As Israel's mask slips, the moral bankruptcy of normalisation is even clearer
The atrocities being committed today by Zionist settler gangs on the occupied land of historic Palestine will have invoked deeply traumatic memories for Palestinians - memories of the black days and nights they lived through during the Nakba ("the catastrophe") of 1947-48.
Then, too, Zionist gangs, including the Haghanah and others would often launch their racist, murderous attacks at night, under the protection of the British Mandate forces. They burned houses, cut down trees, killed the men and cast women, children and the elderly out of their homes. They slaughtered the livestock. They planted terror and panic among the population so that Palestinians wouldn't dare return.
Chilling echoes of the same scenario played out again last Sunday night, when a massive mob of settlers stormed Hawara village, near Nablus, protected by the Israeli army. They set fire to houses and cars, terrifying villagers who were in their homes when the onslaught began. Settlers also rampaged through several villages nearby, killing one Palestinian and wounding dozens. It was a terrifying night, adding to the never-ending litany of atrocities carried out by the longest and ugliest occupation in modern times.
"The atrocities being committed today by Zionist settler gangs on the occupied land of historic Palestine will have invoked deeply traumatic memories for Palestinians - memories of the black days and nights they lived through during the Nakba of 1947-48"
What happened in Hawara constitutes a crime against humanity, because its goal is ethnic cleansing. Moreover, this is a state crime for two reasons. One, because the attackers were under the protection of the Israeli military which joined forces with them to fire tear gas at Palestinians who tried to defend their homes. Two, because the extremist right-wing government has effectively given a political, ideological and religious cover to crimes like this, thereby granting the perpetrators impunity, and fuelling their continuation.
In reality, the attackers just acted on the racist and fascist statements of Israel's national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, who has threatened to expel the Palestinians from all of historic Palestine (present-day Israel) and from the West Bank. His plan is their dispersal across the Arab world to live as permanent refugees.
He even invoked the year of the 1948 Nakba massacres and expulsion of the majority of the Palestinian people, 75 years ago, adding that he wishes to see it repeated today. He said this publicly and in full view of the world because he knows that any crimes he incites or commits won't be punished, and that no one will brand him a terrorist or racist - other than his victims. As for them, he dedicates all this time to their destruction, envisioning the day there are no witnesses left, and no one to protest.
While most Arab states stayed silent in the face of the settlers' brutal rampage - especially the "normalisation" club - the reactions from the Western states were ludicrous. Washington described the illegal settlers' crimes as "random" acts of violence, as though discussing hooligans after a baseball match.
Germany called for the de-escalation of the situation, as though discussing a clash which had arisen between two equal sides, despite being a collective, violent, criminal assault against the defenceless inhabitants of a village who were attacked without warning.
In Paris, state officials described their "concern" over the events and called on the Israeli army (which was busy protecting the marauding settlers) to contain the situation, to protect the Palestinians and try those who had committed criminal acts.
Morocco was no better, describing the savagery of the settlers as "provocative acts".
"As for the normalisation deals themselves, and the ensuing roll out of state visits by senior Israeli governmental figures, these acts show contempt for the peoples who have had this normalisation imposed on them against their will, from the Gulf to Morocco"
The mask has fallen from the ugly face of the Zionist occupation, which has been ongoing since the 1948 Nakba. The crimes now being acted-out daily in occupied Palestine clearly reveal the repugnant nature of a fascist and criminal regime, and every case of silence in response to these crimes signals complicity with them.
As for the normalisation deals themselves, and the ensuing roll out of state visits by senior Israeli governmental figures, these acts show contempt for the peoples who have had this normalisation imposed on them against their will, from the Gulf to Morocco.
When it comes to Morocco, the vast majority of civil, political and social forces in the country completely reject it. Even the leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), who signed the widely-loathed Abraham Accords, justifying the shameful act as being in the "state's interest", started vehemently declaring his opposition to normalisation and condemning it as soon as he was no longer in government.
Israeli settlers openly rampaged in Hawara because years of experience showed them that they do so without consequences. Nothing's more terrifying than knowing that people can do anything to you & get away with it. That's life for Palestinians living under Israel's apartheid @hrw pic.twitter.com/9B8e7t2V3z— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) March 1, 2023
Most of Moroccan society is innocent of the crime of normalisation, especially the many who are powerless to act, oppressed and afraid of the state's thuggish violence towards those who oppose it. If they were free to, they would fill the streets in their millions, marching for Palestine like they used to – in the years before the regime embarked on the wholesale destruction of the spaces for dissent and protest.
Morally speaking, Morocco's oft-repeated official line - that it supports the Palestinian people – is incompatible with its alliance with the entity which is violently seizing their land.
As Palestinian blood is shed daily, the savage settler attacks continue, and a Zionist, fascist, extremist, religious government sits in power, its members openly bragging about killing Palestinians, and their plans to expel Palestinians, torture their prisoners and execute their resistance fighters, there is nothing that could justify normalisation with Israel, which will remain condemned politically, morally and religiously until Judgement Day.
If a way to mobilise Moroccans on the issue could be found, taking into account the widespread fear of the state's violent security apparatus, but also taking hope from the new wave of protests being mounted in new ways by innovative groups like the contractual teachers' coordination group, and others fighting unfair conditions imposed without their consent, the vast majority of Moroccan civil and political society would flock to be part of it. Anything that is imposed will be rejected, and the day will soon come when normalisation is also rejected.
Ali Anouzla is a Moroccan journalist and writer, and the editor of Lakome. He founded and edited several Moroccan newspapers. He received POMED's 'Leaders for Democracy' award in 2014.
Article translated from Arabic by Rose Chacko. Read the original article here.
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