The brutal, ongoing violence in Gaza has brought on the usual handwringing and nonsense. Yet strangely, in some ways, there seems to be a bit of a breakthrough. It is long overdue.
In some quarters, the admissions now made by pundits, policy wonks and reporters would have been unthinkable a few years ago. One is that Netanyahu was never serious about allowing a Palestinian state: barrels of ink were used to insist he did. Some of us have known better for 20 years. We were ignored. Another was the extreme shift to the right in Israel. They are basically now a Zionist supremacist state. Obviously, too, the justifications for extreme violence by Israel have been clearly refuted: if there are this many rockets in Gaza, previous brutal attempts by Israel to destroy them have been a miserable failure. Lots of us knew that too...
When President Carter’s book Peace, Not Apartheid came out in 2006, he was ridiculed and vilified for suggesting Israel was an Apartheid state (a term that has serious implications in international law). That fact is now widely acknowledged. So too is the fact that Netanyahu’s policy not only flagrantly abuses human rights and breaks international law, but a is colossal failure that is more harmful to Israel in the long run than any force the Palestinians might bring to bear.
Other lies and myths are breaking down as well. In the past, many Americans threw up their hands in confusion when this issue came up, believing it too ancient, complex, or insoluble to understand. It is not.
One simple way to look at the current crisis is this: Zionist settlement in Palestine began in about 1895 and continues to this day. In all that time, it is hard to find an example of Palestinians taking land back from the Zionist settlers. That is why today, as Zionist settlers continue to steal Palestinian land, about five generations of Palestinians live in exile or as prisoners and refugees in their own country. Put bluntly, Palestinian violence has always been about defending their land, while Israeli violence has always been about taking it.
In 1895, the ignition point for the violence was Zionist settlers taking Palestinian land and homes. The current episode is no different. What we see today stems directly from Zionist settlers trying to evict Palestinians from their ancestral homes in East Jerusalem. It began in early May as Jewish settlers tried to evict Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem during Ramadan. Protests began, and at Friday prayers at the sacred Al Aqsa Mosque, Israeli police inflamed the situation by firing on protesting Palestinians. Over 200 Palestinians were wounded. Saturday brought more protests, and around 120 Palestinians were wounded. Some 17 Israeli soldiers were hurt.
Let me make some important distinctions here.
Read more: New and Really Old News about Gaza: An Update and Some Simple Truths