Like the US-driven 'global war on terror' started by the US President George W. Bush in the beginning of the current century, Israel's 'right to defend' itself is the name of a new global attack on innocent people in Palestine. As war on terror unleashed unprecedented scale of bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel's 'right to defend' is going to annihilate a population of 2.2 million already living in an 'open air prison' with the name of Gaza.

Hamas's surprise attack against the Israeli people, which was unimaginable for the world-class Israeli military and intelligence, has certainly shocked not only the Israelis but also many in the world. Yet what Israel has started to do, complete siege of Gaza, is most horrible and beyond description in words. Food, water, electricity and all daily supplies to the city have been closed. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant shamelessly called the Palestinian people 'human animals'.

When Israel, the tenth biggest arms dealer in the world, takes a stand against an unarmed population, half of whom are children, there is little hope of their survival. It with the technically most advanced army in the world and unconditional support of the USA can easily bring down a hell on any part of the world. That's what Israel has been bent on doing against the Palestinian civilian people in Gaza.

The Israeli attack is so horrible that even an Israeli father whose daughter had been taken hostage by Hamas said with a voice full of pain, "Gaza has casualties . . . mothers who cry. . . . Let's use this emotion, we are two nations from one father, let's make peace, a real peace."

Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour Party member, wrote (Jacobin, 15 October 2023), "We may be witnessing the beginning of the total annihilation of Gaza and its people. This is not a battle between one state and another. It is couched as an Israeli response to a nonstate actor, but in fact it is a response to Palestinian people wherever they are. What is unfolding is not a conflict of equals, but the systematic starvation, subjugation, and destruction of an unarmed civilian population."

Gaza is a small spot on earth where all hell broke loose by the despicable Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing. The same is true with the West Bank where armed men of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli Occupation Forces for the Palestinians, are 24 hours of a day ready to shoot or harass any person they wish. Israeli settlers with their constant illegal expansion backed by their government have made this a ghost town for the Palestinians who lived here for centuries.

The US-dominated global communities are also playing a vicious role against the just movement of the Palestinian people. Even their non-violent protests are facing barriers put up by the Israeli and other governments at home and abroad. In the occupied territories by the Israeli army, Palestinians are losing all means of resistance. They even do not exist as human beings in the words of many in the Israeli government.

Carolina S. Pedrazzi wrote in the Jacobin (In the West Bank, Israel's Apartheid Rule Results in Everyday Violence, 7 Oct. 2023) about Zuleikha whose father was murdered when she was five. She protects herself with a fishnet over her balcony from the banana skin and rocks thrown everyday at her by the Jewish settlers. "When asked why she stayed ... she answers that the only infallible form of resistance for her people - a people long subject to ethnic cleansing - is the relentless demonstration of their presence. By simply existing, Palestinians are resisting." Here, "while an Israeli settler, who is subject to civil law, is always innocent until proven guilty, a Palestinian is always guilty until proven innocent."

In this condition of life and death for the Palestinian people, they have just one weapon left now, to continue to exist in the face of Israeli denials. So, many Palestinians do not leave their ancestral homes just to resist systematic ethnic cleansing and the fake Israeli imagination of their nonexistence simply by staying at the place where they have stayed for generations.

The Zionist attitude and the genocidal policy of Israel on the ground has led Palestinian freedom seekers to violence. Daniel Finn, a journalist, wrote (Israel's Western Allies Have Done Everything Possible to Criminalize Nonviolent Resistance, Jacobin, 10 October 2023), "Israel's backers in the US and Western Europe claim to be opposed to violence. But they've done everything they can to shut down or criminalize nonviolent action by Palestinians and their supporters, from international legal cases to the BDS movement."

A recent editorial in the Israeli daily Haaretz (Oct 8, 2023) entitled 'Netanyahu Bears Responsibility for This Israel-Gaza War' says strongly: "The disaster that befell Israel on the holiday of Simchat Torah is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister, who has prided himself on his vast political experience and irreplaceable wisdom in security matters, completely failed to identify the dangers he was consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation and dispossession, when appointing Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to key positions, while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians."

In this regard, Zvi Bar'el wrote in the Haaretz (Netanyahu, a Gang Leader Who Can't Go on Serving as Israel's PM, Oct 11. 2023), "Israel is now headed by a corrupt leader, a criminal defendant who just a moment ago was investing all his effort in carrying out a judicial coup. ... This is also the same prime minister who exploited the public legitimacy he gained 11 months ago to put a gun to the state's head - first through his war on democracy, and now in his mad race toward a war of vengeance."

With such a war of vengeance there is no way for peace without admitting the freedom of the Palestinian people in word and reality. If people in Gaza and West Bank are considered 'human animals' ready to be butchered, the Palestinian problem of illegal occupation cannot be solved by those who foam at the mouth with human rights, democracy, secularization, etc. round the clock and act in the opposite way that even nonhumans would find shameful.

The writer is Editor, Biggan O Sangskriti.

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