The U.N., dependent upon the continuous breaching of international law, will continue to excuse Israel’s massacres by upholding its invented right to exist and defend itself.
Beyond the practicality of statistics, which will probably become more prominent in the wake of the current ceasefire, Israel’s colonial massacre under the euphemism Operation Protective Edge has unleashed unspeakable horror within Gaza, leaving about 2,000 Palestinians dead, most of which are women and children, and over 10,000 civilian homes destroyed.
Israel persists in its manufacturing of further victims, while Palestinians in Gaza contend with contrasting facts — notably the increasing toll of dead bodies and mutilated limbs juxtaposed by the shrinking territory of the strip. Imposed destruction is evident in both scenarios, and survivors of the massacre are left to witness the proof of Israel’s quest for Palestinian annihilation.
Since the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, Israel has utilized ferocious bombardments not only to ensure the maximum number of murdered Palestinians, but also to render swathes of Gaza uninhabitable, thus further restricting movement for the resistant population. Social media has been replete with diagrams depicting the reduced territory and photos of dead Palestinians in commercial freezers after the morgues reached capacity.
The cycle of humiliation determined by Israel and its allies has surpassed the confines of life and death, becoming a hypocritical collaborative endeavor. It is evident in the spectacle encouraged by the United Nations and its affiliates. As their futile expressions of concern and recommendations provide headlines for mainstream propaganda, Palestinian territory continues to dwindle while the dead bodies of Palestinian civilians accumulate.
The current ramifications are a reflection of international complicity in allowing Israel’s genocidal actions to continue, despite the full knowledge of the settler-colonial state’s intent and incitement since its establishment in 1948.
Calls for genocide
In Israeli media, several references were made to the intentional elimination of the Palestinian population and calls for genocide.
Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked called for the killing of all Palestinian mothers. “They have to die and their houses should be demolished so they cannot bear any more terrorists … Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
In Israel National News, Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset, was allowed the space to detail his strategy to eliminate Palestinians from Gaza — notably the intent to expel and eliminate Palestinians. In a follow-up on his Facebook page, Feiglin expounds further upon his plans for Gaza. Reproduced in an English translation on Electronic Intifada, the Likud MK emphasized settler-colonial ideology in all its macabre character, calling for the Israeli Defense Forces to “designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the seam in which the civilian population will be concentrated … In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined.”
Further, Feiglin calls for “exterminating nests of resistance,” following which former settlers would return to Gaza because, according to the MK, “There are no two states, and there are no two peoples. There is only one state for one people” — and that comes at the expense of exterminating the indigenous Palestinian population, as inscribed in Zionist ideology.
In another op-ed on YNet News, former head of Israel’s National Security Council Major General Giora Eiland declared that Israel should have waged war “against the state of Gaza.” The misrepresentation of Palestine is further elaborated upon in Eiland’s vehement rage against Palestinians in Gaza for having elected Hamas in democratic elections. “Why should Gaza’s residents suffer? Well, they are to blame for this situation just like Germany’s residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so.”
The attempt at equating Palestinians with Nazi supporters is a tactic which Zionists have exhausted in their attempts to continue marketing the Holocaust memory as an allegedly rational excuse for exterminating the Palestinian population.
Eiland conveniently eliminates the convenience of Nazi Germany for the Zionist movement which proved crucial to the establishment of the settler-colonial state. In his book “The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge” (2014), historian Ilan Pappe includes references to research by Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev, who illustrates “a Zionist leadership interested only in saving Jews who were willing to emigrate to Palestine or who were physically and mentally capable of contributing to the success of the community.”
Allies disregard colonial violence
However, despite the accumulating evidence of atrocities and restrictions upon the Palestinian population in Gaza, Israel’s allies, including the U.N., continue to disregard colonial violence and, in particular, restrict the interpretation of genocide to one that encompasses the Holocaust and its guilt industry, in order to prevent a wider interpretation that should also encompass Israel’s genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1946), genocide is punishable under international law, regardless of the period during which it is committed. Articles II and III of the convention stipulate how genocide is distinguished and which acts should be punishable. These acts include killing, inflicting serious bodily or mental harm, creating conditions to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent birth — this is evident in the killing of pregnant Palestinian women — the forcible transfer of children between groups, as well as the intent, conspiracy, complicity and attempt to commit genocide.
Since the Nakba of 1948, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of the indigenous population to create the Zionist settler-colonial state, Israel has satisfied the conditions for prosecution and punishment of the genocide inflicted upon the Palestinian population. Extermination and appropriation are at the core of Zionist settler-colonialism.
Palestinian historians Salman Abu Sitta and Nur Masalha have documented the extent of massacres and the depopulation of villages. According to Abu Sitta, 531 Palestinian localities were depopulated as a result of forced transfer and massacres by Zionist paramilitary groups. Nur Masalha expounds further in his work regarding collective memory, emphasizing the necessity of oral history as the means to construct Palestinian history which Israel, through massacres and subsequent appropriation of historical archives, sought to eliminate in order to assert a hegemonic, colonial, invented history.
The threat to Israel’s hegemonic narrative and demography remains tied to the Palestinian refugees forcibly expelled from Palestine since 1948 and their descendants, who now number over 5 million — hence Israel’s opposition to implementing the Palestinian right of return.
Yet Israel’s allies ensure not only absolute impunity but also the freedom to extend its massacres — in part due to imperialism’s selective interpretation of genocide that conveniently eliminates the history of colonial massacres. The trend was also evident in Operation Cast Lead (2008-9) and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), when the U.N. relentlessly promoted an allegedly threatened Israel while ignoring obvious evidence of relentless violence against defenseless Palestinian civilians.
Whatever impact this convention was supposed to have loses all significance in light of the U.N.’s attitude toward the Palestinian population. The U.N.’s existence, dependent upon the continuous breaching of international law, will undoubtedly continue to excuse Israel’s massacres by upholding its fictitious right to exist and defend itself.