Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Palestine The Pocket Knife

Israel continues to pound Gaza, killing more than 50.

They're practically gloating. Israel, never lacking in the acting-out-of-the-most-savage-instincts department, has dropped 400 tonnes of bombs and missiles on the Gaza Strip since yesterday.

Here's one of those missiles screeching through a narrow Gazan street before it hits its target with a deafening thud in a terrifying video shared on Facebook by a friend in Gaza: Video Post by Anees Mansour.

While no supporter of Hamas, I do believe wholeheartedly in the Palestinian people's right to resist their subjugation and defend themselves against a country attempting to maintain indefinite military control over them. Occupied peoples past and present have a legal right to self-defense in international law. Whether it be European Jews in the Warsaw ghetto or ghettoized Palestinians in Gaza, they have the right to fight back. 

However, like all colonial regimes, the government of Israel and a great many of its citizens confuse Zionist aggression with defensive action. It's a delusional desire to say the least - to believe that you are defending yourself against the very people you are vanquishing, the people you have kept stateless and under thumb for 66 years, the people you have the power to kill arbitrarily and with absolute impunity.

Thankfully, international law and dispassionate logic tell a different story: occupiers are aggressors and aggressors attack, not defend. And the men, women and children who have absolutely no legal recourse for addressing the dire situation they've been placed in by the land-usurping occupier are victims, not perpetrators.

Palestinians in Gaza are locked up. The majority of them have been refugees all their lives. Israel controls their borders and restricts their movement. 

With nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, is it any wonder they fight back? Most often Palestinians resist peacefully and nonviolently (don't watch this because it's too sad), but sometimes certain factions choose to fight fire with fire and make rockets from scavenged parts and fire them haphazardly into Israel. These makeshift rockets, Israeli officials have admitted, pose more of a psychological than physical threat.

They certainly don't warrant 400 tonnes of munitions being dropped in a matter of days on a civilian population. 

I suppose the day we start pumping billions of dollars of military aid into an imaginary Palestinian army, maybe it will begin to look like a fair fight.

For now, I can't help but think of Palestine as the pocket knife in the window that no one wants to buy, to quote Jean Genet's brilliant metaphor in A Prisoner of Love

There's a small shop in Chatellerault where I once saw a knife as small as a penknife with blades that opened slowly one after the other and then gently shut again, after having threatened the town in all directions ... open, this small provincial masterpiece swelled up until its forty-seven blades resembled a porcupine at bay or the Palestinian revolution. That too was a miniature threatening in all directions: Israel, America and the Arab kingdoms. Like the penknife in the window it turned on its own axis and no-one wanted to buy it.

Little, compact, but fierce, this revolution makes everyone uneasy - perhaps because the dispossession of the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom and self-rule is the true litmus test of an individual's commitment to justice on earth.

It can't be ignored.

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News & Views:

The Israeli Air Force has dropped approximately 400 tonnes of bombs and missiles on the Gaza Strip over the past two days, a senior official said today. - See more at:

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