The West’s hypocrisy towards Gaza’s breakout is stomach-turning

By Jonathan Cook

There will be little sympathy in the West as, yet again, besieged Palestinians are bombed by Israel, the immense suffering justified by the term ‘Israeli retaliation’

Palestinian civilians in wait as rescue efforts continue among the rubble of the Ebu Dakka building, destroyed by Israeli fighter jets in Khan Younis, Gaza, on 7 October 2023 (Reuters)

The current outpouring of sympathy for Israel should make anyone with half a heart wretch.

Not because it is not awful that Israeli civilians are dying and suffering in such large numbers. But because Palestinian civilians in Gaza have faced repeated rampages from Israel decade after decade, producing far more suffering, but have never elicited a fraction of the concern currently being expressed by western politicians or publics.

The West’s hypocrisy over Palestinian fighters killing and wounding hundreds of Israelis and holding dozens more hostage in communities surrounding and inside besieged Gaza is stark indeed. 

This is the first time Palestinians, caged in the coastal enclave, have managed to inflict a significant strike against Israel vaguely comparable to the savagery Palestinians in Gaza have faced repeatedly since they were entombed in a cage more than 15 years ago, when Israel began its blockade by land, sea and air in 2007.

Western media are calling the jailbreak and attack by Palestinians from Gaza “unprecedented” – and the most dismal intelligence failing by Israel since it was caught off-guard during the Yom Kippur War exactly 50 years ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas, which nominally runs the open-air prison of Gaza, of starting “a cruel and evil war”. But the truth is that the Palestinians have “started” nothing. They have managed, after so much struggle, to find a way to hurt their tormentor. 

Inevitably for the Palestinians, as Netanyahu also observed, “the price will be heavy” – especially for civilians. Israel will inflict on the prisoners the severest punishment for their impudence. 

Watch how little sympathy and concern there will be from the West for the many Palestinian men, women and children who are killed once again by Israel. Their immense suffering will be obscured, and justified, by the term “Israeli retaliation”. 

The real lessons

All the current analysis focusing on Israel’s intelligence “blunders” distracts from the real lesson of these rapidly evolving events.

No one really cared while Gaza’s Palestinans were subjected to a blockade imposed by Israel that denied them the essentials of life. The few dozen Israelis being held hostage by Hamas fighters pale in comparison with the two million Palestinians held hostage by Israel in an open-air prison for nearly two decades.

No one really cared when it emerged that Gaza’s Palestinians had been put on a “starvation diet” by Israel – only limited food was allowed in, calculated to keep the population barely fed. 

No one really cared when Israel bombed the coastal enclave every few years, killing many hundreds of Palestinian civilians each time. Israel simply called it “mowing the lawn”. The destruction of vast areas of Gaza, what Israeli generals boasted of as returning the enclave to the Stone Age, was formalised as a military strategy known as the “Dahiya doctrine“. 

No one really cared when Israeli snipers targeted nurses, youngsters and people in wheelchairs who came out to protest against their imprisonment by Israel. Many thousands were left as amputees after those snipers received orders to shoot the protesters indiscriminately in the legs or ankles. 

Western concern at the deaths of Israeli civilians at the hands of Palestinian fighters is hard to stomach. Have not many hundreds of Palestinian children died over the past 15 years in Israel’s repeated bombing campaigns on Gaza? Did their lives not count as much as Israeli lives – and if not, why not?

After so much indifference for so long, it is difficult to hear the sudden horror from western governments and media because Palestinians have finally found a way – mirroring Israel’s inhumane, decades-long policy – to fight back effectively. 

This moment rips off the mask and lays bare the undisguised racism that masquerades as moral concern in western capitals.

Hypocrisy distilled

Distilling that hypocrisy is Volodymr Zelenskiy, Ukraine‘s president. At the weekend, he issued a lengthy tweet condemning Palestinians as “terrorists” and offering Israel his unwavering support. 

He averred that “Israel’s right to self-defense is unquestionable”, adding: “The world must stand united and in solidarity so that terror does not attempt to break or subjugate life anywhere and at any moment.” 

The inversion of reality is breath-taking. The Palestinians cannot “subjugate life” in Israel. They have no such power, even if a few briefly managed to break out of their cage. It is Israel that has been subjugating Palestinian life for decades.

Not all forms of “terrorism”, it seems, are equal in the eyes of Zelenskiy, or his patrons in western capitals. Certainly, not the state terrorism of Israel that has made Palestinian lives a misery for decades. 

How does Israel have an “unquestionable right” to “defend itself” from the Palestinians whose territory it occupies and controls?

