By Jamal Kanj
In the battle of his political life, Benjamin Netanyahu has nothing to lose. He could, however, gain vainglory and self-exaltation by murdering as many Palestinians as possible to satisfy the unquenchable vengeful Israeli culture. A crime catapulted by Western leaders who rallied behind Netanyahu in the aftermath of the prisoners’ revolt against the posts guarding the largest open-air prison on earth.
The embrace of Netanyahu by Western leaders has granted the bona fide pathological liar an unchecked authority to carpet-bomb civilian centers, target hospitals, and orchestrate the evacuation of northern Gaza in order to complete the ethnic cleansing of historical Palestine.
In a disturbing parallel to the 1948 Zionist-led massacres that marked the initial ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Israeli forces committed further atrocities in northern Gaza this week. Two of which targeted thousands of displaced refugees seeking protection at the al-Fakhura UN school, and another at an evacuation center in Tel al-Zataar neighborhood.
The deliberate targeting of evacuation centers and hospitals where civilians sought shelter in northern Gaza is part of “Israel’s” terror strategy to intensify the forceful evacuation of residents from their neighborhoods. Let’s not forget that those who heeded Israeli directions and moved south found themselves facing the same danger. Dozens lost their lives on the highways, and others were killed upon reaching the ostensibly “safer” shelters. “Israel” is ensuring that no place in all of Gaza remains safe, a troubling reality reflected in the fact that 43% of civilians killed in the Strip are in the so-called “safer” south.
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In the past 40 days, Gaza has endured an onslaught equivalent to more than three nuclear bombs. This surpasses by threefold the total number of bombs dropped by the United States on Afghanistan throughout an entire year. Regrettably, US taxpayers footed the bill for both wars. While acknowledging civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the US did not primarily pursue indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations as its primary war objective. For “Israel”, however, the main goal is to remove the civilians, or as “Israel’s” Minister for Agriculture and former head of Shin Bet, Avi Dichter, articulated this policy on Israeli TV, “We are now actually rolling out the Gaza Nakba.” The Nakba, is the term Palestinians use for the ethnic cleansing from Palestine in 1948.
“Rolling out” the Nakba, or human-made catastrophe, can neither be achieved without inducing flight and instill fear among the civilian population, nor without a cover-up and Israeli exception to international law. Western media for example, almost always, qualify their coverage on the number of killed Palestinian civilians with a statement like, we know “Israel” has warned civilians to move south, in effect normalizing, and, to an extent, mitigating the responsibility of the Israeli army for civilian casualties. In fact, this could mark the first war where the burden of avoiding loss of life is placed on noncombatants rather than the military conducting the war.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken declares from New Delhi, “Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks.” Yet, the American government continues to reject, or is unable to force “Israel” to submit to a ceasefire. This glaring cognitive dissonance in America’s inconsistency between its public pronouncement expressing specious concerns for the loss of life, yet it calls the war—that murdered “far too many”— as “self-defense.” At the same time, it provides the material and nonmaterial means to carry out further killing.
It’s beyond hypocrisy when Biden and Western leaders call on “Israel” to minimizethe killing of civilians. The passive plea to minimize murdering children, rather than unequivocally ending it, sends a clear message that empowers “Israel” to persist in its murder with impunity. Does Secretary Blinken know the acceptable magic number that would satisfy “Israel’s” vengeance? If 13,000 civilians (75% women and children) are not “too many” enough, what should be the threshold to reach that limit? We know as of this writing it has to be more than 5,500 murdered children.
This begs the obvious question: Does the same consideration extend to the Palestinian side? What is the fair number of Israeli civilians that can be killed? Was the number exceeded on October 7? Or is it a case where only the lives of the “less than equal” humans are expendable?
Besides the civilian population, and “safe” UN shelters, “Israel” continued to target hospitals. The first was the massacre outside the Baptist al Ahli Hospital, murdering and injuring more than 500, which was then exculpated by Biden who owned the Israeli fabricated narrative. This week it is al-Shifa, the largest medical complex in the whole of Gaza.
