Ramona Wadi – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Wed, 10 Jul 2024 04:19:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.10 How Israeli PM Netanyahu relies on normalizing Genocide https://www.juancole.com/2024/07/netanyahu-normalizing-genocide.html Wed, 10 Jul 2024 04:06:04 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=219458 ( Middle East Monitor ) – The UN has been stating that nowhere is safe in Gaza. Palestinians have been crying out the same, prior to the useless official statements. Those that remain have been displaced several times over, in a macabre spectacle that leaves one wondering who is next in Israel’s genocidal kill toll.

“Counting the dead in Gaza: difficult but essential” is The Lancet’s report on Israel’s higher kill toll in Gaza. Noting that Gaza’s Health Ministry put the numbers at 37,396 Palestinians killed from 7 October 2023 until 19 June 2024, the report notes that it is highly likely Israel has killed 7.9 per cent of Gaza’s population and possibly more, bringing the number up to 186,000 Palestinians.

“Documenting the true scale is crucial for ensuring historical accountability and acknowledging the full cost of the war. It is also a legal requirement,” The Lancet’s report partly states. While the report errs by calling the genocide a conflict, it brings the force of Israel’s weapons and destruction of Gaza into sharper focus, especially since mainstream media is competently blurring accountability in abiding with Israel’s security narrative.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking assurances that in the event of a deal being reached, Israel is allowed to continue “fighting until all the goals of the war are achieved”.  The Times of Israel quotes Netanyahu’s office stating, “The plan that has been agreed to by Israel and that has been welcomed by President Biden will allow Israel to bring back hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war.”

Kanal 13 Video: “”Shocked, Genocide mastermind still”..; UN Official up in arms against Netanyahu Aide”

In June, Israel’s military spokesman, Daniel Hagari, described eliminating Hamas from Gaza as an impossible task. “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people – whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.” Netanyahu does not think he can eliminate Hamas from Gaza, but in Israel’s narrative, Hamas is excellent propaganda to justify genocide. Yesterday, Hagari reiterated the impossibility of eradicating Hamas and saying that the Resistance movement will still exist in Gaza in the next five years. Which is not only plausible, but a reality. Ideas cannot be destroyed, and there can be no dissolution of Hamas without decolonisation.

Given the overt assertions that Hamas cannot be eliminated from Gaza, and Netanyahu utilising Hamas as the reason for the ongoing genocide, it is clear that the Israeli Prime Minister’s intent is not to eliminate Hamas but to obliterate Palestinians. Entire families have been wiped out in Gaza, and The Lancet’s report consolidates what previous reports from several human rights organisations brought forth from their research. Israel’s genocidal intents and actions have not abated, and their normalisation by the international community only makes it more feasible for Netanyahu to finish what he started. If there is still no deterrent for Israel – indeed, a ceasefire is now not only tied to the Israeli hostages’ release who Netanyahu himself is exploiting but also to reassurances to maintain Gaza’s annihilation – what kill toll statistics will we be looking at in the coming months, given the international community’s normalisation of Israel’s genocide in Gaza?


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Gaza: Weaponizing Aid beyond Starvation https://www.juancole.com/2024/06/weaponizing-beyond-starvation.html Mon, 17 Jun 2024 04:06:07 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=219080 ( Middle East Monitor) – Israel’s raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp killed 274 Palestinians and wounded 700 more in order to free four healthy-looking Israeli hostages. The discrepancy was stark. However, what stands out in the murderous Israeli operation is the weaponising of aid to provide cover for the massacre. Denied by both the US and Israel, reports of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) using the American-built “humanitarian” floating pier and an aid truck to kill more Palestinians under the guise of rescuing the Israeli hostages must be exposed in the genocidal narrative that the occupation state continues to weave daily.

The Palestinian Red Cross Society (PRCS) released a statement on Monday, noting that, “The occupation forces deceived people by disguising themselves under the cover of aid that civilians desperately need amid their suffering from severe food insecurity.”

UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said in a post on X: “This is ‘humanitarian camouflage’ at another level,” while noting that Israel was possibly aided by foreign soldiers to commit this massacre. “Israel could have freed all hostages, alive and intact, 8 months ago when the first ceasefire and hostage exchange was put on the table,” Albanese continued. “This is genocidal intent turned into action. Crystal clear.”

And it takes a genocidal government to celebrate the mass slaughter in Nuseirat.

“Only Israel’s enemies complained about the casualties of Hamas terrorist and their accomplices,” gloated Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

Al Jazeerah English Video: ‘Horrible massacre’ in Nuseirat refugee camp is evidence of ‘genocide’: Gov’t media office”

Meanwhile, in France, US President Joe Biden praised “the safe rescue of four hostages that were returned to their families in Israel.” Not a word about Israel’s massacre of Palestinians which wiped out whole families. Killing 274 Palestinians was less of an issue than rescuing four hostages kept safe during Israel’s relentless destruction of Gaza since last October. And now that the starvation of Palestinians has become a normalised genocidal strategy, Israel is building upon its previous atrocities to kill more of them in a single operation, by not only weaponising aid, but also using the vehicles and infrastructure used to transport aid.

World leaders decry Israel’s atrocities while investing in even more diplomacy and military aid to aid and abet Israel’s genocide, because Palestinians do not matter in the grand scheme of protecting colonial interests, even when Israel is clearly manipulating the humanitarian paradigm and using it as a genocidal weapon. Palestinians are now caught in the cross hairs of humanitarian aid; between coercion to seek aid as a result of deprivation, and such deprivation being used by Israel to commit genocide. The international community is witnessing the atrocities it paved the way for and silence still prevails, because the hostage narrative disseminated by Israel is more compelling than the fact that over 40,000 Palestinians have been killed by the rogue state, with the entire population of Gaza forcibly displaced to facilitate genocide.

Ever since the start of the ongoing Nakba in 1948, Palestinians have been forced into the humanitarian paradigm to accommodate settler-colonial interests. These interests have now appropriated the humanitarian paradigm, to the point that aid is equivalent to murder. Can the UN truly claim not to have foreseen the genocidal intent of a European colonial ideology that built its own settler entity upon indigenous land, bodies and blood? Why can’t the UN see that Israel is creating new definitions of humanitarian aid that befit genocide and have nothing to do with relieving desperate poverty and food insecurity?

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After 200 Days of Carnage, US and UN suddenly Shocked at Israeli Mass Graves for Palestinians in Gaza https://www.juancole.com/2024/04/suddenly-shocked-palestinians.html Sun, 28 Apr 2024 04:02:19 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=218272 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Israel turned Gaza’s hospitals into execution fields and the international community only called for humanitarian pauses. Now that mass graves have been discovered, the international community is allegedly horrified and is calling “for a transparent and credible investigation”. Where did the UN think the bodies of Palestinians murdered by Israel would end up? And why is the UN horrified at the discovery of mass graves, but not at Israel killing thousands of Palestinian civilians?

The mass graves discovery “is another reason why we need a ceasefire, why we need to see an end to this conflict, why we need to see greater access for humanitarians, for humanitarian goods, greater protection for hospitals. We need to see the hostages released,” the UN Secretary-General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, stated during a press briefing.

There is much dissonance in this statement. The ceasefire was needed before the discovery of the mass graves. During genocide, the UN speaking of conflict illustrates its complicity with Israel. Linking humanitarian aid to the mass graves is another atrocious comment – humanitarian aid is for the living. Protection for hospitals is a necessity and not linked to the discovery of mass graves. And the Israeli hostages’ release has nothing to do with the discovery of the mass graves. The mass graves exist because Israel is committing genocide. And all that Dujarric listed must be linked to Israel’s genocide and the UN’s complicity in allowing it to happen.

However, given that the UN has now normalised genocide as well, it needs sensationalism to make its points while abstaining from any action that could halt Israel’s elimination of Palestinians from Gaza. And what better way to do it than focus on 392 Palestinians out of the thousands that have been killed, because their bodies have been discovered in a mass grave?

