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‘Kill them before they grow’

It was reported recently that with intelligence support from the United States and its allies, the Israeli Defence Forces  rescued four innocent hostages from Hamas captivity in a military operation in the city of Rafa . This should have been unqualified good news. However in the process they killed over two hundred innocent Palestinians. The reports, as has become usual, were bereft of the context that would help make sense of what happened. For example, it would have been important to be reminded that, several months ago all of the hostages might have come home at the cost of no lives if Israel and the United States had agreed to a permanent cease fire and hostage exchange. At that time, a cease fire was in place and hostages were exchanged, but both Israel and the United States balked at the idea of making the end of the shooting permanent. They insisted on only a temporary ceasefire to exchange some hostages, and then they eagerly resumed the killing, with the stated aim of completely destroying Hamas.


Given that the complete destruction of Hamas is the cornerstone of the current Israeli action in Gaza, perhaps we should look at this objective from a historical perspective. A cursory look at  similar situations immediately brings the IRA in Ireland and the ANC in South Africa to mind. They were both resistance movements like Hamas, with political and military wings, both of which used deadly violence in their struggle. Each freedom fight appeared intractable in its time and, like Israel, the powerful occupier insisted that they would not talk with the oppressed group because they called them terrorists who had to be destroyed not negotiated with.

But both conflicts were ultimately resolved in negotiated peace talks. All the major players in this horrific situation in Gaza know this but the inevitable negotiations are nowhere on the horizon yet. The main problem, as I see it, is that the United States, which is the ‘super power’ with the influence to midwife this process, is by no stretch of the imagination an honest broker in this matter.


In fact the role the United States has played so far has been that of a shameless enabler. From President Biden’s rush to declare that he had seen photos of horrific events that never occurred, to the US representative to the UN abusing her veto power in order to block a series of resolutions calling for a permanent cease-fire. Then finally the US dropped the veto but proclaimed that the Security Council cease-fire resolution was ‘non binding’. This was followed by the US senate threatening the International Criminal Court for initiating investigations of Israeli leaders’ public behaviour. I could hardly believe that high ranking US senators sent a letter, on senate official stationery, threatening to ‘go after’ ICC prosecutor Karim Khan if he sought arrest warrants for top Israeli government officials to account for their actions. “Target Israel and we will target you” they said in the most thuggish manner. Israel has shown itself to be a rouge state in the international arena, doing whatever it likes, even in the face of the International Court of Justice advisories. The USA for its part has proved to be Israel’s major protector and the one who has made the scale of the killing in the Middle-East possible. This has more than once unfolded in the ludicrous sequence of the US announcing that Israel has accepted a deal to end the conflict, and the only impediment to peace is Hama’s refusal to accept the deal. This is promptly contradicted by the Israeli government who are permitted the lawless discretion to say that they will accept no deal that does not include the final destruction of Hamas. It would appear that all the rules that were established in 1948 to temper interactions between peoples have been blatantly violated to enable the Zionist adventure.


Israel, the US and its acolytes appear to be moving the world backwards in terms of respect for the guidelines for morally acceptable behaviour. In the midst of indiscriminate bombing in Gaza, the destruction of universities and schools, Israel proclaims its army to be the, ‘most moral army in the world.’ This as Israeli troops post pictures on the internet of themselves revelling in the carnage of their making and an ever increasing civilian death toll. The American doctor,  Mark Perlmutter who is president of the World Surgical Foundation, returned from volunteering his services in Gaza, having come to the conclusion that Israel was committing the worst crimes he had ever witnessed including, “A three year old boy with a sniper shot to the head, a twelve year old girl shot twice in the abdomen.”


Self-proclaimed superlatives, ‘most moral’, ‘most honest , most anything’, used to be instantly recognisable as talk tha is the nonsense that it is. Who, one may ask, made Israel the arbiter of its own armies behaviour vis a vis any other? The proposition is ludicrous on its face, but we hear it with metronomic regularity from US, Israeli and British officials. The US official spokespeople John Kirby from National Security, Mathew Miller from the State Department, Karine Jean-Pierre from the White House etc, are all reminiscent of Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, the comical Baghdad Bob who was spokesperson for the Iraqi government in the last days of the Salam Hussain regime. Except that they are not comical because they are instruments justifying mass murder. I wonder how, in old age, they will each feel looking back on their shameful performance in the service of a murderous regime. They may tell their grandchildren that they did not know the full extent at the time, but they will certainly not be able to spin that to their own consciences. They will face their full throated defence of a regime which denies independent journalists access to the regions that they are decimating, and has to date killed more journalists in a shorter time than in other recorded conflict but insists that its behaviour is moral.


On Monday 6th of May 2024, Israeli Knesset member Ofer Cassif said, “Israeli tanks and infantry entered east Rafah while planes bombed from above, just hours after Hamas’ decision to accept   the hostage for prisoner exchange deal; why? Because killing Palestinians is more important for the Israeli government than saving Israelis.” Cassif’s opinion emphasises the futility of using the horror of the carnage as a means of restraining the Israeli war machine. If he is right, the killing itself is the point, at least for the Israeli leaders who are currently holding state power. In fairness to them, they have made no secret of this from the onset. “There is no distinction between Palestinian civilians and Hamas fighters. We are fighting human animals and will treat them accordingly” were the words of the Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant, making clear that their answer to the argument that killing innocent Palestinians will only create more terrorists appears to be, ‘kill them before they grow.’


The Israeli propaganda machine is a crude and blunt instrument, it relies on you believing pronouncements they make because they make them. This to a large extent is because it has never had to refine its skills, ironically because of Israeli hubris which is in turn born of the unreserved support that it has enjoyed from its main benefactors. The Zionist system is apartheid in nature and this is obvious under any close scrutiny, so any enquiry about it has been met with the, hitherto remarkably effective defensive tactic; the charge of anti-semitism. This has proved extraordinarily successful in instantly shutting down discussion or enquiry. In the media, the friends of Zionism ensured that they were protected from scrutiny with a wall of acquiescence to anything they say, so over the years there has been no reason for them to be artful about defending their positions, anything they said was unquestioned and defended. ‘Israel is an island of democracy in the middle-east’, ‘the Israeli army is the most moral army the world has known’ etc, etc.


This however is unravelling before our eyes. The price has been unconscionable and it is taking time but I am convinced that for the Zionist project, the die has been cast, the game is over.

I suspect that history will look back and marvel at how it lasted so long, until thankfully Palestinian and Jewish children united in a quest for justice have caused the worm to turn.


PS. “Down here on the corner of ruin and grace

I’m growing’ weary of the human race

I hold my lamp up in everyone’s face

Looking for an honest man


Everyone’s tied to the turning wheel

Everyone’s hidin’ from the things they feel

Well the truth’s so hard it just don’t seem real

The shadow across this land


People round here don’t know what it means

To suffer at the hands of our American dreams

They turn their backs to the grisly scenes

Traced to the privileged sons


They got their god and they got their guns

Got their armies and the chosen ones

But we’ll all be burnin’ in the same big sun

When the great correction comes


Down through the ages lovers of the mystery

Been sayin’ people let your love light shine

Poets and sages all through history

Say light shines brightest in the darkest times


It’s the bitter end we’ve come down to

The eye of the needle that we gotta get through

But the end could be the start of something new

When the great correction comes


Down to the wire runnin’ out of time

Still got hope in this heart of mine

But the future waits on the horizon line

For our daughters and our sons


I don’t know where this train’s bound

Whole lotta of people tryin’ to turn it around

Gonna shout til the walls come tumbling down

And the great correction comes”


by Eliza Gilkyson 2008




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