The latest round of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza has resulted in a new massacre in the besieged Gaza Strip. Thirty-four people including four families and eight children were murdered as they slept in their own houses within 48 hours. More than 100 have been critically injured. The scenes of the amputated bodies of the Abu Malhous family are etched into our psyche for generations to come. We will tell our remaining children about this heinous massacre the same way our parents and grandparents told us about the Deir Yassin massacre.
But will this nightmare come to an end?
One question foreign journalists keep asking me is about Israel’s endgame, its strategy after keeping Gaza on life support since 2007? I assume black South African were never asked about the apartheid regime’s endgame and strategy, or African-Americans about the motives behind the infamous Jim Crow Laws. But, we Palestinians are cursed with the need to respond to this kind of question about the oppressor’s grand motives behind torturing, occupying and even killing us. We, after all, are the victims of Western enlightenment!
Right from the beginning, Israel’s policy toward Gaza has been genocidal, no matter whether this happens at a fast rate (three massive wars on Gaza within a period of five years,) or in slow motion, as embodied in the imposed medieval blockade. Gaza is an open-air prison; two-thirds of its inmates are refugees entitled to their right of return in accordance with UN resolution 194. They are a constant reminder of the original sin committed in 1948. Israel wants to punish them for their resistance, for not being subservient subjects, and make them give up on their internationally guaranteed right of return.
The right of return is the theme of our grand narrative, one apartheid Israel feels the need to completely eradicate. Add to this the fact that the Gaza Strip has been the cradle of Palestinian resistance against Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression, namely occupation, colonization, and apartheid.
Forget about Benjamin Netanyahu’s need to solve his domestic problems with his arch rival Benny Katz, and his intention to divert the attention of the Israeli public from charges of corruption and abuse of power raised against him. That was not the case in 2009, 2012 and 2014. This, in fact, is an unchanging policy toward native Palestinians, one that is not unlike any other settler-colony.
Once again, we Palestinians have to be clear about what we want. As many of us have argued, we have given up on the official bodies of the international community to condemn these heinous crimes and act to put an end to them within the foreseeable future. Instead, we count on civil society organizations and freedom-loving people to act in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it for all these war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Is it an exaggeration to say that we are extremely appalled by the complicit silence of the international community, including the Arab and Islamic world? The international community by and large for generations has failed the Palestinian people. This is why we, Palestinian civil society, prefer to address international civil society organizations to take whatever step however small to show their support for Palestine and rejection of Israeli genocidal war crimes and crimes against humanity by demanding from their governments to sanction the only remaining apartheid state until it complies with international law. It worked against the inhumane apartheid regime in the second half of last century and ultimately led to its demise in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as the first African president of multi-racial South Africa, and the creation of a new secular democratic state for all of its citizens regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity.
This is the only remaining hope we are nurturing these days, knowing very well that the nightmare can be brought to an end.