Al Jazeera English Video: “Evidence of torture, executions, and people buried alive found in Gaza mass graves”

Mass graves point towards evidence of war crimes and, in this case, genocide. However, the mass graves in Gaza are also evidence of international inaction over genocide. They are a continuation of the 1948 Nakba, which the international community has failed to refer to in its rhetoric. Playing shocked at the discovery of mass graves will not help Palestinians, but acknowledging the Nakba when it happened would have possibly prevented the current existence of mass graves, which Israel will contextualise in its perpetual security narrative. And which country is ready to tear down Israel’s lies and face the genocidal settler-colonial entity with facts?


A mass grave is not just symbolic of violence. It is evidence, in Gaza’s case, not only of Israel’s annihilation of Palestinians but also of the international community’s fragmenting of genocide into separate violations to minimise accountability. However, even with the discovery of the mass grave, diplomats are still granting Israel further impunity.

“This is something that forces us to call for an independent investigation of all the suspicions and all the circumstances because it indeed creates the impression that there might have been violations of international human rights committed,” the EU’s spokesman, Peter Stano, declared.

‘Might have been’? There was evidence even without the discovery of mass graves, but the international community prefers to rest on speculation in the face of evidence. With one phrase, proof has been turned into an assumption. Can the international community, at least, stop sensationalising the horror of mass graves and focus on the entire genocidal process which wants to eliminate all traces of Palestinians? No independent investigation will cancel the fact that genocide unfolded with the international community’s blessing and, as a result, so did the mass graves.

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Jared Kushner’s Shameful Remarks on Gaza: “I would do my best to move the people out” https://www.juancole.com/2024/03/kushners-shameful-remarks.html Fri, 22 Mar 2024 04:06:53 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=217703 ( Middle East Monitor ) – “It’s unfortunate that no one’s taking in the refugees,” lamented former White House advisor during the Trump administration Jared Kushner. He made his comment during an interview at Harvard University last month. The reason? Gaza is being eyed as potential space for valuable waterfront property, so why shouldn’t Israel “clean up”?

Asked to comment on the fact that Palestinians wouldn’t be allowed to return once they were forcibly displaced from Gaza, Kushner responded, “Maybe, but I’m not sure there’s much left of Gaza at this point.” And to further discredit the enclave, Trump’s son-in-law described it as having no historical precedent – “It was the result of a war – you had tribes that went different places and then Gaza became a thing.” He’s wrong, of course; Gaza has a very long history behind it. It’s the Gaza Strip as a territorial entity that is a relatively recent construct.

The simplifications have become obscene. Gaza is the entire symbol and experience of Palestine

It holds Palestinian history and memory within a confined space that is now subjected to what is very obviously genocide according to all legal definitions, while the world debates and questions whether Israel really is, when all is said and done, committing genocide. And if it is, what about 7 October? This obscene normalisation and acceptance of genocide is built upon normalising decades of Israeli colonial violence so, unfortunately, no one should really be surprised. Nevertheless, the shame of it should stain the international community forever.

Kushner’s humanitarian pretences are equally as hypocritical as those of the international community. The international community, a euphemism for Western countries, refuses to take in Palestinian refugees on the grounds that those countries do not want to be complicit in the forced displacement of the indigenous population of Palestine. But the same countries do not appear to mind Palestinians being subjected to an Israeli genocide, which is the ultimate form of ethnic cleansing. How far fetched would it be for Israel and Kushner to have their way, and we see the international community praising settlements and real estate deals as “economics for peace”? Of course, there would be no Palestinians left to make peace with in such a scenario, or the numbers would be so low that peace would fall from the equation, leaving only economic benefits for Israel and its accomplices.

There is not much left in terms of Gaza’s infrastructure, but Kushner is wrong to say there’s not much left of Gaza. If the citizens of a country are its essence, then 2.3 million Palestinians are Gaza. His sweeping statement eliminates even the existence of Gaza — and thus its Palestinian population — which is still a territorial reality, albeit one now imbued with a new bloody history that is Israel’s doing.

