The terrible events of recent days in Palestine offer us nothing new, neither regarding the extent of Israel’s violence, nor regarding the absence of a prompt action from the International Community.
What has changed, maybe, according to the protests in the streets all of the world, is the reaction of the public opinion.
This is because the seigniorage of Israeli finance has, for decades, made its entry into the large publishing groups, and despite the effort of numerous journalists who are on the war scenes to report this aggression, few others, with the support of slimy newspaper editors who make decisions as CEOs of capitalist corporations, smear the truth and do not allow the viewer and reader to know the reality of the facts.
We say, this in no uncertain terms, because now it is time to shake off any imaginative sense of guilt for how much the Jews had to suffer because of the Nazi fascism: the State of Israel, led and supported by far-right political forces is in fact a dictatorship that does not listen to the socialist and pacifist oppositions, and finds its raison d’être in the military occupation of a territory belonging to other people: the Palestinians.
The People of Palestine have in fact been undergoing an uninterrupted genocide for 73 years, see their daughters and sons locked up in concentration camps, and are progressively deprived of their lands through armed aggressions that aim to deport local populations elsewhere.
These deportations, these concentration camps and this genocide has a culprit: Israel. And many accomplices: the countries that claim to boast a democratic tradition respectful of human rights but that do not lift a finger, nor say a word against this extermination.
This is not a war between Israel and Palestine, no.
It is a military attack on the Palestinians carried out by the most powerful army in the world and equipped with the most modern and sophisticated military technologies.
The Israel Defense Force, in fact, has nothing to do with ‘defense’ because it deals exclusively with attacking another population and is only numerically inferior to the United States Army.
The State of Israel is, in all respects and for all to see, guilty of the crime of Apartheid; the Rome Statute of 1988, or the international treaty with which the International Criminal Court was established, defines Apartheid as a crime against Humanity which consists of 3 main elements: the intent to maintain the dominion of a racial group on another, systematic oppression and inhuman acts.
Do you want some examples?
If I am a Palestinian refugee born in Lebanon I am not allowed to enter Israel and the Israeli Occupied Territories such as Gaza or the West Bank.
If I am a resident of East Jerusalem and I go abroad for a short period of time for family, study or work reasons, they can deny me residency.
If I was born in Israel but in one of the 35 Bedouin villages not recognized by the State of Israel I cannot receive essential services such as electricity and drinking water, or use essential infrastructures and facilities such as roads and schools.
We at The Human Exploring Society are in constant contact with local sources who have been telling us what is happening for some time. In particular, in recent days we have personally and continually collected the testimonies of two Palestinian boys who are currently based in Gaza.
Nas, 20 years old, has told us every single day about the situation in the sites of the bombings, which started again after the evictions of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem very close to the old city where Israel wants to replace the Palestinian families with Israeli families, which is in clear violation of international law, as is the case in many other areas of the Occupied Territories.
The reality, in fact, is that the UN has never recognized the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel, but Israel continues to occupy it with militarily and systematically carry out ethnic cleansing.
This was not the cause of the clashes, but certainly the detonator.
The situation was already serious due to the rise in the level of violence by far-right groups that the government has maintained to operate the roundups and offer threats to the Palestinian inhabitants and traders of Jerusalem.
To this sensitive climate, the armed intervention of Israel inside the Al-Aqsa mosque was introduced, with shots into the crowds of demonstrators who were inside.
Nas lives far from there, unable to visit Jerusalem, locked up in the largest concentration camp in the world: the Gaza Strip. As large as a quarter of the London metropolitan area, it is home to 1.8 million Palestinians (the third most densely populated place on the planet).
Nas lives in the most overpopulated area, Al-Shati, also known as Beach Camp, located further north in the Strip and heavily hit by Israeli missiles since the first hours of these bombings.
“Imagine 20, 30 minutes of hearing rockets from Israel” he tells me.
“We have sporadic bombardments, but we haven’t felt attacked in this way in six years.”
When I ask him about the health situation, Nas very coldly confirms that it has always been tragic because “there is not enough medical equipment to deal with it. There are many cases of Covid and the most serious die at home due to lack of care. Also because, from here, it is almost impossible to reach hospitals in Israel or the Occupied Territories. “
Nas lost his mother when he was 14 and a year ago his older brother, both from cancer, and now lives with a cousin left alone because his brother is also hospitalized in a critical condition due to a tumour.
