The injustices under which the people of Palestine have suffered for decades at the hands of the Zionist entity of Israel are too numerous to detail in a short article. They include being victims of mass murder; indefinite incarceration without charge or access to legal representation; kidnapping; torture; home demolitions; savage beatings and many, many more.
Many of the world’s governments have either issued tepid, meaningless criticisms, turned a blind eye, or, like the United States, have supported these countless atrocities. The fact that they violate international law and crimes against humanity have been ignored, thus emboldening the apartheid regime to increase the horrors it commits.
In the past weeks, during the month of Ramadan, a month set aside by Islam for prayer and fasting, many Muslims in Palestine’s capital have gone to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, to pray. Yet on multiple occasions, lawless Israeli forces have broken into the mosque, beaten worshippers, and arrested them. The international response has been ‘strongly worded’ criticisms, which the Israeli government ignores, since such ‘criticisms’ have no weight and are therefore meaningless.
It is not only Muslims that Israel seeks to oppress; the latest atrocity concerns the Greek Orthodox Easter. Traditionally, as many as 10,000 people come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for a Holy Light ceremony. Israeli government officials have now restricted the number allowed into the church to 1,800. A spokesman from the Jerusalem district police said that the restriction was in place because their main concern was the safety of the pilgrims coming for the occasion.
This would be laughable were it not so tragic. Israeli government officials have never been ‘concerned’ about the safety of Palestinians, Christian or Muslim, and are simply using this as an excuse to enforce yet another repressive measure.
Let us look for a moment at these two situations – the storming by Israeli soldiers/terrorists of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the restriction on attendance at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – and consider for a moment the international response if the situations were reversed.
For this purpose, we will look at the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem. Imagine on Yom Kippur, with people filling the synagogue to celebrate the Day of Atonement, a rabbi perhaps giving an inspiring sermon and worshippers listening attentively, when suddenly hundreds of heavily-armed Palestinians smash through windows and doors and begin savagely beating the men, women, and children inside. News reporters record the action as bloodied worshippers are dragged out and thrown into police vehicles and taken to secret sites.
In this situation, would the United States issue a ‘strongly worded’ criticism? Would European governments say that such ‘provocative’ actions should be avoided? Or would there be international condemnation against those who invaded the synagogue and any government or nation they were associated with? The U.S. would send more armaments to Israel and threaten to cut off the minimal support it provides to Palestine unless the perpetrators were brought to justice. News reports in the West would comment on the savagery of the entire Arab culture.
Perhaps the following year, the Palestinian government would say that, due to its concerns about the safety of people it constantly and for decades has abused, it is restricting the number of worshippers who can attend Yom Kippur services at the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem to 252, from a capacity of 1,400 (that is the same percent that Israel is allowing to attend the Holy Light ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). Would any government support such an action?
These two scenarios are, of course, mere fantasies. It is Israel that is the powerful, oppressive nation that makes unreasonable demands of the Palestinians, and continually persecutes them in the most unspeakable manner. If there is any doubt, the reader is welcome to look at recent reports from B’Tselem, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch – all respected international human-rights organizations that have documented in painful detail the indisputable fact that Israel as a nation is guilty of the international crime of apartheid.
Why does the world not act? One cannot overlook the very real possibility that the ugly prejudices against Muslims and people of color play a major role. One cannot forget when Russia invaded Ukraine and newscasters in the West made statements about the Ukrainians, saying ‘they are like us’, ‘watch Netflix’ and drive ‘cars like ours’, as opposed, one assumes, to suffering people in the Middle East who may not do so. And their houses of worship don’t have steeples and crosses, but domes; another difference that makes them ‘the Other’.
Polls show increasing support among people around the world for the Palestinians and decreasing support for the apartheid Zionist entity. Yet the officials of most governments, more concerned about power and profits for themselves and their elite citizens, ignore the will of the people they ostensibly serve and smile benignly over the bloody bodies of innocent Palestinian victims. Any resistance against these atrocities by Palestinians – resistance they are entitled to make under international law – is seen as ‘provocative’, and is responded with requests by world governments that ‘neither side’ do anything to escalate tensions, when it is the aggression of the Israeli regime that is entirely to blame.
If any governments in the West are truly interested in peace, justice, human rights, and international law, they must condemn the Israeli government, issue sanctions against it, stop funding it and, for the United States, stop protecting it from accountability for its violations of international law and crimes against humanity, which the U.S. does by vetoing nearly every resolution in the United Nations Security Council that criticizes Israel.
The people of Palestine have suffered for too long; they have experienced atrocities unheard of almost anywhere in the modern world. The people of the world must demand that their governments take action. Government officials will only act if they see their role in jeopardy. Whether by voting or demonstrations in the streets, those officials must do the will of the people they govern. If they don’t, they must be replaced by people who will.