Israel, the much stronger, belligerent party, is now laying waste to Gaza “in retaliation”, as the BBC puts it, for the latest Palestinian attack. 

So on what grounds will Zelenskiy or his officials be able to condemn Moscow when it fires missiles “in retaliation” for Ukraine’s strikes on Russian territory? How, if Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation of Gaza is terrorism, as Zelenskiy asserts, is Ukrainain resistance to Russian occupation not equally terrorism?

No hiding place

By indulging Israel in its deceptions, Israel’s allies have allowed it to perpetrate ever more outrageous lies. At the weekend, Netanyahu warned Palestinians in Gaza to “leave now” because Israeli forces were preparing to “act with all force”. 

But Netanyahu knows, as do his western enablers, that Gaza’s population has nowhere to flee. There is no hiding place. Palestinians have been sealed into Gaza since Israel besieged it by land, sea and air. 

The only Palestinians able to “leave Gaza” are the armed factions who broke out of their Israeli-imposed jail and are being denounced as “terrorists” by western politicians and media.

Western governments so horrified by the Palestinian attack on Israel are also the governments that are remaining silent as Israel turns off the electricity to the prison that is Gaza – again in supposed “retaliation”. 

The collective punishment of two million Palestinians in Gaza, dependent on Israel for power because Israel surrounds and controls every aspect of their lives in the enclave, is a war crime

Strangely, western officials understand it is a war crime when Russia bombs power stations in Ukraine, turning off the lights. They scream for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be dragged to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. So why is it so difficult for them to understand the parallels of what Israel is doing to Gaza? 

Daring escape

There are two immediate, and contrasting, lessons to be learnt from what has happened this weekend. 

The first is that the human spirit cannot be caged indefinitely. Palestinians in Gaza have been constantly devising new ways to break free from their chains. 

They have built a network of tunnels, most of which Israel has located and destroyed. They have fired rockets that are invariably shot down by ever more sophisticated interception systems. They have protested en masse at the heavily fortified fences, topped by guntowers, Israel surrounded them with – only to be shot by snipers.

Now they have staged a daring escape. Israel will batter the enclave back into submission with massive bombardments, but only “in retaliation”, of course. The Palestinians’ craving for freedom and dignity will not be diminished. Another form of resistance, doubtless more brutal still, will emerge. 

And the parties most responsible for that brutality will be Israel and the West that supports it so lavishly, because Israel refuses to stop brutalising the Palestinians it forces to live under its rule.

Palestinian families take shelter at schools affiliated with United Nations (UN) due to Israeli bombardments in Gaza City, Gaza on October 08, 2023
A Palestinian child takes shelter with his family at a school affiliated with the United Nations due to Israeli bombardments in Gaza City on 8 October 2023 (Reuters)

The second lesson is that Israel, endlessly indulged by its western patrons, still has no incentive to internalise the fundamental truth above. The rhetoric of its current government of facists and Jewish supremacists may be particularly ugly, but there is a broad consensus among Israelis of all political stripes that the Palestinians must continue to be oppressed. 

Which is why the so-called opposition will not hesitate to support the military pounding of the long besieged enclave of Gaza, killing yet more Palestinian civilians to “teach them a lesson”, a lesson no one in Israel can articulate beyond asserting that Palestinians must accept their permanent inferiority and imprisonment. 

Already, the “good Israelis” – opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz – are in discussions with Neyanyahu to join him in an “emergency unity government”. 

What “emergency”? The emergency of Palestinians demanding the right not to live as prisoners in their own homeland.

Israelis and westerners can continue their mental gymnastics to justify the Palestinians’ oppression and refuse them any right to resist. But their hypocrisy and self-deceptions stand exposed for the rest of the world to see.

Jonathan Cookis a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. No one pays him to write these blog posts. If you appreciated it,  please consider visiting his website and make a donation to support his work. – Click here to support Jonathan’s work. Via Middle East Eye

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8 responses to “The West’s hypocrisy towards Gaza’s breakout is stomach-turning”

  1. Woopy Avatar

    For decades Israeli white supremists have murdered , tortured, and stolen from Palestinians. People from New York, Florida, New Jersey, and many other places have driven Palestinians from their homes at gunpoint, often showering white phosphorus upon Palestinian children who tried to help their parents. Home owners are frequently shot when they resist, even tortured then placed in Gaza prison.

