Israel and Palestine: The Mirror has Many Faces
By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
For 29 long days and nights, Israel waged the war on the people of Gaza. Given the immense bravery and strategic resourcefulness, insanity went on unchecked to murder the innocent in ‘open prison’ just to preserve once status-quo in border security and map without borders. Its consequences do not change the outcome for prevalent insecurity and mutual mistrust or set the stage for peace and harmony between the two unequal warriors. The current UNO-General Assembly criticizes the disproportionate human losses and deliberate destruction of the infrastructures and blames Israel for good many acts of vengeance against the helpless Palestinians in Gaza. More specifically, how the Israeli targeted the UN operated schools, hospitals, the places of worship and killed civilians- children and women and devastated civic infrastructures. The sheer madness resulted in killing of 1,876 Palestinians in Gaza, 9,000 wounded and 64 Israeli troops and 3 civilians. Israel and Hamas both appear to be losers not winners in this ‘catastrophic madness’ as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon described it. Felicity Arbuthnot (“Israel: International Anger Mounts” Global Research: 7/23/2014), a London-based journalist and peace activist offers most penetrating insight into the current crisis:
As Israel trades on eternal victim status whilst murdering neighbouring, fellow Semites with seeming legal impunity, stealing land, obliterating homes, nullifying history preceding even the coming of Christ in the land of his birth……..
“You take my water
Burn my olive trees
Destroy my house
Take my job
Steal my land
Imprison my father
Kill my mother
Bomb my country
Starve us all
Humiliate us all
But … I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.” (Placard first seen in Gaza, 2012.)
Felicity Arbuthnot adds how Dr Mads Gilbert (the Norwegian doctor, volunteering services at Al-Shifa’a Hospital, Gaza) addressed a passionate appeal to President Obama:
“Mr Obama, do you have a heart? I invite you, spend one night – just one night – with us in Al Shifa’a Hospital. I am convinced, one hundred per cent, it would change history. Nobody with a heart and power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa’a without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.” If only.
How to Overcome the Belligerency and Move Forward?
Was the Israeli military incursion into Gaza a genocidal act against the Palestinians? Professor Denis G. Rancourt (“Israel’s Attempted Genocide Must Fail.” Dissident Voice: 8/2/2014), is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, and has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism) observed candidly:
The Zionist Project is to eradicate all Palestinians who make claim to a home in Palestine. The Zionist Project is exactly what Israel has been doing since its artificial creation…. The Israeli apartheid is not meant as a sustained apartheid. It is an increment in an attempted genocide that accompanies a vast racist pillaging of land and resources (water, gas)….. This genocide must be stopped in its tracks, if it’s the last significant geopolitical accomplishment of the global civil society. The tide is turning. We see real political movement in the UK itself. Western World civil society must not be irrelevant and ineffective. We owe that to ourselves….There can be peace and coexistence but Israel is hell-bent on its Zionist Project, and those Muslim countries with corrupt leaders are participating in the Israeli genocide rather than impeding it.
The social media networks made it presence across the globe in providing graphic coverage of the crisis. Almost 60 plus international journalists stationed in Gaza reported havoc scenes of human carnage inflicted by the Israeli air and sea bombardments. Hamas- Palestinian rockets have started making the presence on the Israeli strategic radar for rethinking of policies and practices and more drastic actions against the Hamas military capabilities. Now for the first time the Gaza rockets disrupted the air traffic at the Ben Gurion Tel Aviv Airport. The impact was noticeable in global business and travel configuration. This happened while the informed global humanity watches the daily painful fatalities on television screen, some for anxiety and others concerned to call for change of thinking and peacemaking endeavors. Peace does not grow out of the nowhere; it has to be imagined and worked out by all the warriors engaged in the conflict. Those who continue to fight in the theatre of action and reaction appear to be narrow-minded, daydreamers and enjoin casual allusion of mankind and global peace. They do not seem to care as what is happening in Gaza impacts all the mankind across the globe. The global reactions to war and unwanted continued hostilities are self-explanatory. The killing of civilians on both sides is unacceptable to the living conscience of the 21st century informed humanity. There must be a rational approach – a sincere dialogue towards conflict management by peaceful means. Israel and Palestinians both desperately need normalcy and peace to co-exist. The focal problem is to see an end to the Israeli occupation of the occupied territories and establishment of an independent State of Palestine should not be sidelined. The facts warrant change on the ground and swift action not fantasy of claims and counter claims. If both parties continue to exert blame game and converge on blended condemnation for human atrocities, it is an exercise in futility. Given the human nature, nothing positive or credible will emerge after a short pause in warmongering activities. To make peace as sustainable goal, Israelis and Palestinians must face each other on a table with courage and enlightened determination, just to listen and learn from each other without agreeing or disagreeing, just knowing how best peace and mutual understanding could be enhanced not only for the Middle East but for the interests and expectations of the larger global humanity in which both live. The earth will not dwindle nor will the sky fall on any of them if they talk directly and responsibly and realize that peaceful co-existence is the only rational choice they have to build the future on. The neighboring Arab rulers must awake and respond to peoples aspirations for political change and open dialogue. If they shelter authoritarianism with continued US imperialism, they could soon be replaced as it happened to Husna Mubarak and soon again to General Sissi. If the contemporary Arab rulers had the capacity of moral and intellectually embedded visionary leadership and a position of political strength, they could have balanced the overwhelmingly one sided American stance on the freedom of Palestine.