Majority Report with Sam Seder Video: “Jared Kushner Sees Israel “Cleaning” Gaza And Developing Its Beachfront Property”

“I’m sitting in Miami Beach right now,” Kushner added for context, while explaining to the interviewer what he’d do if he was in Israel. This was the epitome of how international politics plays out in Palestine, and what Palestinians have suffered as a result.

Someone sitting in Miami Beach, or anywhere else for that matter, has no right to decide the genocidal fate of Palestinians. However, as much as Kushner should be called out for his complicity, so should the UN, the international entity that recognised a colonial enterprise built upon an ethnic cleansing in process which has now morphed into the world’s most complicit genocidal action.

Waterfront real estate in Gaza when Palestinians’ homes have been completely destroyed? This is what happens when the UN only speaks in terms of purportedly isolated violations and not in terms of the ongoing Zionist colonial conquest of Palestine.

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Forced transfer, ‘Moral Imperative’ and Colonial Contempt https://www.juancole.com/2023/12/transfer-imperative-colonial.html Wed, 27 Dec 2023 05:06:44 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=216200 ( Middle East Monitor ) – Two op-eds published on Christmas Day, one by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Wall Street Journal, and the other in the Jerusalem Post by Joel Roskin, geologist and geographer at Bar-Ilan University, both point towards the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza. Only Netanyahu’s rhetoric, not his orders, so do slightly more indiscreetly, so as to appeal to the West, whose approval he requires to destroy Gaza completely.

Netanyahu listed three prerequisites for “peace” and no mention of the Israeli hostages who remain in Gaza and under the threat of being killed by the IDF’s bombing. “Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarised, and Palestinian society must be deradicalized.” Of course, Netanyahu requires international complicity and insisted that the international community “should blame Hamas for the massive civilian casualties of the current war”. No, it shouldn’t. Israel is bombing Gaza on the pretext of eliminating Hamas, to sustain a thorough ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people.

However, the international community has done nothing but haggle over humanitarian pauses and humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, Netanyahu’s plan for Palestinians in Gaza is “voluntary migration” – Israel’s euphemism for forced transfer, which is prohibited by international law, and which the international community normalised for Israel in the 1948 Nakba.

The news is not surprising, given that Israel’s Intelligence Ministry deems forced transfer the preferred option, and Israeli Likud MK Danny Danon promoted the international law violation last November as a “moral imperative” for Western countries. While the West will likely raise little to no objection to Israel’s forced transfer plans, there is no moral imperative in complying with ethnic cleansing. The problem lies in the international community not having the moral imperative to permanently halt Israel’s colonial violence because its complicity can barely be distinguished from Israel’s actions now.

“Gaza Guernica 20: Refugees,” by Juan Cole. Digital. Dream/ Dreamland v.3/ IbisPaint/ PSexpress, 2023.

Roskin’s op-ed reeks of hatred, patronisation and blackmail which completely ignores the political realities of Gaza, including the international community’s refusal to accept the 2006 electoral results and engage in dialogue with Hamas. Egypt, Roskin writes, would be “hailed by the international community as the saviour of the dire plight of Gazans” if it accepts to be complicit in Israel’s ethnic cleansing plans. Roskin hails the Sinai Peninsula as an ideal place for the “resettlement” of Palestinians forcibly displaced from Gaza by Israel’s bombing campaign. Calling forced transfer “genuine rehabilitation programs”, Roskin states, “The ongoing obliteration of Hamas, which terrorizes Palestinian Authority officials and many Gaza residents, may pave the way to the emergence of the proposed Sinai solution, if presented in a wise and discrete manner that conforms to the Middle East mentality.”

So many antagonising words revealing nothing but colonial contempt for the indigenous Palestinian population. Are Palestinians not wise enough to form their own political trajectories, had they been given the space to do so, instead of rendering them perpetual refugees in the humanitarian paradigm, all for Israel’s benefit? If Palestinians in Gaza cannot return to their land, and are forcibly transferred with full blessings of the international community, Gaza may be lost, but there will be no end in sight for the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.

