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OP-ED: When children are killed

  • Published at 10:34 pm May 18th, 2021
Palestine Gaza

Israel continues to show complete disregard for decency and humanity

In an article published on January 10, 1999 in the New York Times magazine, the internationally acclaimed theorist, famous for his book Orientalism, and one-time member of the Palestinian parliament in exile, Edward Said, had written: “Unfortunately, injustice and belligerence don’t diminish by themselves: They have to be attacked by all concerned.”

Edward Said, himself an exiled Palestinian, could foresee the failure of a one-state solution to the Palestinian problem and had therefore stressed on fighting it out by all concerned to liberate the Palestinians.

The famous scholar, a Christian by birth but secular to his bones, was losing confidence in Yasser Arafat’s leadership to ensure a homeland to the Palestinians who were ousted from the land of their birth by Jewish settlers who made a beeline to settle in the land promised to them by God.

Twenty-two years after Said’s call for force to end injustice, the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu goes on killing innocent babies, helpless women, and unarmed civilians in Gaza even as his government pushes for new settlements in the tiny piece of land that the Arabs have managed to save from the repeated attacks of the Zionist state. 

Over these two decades, meditation from different quarters including the United States have yielded no results. On the contrary, the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Mahmoud Abbas, the successor to Yasser Arafat, has weakened substantially, with the entry of other players in the region, most notably the Hamas, a radical Islamist organization committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Netanyahu in the meanwhile has hastened the pace of settlement in the regions that previous Israeli governments had promised not to encroach upon.

Over the past week, Israel has retaliated to the mortar attack of the Palestinian Islamist outfit by razing to the ground residential buildings, including one that housed the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

As of now, 50 Palestinian children have been killed by the Israeli army and Netanyahu promises more aggression without caring for decency, humanity, and even the Ten Commandments that the Jews hold in high esteem.

The most disappointing reaction to the Israeli war crime has come from the new president of the United States, Joe Biden, a devout Catholic. It is understandable that irrespective of who the president of the US is, the Israeli war crimes committed on civilians will go unnoticed and the Jewish state will get unconditional support from the White House.  

When Biden even failed to utter in diplomatic terms the need for restraint on the part of Israel, it was more than clear that the US president had no compassion or empathy for the dead Palestinian children whose lives were snuffed away in the Israeli bombings by those who boast of being cultured as opposed to the barbaric Palestinians.

The socialist and Jewish Democratic candidate for the last two US elections, Bernie Sanders has however spoken what all sane politicians should have done. In an essay published in The New York Times on Friday, May 14, the septuagenarian American leader fully agrees that Israel has a right to exist.  Sanders unlike Biden without mincing his words, while strongly condemning the killing of innocent Israelis, also has the guts to ask: “What are the rights of the Palestinian people?”

Like Edward Said, Bernie Sanders is also not religious. In a land seized in the name of religion, with its inhabitants who are now almost decimated, it is a strange coincidence that both Said and Sanders care more for humanity than for justice in the afterlife.

Golam Sarwar Chowdhury teaches English at Notre Dame University Bangladesh.

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