Middle East Monitor – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Sat, 02 Dec 2023 04:22:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.10 The History of Gaza: On Conquerors, Resurgence and Rebirth https://www.juancole.com/2023/12/history-conquerors-resurgence.html Sat, 02 Dec 2023 05:06:18 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=215713 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Those unfamiliar with Gaza and its history are likely to always associate Gaza with destruction, rubble and Israeli genocide.

And they can hardly be blamed. On 3 November, the UN Development Programme and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) announced that 45 per cent of Gaza’s housing units have been destroyed or damaged since the beginning of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza.

But the history of Gaza is also a history of great civilisations, as well as a history of revival, rebirth.

Shortly before the war, specifically 23 September, archaeologists in Gaza announced that four Roman-era tombs had been unearthed in Gaza City. They include “two lead coffins, one delicately carved with harvest motifs and the other with dolphins gliding through water,” ARTNews reported.

According to Palestinian and French archaeologists, these are Roman-era tombs dating back 2,000 years.

The finding was preceded, two months earlier, in July, by something even more astonishing: a major archaeological discovery, of at least 125 tombs, most with skeletons still largely intact, along with two extremely rare lead sarcophaguses.

In case you assume that the great archaeological finds were isolated events, think again.

“Byzantine-era mosaic discovered by farmer on Gaza Strip | USA TODAY”

Indeed, Gaza has existed not only hundreds of years, but even thousands of years before the destruction of the modern Palestinian homeland during the Nakba, the subsequent wars and all the headline news that associate Gaza with nothing but violence.

I grew up in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp located in central Gaza. As a child, I knew that something great had taken place in Nuseirat without fully appreciating its grandeur and deep historical roots.

For years, I climbed the Tell el-Ajjul – The Calves Hill – located to the north-east of Nuseirat, tucked between the beach and the Gaza Valley – to look for Sahatit, a term we used in reference to any ancient currency.

We would collect the rusty and often scratched pieces of metal and take them home, knowing little about the value of these peculiar finds. I always gifted my treasures to my Mom, who kept them in a small wooden drawer built within her Singer sewing machine.

I still think about that treasure that must have been tossed away following my mother’s untimely death. Only now do I realise that they were Hyksos, Roman and Byzantine currencies.

Once Mom would diligently scrub the Sahatit with lemon juice and vinegar, the mysterious Latin and other writings and symbols would appear, along with the crowned heads of the great kings of the past. I knew that these old pieces were used by our people who dwelled upon this land since time immemorial.

The region upon which Nuseirat was built was inhabited by ancient Canaanites, whose presence can be felt through the numerous archaeological discoveries throughout historic Palestine.

What made Nuseirat particularly unique was its geographical centrality in the Gaza region, its strategic position by the Gaza coast, and its unique topography. The relatively hilly areas west of Nuseirat and the fact that it encompasses the Gaza Valley have made Nuseirat inhabitable since ancient times to the present.

Evidence of Hyksos, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and other civilisations which dwelled in that region for thousands of years is a testimony to the historical significance of the area.

When the Hyksos ruled over Palestine during the Middle Bronze Age II period (ca. 2000-1500 BC), they built a great civilisation, which extended from Egypt to Syria.

So powerful was the Hyksos Dynasty that they extended their jurisdiction into Ancient Egypt, remaining there until they were driven out by the Sea Peoples. Though the Hyksos were eventually defeated, they left behind palaces, temples, defence trenches and various monuments, the largest of which can be found in the central Gaza region, specifically at the starting point of the Gaza Valley.

Like the Calves Hill, Tell Umm el-’Amr – or Umm el-’Amr’s Hill – was the location of an ancient Christian town, with a large monastery complex, containing five churches, homes, baths, geometric mosaics, a large crypt and more.

The discoveries of Tell Umm el-’Amr were recent. According to the World’s Monuments Fund (WMF), this Christian town was abandoned after a major earthquake struck the region sometime in the seventh century. The excavation process began in 1999, and a more serious preservation campaign began in earnest in 2010.

