Gaza's Genocide: The shattering of mainstream myths

Gaza's Genocide: The shattering of mainstream myths about Israel, Arabs & the West
7 min read

Tariq Dana

29 October, 2023
Operation Al-Aqsa Flood & Israel’s genocide in Gaza since, have challenged mainstream narratives from the Israeli military’s supposed invincibility, to the West’s role as a 'bastion' of human rights, argues Tariq Dana.
From the streets of Cairo to the squares of Amman, in Morocco and beyond, people have gathered en masse to voice their opposition to their governments' realignment with Israel, writes Tariq Dana. [GETTY]

In the wake of the recent seismic events emanating from Palestine, a reckoning is in order. "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation, and the subsequent Israeli live-streaming genocide in Gaza, have shattered long-standing myths, dismantled conventional wisdom, and confronted us with the chilling realities of power politics and systemic hypocrisy. They defy misleading narratives that have long been taken as gospel: the supposedly diminishing relevance of the Palestinian cause, the myth of Israel's invincible military might, and the vacuous claim of the West as the self-appointed guardian of human rights and international law.

As the Israeli genocide in Gaza unfolds and global public awareness is becoming increasingly acute, it is becoming clearer that the myths surrounding the colonial conflict in Palestine serve not as guides to understanding, but as barriers. These myths, perpetuated by pro-Israel propagandists, Western powers, and Arab regimes have had dire consequences – ones measured in lost lives, crushed hopes, and a perpetually destabilised region. Now is the moment to dismantle them, delve into their genesis, and unveil the disquieting realities they have served to mask.

Undermining Palestinian struggle

For over a decade, mainstream commentators and policymakers have relegated the Palestinian cause to the periphery of Middle East geopolitics. As regional power competition among players like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey rise in prominence, and as issues like civil wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya dominated headlines, the Palestinian struggle has often been viewed as an anachronistic sideshow – important for symbolic reasons, perhaps, but less so for practical geopolitical calculations.

This false perception has been reinforced by the deliberate actions of some Arab regimes to distance themselves from the Palestinian struggle. The United Arab Emirates in particular, along with other signatories of the Abraham Accords, stands as a stark example. By normalising relations with Israel, these regimes conveyed a political message that Palestine was no longer central to the Arab agenda or to peace in the Middle East. Add to that the complicity of the Palestinian Authority; a corrupt body that often serves to enforce Israel's agenda. Its passivity and governance failures have inadvertently fortified the myth of the irrelevance of the Palestinian struggle, cementing its status as an institutional obstacle rather than a representative body.

The Al-Aqsa Flood operation radically upends this conventional wisdom. It demonstrated that Palestinian resistance could substantially challenge Israeli military capabilities, compelling a re-evaluation of regional geopolitics. The aftermath is telling. Western governments have blindly provided material and vocal support to the Israeli genocide; a testament to their vested interest in ensuring that this bastion of colonialism in the Middle East stands firm, come what may. Yet, millions have marched in protest through European and American streets in support of justice for Palestine.

The spectacle of widespread protests erupting across the Arab world paints a vivid picture of the chasm that exists between the choices of regimes and the sentiments of their populations. From the streets of Cairo to the squares of Amman, in Morocco and beyond, people have gathered en masse to voice their opposition to their governments' realignment with Israel. This groundswell of public activism not only underlines the dissonance between Arab regimes and Arab people, but also signals a resurgent grassroots commitment to the Palestinian cause, challenging the top-down narrative that has sought to marginalise it.

Yet Arab and worldwide popular solidarity with Palestine indicates more than just a stark divide between official policy and public sentiment. It brings into sharp relief a more universal battle that is being waged on a global scale. Gaza, in this context, serves as a poignant microcosm of larger systemic issues—a striking arena where the forces of freedom confront fascism, where genuine humanity is pitted against chilling heartlessness, and where revolutionary aspirations meet the wall of systemic oppression.

The myth of Israel’s undefeatable army

For decades, the myth of Israel's military invincibility has loomed large, shaping Middle Eastern geopolitics and inflating Israel's deterrence capabilities. Supported by cutting-edge technology, overwhelming firepower, and unflinching Western backing, the Israeli military has been viewed as an insurmountable force.


However, the Al-Aqsa Flood operation challenged this well-entrenched narrative. It exposed serious vulnerabilities in Israel’s military apparatus, from strategic collapse and fall of deterrence doctrine to limitations in its intelligence capabilities. Furthermore, Israel's inability to achieve its military objectives in Gaza – compounded by the horrifyingly Western-backed genocidal campaign – only lays bare these failures.

Significantly, the US decision to urgently dispatch military ships and aircraft in support of Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza serves as a tacit admission of Israel's fragility. The deployment of the world's most sophisticated military arsenals to fight against a small contingent of Palestinian fighters in a territory that has been under crippling siege for over a decade is both revealing and disconcerting. It is not just a gross mismatch in terms of firepower; it is an eye-opening illustration of the lengths to which an advanced military establishment is willing to go to suppress a beleaguered population.

This asymmetry highlights not only the extreme measures undertaken to regain colonial control but also underscores the fragilities and limitations of even the most advanced military systems when pitted against a determined and resourceful resistance.

‘Bastions’ of human rights

The West, led by the US and key European allies, often postures as a paragon of human rights and the international law, which often manipulated these principles as criteria to enact economic sanctions or even military interventions. This self-appointed guardianship disintegrates further into glaring hypocrisy when scrutinised in the context of Israel’s colonial domination in Palestine.

The glaring disconnect between Western rhetoric and action has again and again been dramatically exposed by its complicity in Gaza’s genocide. With a staggering Palestinian civilian death toll exceeding 8000 so far, half of whom were children, the US was the only country to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in Gaza to deliver essential supplies. Additionally, alongside European states, the US has also blocked multiple proposals for a ceasefire, effectively intensifying the Israeli mass killing machine in Gaza.

Such actions expose the moral bankruptcy of the West. They stand in direct violation of their own international laws, including the principles laid out in UN Security Council Resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which safeguard civilians in conflict zones.

Furthermore, on Friday, the UN General Assembly voted for an "immediate humanitarian truce" in Gaza. Amongst the UN member countries, 120 were in favour, 14 against and 45 abstained. The US was amongst those who voted in opposition to the resolution.

This incongruence between declared principles and imperial ambitions raises a disconcerting question: can the West, with such moral bankruptcy, still claim the mantle of global stewardship over human rights and international law? The available evidence suggests that these principles are, in reality, malleable tools of imperialism, neo-colonialism and geopolitical interests.

These myths have been tested and have failed miserably, leaving in their wake a trail of destruction and human suffering. The dire need now is for intellectual honesty and moral clarity, elements notably absent in mainstream narratives but essential for navigating the path to justice and liberation of Palestine.

Tariq Dana is an Associate Professor of Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He serves as Associate Editor of Middle East Critique. He is a policy advisor for Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.

Follow him on Twitter: @TariqNDana

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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.