International scientific sources have long reported the exaggerated incidence of cancer cases in the Gaza Strip, especially among the youngest:
“This disaster – confirms Nas – is the effect of the environmental contamination that we have always suffered. It is difficult to have adequate drinking water and sewers because it is not easy to build them. The water with which we wash ourselves is not drinkable: we try not to ingest it, of course,
but years after years…
And then the electricity, which we already rarely have for no more than 6 hours a day, often suddenly fails, thus blocking the purification plants and preventing the proper storage of certain foods. And then the food often arrives spoiled because the loads are blocked for days at the border, under the sun …
Then there are the bombs, those of twenty years ago, those of now, who knows what they contained and who knows what substances continue to come out of there.”
The radioactive elements and heavy metals released by the repeated bombing must certainly have contributed to this situation, made even more complicated by the fact that Israel denies a third of the requests from Palestinians in Gaza who need cancer treatment in hospitals outside the world’s biggest concentration camp. Some basic treatments such as radiotherapy are not possible in Gaza. Two-thirds of Gaza’s sick children are denied the accompaniment of a parent if they are to be treated in hospitals outside Gaza.
And improving the hospital situation from inside Gaza is practically impossible because, in 2018 for example, 98% of requests for medical personnel who wanted to participate in internships, refresher courses or conferences outside Gaza were denied.
I ask Nas how companies and shops manage to receive basic necessities:
“Through the Karam Abu Salem border crossing, which is also controlled by Israel, who regularly close it for days at a time”.
Let’s try for a moment to imagine what kind of situation would be created if the US metropolis of Phoenix received goods exclusively through a road…
But Nas, like many Palestinians, does not give up easily and is also committed to volunteering, actively collaborating with the internationalist project Gaza FreeStyle which brings activists, contributions and ideas from Italy to allow young Gazans to express themselves through street art.
Crucially, after changing the topic to the positive improvements made by Gaza FreeStyle, Nas’ words become more upbeat…
“My first activity with them was building a skate park. Then my friendship with them became closer, and now I consider them my second family. Whenever they come to Gaza I am there to offer my help in any way possible. “
For a whole day we didn’t hear from him, then when he came back on line he reassured us:
“I was trying to sleep, last night I didn’t sleep a wink because the bombs fell very close, and one destroyed a residential building many families lived in. I’m trying to get information on how many deaths there have been. Because there have certainly been many.”
During the same days I also spoke at length with Ali, and he too was unreachable for very long periods due to the lack of electricity…but not only this.
On the third night of the bombing he slept at the company where he works because it was impossible to go home without seriously risking being hit by a bomb. Ali lives in Beit Hanoun, right on the border with Israel, and often one of the first towns to be hit hard when attacks begin:
“Today they hit a house where a woman and her disabled child lived. They both died. By now it is clear that they are hitting the houses. I think I am safe by going out at a certain time or stopping in a certain place, but in reality I’m never safe. None of us here are safe. “
While we were updating each other on the bulletins of the dead coming from local sources, we tried to talk about other things to distract him from the painful statistics. Ali is currently working, having studied Business Administration and with hopes to work abroad sometime, but above all, he is a magnificent artist.
“I would love to study History of Art at the University of Siena and for this reason I am trying to improve my Italian. I have been painting for many years, it is the way I express myself.”
He sends me photos of some of his canvases, all full of research of colour balance, feminine shapes, and no compromise to the message.
I am attracted to the painting of a crucified woman…
“I often paint naked women, and it is not easy in a country where culture has a strong religious connotation… But this is the way I want to help a woman to free herself from a society in which there is too much masculinity and little security. I live in an Arab-Muslim society that maintains traditional customs, and for this reason I have been threatened and imprisoned numerous times, but I do not give up. That is the object of my art and I want to continue to paint it. “
I tell him that I find a certain Dali influence in some canvases and he confirms it with a laugh:
“I even grew a mustache like him! And now I am also focused on a series of paintings relating to metaphysics”.
Then the conversation is interrupted again and it is another 24 hours before Ali reappears, more shaken than usual.
“Some houses near mine have been hit,” he tells me, “but what devastated me most is that a building not far from here where many large families live was hit by 30 missiles. Thirty missiles on a house. Thirty. They want to kill us in our homes! Many children are dying because we don’t know where to put them that is safe. “
At the time I finish this article, both Nas and Ali have not responded for several hours; I’m worried but I’m confident that they will, starting as usual with their apologies for being away too long.
Excuses not due from Nas and Ali.
Excuses unnecessary of these two boys born and raised under bombs.
Excuses instead, due to them, from that part of Israeli society that has been contributing for decades to replicate the extermination suffered by their ancestors.
We are welcome to continue our feelings of guilt about past crimes on Jewish people,
but now there are innocent lives that deserve the world’s attention and action: the Palestinian Genocide can be stopped.