Forty-eight years after the 1967 Six-Day War the state of Israel continues to illegally occupy the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. There can be no doubt that this conflict constitutes the nub of many of the various and mounting tensions in the Middle East and around the globe. Palestinian people, the overwhelming majority of the original and native inhabitants of the now colonised land, are daily the subject of a military occupation and violence, cultural and economic victimisation, and personal and communal humiliation. Already the international community has said that Israel’s criminal behaviour towards the people of Palestine is itself the cause and the reason for the protraction of the ongoing war:
The Security Council determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
United Nations Resolution 446 (1979)
Today this occupation continues unabated with the difference now that the Palestinian people are now utterly helpless before the super-power-backed might of the State of Israel. It is perhaps to a degree true that many within Israel deplore the cruelty and criminality of their state’s actions with regard to the people of Palestine and their land, but that their state supports and defends both the illegal settlements and the persistent destruction of the fabric of Palestine means that they too are complicit in the genocide.
Israel, many Israelis, and supporters of Israel around the world are indeed keen to have this label of genocide removed from their ‘defensive’ actions. Their arguments do not wash. A nation itself born of victimhood and genocide some seventy years ago can be brutal, murderous, and genocidal – and in this case it is. Due to deliberate blockades, restrictions, and curfews, and due to the cantonisation of their land, the relentless economic strangulation of their state, and the violent military assaults on their towns and cities Palestinians are dying in their scores – and this is no accident. It is the wilful and premeditated destruction of Palestine by an aggressive and colonial Israeli State.
Settlements – by their very nature – are ethnic cleansing and murder. People deprived of their own land and a means of a livelihood are faced with a death sentence or exile, and this is Israel’s plan. We are not powerless to put a stop to these crimes against humanity. We are not powerless to put an end to this very real threat to world security. To do nothing is to take the side of the guilty.