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Israel-Palestine war: Gaza has been destroyed. Israel must face global sanctions

The brief suspension of bombing will allow civilians in Gaza a small amount of breathing room, but it will not address the larger issues of Israeli occupation and apartheid
People march in solidarity with Palestine in New York on 20 November 2023 (AFP)

We have been spending sleepless nights under Israeli bombs again for close to two months now - but this time, the level of brutality is unprecedented. 

Unlike previous wars and massacres in Gaza, this one is a combination of ethnic cleansing and genocide, with the direct involvement of former colonial powers. Israel’s murderous campaign of bombardment against one of the most densely populated areas on earth has killed mostly children and women

Since 7 October, Israel has flattened neighbourhoods, destroyed vital infrastructure, and hit United Nations schools and camps where displaced Palestinians have been taking refuge. 

The entire population of Gaza has been denied access to water, electricity, medicine and food. In the north, there are virtually no functioning medical facilities due to Israel’s targeting of hospitals and clinics. 

According to the Palestinian health ministry, close to 15,000 people have been killed, including around 6,000 children and 4,000 women. Thousands more are still missing, presumed to be trapped under the rubble, and the majority of the population has been displaced.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing, fascist ministers have rejected calls for a long-lasting ceasefire, vowing to continue striking Gaza even after a temporary truce concludes. 

Growing global pressure was decisive in forcing the US-Israel axis to even accept a temporary suspension of the brutal bombing campaign in the besieged territory.

Equating oppressor and oppressed  

One problem with the truce deal, as with previous truce initiatives, is that once again, Israel and the Palestinians - oppressor and oppressed - have been equated as “two sides to a conflict”.

The facts that Israel has an actual army and disproportionately more firepower, and that it is an occupying power, were neglected, as usual - as was the stark difference in the death toll. In Israel, around 1,200 people were killed in the 7 October Hamas attack.

As in the past, Palestinians are now expected to gratefully accept a “period of calm”, wherein Israel’s bombs are not raining on their homes, even as its blockade continues to strangulate Gaza. 

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Palestinians are routinely expected to be thankful to their white Ashkenazi Jewish masters for the breadcrumbs they are given - barely enough to survive. From the beginning of this war, Palestinians have been demonised and dehumanised; the best they can be offered is a slow death within the confines of the largest open-air prison on earth.

Contrary to what mainstream media wants us to believe, the temporary suspension of air strikes does not mean the immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza to ensure adequate supplies of fuel, medicine and other basic goods, nor does it include provisions for ending Israeli occupation and apartheid. 

Complicit governments around the world must be compelled to act in accordance with the will of their people and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes

Rather, it will lead only to a slight improvement in living conditions under Israel’s brutal war machine; in other words, breathing space for the more than two million human beings in Gaza, allowing them to bury their dead, drink water, find some food and avoid starvation. 

As white, liberal pundits insist on reiterating the Israeli mantra that equates Hamas with the Islamic State, largely ignored is the fact that Israel is a settler-colonial power that seeks to ethnically cleanse an entire indigenous population in order to solidify and legitimise its colony. 

The context within which the Gaza genocide is being perpetrated - tribal bigotry, fascism, racism and exclusivism - is ignored. The Israeli establishment’s goal of annihilating Palestinians to manage the “demographic threat”, and to maintain “calm” by “mowing the lawn”, has been maintained since its 2005 “withdrawal” from Gaza.

This is why we need more mobilisation and grassroots pressure on criminal western governments to impose a military embargo on Israel. The protests of millions of people worldwide who have taken to the streets of London, Cape Town, Amman, Washington and other major capitals, in response to calls from occupied Palestine and the besieged Gaza Strip, must be translated into action: an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and UN protection for Palestinians in Gaza.

Without a military embargo and sanctions against apartheid Israel, Gaza will drown in the Mediterranean Sea, along with its 2.3 million citizens - a dream the late Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, once had. Complicit governments around the world must be compelled to act in accordance with the will of their people and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Dr Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine.
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