In 2018, the restoration of the monastery itself started. The discovery of the St. Hilarion Monastery is one of the most precious archaeological finds, not only in Gaza’s southern coastal region, but in the entire Middle East in recent years.

There is also the Shobani Graveyard, tucked by the sea and located near the western entrance of Nuseirat, the Tell Abu-Hussein in the north-west part of the Camp, also close to the sea, along with other sites, which are of great significance to Nuseirat’s past.

A Gaza historian told me that it is almost certain that Tell Abu Hussein was of some connection to Sultan Salah Ad-Din Al-Ayyubi’s military campaign in Palestine, which ultimately defeated and expelled the Crusaders from the region in 1187.

The history of my old Refugee Camp is essentially the history of all of Gaza, a place that played a significant role in shaping ancient and modern history, its geopolitics as well as its tragic and triumphant moments.

What is taking place in Gaza now is but an episode, a traumatic and a defining one, but nonetheless, a mere chapter in the history of a people who proved to be as durable and resilient as history itself.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

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The Humanitarian Paradigm and the Normalization of Ethnic Cleansing https://www.juancole.com/2023/11/humanitarian-normalization-cleansing.html Tue, 21 Nov 2023 05:02:09 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=215515 by Ramona Wadi

( Middle East Monitor ) – The despicable diplomacy which is allowing Israel to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from Gaza is spoken of mainly in terms of the humanitarian pause, the new catchphrase that allows the international community to pretend it is invested in Palestinians’ humanitarian well-being. The US keeps voting against resolutions of temporary respite as their narrative still hinges on Hamas. The same goes for the UK and its complaint that the recent resolution “could not clearly condemn” Hamas. Russia, meanwhile, voted against the resolution due to it not calling for an immediate ceasefire. A ceasefire is a starting point, but will achieve little long term if there is no concentrated effort for decolonisation.

The international community fails to call out Israel colonisation, so decolonisation will not happen anytime soon. And if Israel has its way, it will involve direct complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza, as Knesset members Danny Danon and Ram Ben-Barak, former Israeli ambassador to the UN and former deputy director of the Mossad respectively, have indicated in a recent op-ed.

“It is imperative that the international community explore potential solutions to help civilians caught in the crisis,” wrote Danon and Ben Barak after completely misrepresenting Israel’s colonial violence. Citing the example of former Yugoslavia, their first suggestion was for “countries around the world to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate. The international community has a moral imperative – and an opportunity – to demonstrate compassion, help the people of Gaza move toward a more prosperous future and work together to achieve greater peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Danon and Ben Barak couldn’t have been clearer. Israel has the impunity which allows it to act without any moral imperative. The moral imperative is then incumbent upon its international allies, which are expected to provide humanitarian relief that in turn facilitates Israel’s colonisation of Gaza.

Irish MP claims there are ‘years of ethnic cleansing’ in Palestine’s Gaza

Ethnic cleansing has nothing to do with a desire to relocate, which is a decision based on free movement. Palestinians in Gaza have been forcibly displaced. A “genocide” is unfolding before our eyes. They have not embarked on a journey to relocate on the whims of Israel’s colonial plans. The cruelty with which such a suggestion is made to look purportedly moral should have the entire international community hanging its head in shame. This current scenario in the ongoing Palestinian Nakba is what the international community worked towards when it voted for the 1947 Partition Plan and when Israel was admitted as a UN member state. In the present-day circumstances, the international community debates about humanitarian pauses and other ludicrous conjectures, while Israel alters the definition of voluntary relocation to fit its forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.

It’s useless to ask where Israel’s moral imperative is, because colonial entities have no capacity for morality.

That being said, neither does the international community. This latest step in Israel’s colonisation of Palestine exposes many flaws in the international community’s construction of “the Palestinian question”, a term which is dehumanising and dissociates the land from the people and vice versa. Danon and Ben Barak have grasped the dynamics of the humanitarian paradigm all too well in terms of its exploitation and the normalisation of colonial violence. Short of a unified stance against Israel and its colonial violence, nothing the international community does will ever compensate for the horrors it inscribed with its recognition of the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.


