No regret or remorse has been shown for the massacre of largely unarmed protestors.
We have become grimly accustomed to horrific violence in the Middle East. Yet even by the dismal standards of recent years, the killing by Israeli soldiers of civilians on the Gaza border was an outrage. On 14 May, as Palestinians demonstrated by the border fence, Israeli snipers opened fire on largely unarmed protesters, killing 62, including eight children, and wounding at least 2,400 others. Israel, whose illegal blockade of Gaza immiserates the blighted strip’s two million inhabitants (the UN has deemed the area “unliveable”), displayed no regret or remorse.
This was an unashamed and flagrant breach of international law for which there was no conceivable justification. Though Israel’s actions were shocking, they were far from unprecedented. For six weeks, as Palestinians have demonstrated for the right of refugees to return, the Israeli military has indiscriminately fired on unarmed protesters.
The day after the massacre, as funerals were held for the dead, the Palestinians marked the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe), commemorating the 700,000 people who fled or were expelled from their homes after the foundation of Israel in 1948. In this febrile climate, Donald Trump recklessly inflamed tensions by recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and moving the US embassy to the city. His presidential predecessors had accepted that the status of Jerusalem, which is also claimed by the Palestinians as their capital, was to be resolved through peaceful negotiation, not unilateralism.
Mr Trump’s decision – a sop to the Republican Party’s evangelical base – renders the ambition of a “two-state solution” still more hollow. Israel has long asserted that it has no “partner for peace”. Hamas, the hard-line Islamist group that rules Gaza through fear and terror, has continually refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist (though it has announced its support for a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders). In a speech on 30 April, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has lost all credibility, used anti-Semitic tropes when he argued that massacres, including the Holocaust, were prompted by Jews’ “social function related to banks and interest”. A disgraceful comment.
The unhappy Palestinians have long been ill-served by their leaders. But Binyamin Netanyahu’s stridently nationalistic government cannot claim that it has been a partner for peace. In defiance of the UN, the US and the EU, Israel has continued to expand illegal settlements in the …read more
Source:: New Statesman