In the face of Western hypocrisy, the people stand with Gaza
Iconic landmarks and buildings across Western cities around the world - from New York’s Empire State Building to the EU headquarters in Brussels and the federal parliament house in Sydney - are being lit up in blue and white as an official show of “support” for Israel.
This response is, unfortunately, predictable from Western powers, who have long shielded Israel from any form of accountability for its decades-long brutal military occupation of Palestinian land.
Still, there will come a day when this moment will be marked in history books as the shameful rallying of imperial, settler colonial states behind a violent, racist, apartheid settler colony regime, one that is founded and sustained on the domination and oppression of the Indigenous Palestinian people of the land.
In July of this year, Israel violently raided and attacked the Jenin refugee camp, displacing 4,000 Palestinian refugees; destroying homes, roads, electricity, water, and sewage networks; and damaging hospitals while blocking ambulance access. But no Palestinian flag was displayed on any Western landmarks.
"For seventy-five years, Palestinians have implored the world to hold Israel to account. In return, Western governments and Arab lapdog puppet regimes have enabled and empowered Israel to act with impunity as it commits war crimes and crimes against humanity"
In May 2021, Israel bombed Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan, indiscriminately killing 260 Palestinians, wiping out entire families and neighbourhoods. But no Palestinian flag was displayed on any Western landmarks.
Every year during Ramadan, Israel attacks and brutalises Palestinians visiting the Al Aqsa mosque compound to perform prayers and desecrates the holy site. But no Palestinian flag is displayed on any Western landmarks.
Israeli settlers routinely desecrate Christian cemeteries, spit at Palestinian Christian pilgrims, chant “Death to Arabs … Death to Christians”. But no Palestinian flag is displayed on any Western landmarks.
In 2018, when thousands of Palestinians peacefully marched along the Gaza border during the Great March of Return, Israel shot to kill and permanently maim Palestinian protestors with live ammunition, killing 214 Palestinians and injuring 36,100 more, including over 8,800 children. But no Palestinian flag was displayed on any Western landmarks.
Israel bombed Gaza in 2008 and 2014, killing thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children, and injuring and displacing over 10,000 people. But no Palestinian flag was displayed on any Western landmarks.
In 2009, Israel repeatedly exploded white phosphorus shells over Gaza’s residential areas, a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital. Reports are now emerging that Israel is using these chemical weapons again this time. But no Palestinian flag has been displayed on any Western landmarks.
Since 2000, Israel has killed more than 2,300 Palestinian children, and detained hundreds more every year. But no Palestinian flag has been displayed on any Western landmarks.
There are more than 5,200 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails, including 160 children, and more than 1,000 are detained arbitrarily without charge or trial. But no Palestinian flag has been displayed on any Western landmarks.
In violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has systematically expelled Palestinians from their land and homes, bulldozing Palestinian homes, appropriating thousands of acres of Palestinian land, and expanding its illegal settlements. But no Palestinian flag has been displayed on any Western landmarks.
Israeli settlers living on stolen Palestinian land regularly attack Palestinians, storming villages and setting fire to Palestinian property with complete impunity, such as the pogroms in Huwara earlier this year. But no Palestinian flag has been displayed on any Western landmarks.
For more than five decades, Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian in the longest military occupation in modern history, and implemented a system of apartheid. Gaza has been under blockade for 16 years, its residents forced to live in an open-air prison.
Still, no Palestinian flags have been displayed on Western landmarks.
For seventy-five years, Palestinians have implored the world to hold Israel to account.
A rare occasion in media history where a Palestinian has been able to speak freely on live TV without being interrupted. Mustafa Barghouti, gen. sec. of the Palestinian National Initiative, gave evidence-based replies on Palestine during a live CNN interview that has gone viral: pic.twitter.com/nkWeyhPlBX— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 9, 2023
In return, Western governments and Arab lapdog puppet regimes have enabled and empowered Israel to act with impunity as it commits war crimes and crimes against humanity, and subjects Palestinians to settler-colonial violence, a system of apartheid and collective punishment.
Palestinians have never doubted that ‘peace talks’, ‘diplomacy’, and ‘negotiations’ are rhetorical shields Western governments deploy to entrench the status quo and maintain Israel’s domination and oppression of Palestinians.
But now that Palestinians have broken out of their prison, the sheer dehumanisation of Palestinians by Western powers is undeniable.
Palestinians have broken out of a prison that has been declared criminal, against international law, inhumane, illegal, a ticking time bomb, and a humanitarian disaster, by every credible human rights organisation in the world, including those within the West.
"Whilst the ruling elites stand with the Israeli regime, and official government buildings and landmarks light up in blue and white, the streets around the world are red, black and green for Palestine"
Today, the deplorable message that Western governments have sent in lighting their buildings in white and blue is blatantly clear: we give Israel permission to use whatever force is necessary to punish Palestinians for daring to escape and to forcibly return them to that prison.
The lights are clear vindication that messaging Palestinians as culpable terrorists and Israel as victim, will avoid any threat to the multi-billion-dollar military, surveillance technology & armaments industry which Israel and Western governments are heavily invested in.
By painting Palestinian resistance against an illegal occupation as terrorism, while defending the Israeli regime as victims, Western powers also continue to justify the multi-billion dollar surveillance and weapons industry as well as the vast military aid sent to Israel to sustain its occupation.
We know that the technologies of violence tested and enacted on Palestinian bodies in the “laboratories” of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel are being exported and used by Western governments against racialised, marginalised communities in their own societies.
And yet, the lights are in a way a victory for Palestinians. Because whilst the ruling elites stand with the Israeli regime, and official government buildings and landmarks light up in blue and white, the streets around the world are red, black and green for Palestine.
Around the world, thousands march in solidarity with Palestine. Palestinians and their supporters around the world will continue to fight for freedom long after the lights on buildings are switched off.
The ruling elite wave the Israeli flag to flex and consolidate their power and perpetuate their structures of injustice. The people in the streets wave the Palestinian flag to demonstrate their solidarity with those fighting for dignity, freedom and liberation.
Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Future Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University researching Arab/Muslim Australian radical social movements from the 1970s to date. She is also the award winning author of over 12 novels.
Follow her on Twitter: @RandaAFattah
Have questions or comments? Email us at: email@example.com
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.