The sickening video of an Israeli sniper apparently filming himself gunning down a Palestinian protester across the fence in Gaza then rejoicing and praising his ‘success’ with other soldiers has been widely spread and condemned. A week before, another video documented the shooting of another Palestinian protester in the back. This video has also received wide condemnation.
However, for Palestinians what is most worrying about these videos from the recent Gaza Great Return March is that while these horrible scenes will trigger a wave of rage, it will only last for a short period until the next crime happens.
The world has forgotten Gaza and the decade-long blockade imposed by Israel on its people. It takes the killing of 31 Palestinians to remind the international community of the biggest open-air prison in the world that has become Gaza.
While these videos present a potential archival material for human rights organisations and the International community, it is important that they, as well as hundreds of others, should not be just an “archive”.
The commercial-digitalised world which we live in ensures that such videos get lost and buried under the heaps of information we consume every day. We are shocked by a video until we get used to such images and get prepared for more shocking images.
Moreover, people’s struggles, resistance and sacrifices are often tailored for consumption, victims turn into trendy images and solidarity becomes a click through a keyboard. Distant and forgotten, Gaza has now become trendy again, only to receive another wave of short-term empathy.
It is also frightening that we know already by heart the arsenal of terms that is used each time Israel commits a crime against the Palestinians. The media equates between the victim and the attacker, calling it “clashes” and “confrontation”; the international community calls for “restraint”, they express their “concern” and if they can afford to be harsher, they call for an “inquiry”. This would probably be inquiry number one thousand, to join all those before it in a cold dark basement somewhere.
And while any goodwill fades in the face of a well budgeted Israeli. Propaganda machine that terrorises media and politicians, the right to lecture the Palestinians on how to conduct their resistance becomes a practice of insolence.
This is especially annoying when the world has lectured Palestinians for so long on how they should resist and, in other words, “be nice to their oppressors”. Instead of pointing to the root cause of violence, the Palestinians are the ones put behind bars and ordered to prove to the world how “non-violent” they are.
This attitude is not only patronising, but also disregards the rich Palestinian culture of resistance, past and present, and their right to decide for themselves. Since the Zionist colonisation started in Palestine, there has been resistance, and it will continue as long as the colonisation continues.
Gaza protests are just a continuation of a long Palestinian history of popular protest. Not only in Gaza, but in other Palestinian cities and areas, popular resistance has been happening on a daily basis and in so many ways, through direct actions, culture, art, BDS, campaigning, creating independent economical project and so on.
Many Palestinian villages have been protesting weekly and facing the same brutality. No mainstream media attention, support or protection have been given to those taking part in the protests. Ahed Tamimi, for example, had to lose her childhood innocence so the world could take note of the struggle of a small Palestinian village, Nabi Saleh, where Tamimi hailed from, that paid a heavy price for demanding freedom and justice.
Israel, again, knows it will get away with its crimes, and therefore it keeps on committing them. We have the responsibility first to know where to point our fingers - it is certainly not against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip which, according to a UN report, will not be livable by 2020 - and second to transfer all our rage and disgust into joining a growing movement that works beyond a machinery of words and short-term clicktivism to stop Israel’s crimes.
This article has been excerpted from: ‘How Many Palestinians Have To Die For the World to Stop Israel’s Crimes In Gaza?’