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A question of humanity

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For several years the Palestinian-Israeli situation had escaped the main news. I was suspicious of the Abraham Accord signed off on during the Trump presidency; it appeared one-sided. There are, and have been, many actions and actors in the decades-old conflict; Trump and Hamas are only the latest.

The raw state of affairs on the ground should not just be predicated on the rights of Israel to be recognised as a state by the Arab nations, which is so often emphasised, but also on the right of all the citizens within that Israeli state to be treated as equals.

Equally, the system of life inside Israel as unequal citizens is a subject of its own without the ultimate idea of a two-state solution. Yes, it is understandable that for the past 70 years the battle for Israel to be recognised as a state among the Arab nations has been complicated and the resistance made more difficult to understand when the history of the conflict is heavily narrated by a Western political agenda in the region.

The pragmatic side, when viewed by moderate observers from both sides, sees the solution as less of a military issue predicated on security of Israel alone, and more as a civil and political issue based on the rights of every individual and group having the right of recognition, respect and participation within a construct that recognises that right.

Not to suggest that it was heaven on earth, but before the Second World War, Muslims, Jews and Christians coexisted in what was then Palestine — which we now call Israel. There was always a claim to Jerusalem by all three religions. It was the Holocaust that exacerbated Jewish people’s call for a homeland as a sanctuary from anti-Semitism — the likes of which they were experiencing in Europe.

It was not Muslim militia or Islamic radicalism’s attacks on Jewish people that started the conflict. The King David Hotel, which was occupied by the British Government, was bombed in 1946 by zealous Zionist Jews working underground like a terrorist group. However, even then, the argument for the Jewish need for sanctuary did not trump the rights of the existing people in Palestine for security or justify the need to expel more than one million of them from their homeland — or, as is the case at present — turn five million people into second-class citizens to create a sanctuary. We cannot take the security and the right to live from one set of people, in order for another people to gain or feel free and secure.

Yet that is the lie we have all come to accept, justified by the notion and the politics of security. One day, reason will prevail. The Abraham Accord at least exists in name; all it needs now is the inclusion of the Palestinian people. No use having a peace around the region that is based on embracing apartheid within Palestine. Nor do we need either the antics or the rhetoric of neighbouring nations yelling “death to Israel”. What is needed is the recognition that every person within what we know of Israel and Palestine should be entitled to a life of security and dignity, which would be actualised as an Abraham accord.

America has the military might and superiority that neither Hamas nor Israel can win a war against. Humbly, I would venture that Hamas would secede to peace if America were to guarantee security for both Palestine and Israeli. This existing foreign policy stand of America’s to support Israel’s right to defend itself regardless of what it does to anyone is a recipe for continued conflict and suppression of Palestinian people, in particular.

Hamas is playing vanguard for the Palestinian people because America will not — nor will anyone else. The world has allowed two to three generations of Palestinians to grow up without hope. This is not the holy vision of God, nor a sign of the holy city of Zion or the promised new Jerusalem. This is raw nationalism based on ethnicity. Christians, in particular, must not turn to a biblical justification and pass a blind eye to what is clearly apartheid. Remember the words “none of God's children are free unless all of them are free” — and that includes Palestinians.

Those who recently protested under the banner of Black Lives Matter and attracted the moral sentiment of the world must now simultaneously share the world’s spotlight with the same enthusiasm against the same level of disproportionate use of force with the Palestinian people.

Ten-year-old Palestinian girl Layan Muhareb receives medical treatment of her wounds caused by an Israeli airstrike in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip on May 20 (Photograsph by Yousef Masoud/AP)

When, because of sophisticated military might, half their population is left without drinking water and their only Covid-detection hospital is decimated amid a pandemic and 600,000 children out of school — without mentioning the loss of life on both sides — for reasons entirely discretionary but created in an environment where one needs to accept a less than a dignified existence just to survive. That undignified position fostered by many components, such as the overarching position of an Israeli blockade, and the insistence of mullahs and reactionaries who seek compliance in their resistance movement against Israel.

A Palestinian man sits on a damaged car after Israeli airstrikes on Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip on May 20. Heavy airstrikes pummelled a street in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, destroying ramshackle homes with corrugated metal roofs nearby. The military said it struck two underground launchers in the camp used to fire rockets at Tel Aviv (Photograph by Khalil Hamra/AP)

The population is stuck in a bottleneck with no foreseeable way out. At least In the United States, there is the hope of a change in the culture of policing and of legislative reform and legitimate voice.

Palestinian mourners carry body of Montaser Jawabreh, who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces, during his funeral in Umm Dar village, near the West Bank city of Jenin on May 20 (Photograph by Majdi Mohammed/AP)

However, for the Palestinian situation, there is not just the political dynamic, which is now culturally endemic and the means of survival for what is known to be the Israeli politic, supported by the military and global political strength of US and Britain, while the Palestinians remain stateless and without any recognised military support as the world watches.

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a slingshot behind the smoke of burning tyres during clashes with Israeli troops at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 18. At least one protester was killed and more than 70 others wounded, including 16 by live fire, in clashes with Israeli troops in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and other cities, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Israeli army said two soldiers were wounded by gunshots to the leg (Photograph by Nasser Nasser/AP)

This is not a matter of anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. It's a call for advancing human dignity. The vision of the democratic states of Israel or Palestine must be as two shining lights on the hill. We must never let an argument for human dignity be considered anti-Semitic or pro-Arab when it is about our humanity.

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Published May 27, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated May 26, 2021 at 12:30 pm)

A question of humanity

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