Already in its third week, Israel’s war on Gaza has so far killed more than 5,600 Palestinians, injured thousands more, and displaced more than one million. Despite calls from some quarters for a ceasefire, there seems to be no end in sight for the suffering of Gaza’s two million residents.
Having long embraced the dehumanisation of the Palestinians, Israeli society is filled with rage and the primordial drive for revenge over the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas fighters on October 7.
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This blind fury is now channelled into a genocidal drive by the narcissism and extremism of one man: Benjamin Netanyahu, a doubled-faced, pathological liar, who has done everything and anything to stay in power.
Netanyahu’s arrogance, corruption and callousness are to blame for the country’s political and military failures that led to the October 7 attacks. He thought he could just transform all of historic Palestine into a Greater Land of Israel, by making the occupation of the Palestinian territories permanent and keeping millions of Palestinians in an open-air prison in Gaza and segregated bantustans in the West Bank – all with no repercussions.
On October 7, his arrogance finally caught up with him, because arrogance breeds stupidity. Hubris turned into humiliation, and the fiasco into farce, or as Israelis say, using Arabic words, the fashla (failure) turned fadiha (scandal).
And while Israel’s military and intelligence heads have accepted responsibility for their failures to prevent the attacks, Netanyahu has refrained from taking any responsibility, even though most Israelis blame him for their national tragedy.
Instead of resigning, the shamed and shameless prime minister cum wartime leader has gone on to wage a sadistic war with no clear strategy or endgame.
In his genocidal offensive, Netanyahu has been aided and abetted by his former Western detractors, who until recently were expressing “concern” about his plans to undermine Israel’s judiciary, through his coalition of fanatics and fascists, in order to stay out of jail.
First and foremost among them is US President Joe Biden, who went from snubbing Netanyahu for much of the year to embracing and shielding him from the wrath of Israelis and Arabs alike.
Biden has committed America to Netanyahu’s genocidal war on Gaza, offering American arms, tactical assistance in urban warfare, and diplomatic leverage. He has ordered the deployment of two aircraft carriers in the Eastern Mediterranean to protect Israel and deter the likes of Iran from intervening in the conflict.
Likewise, European leaders, who had also given Netanyahu the cold shoulder for much of the year, are now clamouring to show their support for his government and his war on Gaza. They have refused to call for a ceasefire and continued to justify the mounting Israeli war crimes as an exercise of “the right to self-defence”.
Israel’s Western stooges love to evoke international law in all the wrong ways. Israel, indeed, has the right to self-defence, but not to defend its decades-long brutal military occupation, long enabled by Western powers. It is rather the occupied and victimised Palestinian people living under the Israeli racist system of apartheid that have the right to resist their tormentor under international law.
The ongoing genocidal war – spearheaded by a failed prime minister and supported by his morally suspect Western allies – is not one of self-defence; rather, it is a war of self-deceit. Israel falsely believes that it could attain security by the sword.
But when has killing more Palestinians ever resulted in better security for Israeli society? It never has; it never will.
Imposing a hermetic blockade on Gaza and unleashing a bombing rampage to pave the way for a land invasion, Israel will face dangerous regional blowbacks. In its genocidal drive, it may, as some fear, drag the US into World War III.
Sensationally and falsely comparing Hamas’s attacks on Israel with those carried by al-Qaeda on the United States in 2001 will not help. The “war on terror” the US unleashed on the world killed even more Americans than the 9/11 attacks did, along with hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim victims. It sowed chaos that more war and more troops could not stop for the past two decades.
If anything, the “war on terror” proves that war crimes, collective punishment and other violations of international law do not mitigate extremism; they perpetuate it as they fuel the cycles of violence – something UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism Fionnuala Ni Aolain emphasised during a recent news conference focusing on the Israeli war on Gaza.
As the Israeli army commits more war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, Israelis need to have a good look at where colonialism and occupation have gotten them. Perpetual Israeli oppression, racism and killings of the Palestinians have created the conditions for greater instability, extremism and violence in Palestine and the region.
A genocidal war on Gaza will not bring peace and quiet to the Israeli society, nor to those in the West abetting it.