Medical centers are traditionally regarded as havens for treating the sick, alleviating pain, and preserving life. International law, specifically the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 18, and its Additional Protocol I of 1977, in Articles 12 and 19, provide explicit protections for civilian hospitals. Despite this, “Israel” has turned Gaza hospitals into the largest morgues, and their yards the site of massacres and mass graves.
A friend shared a harrowing account of his brother, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital. According to him, doctors were compelled to manage death by attrition rather than focusing on healing. They faced the agonizing task of playing God and deciding who should be next to have their life support turned off and who should be saved. They ran out of fuel to keep the power generators running, and ambulances operational. “Israel” destroyed the photovoltaic (solar) panels that generated little electricity. The hospital ran out of life-saving medications to treat bacteria in simple wounds or open cuts. They lacked the anesthesia to apply when they had to amputate a limb to stop the spread of an infection, they had no medication to treat. Doctors are forced into having to choose between maintaining neonatal incubators under controlled conditions of temperature, oxygen, humidity, and light, or allocating the same energy to save older patients.
Transforming places of healing into morgues seems inadequate for “Israel”, as hospitals emerge as the last bastions hindering the execution of its “final solution” for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza. The systematic dismantling of civilian infrastructures, encompassing power, electricity, water and sewer treatment, telecommunication, and others, is considered indispensable to make life unlivable. The objective is evident: to establish conditions so intolerable that civilians feel compelled to abandon their homes, thereby obstructing any prospect of their return.
To achieve this, “Israel” conducted a disinformation media campaign over several weeks, falsely showing a computer-generated rendering of a Hamas military command and control center under al-Shifa Hospital. In an effort to debunk these baseless allegations, the Palestinian Ministry of Health invited international organizations to conduct independent investigations and verify the facts. Unfortunately, this appeal was disregarded, allowing “Israel” to act on its uncontested lies and launch an attack, ultimately entering the hospital on November 14.
Upon entering the hospital, “Israel” orchestrated a staged television production depicting Israeli soldiers delivering supplies. However, unbeknownst to viewers, the showcased items were primarily logistical goods intended for the Israeli army stationed in the complex. The hospital has no need for new equipment; rather, it urgently needed fuel and power to sustain its existing operations, which “Israel” did not provide.
The public relations charade became evident when, instead of ensuring the hospital’s functionality through the purported “new Israeli supply,” the army issued orders for the evacuation of the sick, including the removal of 31 premature infants from incubators, displacing dialysis patients, and leaving the elevators inoperative. Meanwhile, it continued to hold more than 100 patient hostages as human shields inside the hospital.
According to my friend, the Israeli army occupied the first floor and prevented medical personnel from accessing life-saving medical equipment on the lower floors. Failing to show the alleged military “command center” for Hamas, “Israel” resorted to showcasing AK-47 rifles purportedly found in the hospital. It’s worth noting that, even if the guns weren’t planted by Israeli soldiers, they could have been part of the hospital’s security measures.
When “Israel” couldn’t substantiate its claims of the supposed “command center,” Israeli Hasbara shifted its narrative. Netanyahu then asserted that the facility was used to hold Israelis detained by Hamas. While there may be some truth to this, the hospital likely treated Israeli captives—a moral responsibility to provide them with care according to international law.
Despite the Israeli army’s failure to produce evidence, both the US Pentagon Department and President Biden reiterated the false Israeli claim, accusing Hamas of committing war crimes by “having their headquarters, their military, hidden under a hospital.” Mind you that just two days earlier, President Joe Biden said hospitals in Gaza “must be protected,” and cautioned for “less intrusive action” during the Israeli war on Gaza.
However, when “Israel” disregarded the President’s advice and seized control of the largest hospital, he backpedaled to cover up for his inability to prevent Israeli “intrusive action.” In an attempt to save face and deflect attention from his failure, Biden embraced the now-debunked Israeli narrative about a supposed headquarters. By submitting to America’s largest welfare state, Biden, the leader of the so-called “free world,” is being diminished to a mere caricature, mindlessly regurgitating Israeli disinformation.
