Friday, April 12

Vanished Palestine, by Joan Cañete Bayle


A tweet from Gaza that has gone viral these days says: “In 2007, Israel killed my brother; I was ten years old. In the 2008 war, I was eleven years old. In the 2012 war Israel killed my father; I was fifteen. In the 2014 war, Israeli fighters destroyed our house; I was 17. In the 2021 war, I was 23. In the 2022 war, I am 24 years old.”

Groundhog Day in Gaza has been repeated with bloody punctuality since the current phase of the occupation in the strip began, 15 years ago, with the electoral victory of Hamas in the legislative elections of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 2006. After that victory, it came first the international blockade which plunged even more into misery the already extremely poor strip and then the division of the PNA between Gaza (controlled by Hamas) and the West Bank (controlled by Al Fatah). There have been 15 years of alarming deterioration in living conditions due to the blockade and periodic Israeli military operations, always justified as a response to the launching of projectiles from the strip into the territory of the Hebrew State. In this misnamed spiral of violence, 44 Palestinians have died, 15 of them children.

international indifference

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The difference between this “war of 2022” and the previous ones is that hardly anyone cares. Fifteen children killed in just a few days of bombing do not cause a scandal or manage to open a hole in the international agenda. The Palestinian conflict has disappeared from the radar. It is easy to attribute this indifference to the fact that current affairs circulate through other channels (Ukraine, the pandemic), but the truth is that the Palestinians today make everyone uncomfortable. To their “Arab brothers”, who are for other things in which they need to at least get along, Ortega-style, with Israel; To USA, that has not undone the path of the Trumpian agreements of Abraham, nor will; to Europe, handcuffed in this matter by its complexes, its incapacity and its impotence. The Palestinians annoy. They only have to accept their defeat and abide by how Israel decides to manage its victory, a process still open of which these bombings in Gaza are an expression.

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But… “In 2007, Israel killed my brother; I was ten years old. In the 2008 war, I was eleven years old. In the 2012 war Israel killed my father; I was fifteen. In the 2014 war, Israeli fighters destroyed our house; I was 17. In the 2021 war, I was 23. In the 2022 war, I am 24 years old.” It is difficult to find a Palestinian who does not have a story to tell similar to this one. Defeated and silenced, yes; but to give up on the Palestinian cause would be rash.




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