The latest 11-day Israeli aggression saw gut-wrenching images of death and destruction which were broadcast live and across different social media platforms
The recent Israeli aggression in Gaza has once again highlighted the vulnerabilities of the helpless and the oppressed people not only in Palestine but in the whole world. It has been more than 10 days since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza which has killed more than 200 people and injured thousands -among them women and children. The impunity with which Israel has killed civilians in heavy aerial strikes has brought the focus on the fundamental inequality in the world political and economic order. That such a brazen and systematic genocide of the Palestinian population is possible in the 21st century, with death and destruction being broadcast live throughout the globe, has exposed the tall claims of a just world order and principled human values. It has also forcefully highlighted that the institutions set up to ensure political stability and peace, like the UN and other regional organisations, have been monopolised by an elite group of countries who direct the world political order based on their own political exigencies and mutual collaboration.
The UN has utterly failed in its mandate repeatedly not only in Palestine but also in many other conflict-torn regions. The UN functions more like an NGO whose recommendations and reports are never taken seriously and seldom acted upon. It is controlled by a few capitalist and chauvinistic countries which claim to be protectors of vulnerable and weak nations. The post-colonial world and institutions are still dominated by the colonial west which is largely responsible for most of the political mess that we are in today.
The USA, which projects itself as a defender of human rights and justice and has played a dominant role in the unipolar world order after 1990s, is singularly responsible for most of the current political conflicts and human rights violations. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Korea, Syria, you name it and chances are you would find the USA directly or indirectly involved. The US has actively promoted arms race, selling billions of dollars worth of arms to countries around the globe, arms which are used to fuel conflicts and escalate them.
The USA supports Israel actively and openly, thereby being complicit in the crimes committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinians. The US spends millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to provide military aid to Israel which in turn is used against the civilians of Palestine. It preaches about the rights of children and women to the world while turning a blind eye to the violations of the same rights committed by Israel. If this was not enough, it defends Israel in the UN, blocking any coercive action against it in the Security Council.
Israel has over the course of decades deeply penetrated the institutions and politics of the US, to the extent that any criticism of Israel is seen as taboo. Through its soft power, Israel has influenced and changed the narratives of the conflict across different media. Anything against Zionism is seen as being anti-Semitic and this narrative is shaped through powerful media and corporations. There can be no denying the fact that Jews suffered a lot in the past under Nazi Germany and have been persecuted, but we cannot also remain oblivious of the fact that Zionism has encashed on that tragedy and has used it to further its political agenda. The level of control it exerts on the narrative can be understood from the fact that even countries and individuals are unable to voice their genuine criticism of its policies on record for the fear of being labelled as anti-Semitic. Celebrities even had to backtrack their criticism as they were labelled anti-Semitic for standing up to the human rights abuses of Israel and for the Palestinian cause.
The Arab world has remained a divided house and hence effectively ineffective. With the new spate of normalisation of ties with many Arab countries, Israeli and US diplomacy has achieved a major breakthrough. A divided Arab house is in the interest of the US and the west, so they have put in huge efforts to make sure it remains so. Arab reaction has been limited to issuing hollow condemnations and statements. They have been unable to push through any concrete plan for the resolution of the conflict during the last 70 years.
The powerful western media is highly biased and fuels the Israeli propaganda through their selective and one-sided coverage of the conflict. The hypocrisy and word-play of media organisations can be seen from a news bulletin of BBC where it referred to the casualties of Palestinians as ‘dead’ while casualties on the Israeli side were labelled as ‘killed’. This was not a one-off incident and reflects a broader policy and misinformation campaign run on the conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a new point where the danger of full-scale annexation by Israel has becoming increasingly a possibility. This is in spite of the UN and the OIC. It should not come as a surprise given the size to which Palestinian territories have been reduced from their 1948 position. The latest 11-day Israeli aggression saw gut-wrenching images of death and destruction which were broadcast live and across different social media platforms. Finally, an Egyptian brokered cease-fire has come into force. But it remains to be seen how long it lasts before another cycle of attacks and counter attacks resumes.
Now many countries would be announcing financial aid in millions of dollars to Palestine for reconstruction and rehabilitation, shrugging off their responsibility and boosting their PR by appearing to be concerned about the welfare of the civilian population. Though there were large pro-Palestinian rallies and protest demonstrations around the globe, the respective governments have not translated those sentiments in their foreign policies.
People in Palestine do not need short-term ceasefires or financial packages; they need a lasting solution to the conflict. They need peace. They need hope that if they sleep during the night, they will wake up and go about their daily routine without the threat of bombs and missiles hovering around. The children need an assurance that they can aspire and dream like what children in rest of the world do without worrying for their lives. They need the fundamental right to live peacefully. The onus for all this is on the entire world. The continued Israeli settlement expansion has jeopardised the possibility of such a resolution and when backed up by US support, a long-lasting peace remains elusive.
Next time you think that world has become a better place or we have reached pinnacle of our civilisation, go through images of children, women and civilians living and dying in conflict zones around the globe. We think of ancient and medieval wars as bloodbaths, and the people perpetuating them as barbarians, but in reality only the players, the places, and the means have changed; death, destruction and barbarity have remained the same and have become even worse in some cases.
The writer has a Masters in History. [email protected]