By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
As of the 19th day of its aggression on the Gaza Strip (GS), Israel has killed 6,546 Palestinians and wounded more than 17,400 thousand, according to statistics from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which indicated that 70% of the victims were children, women and elderly people.
Israeli massacres committed against civilians have affected 688 families. While the bodies of 4,807 killed Palestinians were recovered, hundreds are still under the rubble. The Ministry said it has received around 1,600 reports about people missing under the rubble, including some 900 children.
This ongoing massacre is taking place in front of the world while Israel commits multiple war crimes without concern for human rights nor for Arab or international public opinion. Israel and its supporters argue the massacre represents Israel’s “right” to self-defense. Parallel to this claim, they accuse Hamas and the resistance forces of “terrorism” and killing civilians.
Israel’s disregard for international opinion has reached new levels, including its bombing of the Baptist Hospital in GS, killing 500 Palestinians, and injuring 314 including 28 critical cases.
Violence: A Conviction Deeply Rooted in the Zionist Ideology
Violence appears to be inherent in Zionist ideology. Because Zionism is a settler-replacement colonial project that seeks to remove the indigenous population, its theorists were aware that the owners of the land would naturally resist; hence, they aimed to kill their hope by creating fear and terror until they reach the point of despair and surrender.
Vladimir Jabotinsky, the philosopher of violence within the Zionist ideology and the guru and forerunner of Menachem Begin and the ruling Likud Party, has always believed that it is “necessary to carry on colonization against the will of the Palestinian Arabs.”
This conviction was embraced by Jabotinsky’s student Menachem Begin who became prime minister of Israel and played a key role in the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948, the most notorious mass killing in modern Palestinian history, saying, “All the Jewish forces proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter. The Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting: “Deir Yassin!”
The Gaza Strip: Relentless Israeli Massacres
Since Hamas won the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and formed the government in 2006, Israeli military aggression and massacres has continued to target the Strip in an attempt to subjugate the Movement and crush the resistance. This is evidenced from the Huda Ghalia family massacre in 2006, to the large numbers of civilian casualties Israel killed and wounded in Operations Autumn Clouds in November 2006, and Hot Winter 2008, among many others.
In its major operations and wars on GS, Israel has deliberately targeted civilians. On 27/12/2008, the first day of its aggression in the Battle of al-Furqan (dubbed by Israel Operation Cast Lead), Israel killed 230 Palestinians, including more than a hundred at a police graduation ceremony. The aggression led to the killing of 1,305 Palestinians, including 410 children and 104 women.
In the Battle of the Stones of Baked Clay (dubbed by Israel Operation Pillar of Clouds) in 2012, Israel killed 191 Palestinians, including 43 children, and in the Eaten Straw Battle (dubbed by Israel Operation Protective Edge) in the summer of 2014, Israel killed 2,147 Palestinians, including 530 children and 302 women. Among those killed were 70 entire families whom Israel killed without warning.
In the Battle of Sword of Jerusalem (dubbed by Israel Guardian of the Walls) in 2021, Israel killed 260 Palestinians, including 66 children and 40 women, and killed 19 whole families comprising 91 persons.
Will Israel Go Unpunished?
On 10/11/1975, at the United Nations, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog (father of the current Israeli President Isaac Herzog) tore up the resolution taken by the General Assembly considering Zionism a form of racism.
This scene was reprised by Gilad Erdan on 29/10/2021 on the same podium when he ripped up the UN Human Rights Council report and said, “its only place is in the dustbin of antisemitism.” In June 2022, Erdan was elected as a Vice-President of the UN General Assembly!
Rather than international law, Israel has based its establishment and international “legitimization” on alliances with the major powers in the Western world and their influence in the global system, and on its own disproportionate influence within this system.
Using this approach, Jewish migration to Palestine was facilitated under the British occupation, and the Zionists obtained the 1947 UN resolution that partitioned Palestine. The Zionists displaced the Palestinian people and seized most of their land in the 1948 war then occupied the rest of Palestine in 1967.
The United States and its partners have blocked the enforcement of more than 900 international resolutions of the UN General Assembly and its institutions against the occupation. It also uses the veto in the UN Security Council to prevent the issuance of any binding resolutions on Israel.
Under the cover of the major powers, Israel has managed to remain above the law and outside the system of pressure and sanctions, a state of affairs that has emboldened it to continue its occupation and aggression for decades and to deal arrogantly and condescendingly with the international system.
Israel takes advantage of its global media influence to present itself as an “oasis” of democracy and progress in the Middle East, and to distort views of the peoples of Arab and Islamic countries, especially the Palestinians and their armed resistance. It also benefits from ongoing Western guilt over the holocaust and has weaponized the accusation of “antisemitism” in the West to target critics of Israeli violations of international law and crimes against the Palestinian people.
In addition to this, the political and economic influence of pro-Israel lobbies makes it difficult for Palestinian, Arab-Islamic narratives to be heard and understood in the West.
In this context, the lie that Al-Qassam Brigades killed children, which was invented by the Israeli media, was widely reported by Western media, featuring on the front pages of newspapers and headlines of newscasts. In contrast, the actual massacres Israel commits against women, children and civilians in GS barely receive any attention from mainstream media, and when they do. Thus, the story related to the Baptist Hospital massacre was tampered with in the same way that reporting of the Israeli army’s assassination of Palestinian journalist and US citizen Sherine Abu ‘Aqleh was tampered with.
When the UN formed a committee to investigate the Israeli war on GS in 2008–2009 (the Goldstone Commission), Israel refused to deal with the committee and destroyed the reputation of the head of the committee Goldstone. When the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda decided to open an investigation into Israeli crimes and violations, it was not long before she “resigned,” and the investigation stopped. The same has applied with other investigative committees.
Therefore, although the world has become more aware of Israel’s crimes, and global sympathy for the Palestinian people and their resistance has begun to increase in the Western world, especially among general populations (as opposed to among media and political elites), the international system remains unable to hold Israel accountable or to punish it. And worse, the United States still provides Israel with the protection and cover it needs for its ongoing crimes while the Arab and Muslim world remains weak, fragmented and incapable of imposing its will internationally.
Consequently, there is nothing left for the Palestinian people but to hold on to steadfastness and to the resistance whose remarkable operations have proven to be the language that Israel understands, and the language which can force the world to listen to the Palestinians’ case and bring everyone back to square one in a way that prevents the issues of Jerusalem, Palestine and the rights of its people from being overlooked. This is especially potent following the decades-long attempts to achieve a peaceful settlement, which have proved to be both futile and counter-productive.
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 26/10/2023