Censorship International Miko Peled

Why Palestine is Burning Like Never Before

The dialogue phenomenon tries to cover up the fact that millions of Palestinians are displaced and that despair is all that life has to offer them. But it provides no hope, no solution, only a guarantee that things will continue to get worse for Palestinians.
Palestinian children play outside their homes on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp, Jan. 19, 2022. Khalil Hamra | AP

By Miko Peled / Mintpress News

When no one is steering the ship, the wind, the currents and the waves lead it into the depths. This is what is happening in Palestine. The Naqab is burning, Sheikh Jarrah is burning, young and old Palestinians are being killed everywhere, Gaza is practically underwater with flooding, and Palestinian refugees are barely alive in camps throughout the region. Furthermore, in the U.S. capital there isn’t a single entity that represents Palestine; and, in those rare capitals where some representation does exist, it is quite useless.

Zionist trolls on social media are disrupting the lives of Palestinians and those who support Palestine, while social media platforms allow Israeli Defense Force (IDF) pages to portray hate-filled, racist Zionist terrorist organizations as peace-loving, attractive – even sexy – groups of well-meaning people.

The refugees

Palestinian refugees, both in Palestine and in the neighboring countries, not only are forgotten but are also being allowed to perish slowly as the world denies them meaningful relief. Living in camps built 75 years ago that were only supposed to house them temporarily; living through the hunger, poverty, constant bombardment and terrorizing by Israel. In addition to all of that, wars and massacres by various groups – usually working in collusion with Israel — have made their lives a living hell.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, was created to care for the Palestinian refugees but it is not really able to care for all of them. As mentioned in an earlier article in this publication, the legal case for reparations and return is strong. However, the same study that made that legal case also revealed that there are legal distinctions between refugees, and, while these distinctions are unseen, they exist and make a great deal of difference in what little relief refugees are able to receive.

The dismal funding UNRWA has received over the years was barely enough to allow the Palestinian refugees to survive. Then, in 2018, under Zionist direction, President Donald Trump proudly announced that his administration was going to end all funding to UNRWA. If that was not enough, according to a 2021 Al-Jazeera report, “The United Kingdom cut more than half its funding to UNRWA. It went from $56.5 million in 2020 to $27.6 [million in 2021].” The report also states that wealthy Gulf states that once contributed $200 million provided only $20 million in 2021.

According to a report by the Brookings Institution:

Nowhere are the UNRWA cuts more acute than in the Gaza Strip, where about two million souls inhabit a tiny area twice the size of Washington, D.C. that few can gain permission to leave. There, UNRWA provides services to 1.3 million people, spending about 40 percent of its overall budget. Roughly 262,000 boys and girls are enrolled in 267 UNRWA schools there. Twenty-two health clinics provide for millions of patient visits a year.

In Lebanon, where the entire country is suffering from what seems to be an unprecedented economic crisis, Palestinian refugees are particularly vulnerable. According to a recent story in the Palestine Chronicle:

Not being able to obtain Lebanese citizenship, Palestinians cannot get Lebanese identity cards and therefore they cannot access social assistance and government services. To receive medical help or any other form of humanitarian aid, they need to turn to UNRWA and charities.”

Furthermore, the Chronicle states:

As the demand for their services is rising and the costs of preparing food baskets or distributing medicines are going up, UN agencies and aid groups are struggling to cope with helping all those who need it… Not only are the living conditions there very poor but refugees receive practically no support from the state.

The situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was dire even before the current crisis but now, faced with meager savings, limited employment opportunities, and skyrocketing inflation, they are destitute and unable to meet their basic needs.”

Optimism

While many people like to add a touch of hope when speaking about Palestine, in the current reality it is wrong to present anything but urgency. People often quote polls that show that public opinion has changed, that young American Jews feel this way or that way about Israel and about Palestine. None of that is helping the people in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrahneighborhood. It does not help the Palestinians in the Naqab, where 11,000 homes were demolished in a few short years, and who are now being attacked by militarized police units for saying “Enough!” It does not help the people in Gaza.

Optimism is good but it cannot take the place of urgency. Palestine is burning; it is being overrun by an armed, violent, racist and ruthless regime that was democratically elected by the Israeli people. Israelis either cheer it on or sit idly by as the massive war machine they put in power destroys everything in its path. It is time for unprecedented, original, bold action that will stop the Zionist killing maching in its tracks and force change in Palestine.

Dialogue, displacement and despair

In an interview I had recently published with Dr. Ghada Karmi, Dr. Karmi said “I don’t want to hear about how nice things are. Why don’t you tell me why I can’t go home.” The dialogue industry promotes fake, feel-good exchanges between Israelis and Palestinians, which in turn are designed to create the illusion that there is hope. As though all that is needed is for us to sit together and get to know one another because deep down inside we are all well-meaning people. This is precisely what Dr. Karmi is talking about when she says she doesn’t want to hear “how nice things are.”

At the end of all the meetings, camps and weekend retreats, Israelis return to their privileged lives and the Palestinians to their reality of constant oppression. Israelis continue to serve in the military in all of its ugly forms, as reservists or professionals, and Palestinians return to the camps and villages where they live with targets marked on their backs.

The dialogue phenomenon tries to cover up the fact that millions of Palestinians are displaced and that despair is all that life has to offer them. But it provides no hope, no solution, only a guarantee that things will continue to get worse for Palestinians.

As the saying goes, if you’re not mad – infuriated, actually – then you’re not paying attention.

