When you write about Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, you have to scan the environs and, at the same time, look down at the ground beneath you feet. You try to be fair and assiduous, but missiles will still fly and potholes trip you up. Is that why British journalists look away from the never-ending calamity? Or have they lost interest? Both seem a dereliction of duty.
I’ve always supported the right of Israel to exist and I sympathise with the terror of annihilation that many Israelis carry within them. But I can still report and comment on the nation’s abuse of power.
Last Sunday, a Palestinian man was reportedly shot dead by Israeli soldiers while he lay injured on the ground. Medics were not allowed to approach the man, who, the soldiers allege, had carried out a knife attack. According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem these “executions” are common.
A Palestinian doctor I know well tells me: “Death is not bad. You go, the end. But how to live without facilities, humiliated, our homes destroyed, farms and homes seized, our children treated like cockroaches? [It seems that] some young men do bad things to be shot dead.”
His wife, now very depressed, recently aborted the third child she was carrying. These are the everyday sufferings of a people, political pawns who have been pushed into a pit that gets deeper and darker as time goes on.
Last week, Tor Wennesland, the UN Middle East envoy, warned of another “deadly escalation of violence” in Palestine. Last month, four Palestinians were killed and 90 wounded due to action by Israeli Security Forces. One Israeli civilian was killed and nine injured. This is not a struggle between equals.
According to the BBC, in an 11-day-period of conflict this May at least 243 Palestinians, including more than 100 women and children, and 12 Israelis, including two children, were slain. Buildings and markets in Gaza were razed, the economy has been devastated, over 72,000 people were displaced, destitution is everywhere.
Women and young teens are treated abominably in Israeli jails. Save the Children found that children in the detention system faced beatings, strip searches and psychological abuse.
As children enact the nativity play this Christmas, how many parents know that Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace, is now an Israeli-controlled town where Palestinians live abjectly and fearfully?
Israel seems to have become more brazenly anti-Palestinian, partly because Western nations have given it exceptional leave to break international laws and human rights accords. Any criticism of the state is deemed anti-Semitic by apologists and diehard allies.
In November, Israel designated six Palestinian charities as terrorist organisations. These organisations aided Palestinians suffering poverty, mental distress, human rights abuses and gender oppression (by their own men). Claire Foy, Richard Gere, Philip Pullman and others expressed alarm in an open letter about the criminalisation of these much-needed organisations.
I knew the British-American-Jewish thinker Tony Judt, a proud Jew and stalwart anti-Zionist. After damning Israel as a “belligerently intolerant, faith driven ethno-state” in 1983, he was “cancelled”, his reputation trashed until his death. A report from Jewish Voice for Labour accused Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party of purging Jewish members who call Israel to account.
But a just cause is a light that cannot be put out. The Palestinian cause is just cause. No intimidation or violence can extinguish its light.Internet Explorer Channel Network