A people that remembers cannot be lost, not with the knowledge that colonialism is reversible.


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A Humanitarian Pause or a Surge in Human Rights Violations? https://www.juancole.com/2023/11/humanitarian-rights-violations.html Mon, 27 Nov 2023 05:02:52 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=215621 by Ramona Wadi

( Middle East Monitor ) – After much useless public debate over Israel’s alleged right to defend itself, the international community regained its footing as the humanitarian paradigm, once more, comes within reach. A four day pause after an agreement reached by Israel and Hamas which would also see the release of 50 Israeli female hostages in exchange for the release of 150 female Palestinian prisoners. The pause has now been delayed until Friday.

The resumption of the humanitarian paradigm will be the first step the international community will exploit to normalise not only Israel’s colonial violence but the extent of the damage it has caused, not to mention the death toll of Palestinian civilians.

Not that there were no misgivings. According to an article on Politico, the Biden administration was concerned that the humanitarian pause “would allow journalists broader access to Gaza and the opportunity to further illuminate the devastation there and turn public opinion on Israel.”

“Gaza Guernica 2” by Juan Cole, Digital (Wombo Dream + Lunapic), 2023.

The EU’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, expressed the hope of “substantial surge in humanitarian aid delivery into and within Gaza” and called for further humanitarian pauses to allow further assistance. What is left unsaid by the hypocritical humanitarian advocates is what will be done in between. Is the international community, in this case the EU, really concerned with humanitarian aid reaching Palestinian civilians in Gaza, or is it a case of enabling Israel’s war crimes and providing the settler-colonial entity with a lull while it decides its next aggressive steps?

A pause is not a ceasefire and, while humanitarian aid will offer Palestinians slight temporary respite, it will never match or surpass what Israel has the capability to inflict in terms of destruction. The international community, however, would prefer no debate on this reality. As long as Gaza, once again, falls within the parameters of the humanitarian paradigm, and the new wave of displacement, larger than that of the 1948 Nakba and from a sliver of what remains of Palestine, is boxed into statistical data, humanitarian aid will not be seen as a matter of necessity, but a series of financial pledges that might or might not be effected.

Israeli Intelligence Minister, Gila Gamliel, is the latest to suggest voluntary resettlement of displaced Palestinians in Gaza. “Instead of funnelling money to rebuild Gaza or to the failed UNRWA, the international community can assist in the costs of resettlement, helping the people of Gaza build new lives in their new host countries,” she wrote in the Jerusalem Post, leaving out the part that Israeli colonisation would benefit from a complete expulsion of the Palestinian people from Gaza. There is no voluntary resettlement in colonialism, only the replacement of the indigenous Palestinian population.

Gamliel’s purported solution is one that would be effected “after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated”. Given that Israel has failed in that endeavour, which means a prolonged aggression with temporary pauses may not be too far-fetched, how will the international community sustain the paradigm now, and how much will Palestinians have to settle for, less thaN what is already meagre and dehumanising in terms of humanitarian aid?

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Israeli Officials Now Promoting Impunity for Settler-Colonial Violence https://www.juancole.com/2023/07/officials-promoting-impunity.html Sat, 01 Jul 2023 04:06:18 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=212954 Ramona Wadi
( Middle East Monitor ) – If Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, can find excuses for the hilltop youth’s colonial violence, how much more is the concept of settler-colonial presence as a form of violence normalised?

During a meeting called by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir described the hilltop youth as “sweet boys” forced into adulthood through administrative detention. In February this year, the Shin Bet’s Chief, Ronen Bar, blamed setter violence in the Occupied West Bank on the hilltop youth. “The settler community in Judea and Samaria are super normative and law-abiding,” Bar had stated, while acknowledging that “a very small percentage of hilltop youth that are harming the whole settler enterprise.”

Ben-Gvir and Bar may be at odds, but not in terms of promoting impunity for colonial violence. The question is – what is considered as extremism in a settler-colonial framework which is already extremist in its foundations, when considering the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages for Israel’s establishment?

