The Irony of Becoming What You Once Hated

Resistance is a 2020 biographical drama film based on true events of the holocaust – indeed one of the darkest chapters in human history. The film opens in Munich, Nazi Germany 1938. In the opening scene, Bella Ramsey who is playing Elsbeth (aged 10-12) in the movie, in the middle of the night hears screams from her mother. When she gets out of her room, she sees a few Nazi Germans dragging her parents downstairs. She keeps watching them treat her parents inhumanely, dragging, beating, and then throwing them on the floor. A personnel then loads his pistol and shoots her mother in the head. As she was witnessing all this secretly from behind a door, she could not scream but her father screams the loudest hugging his wife. Another personnel then moves forward and shoots Elsbeth`s father too, in the head. 

Today, the same that happened to Elsbeth and her family, or even worse is happening in the occupied lands of Palestine by the very descendants of the sufferers of the holocaust. This is what the piece argues about and recommends a way forward to end the Israeli style of apartheid in Palestine.  

The attack on Muslims in Al Aqsa Mosque in the recent holy month of Ramzan is only a glimpse of such Israeli barbarity. The irony is that such an attack on a church, temple, or synagogue would surely have gained ten times more attention in the media. But since the victims are Palestinians, not Ukrainians for instance, such incidents are taken as a routine. Every other day there are Israeli raids in the occupied lands of Palestine, most specifically in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza. Dreadful scenes, screams, killings, expansionism at the peril of humanity, and captures are also routine in these occupied lands. In sum, the very descendants of the victims of the holocaust have chosen to continue it. 

Last year alone, 224 Palestinians were killed and 9,000 were injured by Israeli forces. The total death toll of Palestinians since 1948 is estimated as high as over 85,000 including children, women, and the aged. Noam Chomsky, an American public intellectual, historian, and political activist, and Ilan Pappe, an expatriate Israeli historian who has authored multiple books on Israeli atrocities, mention in their book “On Palestine”, that 2,100 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli forces in a fifty-day assault on Gaza in August 2014 alone. The death toll on the other side was near 100. In another instance back then in 2012, “one Israeli was killed by fire from Gaza while 78 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.” This is sheer genocide as per the definition of the term provided by the UN, “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”

Yet in another instance, former Defense Minister of Israel Moshe Dayan said on the settlement issue of the Palestinian refugees, We have no solution, you (Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank) shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.These stats and instances should be enough to tell who is the victim and who is the aggressor. 

What makes most of the Israelis stubborn is,  their Zionist illogical logic. As per the same book mentioned above, Zionists believe that God has promised them the land they have occupied and intend to expand. Their logic is that Palestinians who neither have a land army, air force, navy, nor access to the outer world are a threat to Israel — a state that is backed by the superpower, has a professional and well-equipped army, and allegedly has some 400 nukes in its possession. They also believe naively and suppose others to believe the same that the Palestinians do not need the same space and fundamental rights as Israelis do. In fact, Palestinians are happy to be stuck in their homes. 

The indoctrination in Israel is so deep that Ilan Pappe claims that “when an Israeli soldier sees a Palestinian baby, he does not see an infant – he sees an enemy.” In sum, ethnic cleansing is a way of life in the occupied lands. On account of such Holocaustic policies, even many Jews in different parts of the world usually protest against Israel`s style of apartheid against Palestinians. An Amnesty International report last year also held Israel accountable for committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinians. The report declares unlawful killings of Palestinians, forcible transfers, massive seizures of Palestinian lands and property, denial of nationality and citizenship to them, and drastic movement restrictions components that amount to apartheid in international law. “Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights,” says Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard. 

In sum, Palestinians are going through a very turbulent time. They are forced to live a life that is below human dignity, without basic human rights. Whether you name it ethnic cleansing or genocide of the Palestinian people, an apartheid regime imposed on the occupied lands of Palestine, or even a holocaust against Palestinians, Israeli barbarity fits all these definitions. However, these atrocities can and should be ended, as it is said, where there is a will there is a way.

As a way forward, a couple of Noam Chomsky`s recommendations are worth mentioning; a) academia should change their use of terms like ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ and such for Israel and should highlight Israeli atrocities; b) the international community should not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. However, these two recommendations won`t be enough to end Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. The Muslim-majority countries should condemn Israeli atrocities instead of falling in line to recognize such an illegal, illegitimate, and illicit Zionist regime. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should fully promote the Palestinian cause, a cause that it was made for. National and international media outlets should also play their due role in bringing Israeli atrocities to notice. The International Criminal Court (ICC) should consider the crimes of apartheid against Israel, as recommended by Amnesty International in its last year`s report, and states should play their parts in bringing the perpetrators of apartheid to justice. Last but certainly not least, at least Islamabad should get every Israeli atrocity noticed at every possible forum as it does to highlight Indian atrocities in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir to ensure moral support to the Palestinians.

[Header image: Destruction in Gaza after Israeli bombardment, part of Operation Pillar of Defense. Photo by Scott Bobb / VoA]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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