Murder, mass murder, is nothing new for the Israeli Defence Force, sickeningly dubbed “the most moral army in the world” by former British Army Colonel, Richard Kemp. One would imagine this description would be difficult to reconcile with yesterday’s slaughter. Fortunately, the combined forces of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Board of Deputies of British Jews were on hand to render assistance to the IDF.
The BBC tweeted and ran headlines on its website that spoke of “clashes” and “deadly protests.” As if the massacre of unarmed civilians clad in jeans, t-shirts, trainers and flags by soldiers of one of the most heavily-armed and well-equipped militias in the world was a spat amongst equals; as if the blame and responsibility were to be equally distributed between the two sides. As the BBC evidently struggles with accuracy, it’s worth pointing out that the protest wasn’t “deadly”. The protest was peaceful. What was deadly, however, were the sniper bullets and tank shells (yes, really) fired on the protesters. In one instance, into the back of an unarmed and fleeing youth.
The Board of Deputies, shamefully, went even further. In a grotesque and obscene display of victim-blaming, the Board tweeted, “Alarming developments at Gaza border as Hamas once again using its civilians – inc children – as pawns.” Apart from being a lie – Hamas did no such thing – to blame oppressed and subjugated people for provoking the bullets fired by their murderers is unconscionable to anyone with aspirations to humanity and decency. Still, from an organisation that fawned and gushed over arch racist Donald Trump, decency would be an unrealistic expectation.
The Board’s Twitter feed was soon filled with outraged Tweets from those it claims to represent. This, from @msjenifferjames, was typical: “Repulsive comment. How dare you blame unarmed, peacefully-protesting Arabs for their own deaths by Israeli gunfire? On their own land. You do not and will never speak for me or thousands of other Jewish people. You are disgusting.”
Were all this not sufficiently appalling, a now deleted Tweet by the IDF implies that these murders were premeditated, pre-planned and carried out, not as reaction to Palestinian ‘violence’, but as a proactive military operation.
Now is the time to underline some unshakeable truths. The residents, or rather prisoners, of the Gaza strip are waging a life and death struggle that transcends even national liberation; they are concerned with simply survival. In such a case there is no ‘plague on both your houses’ option available. There is no moral equivalency between a mighty military power invading and then subjugating a poverty-stricken and oppressed people. People who are desperately fighting for their lives and the very existence of the miserable 32-mile strip of open-air prison they call home. There is no quandary, no grey area and no ambiguity; Israel is the aggressor. The Palestinians are the victims. We should unconditionally, unquestioningly and unequivocally support their resistance and right to defend themselves in any way they see fit. Rockets into Israel are the legitimate and just resistance of a desperate people.
Palestinian violence is not terrorism. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian land and visits human rights abuses and war crimes upon the Palestinian people. Any violence by any Palestinian body or person, is justified and permitted under international law. It is not terrorism; it is resistance to an invader.
There is the violence of the oppressor – Israel – and there is the violence of the oppressed; the Palestinians. The former is immoral, illegitimate and illegal while the latter is not only moral and legitimate but unavoidable and necessary. Self-defence is never an offence.