And the imperial West is an active participant
By M Muhannad Ayyash
Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada.
Published On 2 Nov 2023
It is now clear that Israel is engaging in a genocide of the Palestinian people. As reported by Al Jazeera, the Israeli state has “loosened” its military rules of engagement, essentially giving its soldiers the green light to kill anyone they encounter inside the Gaza Strip as part of their ground operations. Israeli politicians and soldiers are talking openly about turning Gaza into dust, eliminating Palestinians, and imagining Israeli settlers living on land that used to be called Gaza. Palestinians are being deliberately deprived of all the basic necessities for life, including food, water, shelter and medical care. Bombs from the air are indiscriminately killing and maiming Palestinians. Palestinians are being encouraged to leave their lands and homes in northern Gaza and head towards the south – Israel clearly wants to colonise northern Gaza and turn it into a security or military zone, permanently expelling the Palestinians who currently live there.
Scholars of genocide have always argued that such mass atrocities are rarely the product of an “evil leader” or “a small extremist political class”. The terrifying reality of genocide is that it happens with mass support, which either comes in the form of active participation (direct and indirect), or complicity through silence.
I am not sure that we have ever seen a case of genocide being supported by this many actors, openly and actively. The majority of institutions in North America, Western Europe and elsewhere are either actively participating in this genocide, or completely silent and are thus complicit.
For genocide to happen, two critical elements are needed: the infrastructural and material capabilities to commit the genocide and the ability to conceal the genocide by calling it something other than what it is. The West is participating in both of these critical elements.
In terms of material capabilities, the United States empire has sent, not one, but two aircraft carriers to the region, and has made it abundantly clear in word and deed that if any state or group attempts to enter the picture and aid Palestinians in their desperate attempt to survive Israel’s genocidal operation, that the US will intervene with its full force. The United Kingdom has also sent naval ships to support this Western imperial threat to the people of the region. The US is sending military equipment and weaponry to Israel, refusing to call for a ceasefire or de-escalation. Corporations and economic institutions are providing financial support to Israel all in the name of supporting Israeli victims, as well as reportedly offering financial incentives to Egypt, attempting to entice it to host the Palestinian refugees who will not be allowed to re-enter the Gaza Strip. Years of US and Western aid and support to Israel have allowed Israel to develop the infrastructural capabilities to carry out a genocide.
In terms of concealment, political, media, social and cultural institutions are fully mobilised in the West to hide and conceal this act of genocide, presenting it as a righteous violence of a victimised Jewish people everywhere in the world. Those expressing support for Palestine in the West are being threatened with job loss (and are actually losing their jobs), possible criminal charges and bans, and other punitive measures and harassment campaigns. The media is continuously and consistently sending the outrageous message that Hamas is the one responsible for the loss of Palestinian civil life in the Gaza Strip, attempting to wash their hands clean of the genocide. The Israeli operation is being framed as a mission to “eliminate Hamas” as opposed to what it really is: a genocide of the Palestinian people and their erasure from the map. The few voices that are questioning these narratives are being marginalised, silenced and de-platformed.
In short, all of the establishment institutions in the West are mobilised, fully and coherently, at this moment in enabling the genocide of Palestinians, all under the guise of protecting “civilisation” from “barbarism”.
As I write this, I am dreading what’s to come. The suffering that Palestinians have endured so far is already unfathomable and very difficult to register in words. And what is coming is going to be even worse.
Continue reading at www.aljazeera.com
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