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), for example, was revealed to have been recruiting the hilltop youth into a military unit called Desert Frontier, purportedly to “rehabilitate” the settlers into soldiers. Yet the IDF’s origins can be traced back to the Zionist paramilitary gangs that terrorised and massacred Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and before. Presumably, the institutionalisation of violence allows the IDF to distinguish between its violence and that of the hilltop youth.

While the bickering between Israeli officials continues, the root of settler-colonialism in Palestine remains unchallenged, as does the violence of settler-colonial presence in Palestine. The persistent dissociation between different forms of violence erodes acknowledgement of Israel as an inherently violent settler-colonial enterprise, and facilitates the differentiation between settlers engaging in violent acts and the settlers whose presence in Palestine is a form of violence directly related to the Nakba. The latter is normalised and legitimised for the sake of detracting attention away from settler-colonialism, while the hilltop youth emerge as a violent, extremist entity that are either coveted or demonised by Israel, depending on which narrative best suits the political agenda. Yet neither would exist without the other, as all forms of colonial violence are necessary for Israel’s survival.

Ben-Gvir’s comments escalate impunity for colonial violence, both for the hilltop youth and for the settler-colonial population. Such rhetoric – and Ben-Gvir is no stranger to inciting violence – gives all participants in the settler-colonial enterprise ample opportunity for expanding and normalising violence against Palestinians. So does the IDF, with its talk on integrating the most violent groups of Israel’s settler-colonial society into its ranks, while moving a step further from the usual state and settler collaboration in attacks against Palestinians on their territory.

There is no justification for the hilltop youth violence, in the same way as there should be no justification for colonial presence in Palestine. Israeli officials swaying the narrative in favour or against the hilltop youth should not provide the premise for narratives of the Palestinian anti-colonial resistance. Settler-colonists are not law-abiding; all are transgressors of the colonised people’s political right to live on their land.

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The Symbolic Nakba Commemoration at the UN Showed Discomfort with the Truth that Israel Expelled the Palestinians https://www.juancole.com/2023/05/commemoration-discomfort-palestinians.html Fri, 19 May 2023 04:08:00 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=212060 Ramona Wadi

( Middle East Monitor ) – “The thought that an international organisation could mark the establishment of one of its member states as a catastrophe or disaster is both appalling and repulsive,” wrote Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan when asking UN diplomats to refrain from attending the unprecedented UN General Assembly’s commemoration of the 1948 Nakba. Truth be told, the most repulsive action was the UN’s acceptance of the Israeli settler-colonial enterprise as a member state in 1948, at the expense of the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian population whose land was (and continues to be) usurped, and whose legitimate return to their land was a still unfulfilled condition of Israel’s UN membership.

The Nakba commemoration, while significant, pales in comparison with the UN’s complicity in allowing Israel to thrive. How, we might ask, can the UN avail itself of Palestinian historical memory for a commemoration, when it fails to refer to it in terms of the Palestinian people’s political rights, or the legitimate right to resist Israel’s military occupation by all means?

“This is an occasion to highlight that the noble goals of justice and peace, require recognising the reality and history of the Palestinian people’s plight and ensuring the fulfilment of their inalienable rights,” the UN’s website stated, without the slightest discomfort at knowing that the international organisation ensures the complete opposite.

Yet the commemoration, despite the hypocrisy prevalent in its hosts, was enough to make Israel panic, exposing its paranoia that enough awareness might be raised about the fact that the Palestinian people are suffering a decades-long political wrong that is actually reversible. All it would take would be enough political opposition to the status quo of normalising the settler-colonial state and backing the moribund two-state compromise.

According to the Times of Israel, 32 countries stated they would boycott the event, ten of which were EU members. The diplomatic clout that Israel wields at an international level is considerable; not only did a number of countries heed Erdan’s plea, but he also managed to convince some countries of a non-existent pro-Palestinian narrative at the UN. The organisation’s narrative on Palestine is both erroneous and totally pro-Israel. That the US, the UK and Canada would boycott the event was predictable; both the US and Canada are settler-colonial states themselves, and Britain is a former colonial power, so their allegiance to the apartheid state is strong. Moreover, the lack of any condemnation of Israel as a colonial entity depriving Palestinians of their land boosted the normalisation of colonialism and settler-colonial violence.

