Western politicians’ repeated canard that “Israel has the right to defend itself” against the Occupied Palestinian population has to be understood as an open license to maim and kill anyone in range. Voices from across the political spectrum repeat this utterance, which I am sure is handed down to them from Israeli public relations outfits intended to shore-up support at a moment of crisis.
From President Obama and French President Francois Hollande to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper all have stated in one way or another, that Israel has “the right to defend itself” against terrorism and rockets being fired at cities. Not one could accept rockets raining down upon their cities and homes, yet this has been the Palestinian feeling and for the past 67 years. The above countries and successive leaders have been complicit in arming Israel making it possible for its military to bomb Palestinians cities and towns with ease.
However, we must ask the question as to why it is that Western leadership sees fit to support a powerful Israel, the Occupying power, against the Occupied Palestinians? Also, how is it possible in the face of a massive and well-documented dehumanization colonial project 67 years in the making that Western leaders and governments continue repeating the same canard of self-defense? Are they ignorant or ill informed about Palestine?
Let’s be clear and direct for once on this issue. Israel is a child of Western colonization and a maliciously celebrated “atonement” project for classical Christian anti-Semitism and WWII crimes. Also, Israel emerged in the middle of contestation for the spoils of the Ottoman territories in pre and post WWI. A racist British political leadership that wanted to solve the “Jewish Question” once and for all offered Palestine to the Zionist and with it managed to transplant a settler colonial project in Palestine.
Western attitudes and relations with Israel are rooted in the above epistemic foundations that regulate the one-sided commitment to a colonial settler state. Lurking also in the background is a Western world that has deep-seated anti-Muslim sentiments that are reflected historically in words and deeds. The Crusades have a considerable hold on Western imaginary when it comes to thinking about Islam and Muslims, which impacts how Palestine is framed.
Furthermore, we must account for Christian religious ethos that is connected to Palestine, which get manipulated into supporting a settler colonial project clothed in divine purpose. For the Christian religious right, support for Israel serves as the needed stepping stone for the Second Coming of Jesus and the Palestinians are dispensable “sub-humans” to be pushed aside for a greater history to emerge. Palestinians are not included in this narrative and have to accept Zionism and the Christian Right’s “manifest destiny” for greater things are at stake than the few Palestinians currently living on the land.
The current war is an Israeli war fought with American and European manufactured and freely provided weapons. Also, this war is an American, European, Arab and Muslim world war fought in the corridors of power that continue to facilitate an Israeli siege on 1.8 million Palestinians. Nay, the Western, Arab and Muslim world leaders are not only watching, they are knee deep in assisting the Occupier over the Occupied. International law and Fourth Geneva Convention do not apply to the darker complexion section of the human family.
“A land for a people for a people without a land” is not a mere slogan, but a commitment of actualization by means of death, destruction and genocide against the indigenous Palestinian population. The Western powers that signed on the Zionist project starting at the end of WWI, were not ignorant of what they committed themselves to, a colonization program supported by the power of the British. At the end of WWI around 75% of the world population was living the colonial project nightmare; thus Palestine was incorporated into this existing Western epistemic global structure.
Israel, for Western powers, represents a success story connected to a biblical re-enactment of arrival at the “Holy Land” and re-building the “Kingdom of God” that will usher-in a new peaceful and hopeful period. While secularity at present is argued to be foundational in the West; nevertheless religious ethos continue to have a strong hold when thinking and acting in relations to Israel.
The constant and unconditional support for Israel by Western leaders is not accidental nor unplanned for it reflects long standing political and economic interests (oil plays a major role) in the region as well as a distorted religious rationalization intended to cement public support. “Israel’s right to defend itself” is paradigmatic of colonial discourses where maximum power is deployed against a resisting indigenous population refusing to step aside and acquiesce to wholesale dispossession. Western leaders have been committed to this project from its inception for it provided a fertile ground for a divide and conquer strategy with all the needed rationale to continue intervention in the Arab and Muslim world.
“Israel’s right to defend itself” is meant to give the green light for an old fashion Western slaughter against the darker “inferior” races inhabiting the southern hemisphere. Numbers are not important, severity not an issue and targeting civilians for punishment is the only way to bring the “plantation slaves” to their knees and accept the fait accompli. Who are Palestinians to object and refuse what the “civilized north” determined for the redemption of the Holy Land?
The Arab and Muslim world in the most recent past have been the sites of a new and extreme re-colonization and Zionization project that is still unfolding in front of our own eyes. From the Atlantic shores of Morocco passing through Libya and Egypt to Iraq and Afghanistan we are witness to a re-colonization project that is made possible by structured violence in all spheres. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the current wars in the region are part of constructive chaos intended to deplete people’s resistance reservoirs and for them to accept a new world where they are mere commodities to be bought and sold by the highest bidder.
In this context, Palestinian resistance stands in the way and prevents the completion of the re-colonization project and precisely because of this we find an international effort directed at crushing them literally in their own homes in Gaza. Palestinians are a “throwback” to bygone years of dignity, freedom and resistance to colonization. In the view of Western leaders and the appointed Arab hands, the Palestinians ingratitude to Zionism success, as a Western implanted project, must be countered by extreme violence, “the only language they understand.” Palestinians must be crushed for having the audacity to resist. In the same way, the rebelling slave was violently disciplined so as to bring him/her into a mental acceptance of the master’s superiority; Western leaders give Israel the free hand to finish the job and crush the resisting Palestinians once and for all.
Palestinians, as a “sub-human group,” are not accorded the right to resist their occupier, the Western world implant on their land. Recognition of this right implies that the Western leadership and its foreign implant in the region are a historical mistake that must be corrected. More critically, recognition of Palestinian resistance carries with it an independent agency for the indigenous occupied people causing in the process a total demolition of the “racial classification” that is foundational to colonization and Zionism alike.
“Israel’s right to defend itself” is intended to maintain a “racial classification” and accord differing categorization to the use of violence in the conflict. Western leaders are identifying with Israel and it is constituted as part of “us,” while Palestinians are an irrational and barbaric “other” engaged in “futile” resistance and violence. Added to this racial demarcation is an important fact: Western leaders have provided Israel with all the sophisticated modern weapons to be efficient in killing the Palestinians. Furthermore, Western leaders provide the “legal” protection in the halls of power and influence to make it possible for the slow and deliberate genocide to go unpunished.
International law, in the hands of Western leaders, has become an instrument of control, domination and legal thievery. As Israel builds settlements creating facts on the ground, Western leaders forge international law that becomes “legal norms and facts” constricting the bodies and movements of indigenous, occupied and colonized people across the world.
When Western diplomats arrive at the seen the best strategy is to head directly to the exits, for their role is to extract from the indigenous population political, economic, social and security concessions that were untenable by violence due to strong resistance. The concern they show is for the Occupier’s wellbeing, his property and person with a laser focused at negotiating a more favorable status quo after clear defeats on the ground.
Palestinians, as a group, possibly are among the few in the world that can list Western Foreign Ministers and US Secretary of State names for the past 100 years and each and every UN General Secretary since the organizations inception: they had the misfortune to meet all of them as they worked hard to help Israel complete and legalize its dispossession of the Palestinians. As diplomats shuttle into the region to “forge” a ceasefire, their agenda is focused on helping Israel “defend itself” by means of a new agreement intended to create “legal facts” on the ground and weaken the Palestinian resistance. The next few days are critical and we will see if the Palestinians are able to withstand the international team of sharks that is ready to attack them from within the confines of the global legal colonial structure.