It’s fascinating how so many comments on the latest Israeli Palestinian conflict seem reluctant to focus on the elephant in the room in that they, along with the vast majority of governments in the West (most of which were active on respective sides in WWII) haven’t got the courage to call out the actions of the Israeli government over the last month as war crimes. You would be hard pressed to find such a tame response should similar actions be carried out by an Asian or African state which is the core of the issue – an undeniable form of war guilt that has been weaponised by successive Israeli governments and amplified by hard right administrations under Netanyahu’s imperial grip. The world needs to call Israeli actions what they are and force them to accept peace and reconciliation but unbelievingly, this does not seem to be the course of action across the world.
Despite 15,000 deaths at the hands of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), the world is behaving like rabbits in headlights, not being able to condemn these atrocities for what they are – indiscriminate murder. There are some organisations, in particular the UN that is trying to convince member states that this kind of bloodshed is neither necessary nor justified. Some countries have voiced outrage and for their actions, have felt the force of a backlash that is amplified by far right aggression. Ireland has spoken out on the criminal actions by the IDF and is under constant ridicule and diplomatic threat by both the Israeli media and the government in Tel Aviv. Most recently our Ambassador to Israel, Mrs Sonya McGuinness was summoned over comments that were made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Mr Varadkar was making a statement on Saturday after the release of nine year-old Emily Hand, who was held hostage by Hamas in which he described the Irish-Israeli girl’s release as an “enormous joy and relief”, adding that “an innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned”. This was in reference to Luke 15:10 in the Bible in which the text states ‘I Once was Lost, but now I am Found’. However, the Israeli government saw this as ‘outrageous’ and said Mrs McGuinness would be summoned for a ‘reprimand’. This incident has put the spotlight on Dublin to which there is some inclination toward revenge tactics by Tel Aviv over Ireland not towing the line by supporting or ignoring the attacks on Palestinian citizens.
But our diplomatic corps are a tough bunch and our experience in conflict resolution, based on 800 years of resistance against British/English rule, has taught us that nothing is resolved by indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians. These attacks only inspire more freedom fighters or terrorists depending on your side of the wall. I have no doubt that we as a nation will not stand idly by while the war continues.
There is no justification for what Hamas has done and like all totalitarian regimes; they must be removed by an international coalition defunding and precisely targeting its leadership. Along with the Israeli captives, they are holding millions of people hostage and, despite what the pro-Israeli media may say, these people do not have any choice over their leadership in Gaza.
Israeli military forces are currently under a blood lust of biblical proportions and the enormous amount of murder is unjustified – you cannot inflict the same amount of violence that you suffered and call it legitimate. This is happening right now and there is something terribly wrong with Israel today. Yet somehow, we are looking at an experiment in national guilt where nations are hamstrung or simply avoiding the state of war that Israel has declared on the people of Gaza. This inability to act is a lead weight hanging around their necks and is a crucial toll that Israel uses every time it commits acts of murder across Gaza, the West Bank and around the world. When pulled up for their crimes, they roll out the anti-Semitism accusations against anyone brave enough to speak out. No other nation on the planet has such a tool to use and when you look just under its veil, you see that like so many false accusations, it’s a desperate weapon that has no grounding in reality. Despite what they want to you to think, Israel does not represent every Jewish person in the world and not every Jew is Israeli. Crucially, not every Israeli is a Zionist. Like every other culture, absolute is not the norm and until we decide how we should treat aggressive actions by the IDF and the governments it answers to, we will be hammered by the absolute doctrine of the Zionists. As a global culture, over 70 years has passed since the Holocaust and we must never forget how we lost so many people because of pure hate. But while generations are custodians of that story, we are not the guilty parties. Those deviants are long dead and Israel should never be given a free hand to accuse us of being anti-Semitic just because we expose their unjust actions.
It’s also time for the international community, media and NGOs to put pressure on Israel for crimes it has committed and countries in Europe, in particular Germany, need to stop excusing themselves from calling Tel Aviv to account because of something that happened almost 90 years ago. That time has passed and Israel must not be allowed to use that get out of jail card anymore.