Written by Gilbert Schramm Gilbert Schramm
Published: 15 May 2022 15 May 2022
I thought I would take some time to share my recent reflections on two continuing conflicts that trouble the world (or should). These are the ongoing aggressions in Ukraine and Palestine. The brutal, naked aggression of Russia in Ukraine has captivated the world for almost three months. The recent killing of the noted and much beloved journalist for Al-Jazeera, Shireen Abu Aqla, a 51-year-old Palestinian American, has also shocked many. She was a correspondent for Al Jazeera's Arabic news channel and had reported on the Israel-Palestinian conflict for two decades. Her killing has reignited some attention for the long-standing aggression against the Palestinian people.
It is laudable that the US and Europe have responded so promptly and vigorously to Russia’s gross violation of international laws and norms and the enormous suffering they have imposed on the people of Ukraine. Though they differ in significant ways, the situation for Ukrainians and Palestinians is much the same. In both cases, civilian populations are bearing the brunt of the struggle. In both cases the aggressors (Russia and the Zionists in Israel) began their assault with only the flimsiest of arguments and proceeded to seize territory with brutal disregard for civilians. The actions of both have displaced countless refugees.
When one views photos, there is little discernable difference between the pictures of the destruction Russia has levied in Mariupol, Kiev, and Kharkiv, and pictures of the aftermath of Israeli assaults on Gaza over the last 20 years. The level of civilian deaths compared to those of armed combatants in both cases is far out of line with most average military operations. I can only surmise that both Israel and Russia are conducting “special operations.” And after all, to the victims (if they survive) does it really matter whether their homes were destroyed by Russian artillery or by an Israeli bulldozer bought with US taxpayer dollars?
The Zionist landgrab in Palestine began around 1895, well over a hundred years ago. It has been a slow-motion deconstruction of an indigenous culture and people. The Russian adventure in Ukraine began just a few months ago—it is an application of blunt force to seize land. Yet the objectives in both cases are the same. It is also interesting that both aggressors started with the claim that their proposed victims were cultural or ethnic “cousins” and would welcome them. They were, in both cases, simply denying their identity and legitimacy as peoples, as cultures, and as nations.
Read more: What Ukraine and Palestine Have in Common (Written in honor of Shireen Abu Aqla and Nakba Day)