Saturday April 20, 2024

Western silence

By Abdul Sattar
May 19, 2021

The heart-wrenching scenes of Palestinian women, children, men and the elderly have moved millions of people across the world to condemn this use of brute force by Israel against the hapless people of Gaza.

Several organisations tried to take to the streets of Western cities to vent their anger but the Western ruling elite is adamant to repeat the mantra of self-defence of the Zionist state, choosing not to condemn Israel at the UN and other global forums. The decimation of innocent children, pregnant women and the elderly could not move the hearts of the Western elite.

Even the bombing of a building in Gaza, housing various international media outlets, did not catch the attention of Washington and London. What would be the reaction of the West if China had targeted a building housing various Western media outlets in Xinjiang? How would Washington, London, Berlin and Paris react if Moscow had targeted a building in a similar way in a Muslim-majority area of Russia? Had such an attack been carried out by North Korea, it would have been slapped with crippling sanctions but in the case of Israel, reticence is the best policy. The Western media is also by and large silent over these violations. They are not ready to even show solidarity with their fellow journalists for fear of backlash from Tel Aviv and the powerful Western companies sympathetic to the cause of the Zionists.

This attitude prompts many to wonder as to why the West adopts silence on Israeli atrocities. One of the ways to resolve this lies in history. Israel emerged after millions of Jews migrated from different parts of the world into Palestine, displacing local people, occupying their land and plundering their resources. Israel in a way is a settlers’ state established on the basis of force, oppression, injustice and tyranny. Speaking against this state could remind the West of its own barbarities against the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America. Western colonial powers not only committed unimaginable atrocities against these indigenous people but also played havoc with the lives of millions in South and Central America exterminating the local populations, plundering their resources and grabbing their lands.

These colonial powers perpetrated these brutalities in the name of religion, claiming that they had gone to these parts of the world with a civilizing and Christianizing mission. If you ask hardliner Zionists, they also repeat the same mantra, occupying their imagined Promised Land without any regard to the inhabitants who had been there for centuries. Today one might be surprised by the way Israelis have occupied the land of the Palestinians, but this is what the United States did with the indigenous people.

The Israelis are also seeking the total surrender of the Palestinians. They are not ready to even follow the principles that have been set by their sympathizers and supporters. A number of states close to Israel believe that it should go back to the borders of 1967. But the recalcitrant leaders of the occupying forces do not pay any heed to such advice and appeals of their friends.

Colonial powers also resorted to sledgehammer tactics whenever they were challenged by native and indigenous populations, and Tel Aviv is also employing the same method. So, there are a lot of similarities between the way Israel is dealing with Palestinians and the method that Western colonial powers adopted to deal with occupied populations.

The Western ruling elite hates history because it not only exposes their brutalities but all the claims of moral superiority as well. The same is the case of Israel that does not want to listen to any historical facts. Jews never constituted a majority in Palestine. According to a census of 1887, they constituted only three percent of the population with Christians making up 10 percent of the population and Muslims around 87 percent. Even the mass migration of the Jews between 1920 and 1939 could not turn them into an overwhelming majority. It was the brutal tactics of the Zionist state that forced more than 600,000 indigenous people to migrate to various parts of the world. Today the descendants of these migrant Palestinians are numbered around seven million.

It is the past of the Western powers that prevents them from condemning the atrocities of the Zionist forces. But there are still millions of conscientious souls in the West that are standing against Israeli policies. It is they who are a beacon of hope.

The writer is a freelance journalist.