America and Israel
The US politics plays a major role as a game changer in the Middle East. It holds a position of unparalleled influence to exert on Israeli policies and practices. America is glued to Israel by virtue of economic and politically dominated military strategies to fuel conflicts in the Middle East and support Israel as the frontline player for the US hegemonic goals of managing the oil exports and interdependent economies and puppets regimes of the Arab oil producing nations. The Arab rulers lack the intellectual leadership to cope with the changing strength of the US-Israel relationships. Professor James Petras (“Networks of Empire and Realignments of World Power”, Global Research, 01/2/2011), shares an historical perspective of institutionalized capitalism and how it is rooted into the US-Israel affairs:
“Imperial states build networks which link economic, military and political activities into a coherent mutually reinforcing system……..The result was the total “unbalancing” of the US imperial apparatus: military action was unhinged from economic empire building. A highly influential upper caste of Zionist-militarists harnessed US military power to an economically marginal state (Israel), in perpetual hostility toward the 1.5 billion Muslim world. Equally damaging, American Zionist ideologues and policymakers promoted repressive institutions and legislation and Islamophobic ideological propaganda designed to terrorize the US population.”
Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler (WAR IS A RACKET) of the US marines served 33 years but “had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until [he] retired to civil life did [he] fully realize it.” The wars sustained capitalist governance and made millionaires into billionaires. “WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
The well informed global humanity is watching you 24/7, and you are all responsible for your actions – peace or war. The madness must stop and you should return to normal thinking of being rational human species who could regain consciousness and mutual trust and what was lost and dehumanized in pursuit of irrational behaviors and madness in the killing of innocent people in the open prison of Gaza.
Militarization is a Menace to Peace and Freedom
War is a crime but despite the 21st century age of knowledge and wisdom, war is being used as the ultimate instrument to dominate others. The war phenomenon undermines the human advances in science and technology and other spheres of moral, political and intellectual endeavors; the global leadership remains sadistic, egomaniac and terribly naïve about its role and responsibility toward peacemaking and progress of the mankind. German philosopher Immanuel Kant had a vision of “Perpetual Peace” that European people cherished few centuries earlier but the rulers practiced war as a means to pursue peace. Over the centuries, the world has not changed a bit – the European world and the global configuration of rulers who produced Hitler and Mussolini as the role model for the killing of the humanity.
Militarization complements the characteristics of warmongering and it has been institutionalized in the Western democratic system of governance and its spill-over impact is spreading fast across the globe. Arabs are no exception particularly those living under the controlled strategic shadow of the European-American imperialism. What is happening in Gaza is nothing new. Paulo Freire (PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED, New York: Continuum Books, 1993), best painted the helplessness of the oppressed:
“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.”
The global reaction to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza would not favor normal business and trades between Israel and Europeans. Many European parliamentarians have expressed concerns to boycott the normal business and trades with Israel. The Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende voiced the concern loud and clear: “the suffering you see in Gaza and the West Bank”, and cites Israel’s particular responsibility in driving the peace process because its illegal settlements were the key to the conflict. On July 19, the Guardian ( and BDS Movement-Freedom, Justice Equality), published a letter signed by six Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams and numerous academic, intellectual, artistic and signaturies from many countries, including João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel.