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The Psychological Consequences of the Trauma of War in Gaza https://www.juancole.com/2023/11/psychological-consequences-trauma.html Fri, 17 Nov 2023 05:04:40 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=215426 By Ali Omidi | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a symptom or syndrome that occurs after seeing, directly experiencing or hearing a stressful and traumatic factor (trauma) that can lead to the death of the affected person. One of its factors is a person’s direct experience of the violent death of a family member or close friend. This disorder may also occur as a result of repeated exposure to the horrific details of an incident (trauma); likewise, police officers who are exposed to the details of criminal cases.

The injured person feels fear and helplessness in relation to these experiences, and often shows disturbed and restless behaviour. War and killings also cause trauma to survivors. Trauma is a psychological term that comes from the Greek word meaning wound and is known as a psychological injury. This occurs after being in a very stressful or uncomfortable situation. Being in such a situation makes you think that you have no security and that you are always in danger. As such, you feel helpless and constantly anxious.

The destructive war of the Israeli regime against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continues with heavy bombing by fighters and the targeting of homes, hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure. International organisations and experts have said that this is a “text-book case of genocide”. At the time of writing, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed and over 70 per cent of the victims are children and women. Worldwide demonstrations demand a ceasefire.

However, it is now important to consider the trauma inflicted on the people of Gaza; they will suffer from it for the rest of their lives, and most people, especially children, will suffer from PTSD. This could seriously jeopardise the future mental health of the Palestinians in the enclave. In this regard, three painful psychological traumas caused by the attacks of the Israeli regime against the people of this region can be mentioned in particular.

Many cannot be sure if their loved ones are safe or not, or even still alive

For a start, there is the crisis of not knowing the whereabouts and fate of relatives. In a month of war, the Israeli regime has tried to cut off internet access for Gaza, as well as telephone links. Many Palestinians have been unable to discover the whereabouts, fate and health status of their relatives, friends and acquaintances under heavy Israeli bombardment. Many cannot be sure if their loved ones are safe or not, or even still alive. To put it more simply, they are anxious that they may have lost their loved ones and they still don’t know about it. Moreover, a large number of Palestinians have been forced to move from the north to the south of Gaza. This has also caused difficulties in finding out about relatives and friends.

Then there is the exposure of Palestinian children to horrific images in Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli air and artillery attacks, which causes severe shock. This is something that even adults cannot bear, leading to anxiety and serious mental and psychological damage. They see the dead bodies of their family around them, and see themselves as helpless with an uncertain future. They do not imagine any safe place and their psychological security has been lost.

The Guardian: “A safe space for Gaza’s children: ‘They still have dreams for the future’

We have probably all seen images of parents clutching their dead child, which have gone viral on social media. The parents feel unable to be separated from their child. It is a shocking image that touches the heart of every decent human being. With more than 4,000 children killed so far, if one or both parents have survived they will face serious mental issues in the shape of deep trauma to their souls.

According to UNICEF, more than half a million children in Syria under the age of five are stunted due to chronic malnutrition. Moreover, 2.4 million children within the country and 750,000 displaced beyond its borders do not go to school as a result of their displacement. The number of children who have suffered mental and psychological injuries due to constant exposure to violence, shock and trauma has doubled. Undoubtedly, this case will apply more strongly to the people of Gaza, especially the surviving children.

The people of Gaza are Palestinians, most of them refugees or descendants of refugees who were forced to move to Gaza from other areas of historic Palestine since 1948. They have been practically held in a concentration camp and separated from their home towns and villages like a severed limb, with no way out of this situation because Israel does not allow them to exercise their legitimate right to return to their homes. As a result of this particular trauma, some people in Gaza will lose their sense of psychological security and feel threatened and helpless.

Psychological trauma can leave a person with distressing feelings, memories and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also cause numbness, disconnection and a lack of trust in others. People have to endure these severe traumas, even after the war ends, and many will definitely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. This will have long-term negative political, economic, cultural and psychological effects, with the main consequence being a sense of the need for revenge that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

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Gaza: Where should the Birds fly after the Last Sky? https://www.juancole.com/2023/11/where-should-birds.html Sun, 12 Nov 2023 05:02:14 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=215310 By Ahmad Rayees | –

Where should the birds fly after the last sky?

