Genocide: The only word that can express the horror in Gaza

Genocide is the only word that can express the horror Gaza is facing
5 min read

Jumana Farhat

17 October, 2023
Israel has unleashed the full force of its powerful military machine against the trapped people of Gaza in what can only be described as a genocidal attack, says Jumana Farhat. The West is backing this brutality to the hilt.
Rescue efforts underway after an Israeli airstrike destroys the home of a Palestinian family in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on 16 October 2023 [Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty]

Genocide is the only word capable of expressing the horror Gaza is facing, and has been for days now, at the hands of Israel's ferocious killing machine.

Israel is slaughtering people, pulverising residential buildings with their inhabitants still inside and destroying entire neighbourhoods. It is targeting emergency paramedics and ambulances, cutting off water, food, fuel and medicines. The Rafah crossing was bombed to ensure it stays closed, even though it is the only possible lifeline for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip - at least, if there were any political will for this.

In effect, Israel appears bent on annihilating the inhabitants of Gaza to punish them for the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. It does not wish for there to be one single safe haven anywhere in the Strip, nor a hospital to treat the injured.  

Palestinians are mourning entire families; mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children all wiped out in a heartbeat. On social media they are witnessing the scenes of horrific massacres in which no one is able to even to retrieve the bodies of the dead, or the scattered body parts.

In spite of this, dozens of states have lined up in absolute support of Israel's war on the Palestinians - while deliberately turning a blind eye to the horrific massacres being carried out against the population.

A core part of the battle today is not only on the ground, even though that is the most critical arena, in light of what the Palestinian people are being subjected to, and what they will be subjected to for as long as the war continues. However, there is also a fierce battle raging around how the war is being depicted.

Pro-Israel voices are dominating Western media, promoting Israel's narrative of the war on TV screens, in newspapers and on news channels, and portraying it as the victim. Pro-Israel voices are given hours of airtime to present fallacies and lies without the slightest scrutiny, such as the claims of scores of "Israeli children being beheaded", as if these are established facts.

It even reached the point where US President Joe Biden repeated these claims - before the White House was forced to retract them because there is no evidence, attributing his statement to reports from news websites.

As for the Palestinians (and their supporters) who are permitted to appear on TV channels; they find themselves called on to start any interview by condemning Hamas and "terrorism" - as if this should be a mandatory precondition before anyone is allowed to speak about the Palestinians.

However, while these people know the difficulty of their task, they also know the urgent necessity that they transmit the Palestinian side of the story. Among them, is Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK. He has managed, in repeated appearances on more than one media channel, to redirect the conversation away from the "condemnation request" as a prerequisite.

Instead he has focussed on Israeli crimes and the sole responsibility of the occupation for the horrific situation unfolding now. He has highlighted that Israel is to blame for the situation in the Gaza Strip which has been under blockade for 16 years and has endured all manner of injustices; and for blocking every possible path to peace; and for granting the most fanatical extremists free reign to tighten their rule over Palestinians, and intensify their brutality towards them.


Western media - that is, its dominant, pro-Israel faction – is not even limiting itself to projecting its usual false equivalence between the occupier and the occupied. Its support goes beyond even that – it has granted an unquestioned right to the occupier to do exactly what it wants – to massacre the civilians of Gaza with planes, bombs and warships.

Meanwhile, the people of Gaza - over 2 million of them - don't even have the right to live. And nor do the rest of the Palestinians, whether in the West Bank, Jerusalem, or within Israel itself. For the Palestinians, wherever they are, the world wishes upon them only death and destruction.

It wishes what remains of their land to be stolen and their homes razed. It wishes for them to be expelled and imprisoned; abused whether at checkpoints or in their prison cells.

In recent days, Israeli authorities have completely cut off water and electricity for Palestinian prisoners – it goes unquestioned that Israeli will should be the decider of such decisions over Palestinian lives.

As for when Palestinians defend themselves - they are condemned and "deserve" to be crushed. This is because they were never the priority.

The approach taken recalls the recent words of the far-right extremist National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir when he emphasised that the lives of settlers and Israelis were more important than the movement and lives of Palestinians. While his words were directed at the West Bank, this mentality applies to every inch of occupied Palestine, the population of which continues to endure a colonial regime built atop endless crimes.

Jumana Farhat is a Lebanese journalist and head of the political section of Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication.

This is an edited translation. To read the original article click here.

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.

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