In Search of Realization for Peace, Freedom and Justice
Is there a cure to cruelty and insanity? When would they stop immature oratory of belligerency and start facing the encompassed reality to a political process to end the occupation and achieve peacemaking? How should the global community view the Israeli and Arab cultures of the people of the Divine Books? It should be the image of the people and leaders – God fearing and responsive, not aggressors. The Earth and Heavens do not exist because of these abstract states, the outspoken leaders and their political nuisance. A Staunch Reminder is needed to make them aware that an earthquake, flooding and fire from hell could destroy their existence in no time. God created all that is known or unknown to intelligent minds and everything follows His commands not of the belligerent parties, leaders or States. What do such crimes indicate about the nature of the society in which bloodbaths are taking place under the aegis of false dictum of security, borders and militarization? The informed global community expects new collaborative initiatives from Israeli and the PLO leaders – a new strategic approach towards the end of more than 60 years of political stalemate and focused on peacemaking. Its must be result-oriented and within a short span of time to end the conflict based on the emancipation of Two States. Israel needs a formidable challenge to come to terms with the contemporary affairs. A challenge of mutual understanding and friendship and not continued animosity. The neo-colonial and uneducated authoritarian Arab rulers do not have the capacity to challenge Israel with any strength of moral, political and intellectual resources. Perhaps, the new educated and intelligent succeeding generations of Jewish and Arabs could find a meeting place of ideas and ideals for reconciliation and future-making based on the Two States – Israel and Palestine standing in co-existence. This must be a new challenge not derived from perpetuated animosity and hatred but out of the deep sense of understanding and respect for one and another to articulate a peaceful future. Muslims throughout the globe have inborn respect and offer salutation to the followers of Abrahaimic progeny, Moses- the Jewish people. Do the people of Israel realize how much common values they share with the neighboring Arab people and their culture?
There is no known scientific cure to ignorance and cruelty except to challenge the vices with voices of reason. Indifference and insanity rules while the petrodollars generated material wealth and transitory economic progress, the Arab rulers remained unimaginative and authoritarian. Wars are killing the people, destroying the planet and those who posses power exhibit no wisdom and with overwhelming naïve egoism and embittered insanity, rulers and imperial warriors are driving the people to reactionary wars to dream of triumph and glory over human mind and soul and the consequences of man’s treachery, triviality and viciousness. If the Arab world had unity of faith and political imagination and commitment to peacemaking, Israel could have faced them at a table of discussion and reconciliation. Undoubtedly, an end to Israeli occupation and freedom of Palestine will be a political settlement, not the outcome of a military determination. History tells that wars do not lead to peacemaking. Nor do blame games or condemnation produce opportunities for peaceful dialogue. The UNO Human Rights Commission in Geneva has decided to pursue a War Crime investigation against Israel in Gaza. But the 2012 UN investigation report hardly changed anything on the ground. With continuing global reactions, people of Israel will long for peace and co-existence even if some of the politicians speak the language of war. In 1948, the UNO resolution called for half of Palestine land to establish a State of Israel and the remaining half to an independent State of Palestine but the Arab rulers at the time rejected it. The Israelis and Palestinians must be equal partners and participants in making the future happen. After the 1967 war, Israel in 1968 is reportedly offered the Arab leaders a deal to end the occupation of occupied Palestinian lands and recognize Israel but the Arab leaders are said to have refused the gesture of goodwill. Felicity Arbuthnot (“Israel: International Anger Mounts” Global Research: 7/23/2014), reflects on howJewish Voices for Peace – Israelis and Palestinians-two people, One Voice (7/18/2014) statement by their Rabbinical Council perhaps encapsulates what many believe. Headed “Stop the Bombing. Hold Israel Accountable” it reads:
“We are currently amidst ‘the three weeks’ – the annual Jewish period of quasi-mourning that leads to the fast day of Tisha B’Av. This is the season that bids us to look deeply into the soul of our community and examine the ways that our sinat chinam – baseless hatred – has led to our communal downfall.
“Driven by the spirit of this season, we cannot help but speak out in response to the horrific loss of life currently taking place in Gaza, at the hands of the Israeli military. We deplore the Israeli government’s military crackdown in the West Bank that led to its lethal, military onslaught on the people of Gaza. We mourn the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including children.
“We condemn Hamas’ rockets attacks on Israel and the anxiety, injury and death they have caused. But we cannot view this as a war between two equal sides. Israel has unlimited hi-tech weaponry; it dominates Gazan airspace, its borders, its utilities and economy…
“We can not stand idly by as the Jewish State acts with such wanton disregard, with such sinat chinam, for the humanity of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, children and elders of Gaza.
“As Jews, we abhor the abuse of human rights that are standard practice of our fellow Jews in the Israeli government and Israeli military. This is not the path of justice.”