The apocalypse Israel instigated in Gaza
In Israeli and global consciousness, Gaza is seen as another universe, a universe for which the normal human rules do not apply. A place outside of human reach, where you can starve the inhabitants, lock them up, bomb them once in a while.
Throughout its history Israel has committed many crimes against the Palestinians, but one of the most despicable is the transformation of the Gaza Strip into a parallel universe in the public mind.
The divide-and-rule policy was indeed one of the cornerstones of Israel’s conduct vis-à-vis the Palestinians: the annexation of East Jerusalem, the dismemberment of the West Bank, the establishment of the Palestinians in ’48 [Green-line Israel] as second-class citizens, but with regard to Gaza, this policy took a particularly cruel turn — not only its geographical disconnection from the rest of the Palestinian realm, but its fixation in Israeli and global consciousness as another universe, a universe for which the normal human rules do not apply. A place outside of human reach, where you can starve the inhabitants, lock them up, bomb them once in a while, shoot their fisherfolk.
Contributing to this, of course, was the cunning Disengagement in the way it was done, which on the one hand allowed Israel to present Gaza as “independent” (and thus also detached from the broader Palestinian issue), while at the same time controlling every breath its people take.
This profound fundamental removal of Gaza from human interaction is reflected today in the way the Israeli public dealt with the horrific crimes committed by Hamas on 7 October. Since the cognitive connection between Gaza and the Palestinian issue has been manipulatively severed for years, the vast majority of the Israeli public really cannot understand it within any context.
Because the connections imply human rules of behaviour, and Gaza has been excised from those rules in the eyes of Israelis. Therefore, the explanations given come from the extra-human sphere. “Human animals,” for example. And outside of the human context, the extermination of thousands of innocent people can also be spoken of as a “necessary act” for a purpose that no one really knows how to define.
When you shrug your shoulders in the face of this apocalypse that we are precipitating there now, remember that this is the part of the people with whom we share our citizenship. Because most of Gaza’s population is originally refugees from ’48, in very many cases, family members. A Palestinian friend from Yafa/Yafo/Jaffa told me that he really avoids going out into the street as much as possible these days because every ten metres someone tearfully tells him about family members who have just been killed there.
These people, whose countryfolk and families we are slaughtering so greedily now, are our only chance to ever begin the reconstruction and recovery of this country. Try to remember this the next time you angrily silence those who talk about a ceasefire. These are the countryfolk and families of our most intimate neighbours that we are now slaughtering.