Palestinian Lives Matter So Little in Gaza & Yarmouk

As the new American embassy was opened in Jerusalem by a smiling Ivanka Trump, joined several Israeli dignitaries, just 60 miles away in Gaza a massacre happened. At least 60 Palestinian men, women and children were shot and killed by the Israeli Defence Forces, with at over a hundred injured, as they were participating in the Great Return March, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, demanding their right to return to the homes their families were either forced to abandon, or were outright expelled from in 1948 by Zionist militias.

This recent episode of bloodshed has meant, as Robert Mackey of The Intercept has pointed out, that Israel has now killed more Palestinians in the past six weeks for approaching and attempting to “breach” the fence it has erected around Gaza, than the total number of East Germans shot and killed for trying to scale the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989.

I’ll keep this brief and won’t hold you hostage for too long comrades but allow me to say this.

This situation is actually very easy to morally judge. There is no justification for shooting live ammunition at unarmed protesters. None. But still there are some who try their best to avoid moral clarity and come up with sophisticated argumentations, echoing the Israeli government and the Trump administration, to shift responsibility from the perpetrators to the victim. When people begin to introduce the irrelevant, the non-sequitur and the discourse of demonology to attempt to rationalise state violence you know you’re onto something. Palestinians can never be victims in their eyes, only suspects. No form of Palestinian mobilisation for their national rights, even if non-violent, can ever be legitimate. They can only be dehumanised blood thirsty demons hungry for destruction and genocide. What they really want is for Palestinians to admit defeat, submit to Israel and humblt accept their subjugation. The Palestinian writer and activist Mariam Barghouti puts it quite cogently:

Let us suppose all the talking points from the apologists and atrocity minimisers were correct. That some of the protesters threw stones and burned tyres, that they intended to “breach the border”, that some of them hurled petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails towards Israeli soldiers, even that Hamas exploited and even organised the march. Let us assume all of this was correct, it still would not justify, excuse, rationalise or “explain” the IDF indiscriminately (or perhaps discriminately) slaughtering over a hundred civilians and thousands more over the past couple of months. You cannot draw an equivalence between a Molotov cocktail and sniper rifles and machines guns, between a slingshot with a rock in it and an F-16 fighter jet. Any attempt to do so and claim this is all “Hamas propaganda”, as the White House claimed, is victim blaming and makes you not better than the Assad regime in Syria and their cheerleaders who employ the same dishonest tactics when they commit their crimes. The murder of unarmed civilians is always wrong whoever does it, state or non-state actor. If you see this in Syria, but not in Gaza then your outrage is guided by prejudice, not by principle.

Palestinian life is cheap, not just is Gaza, but in the criminally ignored Yarmouk where, in the past few weeks, the forces of the Assad regime have bombarded the camps killing scores of Palestinian refugees and caused hundreds to flee, inflicting a double displacement upon them, many of whom initially fled from the West Bank following the 1967 war because occupation and colonisation by Israel, now fleeing the butchery of the Syrian Baathists.

Unfortunately, this reveals a double standard that will be easily exploited by the sleazy propagandists for Israel against the pro-Palestine solidarity movement. The first thing they will say is it’s funny that you guys only seem to care for dead Palestinians when Israel is doing the killing, I wonder why? — you know what? They’re right. As fucking annoying as it is, Michael Oren, Eli Lake, Bret Stephens and co, despite their motivations and desire to deflect from the crimes of Israel would be 100% correct in making this point.

This is what happens when Jeremy Corbyn, Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah are most likely the people you will face when engaging with Israel-Palestine. All of whom have either ignored Assad’s murder and torture of Palestinians in Syria and in varying degrees either apologise for Assad or espouse narratives that justify the regime’s war on the Syrian people. These depraved ideolgues are a grave detriment to the Palestine cause and are an absolute gift to pro-Israel apologists because you can’t deny they are wrong.

The Palestine cause was the first international cause I got involved in my very brief interest in politics. So it means a lot to me. It should not be framed as an Arab nationalist cause, certainly not as an “Islamic” cause. To me, it is a humanist cause, for those struggling for human rights, justice and liberation everywhere and opposing tribalism, racism and sectarianism everywhere too. My solidarity continues to be with the Palestinians as it always has been. Solidarity with Gaza and Yarmouk! Until victory always.