Palestinian lives matter, but not necessarily in Israel

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
The golden Dome of the Rock (C) in Jerusalem's old city is seen in the distance beyond a section of the controversial Israeli barrier in the West Bank city of Abu Dis. © Finbarr O'Reilly
As violence continues to spiral out of control in the Levant, pitting Palestinians against Israel’s armed forces, resistance is no longer the headline of Palestine’s struggle; Israel’s ever-expanding brutality is.

In early November, the Red Crescent revealed that Israel shot and injured over 2,600 Palestinians in October; the majority of which were unarmed civilians posing no immediate threat to Israel’s security forces. Among the dead and other casualties were children. And when I say children I am not referring to teenagers or young people, because that would give some individuals grounds to argue that their youth did not imply innocence.

I am talking about children, young children, babies even. Children whose rights are specifically and quite rightly protected under international law.

And still Israel retains absolute deniability as it stands cloaked by its powerful political alliances and Western friendships.

While Tel Aviv might rationalize its stance towards Palestine - and all Palestinians for that matter - by perpetuating the belief that Palestinians’ lives are somewhat less worthy than that of its glorious armed forces and people, I would argue that LIFE is precious per se - regardless, absolutely and unconditionally.

Violence in Israel is now a way of life. Worse still, it has become an institution upon which too many Israelis have learned to anchor their sense of nationality onto. Without its wars and without its hate of the “Arabs”, Israel has very little to keep it steady.

© Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

When I say Israel, I mean Israel, the political entity - nothing to do with Judaism. Judaism has never sat at the center of any Israeli-Palestinian debate by the way. This rationale was created to inflame sectarian sentiments and drown the realities of colonialism under a veneer of grand morality and entitlement.

This conflict, which we all have seen play out on our TV screens, newspapers - and let’s admit it – in our consciousness, is not a modern day religious crusade. Rather, it is a violent colonial war with genocidal undertones.

Israel here is most definitely walking the fascist line, enabled by those very powers which claim to stand the champions of democracy.

Where any sane and rational individual would expect the international community to deploy its armada of sanctions and other political threats against a state, any state, showing such a disposition towards bloodshed we have witnessed nothing but meek attempts to assuage rising public anger.

The ICC, for example, said it would look into new allegations of aggravated human rights violations and war crimes raised against Israel by the Palestinian Authority. But since the ICC lacks the bite its office would require in order for it to be potent … so what!

With the United States at its side and the United Nations neatly tied up in its pocket, what ruling will ever legally cripple Israel?

As Palestinian children lay dead in the streets because they were born on the wrong side of Israel’s wall, Washington used one hand to slash its humanitarian aid package to Palestine while at the same time increasing Israel’s military allowance by a cool £1 billion.

Now that’s flying liberty’s torch isn’t it!

The question on everyone’s lips right now is: Are we witnessing the third Intifada?

But perhaps we should flip this question around and ask ourselves one pertinent, yet elusive question: What if this new wave of violence was not rooted in Palestinian resistance but in Israel’s final bout of colonial aggression?

Israel was raised on the blood of Palestine. I’m not expressing a personal opinion here, merely stating a historical fact. The Nakba ("Catastrophe") will forever resound as Palestine’s greatest tragedy - the day an entire nation was sacrificed to colonial powers’ ambitions to serve an agenda which cared little for their civil and human rights. After all, what are national borders before the might of empires? One look at Middle East history should answer that question: not much indeed!

© Mohamad Torokman

From the disappearing of Palestinian lands to Tel Aviv’s incessant calls for Arab ghettoization, Arab exclusion and other far-right niceties, can we call Israel’s campaign anything but a concerted and aggressive colonial effort against Palestine? When the mere mention of Palestine is enough to send Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in a furious spin, I believe any questions on the matter will forever remain rhetorical.

But here is where the straw might actually break the camel’s back. Israel’s apartheid policies and its descent into hard-line fascism could eventually collapse this radical house of cards and plunge the country into a civil war.

History tells us that where there is oppression resistance will rise as a torrent. And since Israel’s fascist streak has now insidiously entered the fray of its own national policies, thus discriminating against its own people, the possibility of a violent opposition movement is not that far-fetched.

Israel is not just racist against its Israeli-Arabs; its institutions are built around ethnic elitism, whereby specific segments of the population are deemed worthier socially and politically than others.

How long before Israel’s minorities wake up to the realpolitik of fascism and choose to push back? For Israeli-Arabs, such “push” would translate into a greater sense of belonging and association with those communities under Israeli occupation: Gaza and the West Bank.

READ MORE: ‘Systematic crimes against media freedoms’: Israeli forces raid, shut down Palestinian radio station

As Uri Savir noted in Al Monitor this November: “The current situation is not offering the Palestinians any viable solution or the desired statehood. It's a plague on both houses. For Palestine, it is cycles of futile violence in the face of augmenting international passivity; for Israel, it is the danger of becoming and being perceived as an apartheid state in the face of expanding international criticism.”

As it currently stands, Israel remains a fractured state, a de facto bi-national state, whose doomsday clock is getting dangerously close to midnight.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.