In modern-day history, wars and conflicts seem to have dominated the natural balance of human existence. Such conflicts only result in great human toll and suffering. And perhaps none has been going on for so long and so protracted as the aggression by the Israelis against the Palestinians with thousands of innocent people shot and murdered in cold blood over the years.
Palestinians are being killed not because of Hamas or because of Qassam rockets or hand-hurled rocks. Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason. Just like Jews in the past were killed for being Jewish, Palestinians today are being killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.
What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted and treated like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to occupy their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned and denied their rights in every inhumane way?
Last week, the Israelis sent a covert commando group into Gaza to kill a Palestinian resistance commander. Following his killing, the resistance responded with rockets into Israel. That was all the excuse Israel needed. It began raining bombs in more than 160 civilian areas in Gaza.
This was not a retaliatory move. This was just another brutal message to the people in Gaza. In their grotesque grand design, by spreading terror in the hearts and minds of the defenceless and helpless Palestinians civilians, Israel is attempting to provoke their exodus from their lawful lands.
Many international human rights groups have called for Israel to face charges for war crimes. However, the reality is that Israel’s ongoing air and ground attack in Gaza violates the Geneva convention in four ways:
■ First, it constitutes collective punishment of the entire population in Gaza for the acts of a few militants.
■ Second, it targets civilians, as evidenced by the large numbers of civilian casualties, specifically women and children.
■ Third, it is a disproportionate response.
■ Fourth, an occupying power has an obligation to ensure food and medical supplies to the occupied population; Israel’s blockade has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
International aid groups have repeatedly lashed out at Israel over their activities in Gaza, saying that access to civilians in need is poor, and relief workers are being hurt and killed. How long can the world, and specifically the United States, pretend to believe otherwise — that Israel is a civilised nation, immune from censure for their ongoing butchery?
Last week, during the ongoing conflict, Saudi Arabia called on the United Nations and the international community ‘to assume their responsibilities in making a decisive and urgent decision to force Israel to commit to the peace process references, stop its [colony] projects, lift the unjust siege on Gaza and end the occupation of Palestinian land and other Arab territories’.
But no one really expects the world community to rein in the aggression of the Israelis.
The US, the largest aid donor to Israel has, in fact, encouraged Israel’s current aggressive line against the Palestinians, excusing it as a defensive move. If Americans do wonder why the rest of the world detests US foreign policy, then they should not look any further than headlines that read: ‘US blocks funding for Palestinian humanitarian relief.’ Ever wondered the motive?
While the United Nations condemned Israeli attacks that caused the deaths of four United Nations Relief and Works Agency workers, along with shelling that killed 40 people, including many children last week, there is a growing protest movement in all parts of the world — including Israel — against this mass slaughter. Yet, the US remains silent.
While millions of Americans face home foreclosures, health-care uncertainties, jobs and pension losses, none of these crises currently threatens the flow of their tax dollars to Israel’s war machine. It is their money that buys F-16 jets made by Lockheed Martin to drop bombs on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Indeed, the world is wondering why the spirit of America and the free world evaporates so quickly. Why the silence and subjugation to a rogue Israeli government that is openly aiding and abetting a modern-day holocaust? Will anything ever change?
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena