It took Hamas’s deadly attack today to remind Israel, the United States, and the world that Palestine still matters.
The militant group based in occupied Gaza launched aerial attacks and broke through the heavily secured fence into the State of Israel. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed, a historic scale of violence for the country. The Israeli counterattack will inevitably lead to more death and destruction for Palestinians and a tightened occupation.
It comes after nearly two decades of the US and world leaders overlooking the more than 2 million people living in Gaza who endure a humanitarian nightmare, with its airspace and borders and sea under Israeli control. The attack comes amid an ongoing failure to grapple with the dangerous situation for Palestinians in the West Bank where Israel’s extreme-right government over the past year has escalated the already brutal daily pain of occupation.
Instances of Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers antagonizing Palestinians through violence are on the rise, from the pogrom on the city of Huwara to a new tempo of lethal raids on Jenin. Israeli government ministers have been pursuing annexationist policies and sharing raging rhetoric; both incite further violent response from Palestinians and appear at a time when new militant groups have emerged that claim the mantle of the Palestinian cause. The now-regular presence of Israeli Jews praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites, have further pressurized the situation. A Hamas commander cited many of these factors in his statement.
But the ongoing reality of the occupation has not featured prominently in US or Arab leaders’ engagement with the region in recent years, even as circumstances for Palestinians worsened.
The question must thus be asked to the Israeli government, the Biden administration, and Arab leaders: How did they forget about Palestinians? How did they so brazenly ignore Gaza?
President Joe Biden has not reversed his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy of putting aside the question of Palestine and instead has exerted immense capital on the normalization of Israel’s relations with Arab states, no matter how extreme the policies of the Israeli government.
In the current US-led diplomatic equation, there is no space for Palestinians, except for talk of minor concessions to ease daily humiliations. Biden said recently, as many of his surrogates often do, that the US remains intent on “preserving the path to a negotiated two-state solution.”
But negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization have been frozen since 2014 under President Barack Obama, and most Palestinian analysts at this point acknowledge that US administrations since President Bill Clinton have engaged in a failed, asymmetrical process that never would have allowed for the conditions of an independent, sovereign state of Palestine. [Continue reading…]
The entire policy of trapping people in Gaza in a calorie-counted fishbowl and periodically bombing it for years on end was never sustainable. International organizations have been warning about this FOR YEARS and most decision makers in the US and Israel just shrugged.
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) October 8, 2023
The Palestinian view from the West Bank: my conversation with Palestinian activist and legislator @MustafaBarghoti, who is not connected to Hamas, about the terrorist group’s offensive in southern Israel pic.twitter.com/LYsAI5bFfa
— Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) October 8, 2023