This time it is being called Operation Protective Edge. In previous years it has been dubbed by Israel as Operation Pillar of Defence and Operation Cast Lead. All they mean is yet another mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, the world’s largest prison camp. But who seems to care? Least of all, most Western governments, shamefully including Britain.
The belligerent nature of Israel is well-documented, born and sustained by its own insidious acts of terrorism and usurpation of Palestinian land. There is a litany of spurious and immoral indignity that the conflict is in anyway two-sided, equal or balanced rather than an intransigent aggressor devouring victims as mere fodder for their political ends.
Since July 8, more than 270 Palestinians, mostly civilians, majority women and children and babies, were mercilessly killed, over 2000 injured in waves of Israeli bombardments against densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums. Attacks against a defenceless population that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armour, no command and control, while the merest symbol of resistance is the firing of rockets response that rarely produce any casualties.
Not that one was needed but the excuse for the grossly disproportionate massacres was the brutal murder of three illegal Israeli settlers in their teens in the West Bank, which had already been followed by the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager by being burnt alive in East Jerusalem. It was timed with media attention focused on the World Cup and the rise of ISIS taking swathes of land in Iraq and Syria. But it had long been expected following the agreement between Hamas and Fatah to form a Palestinian unity government in April that caused Israel to end tentative peace talks.
In a typical myopic statement, Foreign Secretary, William Hague, condemned the rocket attacks fired in retaliation from Gaza and called for them to end. But he made no mention of Israel’s blitzkrieg attacks other than saying he was “deeply concerned by escalation of violence.” He said there was a need for an “immediate de-escalation and restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire” that followed Israel’s last bombing, when more than 1,300 Palestinians were slaughtered. Prime Minister, David Cameron, also phoned his Israeli counterpart Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to express sympathy for the “unacceptable [Hamas] rocket attacks” and to urge he do “everything possible” to end the crisis. But he did not condemn the killing of civilians including babies and children by Israeli indiscriminate bombing of Gaza. Even after four Palestinian children were killed deliberately last week on Gaza beach witnessed by the world media, the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, didn’t utter even a word.
In the absence of a non-partisan stance, several Muslim MPs wrote to Hague, calling for a more robust policy. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP described the killings as “appalling and inexcusable” and warned the scale of human suffering cannot be tolerated. “All lives are equal – the life of a Palestinian child is worth no less than the life of an Israeli child.”
Anas Sarwar MP warned that the international community cannot sit back and watch another Cast Lead. “We cannot maintain a silence on this bloodshed nor can we accept the status quo of two million people under siege. We will only move to a meaningful peace process, when every life is treated as equal.”
Rushanara Ali MP said she was “horrified” by the number of the Palestinians killed. Shabana Mahmood MP condemned the” indiscriminate and lethal” Israeli bombardments. Yasmin Qureshi MP described the Israeli attacks as collective punishment and was furious about the mainstream media coverage. She said she was writing to the BBC Director-General Tony Hall to “remind him that as a public broadcaster, he is duty bound to provide balanced reports that accurately reflect the reality on the ground.”
Khalid Mahmood MP during a debate on Gaza said, “I wholly and unreservedly condemn attacks by Hamas” and “the excessive force used by the Israeli Government in targeting residential areas in Gaza, resulting in the indiscriminate killing of civilians – women, men and young children – which is clearly a grave breach of the Geneva Convention.” Sajid Javid MP did not say anything nor did Rehman Chishti.
The most depressing fact of all is there is nothing new about Israel’s cycle of incessant inhumane behaviour and the silent collusion of the West, whether it be massacres of the innocent, targeted assassinations, collective punishments, the siege of Gaza, illegal settlements, continuing encroachment of more Palestinian lands, defiance of international laws and impunity from prosecution for its human rights crimes. It would be ironic if it was not so despicable the hypocrisy of Britain towards these acts of state terrorism at a time when it is at the top of the Government’s security agenda to defeat its scourge. There is little honesty and integrity in politics, especially when it comes to Israel.
For the West, it seems, Palestinian blood is worth nothing in comparison to Israeli blood.