Miko Peled

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

4 comments

  1. The irony that Israel, which is a nuclear menace and major aggressor in the Middle East region, portrays itself as a victim of its neighbours cannot be overstated. To legitimise the state of permanent war, Israel sought early on to portray its citizens as actual or potential victims of wars and persecution inflicted by Palestinian resistance and Arab states, which in turn necessitated Israel’s use of permanent war and persecution as “retaliation”.

    by Joseph Massad, reposted from Middle East Eye, December 30, 2021

    Over the last few decades, Israel has been threatening war against Iran incessantly. Theatrical performances have been staged at the United Nations, such as in 2012, when former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a cartoonish diagram of a bomb symbolising Iran’s alleged nuclear threat; or when, in 2018, he brandished an amateurishly labelled Google map of an alleged Iranian nuclear site.

    Such Israeli propaganda has been accompanied by much huffing and puffing by the country’s military and civilian leaderships, which have been interchangeable at least since General Yigal Allon became acting prime minister in 1969 (although earlier Israeli prime ministers, including David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol, also played major military roles).

    Israel the real nuclear threat

    Yet it is Israel, not Iran, that has been in possession of nuclear bombs since the 1960s – and it is Israel that allegedly had plans to use them during the June 1967 war, and again when it was losing in the early days of the October 1973 war.

    Israel had acquired the ability to make nuclear weapons from none other than France, which conspired with Israel in the latter’s 1956 invasion of Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai, in return for which the Israelis demanded that France build them a nuclear reactor at Dimona.

    In 1973, Israel reportedly loaded 13 nuclear bombs and was ready for them to be dropped on Egypt and Syria, had the US not come through with an air bridge of weapons that turned the war in Israel’s favour.

    The irony of Israel, which is a nuclear menace and major aggressor in the Middle East region, portraying itself as a victim of its neighbours cannot be overstated. One of the most remarkable features of the establishment of this settler-colony in 1948 was its insistence on establishing a state of permanent war in order to expand its territory for further zionist colonisation and to safeguard its colonists from anti-colonial resistance.

    Ongoing persecution

    Many western countries that supported the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which gave Israel its birth certificate, claimed that in supporting Israel’s creation, they aimed to avert war and the persecution of Jewish colonists if Palestine’s Arab majority achieved independence in one state.

    But in supporting the creation of a settler-colonial state, they inflicted on the Middle East as a whole a state of permanent war and ongoing persecution of Palestinians and other Arabs whose territories Israel conquered.

    To legitimise the state of permanent war, Israel sought early on to portray its citizens as actual or potential victims of wars and persecution inflicted by Palestinian resistance and Arab states, which in turn necessitated Israel’s use of permanent war and persecution as “retaliation”.

    US knew in 1948 that Arab armies were no threat

    This was clear to Israel’s western supporters as early as 1948. The Israeli expulsion of the Palestinian population, along with Israel’s territorial encroachment upon their UN-designated territories, became the casus belli for weak and ill-equipped neighbouring Arab armies to intervene in May of that year to put a stop to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and colonisation. The weakness of the Arab armies, however, was well-known to the Americans and the Zionists.

    Former US Secretary of State George Marshall’s assessment was as follows:

    “whole govt structure [of] Iraq is endangered by political and economic disorders and Iraq Govt can not at this moment afford to send more than [the] handful of troops it has already dispatched.

    Egypt has suffered recently from strikes and disorders. Its army has insufficient equipment because of its refusal of Brit[ish] aid, and what it has is needed for police duty at home.

    Syria has neither arms nor army worthy of name and has not been able to organize one since [the] French left three years ago. Lebanon has no real army while Saudi Arabia has [a] small army which is barely sufficient to keep tribes in order.

    Jealousies between Saudi Arabs and Syrians on one hand and Hashemite govts of Transjordan and Iraq, prevent Arabs from making even best use of existing forces.”

    Pattern of claiming victimhood

    A member of the US delegation to the UN observed on 4 May 1948 – just days before Arab armies intervened – that the Security Council would soon be confronted with the question as to “whether Jewish armed attack on Arab communities in Palestine is legitimate or whether it constitutes such a threat to international peace and security as to call for coercive measures by the Security Council”.

    The draft memorandum noted that if Arab armies entered Palestine this would lead Jewish forces to claim “that their state is the object of armed aggression and… use every means to obscure the fact that it is their own armed aggression against the Arabs inside Palestine which is the cause of [the] Arab counter-attack”.

    When Israel conspired with France to invade Egypt in October 1956, it was part of the cycle of permanent war it sought. The Israelis occupied Gaza and the Sinai and refused to withdraw for four months, despite UN and US condemnation. Israel finally had no choice but to withdraw and try again a decade later.

  2. Is there anything that can be done to aid the Palestinians in a meaningful way? Can’t Iran, China and/or Russia step in.

  3. Very odd all this support stopped coming in, like there’s actually some plan of genocide for the Palestinians.

  4. Infuriation – other than dispair – is the only appropriate response to three quarters of a century of horrific abuses of Palestinians at the hands of a rabidly racist regime. The PR value of the dialogue phenomenon brings to mind the cosmedicly “nice” picture of Nazi Germany presented to the world by Goebbles and friends during the 1936 Olympics. Though, as noted, a growing awareness of the evils of Israel on the part of American Jews doesn’t seem to be leading to actions that aggressively challenge the apartheid state. Since the massacre of Palestinian refugees over seen by Israeli forces in Lebanon in ’82, The State Of Israel has shown a craven concern about its self image – with world class intelligence apparatus to undermine movements like BDS and it’s explicit economic threat. But, I fear, the only thing that will finally undermine Israel – by causing a massive economic contraction – will be the end of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Then, the endless resources afforded to them by the U.S.A. that enable their murderous opprobrium toward Palestinians and neighboring countries will be no more; as America undergoes it’s own contraction.

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