This means that the significance which such an exhibition could have inspired was lost as a result of the UN’s own complicity in giving Israel’s false narrative some credibility. A single commemoration of the Nakba cannot compete with decades of colonial support. It must be remembered that the UN relies heavily on symbolism and has coerced Palestinians into the same narrative. However, Palestinians’ collective memory is not symbolic, it is a lived reality, which the UN prefers to ignore.

And yet, Israel still feels threatened at the thought of its atrocities being exposed. While Erdan made a lot of fuss over the UN’s symbolic Nakba event, the truth is that Israel is reluctant for any exposure of Nakba-related memory. The reluctance to release its own archives to academic scrutiny is a case in point. What the UN event brought to the fore is that Israel will continue to have a hard time concealing the violence of its creation on usurped land in Palestine, despite the unwillingness of the international community to end the state’s colonialism and violence.

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Israel’s new Cycles of forcibly displacing Palestinians https://www.juancole.com/2023/03/forcibly-displacing-palestinians.html Fri, 24 Mar 2023 04:06:54 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=210868 Ramona Wadi

( Middle East Monitor ) – US President Joe Biden placed much emphasis on rhetorically opposing Israel’s settlement expansion. Hence the reaction from Washington over the Israeli Knesset passing the second and third readings of the Disengagement Law that would allow resettlement of Jewish Israelis in four previously vacated illegal settlement areas in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog was summoned by the US State Department over the rescinding of the 2005 bill, while the State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel referenced the agreement between then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US President George W. Bush on Palestinian territorial contiguity.

The Abraham Accords have changed much of politics since then. Settlement expansion continued and despite the two-state compromise being still touted as the only solution, the international community is not working towards its implementation. The normalisation agreements have now eclipsed the two-state politics, validating the Trump administration’s claims that annexation was just temporarily suspended, as did Netanyahu’s return as prime minister.

Repealing the Disengagement Law may have temporarily irked the US, but within Israel, the sentiment is different. Far-right MK Orit Strok has already declared the law as a step towards settlers reoccupying Gaza, after Sharon evacuated the settlements in 2005. “I don’t know how long it will take,” Strok stated. “Sadly, a return to the Gaza Strip will involve many casualties, just as the departure from the Gaza Strip came with many casualties. But ultimately it is part of the Land of Israel, and a day will come when we will return to it.”

Primarily, colonial settlement does not constitute a return, but a continuation of land theft. The language of return is stolen from the Palestinians’ historical narrative – the 1948 Nakba is the reason why Palestinians speak of their right to return to their homeland. Gaza is one of the main locations where Palestinians fled to during the Nakba – the population is not merely symbolic of refugees but consists of refugees who have not just lived their initial displacement, but whose generations have also suffered internal forced displacement as a result of Israel’s periodic bombing of the enclave.

Strok’s words were not uttered in isolation. While Gaza has been vilified and marginalised by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not to mention being the primary weapons testing ground for Israel’s military-industrial complex, the concept of Greater Israel, upon which Zionism rests, will not exclude any Palestinian territory from colonisation. Israel’s earlier disengagement from Gaza has been touted by officials as a cessation of military occupation, yet Gaza remains under siege as a result of the colonial process Israel is constructed upon.

The current Israeli government is going beyond its usual levels of inciting violence against Palestinians, and one of the reasons Israel can get away with it is that the international community has normalised the forced displacement of Palestinians. Strok speaks of casualties, yet Israel would be committing further violations of international law with full knowledge of impunity. The international community’s categorising of Gaza and the occupied West Bank as distinct entities despite calling for an independent and viable Palestinian state facilitates Israel’s narrative. One must not forget, however, that the new Palestinian resistance is changing the international community’s status quo. As a result, despite the current focus on the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian narrative will, with time, shift heavily towards the Palestinian refugees, which Gaza particularly embodies.


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