Where should we go after the last sky? 

( Middle East Monitor) – In the haunting verses of Mahmoud Darwish‘s poetry, the tragic tale of Gaza unfolds—a narrative of shattered hopes, enduring resistance and the stark reality of life under Israeli occupation. Darwish’s words transcend the boundaries of literature, reaching into the core of a crisis that demands our attention and condemnation. As the world closes in on the Palestinian people, life in the Gaza Strip morphs into an agonising reality. Israeli bombardments, like thunderous echoes, shatter the dreams and lives of those trapped in this open-air prison. Blood flows beneath the rubble, a silent testimony to the wounds inflicted upon a people confined in a cage where access to basic necessities—food, water and electricity—is ruthlessly denied.

The dignity of life is trampled under the weight of colonial occupation. The siege tightens, ushering in a cruel fate of hunger, thirst and the unyielding descent of missiles upon residential areas, hospitals, schools and mosques. The world, however, seems content to watch this unfolding tragedy as if it were a mere spectacle in a circus, where actors play their roles, crafting a narrative that leaves the metaphorical birds grounded, denied the freedom to soar. A looming ground assault threatens millions with the dire choice of leaving their homes or facing murder and uprooting. In the face of this unfolding genocide, world leaders remain unmoved, their indifference casting a shadow on the inevitable suffering of Palestinians that will persist until the occupation concludes.

History echoes through the ages as 1948, 1967 and 2014 witnessed the world turning a blind eye to Palestinian suffering. Once again, as Israelis prepare for a ground invasion in Gaza, the world watches silently. The Palestinians find themselves caught in a tragic dilemma—to be bombed or to seek refuge away from their homes, facing another Nakba, another catastrophe that threatens the uprooting, displacement and killing of two million people defending their right to exist. The ultimate aim of the Zionists, to carve out a greater Israel on Palestinian land, unfolds as a tragic circus. A disconcerting parallel emerges as the media and the West, in the context of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, label Palestinians defending their homeland as “terrorists”, while Ukrainian fighters are seen as “defenders”. The identity of the oppressed is chased and knocked down in the relentless pursuit of an apartheid regime.

In the heart-wrenching reality of Gaza, where babies, women and elders are ruthlessly murdered by Israeli bombs, the unfolding tragedy paints a stark contrast that renders even mourning a luxury for the surviving families. Amidst the unrelenting assault, the desperate search for the deceased beneath the rubble becomes a symbol of last hopes, a haunting reminder of lives lost in a struggle for survival. In this dire landscape, the people of Gaza find themselves torn between the agony of mourning their dead and the pressing need to secure shelter and food. The constant cycle of grief and survival defines their existence, a testament to the unimaginable challenges faced by a population caught in the crossfire. As this grave genocide unfolds, the world’s collective conscience is put to the test. A crisis demands condemnation, yet the West’s historical unkindness to the East and the repercussions of colonial projects that endanger the lives of the poor persist.

Photo by Mohammed Ibrahim on Unsplash

The silence of Muslim leaders in the face of desolation becomes a glaring question. Those who once voiced justice and stood against oppression now stand silent, leaving the oppressed to face their plight alone. The silence, like an echo, reverberates through the rubble of nations, hurting oppressed Muslims and condemning them to further suffering. A stark warning emerges against supporting Israel and the US in wiping out the people of Gaza. The consequences are foreseen—a world in ruins, where the broken wings of metaphorical birds and sealed borders pose existential questions with no easy answers. In the face of such tragedy, where the wings of a bird are broken, where should it fly? If the borders are sealed, where should we go?

These questions resonate, demanding urgent action, compassion and an unwavering commitment to justice. As the world ignores the continuous onslaught, the question looms heavy: how can the global conscience rest when an entire population is subjected to the merciless hands of destruction, enduring the horrors of days and nights stained by relentless violence? The world’s silence becomes a deafening echo, resonating with the cries of a people in desperate need of empathy, solidarity and an end to their harrowing ordeal.

