When we turn our attention to Gaza, the occupied territory, the distinctions between far-right and so-called centre-left ideologies seem somewhat trivial. The issue here is the 17 years of a sustained siege, during which we've all grown accustomed to it. However, it's worth noting that this ongoing siege has become normalized, not just by Israel but by the international community as a whole. So, it should come as no surprise when Palestinians take drastic measures to put an end to this situation. They're striving to initiate actions that could reshape the Middle East landscape. There's even concern about the possibility of a demographic transformation in Gaza. It's almost akin to a second Nakba—a second episode of ethnic cleansing. These concerns aren't unfounded; they've been circulating for not just days but decades.
Notably, the current Israeli President and Israeli officials are openly stating that it's time to remove Palestinians, as if they're seeking to complete the job started in 1948. These statements are made in conjunction with derogatory terms like "human animals" to describe Palestinians. The catch is, they're telling people to leave while simultaneously closing off the Gaza Strip, leaving Palestinians with no place to go. This has led to mass atrocities and the mass expulsion of Palestinians.
According to Israeli military discourse, a strike on Gaza equates to an attack on Hamas, as they consider the two to be synonymous. But we know this is not the case. About 50% of Gaza's population is under the age of 18, and they've only known a life under siege. They've suffered from water shortages and insecurity, lived through five wars, and are denied the prospect of a brighter future. Despite this, the world continues to behave as though everything is business as usual. The siege, the blockade—it's all become part of the norm. The suffering of Palestinians has been normalized, and the dehumanization of Palestinians has reached such heights that they aren't even allowed to respond to the injustices they've faced for 63 years.
Israel is employing the same methods that it has repeatedly brought into play in the past, with the same track record of failure. If we set aside the moral and legal questions, we need to ask where these methods have led. The strategic goal that Israel seems to have in mind is the removal of Palestinians. Israeli ministers have made this point unequivocally, especially when they launched intense bombardments on Gaza.
It's essential to understand that Gaza was already in a dire state long before the situation escalated. The blockade itself is a form of collective punishment and constitutes a war crime. With essential supplies like food, medicines, water, and electricity cut off, the consequences are dire. People are going to suffer—better said, they are already suffering—and hospitals will be ill-equipped to treat the wounded. Diseases are likely to spread, and there are already fears of cholera in Gaza.
The question is, how did we reach this point of complete failure within the political system? There are several contributing factors. Firstly, there's been an overemphasis on negotiations instead of addressing the core issues: military occupation, the denial of freedom, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Moreover, there has been no accountability for Israel's actions. Israel has never been held responsible for its actions, even when Palestinian journalists and civil society workers were assassinated over the past decades. From the Israeli perspective, what has stalled the political process is what they label as terrorist groups targeting Israeli civilians. However, it's important to note that this is a one-way occupation. Palestinians are resisting to gain their freedom. If they don't like the response, which is violence, they need to address the root issue: occupation. A peaceful occupation is an oxymoron.
Rather than placing blame on the Palestinians, the world should reflect on itself and question how such a system has persisted for so long. Why, in 2023, are we still talking about the denial of freedom, and why is this system, causing apartheid, still in place? The heart of the problem lies, as I mentioned before, in the lack of accountability.
Regarding the changing dynamics of internal Palestinian politics, especially within the Palestinian Authority (PA) after recent events, we've been witnessing a transformation for some time now. The Palestinian Authority has lost support both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Increasingly, people recognize the necessity of resisting military occupation, and the Palestinian Authority has failed to protect Palestinians or offer a viable alternative.
In terms of political options, there's an urgent need to negotiate a ceasefire with an immediate cessation of hostilities and the release of hostages. Reinforcing humanitarian aid is also crucial. Establishing a task force to monitor the ceasefire and ensure the protective presence of Palestinians and others on the ground is another vital step. In fact, these actions have always been put aside. In the longer term, a plan to end the occupation has to be discussed.
All things considered, while there's a right to resist oppressive regimes—and the Palestinians have been under a severe regime for decades now—it's crucial to remember that mass killings are never justified. Condemning the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic, and supporting Palestinians is not supporting Hamas.