    1. exot1c Avatar

      I must say that white phosphorus used as a weapon against people is a very cruel execution. Phosphorus burns at a temperature of 1200 degrees Celsius and cannot be extinguished by anything other than special reagents. A person exposed to white phosphorus burns alive as if in a cremation oven…

  2. scrdmgl Avatar

    Today more than ever we have an inescapable moral obligation, to denounce a rogue entity that practices and applies genocidal policies against a brotherly community that shares their Semitic blood. These policies are the same that Nazi Germany used against them, at the cost of a barbaric lost of millions of innocent lives in the holocaust. With world complicity this injustice took place in 1948 were a band of Fascists such as the Stern Gang, the Irgun and other Zionist rabble were allowed to found the Zionist entity. These elements were exposed and publicly denounced before the foundation of Israel, by notable American Jews in the NYT, with Albert Einstein and Hanna Arendt at the head of the list who openly called them Fascists. Now we have them supporting their fellow Nazis in Ukraine with money and weapons from day one even before the Maidan coup of 2014. Are we to be surprised? Not at all, obviously these people are desperately calling for divine intervention to punish their evil practices, since we know for a fact that God is dead, is up to us to take over the job and responsibility of the due reward.

    1. Prometheus Avatar

      “…the Stern Gang, the Irgun and other Zionist rabble were allowed to found the Zionist entity. ”

      The Zionist entity predates these particular desperados. Its origins can be found in Roman papal imperial crusades to recolonise the region under pseudo ‘Christian’ feudal warlords.
      After the Puritan Reformation back in the first E£izabethan age, around 1580, G£oriana had a rush of b£ood to the head and decided the Anglo-Saxons were such a fabulous success as warrior pillagers they must surely be among God’s ‘chosen people’ (i.e. ye o£de master race), and concluded themselves to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. They called it British Israelism.

      During the 19th century with the rise of modern nationalisms as reaction to the various contending imperialisms the Hungarian jounalist Theodore Herzl decided the long persecuted Jews needed their own geographic base, rather than the Judaic acceptance of the inclusivity of humankind, whose rejection by the narrow excluvist tribal/sectarianism of the Jerusalem temple Sanhedrin they blamed, and still blame, for their displacement.
      These cultural currents coincided with the pseudo-scientific rationalisations of presumptive heirarchical race-theories being promoted by European supremacists and were wide open to the opportunism of a variety of zealots, not least the Jewish and other banking mafiosi controlling g£obal trade as ascendant Britannia ruled the waves (and waived the rules when necessary).
      Washington inherited this parcel over the course of 20th century mercenary bloodbaths across the planet culminating in the Hiroshima signpost of our simian trajectory if we fail to harness that knuckledragging hi-tech monKKKey on our back and escape the escalaTory spirals of flat-Earth tribalisms and civilise ourselves in something slightly more human.
      Hence Biden has ordered his carrier fleet alerted to assist the regional wardog should anyone get any ideas about altering our course towards fu££ $p€ctrum dominance under the Nato subduction of the UN charter to ‘Western (i.e.corporate/financial) interests’.

      1. scrdmgl Avatar

        As the great George Galloway put it, Gaza is the biggest open air jail in world history, where about 2.2 million people are forcibly confined at the mercy of the Zionist Entity killing machine aka Israel. The US who carried a very light load in the last war that they participated in WWII, since then, they haven’t won a single conflict even facing defeat at the hands of people armed only with rifles and RPGs, such as in Afghanistan. But in general always overwhelming notably weak, minor or defenseless adversaries. Today, is calling a carrier group into action to support a major military power as the Zionist entity, who faces a rebellion by desperate people who have nothing to loose but an end to their miserable existence as prisoners of war with a Fascist jailer. The man at the head of the attack, is none other than Joseph Biden, a man who has surrendered US sovereignty to a foreign power, Israel ‘You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist he said’. The most remarkable feature of this treasonous act is not only the complicity of both parties in this position, but the apathy of the population witnessing this events. A whole population of 330+ million people fully lobotomized. Unbelievable.

  3. Philip Toal Avatar
    Philip Toal

    I’m increasingly aware of the vital importance Hamas shows in not engaging verbally whatsoever with the enemy.

  4. Woopy Avatar

    When somebody steals your home, tortures you and your children, then tells the world it’s ok because the thieves and torturers are chosen by God. What a sick world we live in.

  5. Nasir Khan Avatar

    Thank you Jonathan Cook for a factual analysis. The military and ideological strength of the US imperialists and their allies, who are committed to war, is the cause of the global chaos we live in. And, to our surprise, they follow what the Zionists of Israel tell them to do because of the political and social power of the vast networks of their lobbies throughout the Western world.