We will die here, here in the last passage.

Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.

Mahmoud Darwish

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

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Debunked: ‘Gaza is not Occupied’ https://www.juancole.com/2023/10/debunked-gaza-occupied.html Sun, 22 Oct 2023 04:04:04 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=214966 By Nasim Ahmed | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – Anyone interested in the truth should ask – if Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza, why does it maintain the power to starve and withhold basic necessities? Israel wants the world to believe the myth that it “gave Gaza freedom.”

Throughout Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza, Israeli ministers have continued to spread the lie that the besieged enclave is not occupied. The purpose of this misinformation is to further dehumanise Palestinians and justify the deadly violence against 2.2 million people, half of them children.

“Look at these people, we gave them freedom and they reward us with violence, hate and terror,” that is what Israeli officials say. “Instead of turning Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East they have turned it into a launchpad for terrorism.”

That is the lie Israel wants the world to accept.

Under the 2005 Israeli Disengagement Plan, Israel retains absolute authority over Gaza’s airspace, territory and sea. The key here is who has effective control? Does Israel pass the effective control test? Yes, it does.

Article continues after bonus IC video
MEMO – “Debunked: Gaza is not Occupied”

Israel is manifestly exercising control over Gaza from the air, land and sea.

Israelis themselves have debunked this claim in the clearest way. When Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, and halted electricity, food, water and fuel, it was an explicit admission of effective control.

Anyone interested in the truth should ask – if Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza, why does it maintain the power to starve and withhold basic necessities? Israel wants the world to believe the myth that it “gave Gaza freedom.”

The absence of troops does not mean the end of domination and control when you hold the power to cut off basic lifelines to a people, control their border and banking system.

If Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza, why can it turn off the lights with a flip of a switch? Stop it exporting its produce? And control what can enter the Strip? The truth is obvious. And the media must stop letting Israel peddle this deadly lie.

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Breaking Free from the Cycle of Violence: The Reality of the Gaza Conflict https://www.juancole.com/2023/10/breaking-violence-conflict.html Sat, 14 Oct 2023 04:04:04 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=214810 Al-Rimal neighbourhood in Gaza on Oct 10, 2023 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

(Middle East Monitor ) – At the start of the colonial era, the imperial powers not only seized natural and human resources, but also sought to occupy time, space and minds. Those who were colonised learned to resist the daily oppression, though, and from the second half of the 20th century onwards, a snowball effect led to resistance becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Today’s situation in the occupied Palestinian territories follows a similar pattern. Gaza, the most densely populated place in the world, is hemmed in on three sides by a fortified fence, and on the other by a naval siege; 2,3 million people are squeezed into an area of just 365 square kilometres. This is the largest open-air prison in history.

And just like any other prison, no matter how impregnable, prisoners will always try to escape. On 7 October, a daring and unique prison break grabbed the headlines, turning the news cycle upside down: This was not an Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza; it was an attack by Palestinians from Gaza against Israel.

When people see aggression, they generally empathise with the oppressed. On this occasion, the oppressor is eager to play the victim. Playing the victim has been a winning ticket for Israel for decades, ensuring Western military, political and economic aid.

Another despicable truth is that Western media, while acting as mouthpieces for governments which preach to the world about human rights and democratic values, have, more often than not, sided with the occupiers. Then all principles are turned upside down: the right to self-defence is obfuscated, and there are “worthy” and “unworthy” victims. Meanwhile, international law is not worth the paper it is written on.

Israel has systematically expanded its occupation in defiance of international law and in violation of the agreements it has signed. It has continued its settler-colonialism with no respect for the 1967 borders (actually the 1949 Armistice — “Green” — Line) and the Oslo Accords. The occupation state has done this by killing Palestinian civilians daily through direct force of arms and obscuring the meaning of “civilian” and “non-combatant”, thus breaking one of the basic fundamental rules of war. Armed Jewish settlers are enabled to attack Palestinian civilians and their property. The UN has recognised Israel’s violation of international law, but no sanctions have followed.

