No joy in Gaza

Published April 10, 2024
Mahir Ali
Mahir Ali

THE targeted slaughter last week of seven employees of World Central Kitchen (WCK) kicked off an international reaction that would not have occurred had the targets been Palestinian or, more broadly, Arab. This wasn’t an ‘error’ on the part of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), it was part of a pattern that has been evident since Oct 7.

The Israeli response following the Biden administration’s threats of an unspecified policy change if the Netanyahu government did not take more action to protect civilians suggested that such action had hitherto proved insufficient — if it existed in the first place. Which it clearly did not. To cite just one aspect of the genocidal campaign, 15 to 20 civilian deaths were officially deemed permissible for every suspected junior Hamas operative. For purportedly senior figures, the level of acceptable ‘collateral damage’ soared to 100.

These details come from a report this month by Yuval Abraham in the Israeli magazine +972, revealing the existence of an AI programme dubbed ‘Lavender’ that picks targets for assassination based on “massive amounts of data”. According to Abraham’s Israeli intelligence sources, the IDF, during the first months of the war, “almost completely relied on Lavender, which clocked as many as 37,000 Palestinians as suspected militants”. He cites one of the sources as acknowledging that intelligence personnel devoted little more than “20 seconds to each target before authorising a bombing”.

He adds that “additional automated systems, including one called ‘Where’s Daddy?’ … were used … to track targeted individuals and carry out bombings when they entered their family’s residences”, presumably so that children and spouses could simultaneously be pulverised. After all, as some rabbis and several politicians have indicated, even infants are fair game as they will only grow up to be a problem for the Zionist state.

It is not easy to say ‘Eid Mubarak’.

Death by starvation is a part of the package. ‘Aid drops’ and US-supplied bombs sometimes arrive simultaneously. The Biden administration made a big deal out of the president’s apparent warning to Benjamin Netanyahu that the unadulterated adulation of Israel that has been the US norm for more than half a century might lapse if “Israel did not take more action to protect civilians and aid workers in Gaza”, as the New York Times put it.

Take more action? Has Israel already been protecting civilians and no one has noticed, apart from ‘Genocide Joe’ Biden and a few other American Zionists? The fact is that far too many Americans, Jews and gentiles, who might unthinkingly have voted Democrat previously, might be disinclined to do so in November. Nancy Pelosi signing on to a plea to temporarily halt lethal arms sales to Israel, or Chuck Schumer advocating the replacement of Benjamin Netanyahu, is unlikely to make much difference. Sufficiently woke Americans can see through the absurdity of aiding and abetting Israel while hesitantly denouncing its genocidal excesses without recognising them as such.

Israel plays along by, for instance, ‘regretting’ that it purposefully targeted European WCK employees or sacking a couple of IDF personnel. It has even ostensibly opened another gateway for aid delivery — but that hardly detracts from its message to aid agencies. As Al Jazeera columnist Andrew Mitrovica put it, the signal is tantamount to warning: ‘Don’t feed the Palestinians: punishable by death.’

UNRWA, the chief source of solace for Palestinian refugees, was hobbled for the same reason. Almost all of Israel’s Western collaborators signed on to that absurd cause.

Even after six mon­ths of daily crimes aga­inst humanity, the US and its fellow travellers restrict themsel­ves to issuing empty thre­­ats — mainly aga­inst Netanyahu, who is merely a particularly obnoxious symptom of the Zionist state’s trajectory since 1948 — instead of taking actions that could almost instantly curtail Israel’s vengeful bloodlust, and perhaps even its persistent determination to exaggerate the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.

Any scope to observe the month of fasting was bound to be diminished by enforced starvation, amid dire warnings of an Israeli-enforced famine. And, after sixth months of relentless death and destruction, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually celebrating Eid.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the tragic hero, having murdered his royal benefactor, is perturbed by his inability to pronounce a particular word. “I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’/ Stuck in my throat,” he complains to his wife, who responds, “These deeds must not be thought/ After these ways so, it will make us mad.”

The world’s response to an unfolding genocide 30 years after the horrendous killings in Rwanda, with too few honourable exceptions, makes it inevitable that, this year, ‘Eid Mubarak’ sticks in my throat.

mahir.dawn@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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