Sometime back, I came across a Facebook profile that shocked me. This was a Nepali, a few years younger than me, from Budhanilkantha School. His profile picture was of a military jet, against the backdrop of the Israeli flag, with the words “I Stand with Israel” underneath.
There is a genocide going on. The state of Israel has carried out and is still in process of carrying out, systematic ethnic cleansing. To put it in context, ethnic cleansing is what the Nazis did to Jews during the Holocaust, it is what the Hutus did to the Tutsis during 1994’s Rwandan genocide. Of course, in the western world, no one calls the massacre of Palestinians by the Israelis a genocide. For most of the west, the Palestinians are to blame.
Israel calls it a ‘war’. BBC and CNN call it a war. Whenever there is news of the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is always accompanied by photos and videos of Arabs in turbans, carrying assault rifles, rocket launchers and grenades. These are the terrorists. They hurt Israel, they massacre peaceful Israeli citizens, they bomb peaceful Israeli cities. These are the Muslim scourge of old, armed to the teeth and always ready to die for the cause. This is the image that Israel wants to impress upon us.
Israel is engaging in a two-faced conflict, the first is the military occupation of Palestine. Not a war, not defense, but aggressive occupation of territory that belongs to another country. The second is a very covert and all-pervasive PR campaign. This PR campaign is crucial to Israeli zionism. It paints the Palestinians as the aggressors, those who’ve instigated the conflict and those who’re unwilling to work for peace. It encourages the mass media image of the Arab as terrorist, as suicide bombers of peaceloving Israelis. This campaign is spread far and wide, but mostly through the BBC and CNN, for England and America are two of Israel’s biggest allies. (America more so.)
But it is not a war. It is an occupation. Ever since the First World War, the Jews moving into Israel have displaced ethnic Arab Palestinians by the thousands. The mandate by the League of Nations was for a Jewish state along with provisions for a Palestinian state and a UN-controlled Jerusalem. Already grossly unfair to the Palestinians, even this mandate was casually ignored by Israel. With the support of America and the west, Israel slowly but surely occupied almost every inch of territory from the Palestinians. All that is left now is tiny tiny bits of land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Take a look at this map:
Ethnic Arabs, who’ve been living in Palestine for centuries, were driven out in droves, their homes taken from them, thousands of them murdered and killed along the way. Ever since the the early years, Israel has been engaging in systematic ethnic cleansing, targeting Muslim Arabs who, by all legality, have more right to be there than the Jews. This is western imperialism at its finest. Fuelled by America, Israel continues its doctrine of terror, driving a stake into the heart of Palestine.
Palestinians need papers to go from one place to another. Within the West Bank itself, there are more than a 100 checkpoints. There is a wall around the West Bank. The Gaza strip is relentlessly bombed, again and again, despite the fact that there are little to no terrorists there, except for women and children. The average age of residents of the Gaza strip is 15. Sure, there is terrorism. But from both sides. Only, who do you blame? I’m not non-partisan. I am not of the opinion that pointing fingers is not going to solve problems. I believe that Israel is to blame. If I had a large enough finger, I would point it at Israel and scream ‘Murderer!’ Just like I believe America is responsible for the thousands of dead civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those guilty need to be brought to justice. They need to pay for their sins. Israel and America need to answer for Palestine.
Hamas picked up weapons, and even won the election. The same election that America oversaw and proclaimed fair, all until Hamas won it that is. Hamas might be a terrorist group but they’re only the effect, no one looks at the cause. Everyone sees Islamic fundamentalism as the root cause of dischord. No one seems to care why these terrorist groups exist. They arose out of decades of western hegemony and imperialism. They are a response to violence, not the progenitors of violence. Violence begets violence and that is what we have with these terror groups.
Frankly, I’m saddened to see the state of the world today. The more I learn, the more I read, the more I know, the more depressed I get. I understand how things work and I understand how the evil of so few people can harm so many more. I’ve learned that the root cause of every problem in the world is imperialism. Imperialism is evil at its worst. It is the basest, most foul thing in existence. Because of imperialism, Africa is fucked up, because of imperialism, Asia is fucked up, because of imperialism, Palestine is dying. I cannot understand how we got this way. Maybe William Golding was right in The Lord of the Flies, maybe we are born evil, innately evil and humanity is just us constantly striving to be good. And in imperialism, humanity is at its worst, its most horrific.
It is not Israel thats under attack. It is not Israel that deserves our sympathy. It is not Israel we should stand with. We need to recognise what Israel is doing in Palestine. We need to come to terms with the fact that Israel, with the help of America, is slowly but surely eradicating Arab Palestinians from the face of the earth. We need to understand that this ethnic cleansing is not just an outcome of war but a premeditated, pre-planned, well thought-out operation.
As for me, I stand with Palestine. Not with terrorists, not with suicide bombers, not with war, not with violence, not with murder, rape, death and destruction. I stand with Palestine.
(For a detailed history of the occupation of Palestine, please read Ilan Pappe’s great book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.)