forced to ask two questions. One, what use is the UN Nations if its resolutions cannot be implemented, and two, how can this enormous outpouring of the world in favour of the Palestinians be used in a world dominated by the Global North, some of whose members have the right of vetoing resolutions supported by the UN? Yet another question: can the failure of the UN lead to a greater regional and/ or global war, as in the case of World War I? These are perturbing thoughts.

The writer is an architect.

arifhasan37@gmail.com

www.arifhasan.org

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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