"We have these problems here in Australia and in communities across the world. This is a society with trauma to its core."
Dancing and jubilation in the streets of Sydney, Toronto, Paris, New York, London, Montreal, Marseilles, etc etc over the last couple of days after Hamas gunmen put bullets into hundreds of unarmed civilians living in the Israeli towns bordering Gaza.
It ain’t surprising, our Muslim brothers have never hid their hatred of Jews. As Hitler’s old pal The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem told his Arab brothers and sisters from Berlin in 1944,
“The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster. They are monsters and the basis for all evil in the world ….Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. God is with you.”
And, so, in front of the Sydney Opera House lit up with the Israeli flag hundreds of Australians screamed “Gas the Jews!”
In Times Square, an African-American preacher delighted at the killing of “hipsters”.
Stores in London vandalised. Green and red fireworks filling the night skies in all cities.
Meanwhile, party-goers hunted and murdered by the hundreds, kids left orphans their parents’ last act to shield ’em from the Hamas gun, the corpse of a naked young German girl, limbs broken, dumped in the back of a ute and paraded through Gaza City as kids spat on the “filthy Jew”.
Biz as usual in Gaza, where teenage girls have their throats slit for immorality; where gay men are routinely thrown from buildings. where blood feuds, like BeachGrit, fester for eternity.
Whatever you think of the political origins of the Israel-Arab conflict, whether you believe in the Zionist enterprise or regard it as the worst sort of colonisation, wandering through towns shooting unarmed people ain’t cool in any language.
So I was surprised when Lucy Small, a renowned surf feminist and champion of gay and trans rights, with whom I agree on a variety of issues, posted a series of stories about the conflict including a story from Al Jazeera with the caption, “Palestinians in Gaza made history as they escaped the world’s largest prison”.
Yeah, before murdering scores of innocents and unfettered for hours before the arrival of Israeli troops.
I jumped into Lucy (@saltwaterpilgrim)’s DMs and was hit with the usual sorta patronising tone.
“How much do you know about the history and have you researched any of it?”
I wish I’d never opened a damn book about the whole thing for what a Pandora’s Box it has become. I don’t have any skin in this game. I wanted to learn about the teams at play. And so I read, and read, and watched, and listened, and toured. For years.
For the sake of clarity, I support the secular Jewish state as dreamed of by the anti-religious Zionists and birthed into life by the UN, with Russian David Ben-Gurion at the helm.
Of course, having been cut a piece of the Palestinian Mandate for a Jewish homeland by the UN on May 1948, the newly minted state of Israel began a nearly two-year existential war against surrounding Arab countries. That, after a year of civil war, between Arab and Jew.
And the Jews fought for every kibbutz, every road, every town and every city. Even when Jerusalem was besieged, the newly-minted Israeli forces would take terrible casualties, bringing supplies in through the long, mountainous road that linked Tel Aviv with Jerusalem. Go there and you can still see the wrecked trucks on the side of the highway.
In 1967 Arab figured they’d have another swing at the Jews. But the Israelis, who had informers at every tier of Arab government, pre-empted ’em and wiped out their enemies in six days. Six years later, the Arabs had another shot. This time it was closer, but the Jews won.
I loathe the settler movement and the government’s shift to the hard right although I understand the need for walls, for checkpoints and so on.
It ain’t nice but if you don’t want stabbings in the streets, your citizens being mutilated in various forms, bombing, hit and runs etc, you gotta take a cautious approach to who gets in.
No killings, no walls.
Anyway, a lot of blah blah blah between us and then I asked, “How do you stand with a people and a diabolical regime that actively targets LGBTQ+ for death, as well as honour killings? Platitudes aside, I really want to know how you reconcile it all.”
“In regards to this – we have these problems here in Australia and in communities across the world. This is a society with trauma to its core. The end of occupation may allow for healing. It is common in communities affected by armed violence, rates of domestic violence and violence against women are higher – it’s a tragic part of war. If Palestinian society is going to heal and progress, it needs to be able to do so on its own terms, which is why self-determination is so important.”
To wit, Hamas, and the good citizens of Gaza, are bad because of the Jews, at least that’s how I read it.
Question to the gallery: would Gaza become a utopia if the Jewish state was to miraculously vanish? Or more of the same?
Lucy also wanted to add, and in full:
“I condemn the actions of Hamas and the violent response of the Israeli military. The violence is senseless.”
“Palestinian people have lived under violent Israeli occupation since 1967 when Israel annexed what was legally Palestinian land. Thousands of civilians have been killed by the Israeli military in the last decade – before this attack the Israeli military killed 247 Palestinian civilians this year alone and we haven’t seen anything about those deaths in the news. In Gaza, people live under siege – they are boxed into what has been described as an open air prison. The Israeli’s State’s treatment of Palestinians has been confirmed by Amnesty International as constituting apartheid. Targeting non military targets is illegal, unjustified and crimes against humanity – state sanctioned or otherwise. If we are going to condemn the actions of Hamas, we must condemn the violence of the Israeli state. I stand with the Palestinian and Israeli people calling for an end to the violence, an end to the occupation and for peace.”)