EDITORIAL – English version


Dying is a cultural thing in Gaza… *

When you are an Arab in Palestine, dying is something, which you do. It happens all the time. It is not very important…

It is less important than to die when you are a Jew in Brussels.

Following the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, the entire political class of this small country of Belgium, so reserved about the massacres of Arabs in Palestine, felt obliged to parade with great pomp to the location of the shooting – flowers at hand – to honour the three Jewish victims.

Some Belgian ministers had ostensibly assembled the press around themselves, determined to show how much of good friends they were of Israel. Two of them even staged their arrival upwards the rue des Minimes, more than a hundred meters on foot accompanied by cameras, to make sure that their message gets through.

But other more eminent personalities stole their show: the French President François Hollande and Bernard Cazeneuve, his minister for interior affairs, came from Paris to also get the message across that they have chosen the « right » side of the conflict. Others arrived from further afield to join this incessant ballet – the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, Matteo Renzi, or Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament participated in this catwalk and showed everything that was asked of them. During those days some feet were walked over on the rue des Minimes, in Brussels, in Belgium.

It is the same people who, in Paris, press each other to attend once a year the dinner of the representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), to renew their allegiance. It is the one evening you cannot afford to miss; it would mean to put an end to ones political career. Similar things happen in Washington at the gala evening of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) or in Brussels at the meeting of the Comité de Coordination des Organisations juives de Belgique (CCOJB)…

In France one wrong word, one daunting remark about the Hebrew state, a slightly too sharp humorous comment, and the highest court of justice of the country is united within the hour to judge in no more time than would be necessary and then censorship and rejection hits the poor black sheep.

Would Messieurs François Hollande and Manuel Valls (and Laurent Fabius) very openly serve interests, which are not those of the French people?

But what are they afraid of?

We remember the traits and the grey tint of Barack Obama’s face, as the American President, in front of the world’s televisions, with a surrendered face was forced to put to use the American veto in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 23rd to prevent the recognition of a Palestinian state.

That day, where was the author of the famous speech of Cairo, which three years earlier had promised to the Arabs a renewal of Washington’s Middle Eastern policy and confirmed that « America would not turn its back on the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people (…) to have a state of their own »? Within few days of Israeli pressure, all the successes of Mister Magic’s diplomatic games had crumbled, blown over by Tel Aviv like a house of cards by a gush of wind. The back against the wall, Mister Magic had to lower his trunks.

What is it then that manages to terrorise all of them so much, that they accept the public humiliation of serfdom, so strongly visible that some amongst their voters begin to get annoyed by such obviously influenced leaders?

During this time, isolated in Palestine, in his Ramallah office, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the « Palestinian Authority », waits with impatience the friendly phone call of a head of state, whoever he may be, who would take the time for a word of condolence, simply to share a little sympathy for the 200 dead, already counted at the moment at which I write this editorial on the plane taking me to Jerusalem. Probably there will be more, when you read these lines.

This matter is surreal; if we take a few minutes to think about it … and realise that we have trouble believing it : military units kill people who are eating with their families, sleeping in their bedrooms, watch TV in their living rooms, take a shower in their bathrooms – at random.

The sounds of a projectile approaching, a couple of seconds, an explosion, a crumbling building, dead bodies.

But what is enraging in this crazy story, is that nobody says anything about it – they let it happen… The international community does not take exception of this. All democratic governments, so talkative about subjects like ex-Yugoslavia or Libya or more recently Ukraine, continue to whistle along in their corners, taking a fake distracted attitude.

Worse! Many try to justify the things as they go : isn’t the Hamas to blame ? They should have accepted the ceasefire, instead of rejecting the peace!

But of what peace do they talk!?

Some even dared: »This time it is very clear: Israel did not shoot first! » (sic.). But what about the murder of these four children aged 9 to 11 years, playing ball on a beach of Gaza, killed by an Israeli missile? Defence is necessary?! Mr. Hollande?!

