After 15 years of Israel’s ruthless land, air and sea blockade of Gaza – which ensued the US failure to anticipate Hamas win in the 2006 Palestine legislative election and brought forth America’s covert Middle East mission to buck up “putschist” Mohammed Dahlan destroy Hamas militarily – the Palestinian coastal enclave is still the major casualty of Israeli repression for they voted out Fatah against the will of Israel and the US.
Nearly 80% of people of the besieged territory, according to the United Nations, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance as half of the 2 million population lives in poverty with 80% unemployed youth. Save the Children paints a bleak picture of the children, four to five of whom are growing up in a climate of “depression, grief and fear.”
Understanding the matter better
Over the last one and a half-decade, children in the world’s largest open-air prison have endured five major escalations and the pandemic. While 800,000 children never knew life without blockade, economic deprivation and lack of access to essential services such as healthcare as well as an incessant threat to their lives are adding to the misery of the incarcerated Palestinian children and youngsters.
A symptom of trauma and abuse, temporary reactive mutism, in children is prevalent. Poor hygiene due to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation increases the risk of infection and antibiotic resistance in Gazans. The beleaguered Palestinians are scarily waiting for the apartheid state’s next power display on them to let the international community pay another lip service to the Israeli tyranny before redeploying focus on Ukraine.
It was May 2021 when the oppressive Israeli forces launched its last major offensive on Gaza to petrify the orphans of its 51-day bombing campaign in 2014 – which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 500 children – and exterminated some 253 Palestinians in addition to completely erasing 1,800 houses. Air raids in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank is a quintessential pastime for the Israeli assailants as they continue hunting down Palestinians to quench their thirst with human blood.
The scale and magnitude of “sorrow and despair” the West feels for Gaza is far lesser than Ukraine because Palestine like Afghanistan and Iraq isn’t “civilized” and a majority of the Palestinians don’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. Unlike the Ukrainians whose video of Molotov cocktails was telecasted on the mainstream media to project their right of self-defense, Israel has the privilege to exercise the punitive expedition against Palestinians without stint.
Israel’s allies delegitimize Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and bill it as anti-Semitic. They, at the same time, support and bully nations to back the isolation campaign against Russia and exclusion of the Kremlin from international bodies and the world economy. This is a perfect illustration of blatant Western hypocrisy that is smitten with racist profiles or white supremacy.
A new wave of normalization in the greater Middle East adds insult to Palestine’s injuries. Several Arab states have already established diplomatic relations under the Abraham Accords with Israel and others are lining up to follow the course. The European Union (EU)’s gas deal with Egypt and Israel during a regional summit in Cairo, aimed at punishing Russia’s economy, tells how the West manipulates respect of human rights and international law and self-interests.
The EU embargo on Russian oil may cut “a huge source of financing for its war machine”; the tripartite treaty to buy natural gas, to be liquefied in Egyptian plants, from Israel provides transactional immunity to the Israeli jets, tanks and bulldozers to target the confined men, women and children in Gaza with high latitude and then make them starve to death by destroying their farmlands.
Another Palestine’s staunch ally, Turkey, is warming up toward Israel
After 15 years, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last month arrived in Israel to normalize ties and address disagreements. Earlier in March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog reached Ankara where Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan described his visit as a “turning point” and the country’s relationship with Israel as “historic.”
Turkey insists its normalization will be antithetical to Gulf rapprochement with Israel, arguing it would augment Ankara’s role in a two-state solution. Yet the Turkish appeasing and submissive posture itself and craving for energy cooperation with Israel are akin to endorse Israeli crimes of apartheid and persecution, putting a big question mark over its commitment to the Palestinian cause.
In the 1990s after the signing of the Oslo Accords – through which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) handed over 78% of the Palestinian land to Israel and gave legitimacy to the Jewish state – several Gulf states including Qatar, Bahrain and Oman established diplomatic connections with Israel even as the reconciliation disintegrated in 2000 as tension flared following the second intifada.
What is Gulf’s plan?
Saudi Arabia’s proposed Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 paired normalization with the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, the plan de facto lent legitimacy to Israeli state. After Egypt and Jordan stepped back from the Khartoum Resolution to recognize Israel – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco forged diplomatic relations with Israel.
Meanwhile, Iran’s intervention in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen to expand region-wide influence as well as the tactic to use Palestine as leverage for negotiations with the US has deepened the prospect of any regional consensus on Palestine. Tehran has been selling its “resistance” narrative via its proxy Hezbollah while avoiding a direct conflict with Israel and playing the Palestine card to “garner popular support” in the wider Gulf.
Given there haven’t been any serious peace talks between Palestine and Israel for more than a decade and all countries compete with one another as to how best to exploit the leverage over Palestine to its advantage, the Middle East’s promise to Palestine is almost dead. The PLO retraction from its historical position gave a walkover to Israel and the ongoing covert and overt connections between Arab states and Israel, spurred by Iran’s pursuit of regional dominance, alas, will be the last nail in the coffin of Palestinian independence.
Azhar Azam is a private professional and writes on geopolitical issues and regional conflicts. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.