Many thoughts and feelings. I care about what’s going on in Palestine, as many people do. But it doesn’t matter what I say, or what I do, or what any of us say or do. Until the Biden administration decides the war is over, until they say so, until they join with the United Nations in stopping it and handling it responsibly, without bias, it won’t end. I do hope that if there are international criminal proceedings, afterward (lol, right?), they don’t forget culpable US officials in the dragnet.
People who care about Palestinian lives have been pushing the (accurate, applicable) word “genocide” or the (accurate, applicable) phrase “ethnic cleansing.” At the outset of the invasion, it would have been too soon to call it, but now it’s absolutely not. Anybody who has seen or paid attention knows exactly what’s going on. Only ideology and ethics and affinity are shaping sides, now. And the decades of apartheid don’t help Israel’s case. It’s just willful mass murder at this point.
The fact is, though, in Palestine, as in Ukraine with Russia, legalistic language, finger pointing, recrimination, and shaming don’t mean squat. Nobody is going to enforce it. The US sees Israelis as like them, therefore Israelis will be supported and they’ll figure out what to call it later. Israel wants the Palestinians gone, either removed or dead, and they want the land. They will try and take it, and it looks like the Palestinians are on their own. The US will co-sign that.
That’s the kind of world we live in, now. That’s our reality. The strong take. There’s no objective truth when facts serve power. The weak die, as the world that made them weak looks on, in apathy or in prejudiced judgment. Courts and laws serve only power, and even if they didn’t they don’t save lives or stop tragedies, they only make examples of people in the hope that this will change human behavior (it doesn’t, it never has, if it did we wouldn’t be talking about this).
Practical agency is all that matters. You have it and you live, you prosper. If not, you get victimized. That’s the world the politicians and business people and priests and demagogues made for us. Enjoy it while you can, because if, by chance, you find yourself on the wrong side of the narrative, or the wrong side of luck, or on the wrong side of the perception of influence and power, no one will help you. Nothing will save you. Your life will be disposable. Happens every day. Always has.
The talking point has just about outlived its rhetorical usefulness, morally and practically. Israel is not “defending itself.” Using tanks, fighter jets, drones, and ships to kill children and destroy civilian homes, shops, hospitals, and places of refuge isn’t self defense. It’s collective punishment, ethnic cleansing. Because if your message is ‘these places are all part of the group we are fighting,’ that is an admission that your war is with an entire population, not a subset of people.
On the practical side, from a tactical and strategic standpoint, again, tanks, planes, and drones are good at destroying, at stopping normalcy, in a place, but they do not hold territory. They are not sorting tools between noncombatants and enemy forces. When Israelis finally step out of their war machines, they will face a different, more balanced combat situation, which is probably why they have been so hesitant to do so thus far. The kids are scared, the brass is scared, with good reason.
Because this is a genocidal campaign for land, and for political purposes, to keep an extremist, fascist faction in power within the Israeli government. Hence, tactical concerns are disregarded daily in favor of a kind of strategic fantasy: ‘we will hurt enough people and then we will win.’ War doesn’t work that way. Counterinsurgency doesn’t work that way. And the destruction of normalcy for people weighs against the aggressors, the occupiers, in that context.
Israel and the United States have no more right to determine the borders or governing structure of Gaza and the West Bank than Russia and Belarus have to determine the borders or governing structure of Ukraine. The racism and inclination toward colonial map artwork are evident even in the suggestion to the contrary. It’s funny to me that no matter how many times empires try this and no matter how many times history demonstrates what a terrible idea it is, they still keep trying it.
Anyway, the United Nations has been neutered by Israeli interests, the United States has made it clear that it will practically support the genocide of Palestinians. Europe is making farm animal noises and doing nothing per usual. The rich Arab states are in the pockets of capitalists. The best hope I see for Gaza and the West bank is, ironically, probably for Iran to destabilize the region and escalate. If they ever wanted regional hegemony there’s no better time than the present to try for it.
Israel (the vassal state of the US) will probably succeed in destroying the military capability of Hamas, in the short term (along with tens of thousands of innocent lives). Israel strong (with US backing, at least). What comes after Hamas, though? That will be something different. Israel and the US deserve what comes from that. What has been and what is being done have left a scar upon history. If the world will not stop genocidal fascists again, it deserves the consequences for that decision.
| https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/28/israeli-military-had-warning-of-hamas-training-for-attack-reports-say | Israeli intelligence leak details extent of warnings over Hamas attack |
“Israel’s military and intelligence officials were given a highly detailed warning that Hamas was actively training to take over kibbutzim on the Gaza border and overrun military posts with the aim of inflicting substantial fatalities, according to reports in the Israeli media.”