This is partly the reason why, in Paris, they have accused members of the associations of defence of the Palestinian people of attacking a synagogue during their demonstrations; affirmations relayed by the French media. Only that since then, filmed images of these acts of violence have allowed to identify various people responsible of the deed but who will not be persecuted; the reason being that they are not pro-Palestinian demonstrators, but activists of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ), a paramilitary movement (illegally) armed, strangely tolerated by the French authorities. Acting this way, they blamed the humanist action for the events and allowed various municipalities to forbid the demonstrations in favour of Palestine.

« We should not import the Israel-Palestine conflict into Europe » declared the French President. But it is already done! And not by those who stand accused…

These political leaders of Europe do not seem to see the Israeli rockets hitting Palestinian houses in Gaza. The images exist nonetheless, showing poor people, suddenly hit by frightful weapons, burnt skin, parts of their bodies shredded by shrapnel; people who were not fighting, but who happened to be there, nothing more.

Yesterday I called one of our correspondents in Gaza. Behind her voice, I could hear the explosions of Israeli missiles and the falling of concrete and iron of buildings that were crumbling down. Whilst she talked to me, I heard the characteristic whistling of artillery shells arriving, more and more high pitched until an explosion upon impact. I remembered Aleppo, in Syria, when I was a correspondent there myself.

But no democratic state puts itself in between the two parties. No crisis reunion of the Security Council of the UN. No no-fly zone. Nothing.

It’s crazy, isn’t it? It simply is insane…

Because the rule is, since a long time, in the International Community: « whatever happens, never upset Israel in their implementation of the Zionist project. »

The most elementary articles of international law (not to shoot with missiles onto airplanes, living quarters, school or hospitals) are then invalid over the duration of an operation named with a sense of poetry: « Cast Lead » (2008-2009) or « Pillar of Defence » (2012) or « Protective Edge » (2014) or …

It has become common use in the chancelleries; and this use is little by little diffused in the heart of the people, progressively accustomed to seeing Arabs die in the region over the past sixty years of total occupation.

In Brussels, capital of the European Union, a demonstration also took place this 16th of July, calling more than thirty organisations for the support of the Palestine people. Some hundred citizens, only hundreds, made their way to Brussels to obtain a reaction from the side of the Union and the end of the Association accord between Israel and the EU. Only hundreds of citizens … and that although the « Mundial » is finished, I believe. What do the citizens do, now? It seems to be the law of resignation: they are not anymore concerned. We are used to it, to people dying in Gaza.

Those responsible in the EU were smiling, sheltered behind the glass windows of their ivory tower, contemplating the show, which these band of excited, naive citizens out on, wanting to taint the relationship with Israel and blaming the military manoeuvres only to save the lives of some Arabs; they have not yet understood: « The law of the strongest is always the best law ».

Hence the expansion of the state of Israel continues, unperturbed in the whole of Palestine. Since 1948, throughout the wars of conquest, the doubling of Israeli territory in 1967, the closing offs, bombings of Palestine territory provoking economic mutilation and putting at risk children, pushing fathers to chose exile with their families and to liberate the land, which is repopulated by Israeli colonizers… from decade to decade, Eretz Israel moves in.

The Palestinians themselves, since then, have accepted the idea: to die in Gaza is an issue of culture. Sixty years of history have made a Palestinian tradition of it.

To die is from now on inscribed in this people’s habits …

* With three permanent correspondents and a special envoy to Gaza, another special envoy to the West Bank, The Maghreb and Orient Courier wants to mark the information about this new wave of violence in Palestine. We dedicate a special focus to this situation : testimonies, facts, analyses, opinions, everything to understand the daily reality of the Palestine territories and Israel and the situation’s repercussions in the West.


About Author

Pierre Piccinin da Prata

Historian and Political Scientist - MOC's Founder - Editorial Team Advisor / Fondateur du CMO - Conseiller du Comité de Rédaction

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