Editor’s Note: In Gaza, the bloodiest bits of history are repeating itself

Published : Oct 30, 2023 20:35 IST - 3 MINS READ

At a hospital in Khan Yunis, located in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 24.

At a hospital in Khan Yunis, located in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 24. | Photo Credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

We are being harangued to condemn Hamas, but Hamas was not begotten in a vacuum.

As a generation that grew up when the long shadow of the Holocaust still stained us and when the cry of “never again” still resounded from our history books, it is hard to believe that we are so soon seeing an atrocity of a similar order being committed against another people. What makes it more appalling is that it is the former victims who are today’s perpetrators.

When one hears Israeli leaders repeatedly use the word “Nazi” to describe their enemies, repeatedly accuse Palestinian supporters of being anti-Semitic, repeatedly claim that their powerhouse of a nation is the victim, one sees the deep psychological displacement at play. The Zionists have taken their generational rage and turned it not against the powerful West, whose arms and support they need, but against the hapless people on whose lands they have settled.

Today, Israel’s leaders tell the Palestinians to go and live in the Sinai desert. But the Zionists did not choose an uninhabited piece of desert as home; they created Israel on already inhabited territory. As early as 1897, a text issued by the first Zionist Congress in Basel had already stated: “Zionism strives for the establishment of a publicly and legally secured home in Palestine for the Jewish people”. By the early 1900s, Britain and France had already divided the former Ottoman Empire between themselves and begun to play the Arabs against the Jews. In 1948, Israel came into being with the full support of a West that needed to assuage its guilt after the Holocaust.

Zionists say that all attacks on Israel are genocide. Let us look at the fatality count in some of the Israel-Palestine wars. Yom Kippur, 1973, saw 2,700 Israeli deaths and 19,000 Arab/Palestinian deaths. In the First Lebanon War, the numbers were 1,200 and 20,000. First Intifada: 179 and 1,200; Second Intifada: 900 and 3,300. The four Gaza Wars: 144 Israeli deaths and 4,800 Palestinian deaths. As this goes to press, the corresponding numbers for the ongoing war are 1,400 and 7,300, respectively. Hamas has stones, homemade rockets, tractors, and motorcycles. Israel has the world’s most sophisticated weapons. Israel is a nuclear nation while the Palestinians barely have a nation. Wasn’t it Voltaire who said killing is a crime unless you “kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets”?

We are being harangued to condemn Hamas, but Hamas was not begotten in a vacuum. It was born from the bloody union of broken promises and daily humiliations, settler violence and soldier atrocities. Hamas was midwifed when basic humanitarian values were aborted. When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said exactly this, pointing to the “56 years of suffocating occupation” the Palestinian people have suffered, Israel called for his resignation.

Today, when facts from the ground are fed straight into personal phones, no longer does the world depend on hallowed foreign correspondents from Western media houses to disseminate “the truth”. The Gaza war is showing up disinformation like never before, with fake news and Photoshopped images demolished by fact-checkers in real time.

It is no surprise that, as I write this, all communication networks to Gaza have been cut off, with only satellite phones available. The genocide that was being live-streamed will now take place in the dark. The so-called custodians of human rights in the free world will create war narratives that suit their interests best.

As we become technologically more and more advanced, we regress further and further into the madness of primitive hates. And we shall live to see the bloodiest bits of history repeat itself.

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