It’s important to highlight that as the Israeli army advanced towards the hospital, there was no resistance or any sign of military fortifications in the vicinity of the hospital. This belies Israeli and American claims that the hospital or civilians were used as a human shield. Nevertheless, upon “Israel” taking control of the area, it promptly positioned tanks and soldiers within the compound, effectively using patients and medical staff as human shields against potential counterattacks.
The only remaining full-service hospital in north Gaza, the Indonesian Hospital is next on Israeli targets to be put out of commission. As of early Monday morning (November 20), the hospital was under Israeli military attack with tanks surrounding the facility. A repeat of al-Shifa Hospital before it was occupied and vacated by Israeli soldiers.
Soon following the “conquering” of what seems to be “Israel’s” primary military objective, and as the hospital was effectively put out of service, Bezalel Smotrich, a senior minister in the Israeli government, came with a suggestion for a “voluntary emigration of Gaza (Palestinians) Arabs to countries around the world.” The bedeviled plan was packaged as a charitable solution to address “the residents of Gaza and the entire region after 75 years of refugees, poverty, and danger.” He omitted, however, any mention of who caused the suffering, and failed to acknowledge that the 75-year mark signifies the number of years since “Israel” was imposed upon Palestine.
The descendant of Ukrainian Khazar Jewish converts, whose surname is derived from the Ukrainian town of Smotrych, chooses not to refer to Palestinians, who graciously welcomed his refugee parents in Palestine, by their Palestinian national identity but rather colloquially as “Arabs.” Also, last March he spoke in Paris, behind a banner depicting a map of “greater Israel,” encompassing all of historical Palestine, with borders extending into Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. In his address at a memorial organized by France’s Jewish Agency, he called Palestinians a “fictitious” people. It’s noteworthy that in France, characterizing “Israel” as a fictitious state would be considered a hate crime. Paradoxically, under the same law, it seems acceptable for an Israeli minister to deny the existence of the Palestinian people.
In addition, during a debate in the Israeli Knesset in October 2021, Smotrich addressed a descendant of Palestinians who remained in their homeland when “Israel” was forced on them in 1948, “You’re here by mistake, it’s a mistake that Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and didn’t throw you out in 1948.”
With that in mind, the “Israel” war government is taking the obvious steps in its current war on Gaza to fix Ben-Gurion’s “mistake.” The first was to ethnically cleanse the north of Gaza under the euphemism of evacuation to the “safer” south. In the subsequent phase, the focus shifted south where “Israel” dropped leaflets urged Palestinians who evacuated there to move to a new designated “safe” area on the farthest southwest corner of Gaza.
Not surprisingly, this area is on the border with Egypt, suggesting that Sinai could be the ultimate intended destination for Gazans. Addressing the new military orders, Mark Regev, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister, explained to MSNBC, “Because the western areas are closer to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, humanitarian aid could be brought in “as quickly as possible.”
It’s astonishing how Israeli officials unabashedly cloak their dubious intentions in ostensibly altruistic terms. They suggest evacuating people from their homes because they want them to be closer to aid at the border of another country instead of allowing aid to enter Gaza. Similarly, Smotrich proposed to solve the 75 years of refugees not by returning them to their original homes, but by ethnically cleansing them as distant refugees in far-off places. What started as a covert ethnic cleansing and mass dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 has evolved into an overt Israeli policy in 2023. The challenge, however, lies in the West’s reluctance to acknowledge Israeli actions for what they are, as openly voiced by Israeli leaders.
“Israel’s” war on Gaza, withal, is not about October 7 as Western mainstream media would suggest. It’s about the 75-year-old war to empty Palestine of its indigenous population. “Israel” is systematically carrying out its plan under the leadership of a psychopath intoxicated on American weapon technology and taxpayers’ money to fund his wars, enabled by prevailing Western double standards.
Jamal Kanj, is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America, and other books. He writes frequently on Arab world issues for various national and international commentaries. Via Al mayadeen
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