The video of an Israeli settler seizing his Palestinian neighbour’s house on the basis that, “If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it” went viral. Footage of other illegal settlers attacking a church or burning Palestinian olive groves is common, and rarely, if ever, makes the news cycle.

Israel has built an apartheid regime in which Palestinians are consigned to ghettos. Human rights seem to be for everyone except the Palestinians. This year alone, 257 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by Israeli forces. That was before last Saturday kick-started another Israeli bombardment of residential areas in Gaza.

Gaza has been under blockade since 2007. The enclave’s electricity and water supplies — in fact, supplies of everything — are under Israeli control, and the people are being brought to their knees by the shortages of the basic necessities. Israel has carried out four major military offensives against the Palestinians in Gaza since 2008. Thousands of civilians have been killed in these and other Israeli attacks. The occupation state’s indiscriminate and aggressive terrorism remains relentless.

Palestinians are a people living under Israel’s brutal military occupation. They have a legitimate right to act in self-defence, but this is muddied by allegations of “terrorism”. Again, international law is ignored by Western politicians and media.

Palestinians turn to resistance because they see that this is the only way for them to get their rights

Mustafa Barghouti, a left-leaning Palestinian activist who serves as General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, told CNN’s Farid Zakariya: “So, of course, Palestinians turn to resistance because they see that this is the only way for them to get their rights. The question here is not about dehumanising Palestinians and calling them terrorists. It also about the question why the US supports Ukraine in fighting what they call occupation, while here they are supporting the occupier who continues to occupy us.”

While official buildings in Western capitals fly Israeli flags, Israel is bombing homes in Gaza and killing civilians. Western decision-makers, it seems, have no interest in long-term peace and stability. They can’t — or won’t — see beyond the current hostilities. This kind of approach is their Achilles heel; they fail to contextualise issues and want only to manipulate situations for their own interests.

Locking people in a cage and then expecting them not to react or resist is ridiculous. It is time to tear down the watchtowers monitoring Gaza, and time to tear down the ivory towers policing the minds of freedom-loving people worldwide and work for a fairer and more just world. And Palestine would be a great place to begin.


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Featured image: Al-Rimal neighbourhood in Gaza on Oct 10, 2023 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

If Ukrainians had taken the Steps Palestinians just took Would they be seen as Heroes? https://www.juancole.com/2023/10/ukrainians-palestinians-heroes.html Tue, 10 Oct 2023 04:08:18 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=214781
  • ( Middle East Monitor ) – As we watch the events unfolding in the besieged Gaza Strip, where resistance fighters have been battling for the rights of their people which have been usurped from them for over 50 years, I couldn’t help but recall walking through London and coming across the Russian Embassy, where activists had painting the Ukrainian flag on the ground.

    The UK has been at the forefront of condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, emphasising its solidarity with Kyiv and putting this support into action in a number of ways. When Moscow first invaded Ukraine, most European countries announced immediate support for Kyiv through military and financial aid. Within a few days, Russia was slapped with sanctions, and steps were taken to weaken its financial capabilities. The oppressor was left isolated and short of allies.

    This courtesy is not one paid to those living under the world’s longest ongoing occupation; Israel’s control of the Palestinian people, their properties and their religious sites. Where Palestinians are concerned, the media looks the other way, failing to report on the 17-year blockade imposed on Gaza, or how the UN declared Gaza to be uninhabitable. The land of Palestine has been squeezed out of the hands of its owners and is being taken over – with the view to completely annex it – by the Israeli occupation. This can be seen clearly in the occupied West Bank, where the land under Palestinian control shrinks on a daily basis.

    However, protests in support of these oppressed people do not receive the same welcome as those for Ukraine. In 2014, while Israel was pummeling the Gaza Strip with rockets that killed more than 2,250 people, England Cricket team’s all-rounder, Moeen Ali, wore a wristband which said ‘Free Palestine’, during a test match against India. Very quickly he was banned from wearing this ‘political display’ of solidarity. Similarly, in 2021, when Israel was bombing Gaza, Manchester United players, Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo, waved the Palestinian flag at the end of a game to showcase their support for the people of Gaza, calling for peace, the mainstream media advocated the narrative that sports should remain free from political influences and away from personal associations.


