UP EXPERT OPINION: Why the US and Europe are not incentivised to stop the Gaza genocide

Posted on November 15, 2023

The argument that Israel needs to kill civilians by the thousands to eradicate Hamas is unfounded. This premise rests on a flawed assumption – that the complete elimination of Hamas is the sole path to peace. 

Peace comes through addressing the root causes of the violence, by ending abuse and correcting past wrongs. Israel is to blame for 7 October. Prominent Israelis and Jewish activists such as Assaf Harel,  Gideon Levy and Judith Butler share this viewpoint.

In April of 1963, Martin Luther King wrote, “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate … who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season’.” 

Israel, backed by the US and Europe, is telling the Palestinians to wait out the genocide for a more “convenient season”. Surprisingly, no journalist has posed two fundamental questions. First, “Under which international legal framework does an illegal occupying force possess the right to claim self-defence from violence originating from within its own territories?” 

Second, “Why does Israel continue to steal land from the occupied Palestinian territories, force out the Palestinians and bring settlers from Europe to come to live on this stolen land?” 

‘Incentives for staying on stolen land’

According to B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based non-profit organisation which documents human rights violations, “Israeli governments have implemented a consistent and systematic policy intended to encourage Jewish citizens to migrate to the West Bank. One of the tools used to this end is to grant financial benefits and incentives to citizens.” Basically, settlers are incentivised to stay on stolen land. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, “an occupying power is forbidden from transferring parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

In the discourse on Palestinian resistance, a key question often overlooked is, “Why does Israel maintain its illegal occupation of Palestine?” According to Noam Chomsky, “The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenceless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.” It is the “last phase of European colonisation”. This is the political motivation, the political justification, and this is where the moral outrage should be. 

From Daniel Goleman’s The Psychology of Self-Deception in the book Vital Lies, Simple Truths, the concept of self-deception can be applied to understanding the pervasive propaganda and false news we are encountering in terms of the justification for the killing of Palestinians in the West Bank and the genocide in Gaza.

Lies play a crucial role in Israel’s assertion of self-defence. It can be argued that Zionists engage in self-deception, consciously ignoring opposing evidence to maintain false beliefs. This self-deception operates at both individual and collective levels and poses significant dangers when practised collectively. 

Financial motivation

Much of what is repeated ad nauseam can be found in the Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary. This psyche and the strategic financial motivations behind the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Gaza, which involves displacing the population to the Sinai desert, are two aspects that can be linked to the Ben Gurion Canal project and the Gaza Marine field. The Gaza Marine field belongs to the Palestinian Authority but it can’t be developed without Israeli approval.

Hamas announced its willingness, in principle, to allow the Palestinian Authority to participate in the development of a natural gas field off the coast of the enclave. The decision depended on US-mediated talks involving Israel, Egypt and gas-extraction partners. This was not good enough for Israel. Israel wants it all; eliminating the Palestinians was the answer. 

The Ben Gurion Canal is envisioned as a 260km corridor, stretching from the Gaza-Ashkelon region to the Red Sea. The canal, slated for construction by the Israeli government, would be a prospective alternative to the Suez Canal and holds significant economic and geopolitical implications. 

Its development is poised to disrupt the dominance of the Suez Canal in facilitating global trade and energy transportation. By offering an alternative maritime route, this project would have a substantial impact on global trade, particularly in the realms of shipping and energy logistics. 

Since Europe prioritises the acquiring of gas, due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, they aren’t keen on halting the genocide. Gas and profit are a better option for them, in exchange for Palestinian lives.

Trading Palestinian lives for gas and the canal can further be legitimised by suggesting that Hamas is like Isis. This falsity works to portray Israel as a regional force against terrorism where excessive violence used against an occupied people is justified.  

More than 12 000 tonnes of explosives dropped on Gaza

Hamas is not like Isis. In 2015, Wikileaks (and Haaretz) exposed documents about Muzer Al Safdi who worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The documents exposed dubious transactions involving individuals linked to militant groups in Syria and Israeli officials meeting in Prague to arrange arms sales from Israel. In 2018, Knesset member, Aida Touma-Suleiman revealed that Isis was selling oil from Syria and Iraq to Israel dirt-cheap. 

Second, the global community has been exposed to images depicting the tragic fate of over 4 000 Palestinian children dismembered, decapitated, killed as a result of Israel’s ethnic cleansing policy in Gaza

In an interview, Zionist cleric Rabbi Yaron Reuven quotes the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 20: 16 “In the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.” According to the rabbi, “do not allow any mercy”. He then quotes chapter 25:19 “you shall blot out the name of Amalek”. For the rabbi, and Netanyahu, this means erasing the Amalek (kill them all), including men, women and children “who do not have the right to exist”.

Israel has dropped more than 12 000 tonnes of explosives on the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023. This is equivalent to the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in Japan in 1945. Gaza is a small piece of land, roughly equivalent to one-fifth the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. As of 25 October, Israel had destroyed 33 mosques and severely damaged three churches. 

Since religion is used to justify genocide, the bombing of mosques and churches, hospitals, three universities and schools, the obvious question is, “Who is the real Isis (prototype) here?” 

When ambassadors and politicians tell you that Israel is the victim and it is in a war with Hamas, remember what Chomsky said instead: “Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques and slums to attack a population [under occupation] that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanised armour, no command in control, no army … and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.” 

Dr Quraysha Ismail Sooliman is National Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria.

This article first appeared in the Mail & Guardian on 10 November 2023.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Pretoria.

- Author Dr Quraysha Ismail Sooliman

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