بالروح بالدم نفديك يا فلسطين
We scream, we anguish, we plead.
The blood is on Israel’s hands. A real-life 75-year-long Lady Macbeth moment.
They see the blood on their hands, they know it is there, yet the whole world doesn’t bat an eye. Now, that’s bold. Allow me to tell you what else is bold —asking Palestinians to condemn armed resistance, as if to somehow coax them into exposing some violent disposition.
The dramatic irony of it all: nobody asks Israel to condemn themselves, not even when they coerce Palestinian children into signing confessions in a language they do not speak nor understand, confessing to crimes they did not commit. Not even so much as a slap of the wrist is administered.
Instead, the world not only watches but actively funds and militarises Israeli apartheid and its’ settler-colonial project. The result: 91% of Palestinian children live with war-related trauma —according to Middle East Current Psychiatry.
In any event, as Arabs, we are no strangers to this Orientalist phenomenon. We need only look back to the events of 9/11. Middle Easterners were held responsible for the attacks and forced to repeatedly clarify that we do not support terrorism. Whilst 1 million Iraqis were mercilessly executed and our lands invaded under the guise of US national security, we were made to pay for the war crimes of the Bush administration.
Regretfully, Palestinians face the brunt of the racism that proliferated post-Nakba and post-September 11. The Palestinian struggle is akin to that of screaming into a vacuum.
The last time Palestine made global headlines to this degree was in May of 2021. Since then, mass media has offered only rare coverage of Palestinian oppression and resistance. But even so, “pro-Palestinian” news outlets are placing the onus upon Palestinian scholars, politicians and activists to denounce Hamas. A bold display of irony and hypocrisy on their part.
An ABC interview with Randa Abdel-Fattah, a highly respected Palestinian-Australian writer and intellectual demonstrates the idiosyncrasies that Palestinians encounter. In being asked about her view of “Hamas’s really cold-blooded approach to [civilians]”, Abdel-Fattah eloquently responded, “Why are you asking me that? Why do I as a Palestinian constantly have to prove my humanity?” She goes on to highlight the fact that these futile, Orientalist presumptions “deflect from the root cause of why this is happening”.
The root cause she is referring to entails illegal occupation of land since 1948, Israeli apartheid, genocide, settler-colonialism, imperialist legacies, daily violence, blockades, sieges, war crimes, demolition of homes…. Need I go on?
Mustapha Barghouti, activist and politician also talks of this root cause in a Sky News interview. Where, unsurprisingly, his accolades were tarnished by a disclaimer: “Mustapha is not affiliated with Hamas”. This set the tone, with Barghouti spending the entirety of the interview in defence of Palestinians, repeatedly clarifying that he does not condone the killing of civilians. As if his opening statement “We are against the killing of any civilian, whether Palestinian or Israeli” was not clear enough.
What I am stressing here is the twisted truism that the media does not take notice of until the settler suffers. Read any article from a supposedly trustworthy Australian media outlet, and observe what is presented to you. Take notice of the fact that reportage of Palestinian death tolls or casualties is scarce, access to Israeli death tolls on the other hand is abundant.
As it stands, Gaza is the largest open-air prison in the world. 2.3 million inhabitants, suffering a 16-year-long siege, and now, an unfolding total blockade i.e. bans on food, water, electricity and fuel. 300,000 Israeli soldiers have been mobilised, surrounding Gaza for invasion. All this, and Israeli representatives have the nerve to go on live television and preach that “all Arabs want to do is kill Israelis”(7 News). This statement is premised on the racialisation of Arabs as barbarians.
Thus, we are seeing a mass pollution of Australian media with self-serving Zionist, pro-Israel politics. We must reverse the diluted truth of Israel’s settler colonialism and genocide of Palestinians.
A final note to the reader: Frankly, I do not care if you claim to be “uneducated” or “unqualified” to speak on what you may refer to as a “conflict”. The facts are simple and uncomplicated, there is a plethora of resources. This is not a nuanced issue, nor another “war on terror” as mass media has eagerly labelled it.