    For Ukraine, however, things are different. From tennis to football to the Olympics, politics was been intermingled with sports. The Premier League was rebranded, depicting its full support for Ukraine. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) went a step further and imposed an outright ban on all Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the prestigious Wimbledon Grand Slam in 2022.

    The West, the self-proclaimed champions of freedom of expression, resort to a selective mechanism for exercising their support of narratives. Even now, with Hamas fighting back, global leaders, be it Biden or Sunak, took no time to extend a helping hand to their ally, Israel. With the ‘rock-solid and unwavering support’ of the US president, military support is headed towards the Middle East to support Israel. The media, following their state agenda, villainised Hamas and placed a blanket of innocence on Israel, completely ignoring its ongoing occupation an oppression of Palestinians which international rights groups have labelled apartheid.

    The West is not alone in its hypocrisy, the Muslim World has had its share of shortcomings with regards the Palestinian struggle. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwar ul-Haq Kakar advocated for a two-state solution, but did not highlight the brutality inflicted on Palestinians by Israel. While the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called upon international bodies such as the United Nations to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians.

    Qatar, however, was quick to hold Israel responsible for the escalation in Gaza. Its Foreign Ministry further expressed concerns that Israel would use this incident as a reason to initiate a disproportionate war against civilians in Gaza.

    The situation in Gaza is a reminder that decolonisation is not an abstract thought. It’s a reality beyond history books, research papers and panel talks. The recent attack by Hamas is a stand taken by the Palestinians. After years of genocide, land-grabbing and violation of basic human rights, there comes a time when oppression becomes unbearable, and revolt through an armed struggle is looked upon as the only way out. So while the world media labels this “terrorism”, we need to remember that the oppressed cannot continue to lie motionless on the ground as the occupation tramples all over them and the international community continues to give up the little rights they have remaining

    The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

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Hamas Attacks kill at least 600 Israelis, Mostly Civilians, including 260 at Music Festival https://www.juancole.com/2023/10/israelis-civilians-including.html Mon, 09 Oct 2023 04:06:34 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=214751 (Middle East Monitor ) – At least 600 Israelis have been killed in the ongoing military escalation with Palestinian groups in Gaza, according to local media on Sunday.

Over 2,000 Israelis have been injured so far, Hebrew Channel 12 reported.

The Israel Defence Forces on Sunday published the names of 26 soldiers killed during fighting with the Palestinian side on the border with the Gaza Strip over the past day, saying: “Their families have been notified.”

The dead include Col. Jonathan Steinberg, 42, the commander of the Nahal Brigade from Shomria, Lt. Col. Sahar Machluf, 36, the commander of the 481st Signal Battalion from Modiin, and Maj. Chen Buchris, 26, the deputy commander of Maglan from Ashdod, the Times of Israel newspaper reported.

Later on Sunday, the Israeli army published the names of 18 other soldiers killed on Saturday, taking the death toll of soldiers to 44.

About 100 Israelis were also kidnapped to Gaza following the Saturday attacks by Hamas, according to daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on Saturday and said the surprise attack was in response to the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased settler violence. It said it fired rockets and captured many Israelis.

In turn, the Israeli army initiated Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu: “We have decided to Halt Electricity, Fuel, Goods to Gaza” https://www.juancole.com/2023/10/israeli-netanyahu-electricity.html Mon, 09 Oct 2023 04:04:27 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=214749 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Following security cabinet meeting held early on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Israeli occupation will “halt electricity, fuel and goods transfer to Gaza.”

Netanyahu said that the security officials, who met and discussed the situation, decided to “destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas.”

The head of the most extremist Israeli government said: “We are heading into a long and gruelling war,” claiming that the “war was forced upon us by a murderous attack by Hamas.”

He added: “The first stage is coming to a close at this time with the destruction of the majority of enemy forces that have infiltrated into our territory.”

Netanyahu noted that they “have started the offensive formation which will continue without reservation and without respite until the goals are achieved. We will restore security to the citizens of Israel and prevail.”

Via Middle East Monitor

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