The fight for Palestine

The war is raging in Palestine. Picture: AFP

The war is raging in Palestine. Picture: AFP

Published Oct 9, 2023


Dr Aayesha Soni

The reporting by mainstream media of the events unfolding in Israel and Palestine over the weekend is undoubtedly going to be one-sided. The usual pro-Israeli rhetoric and inflammatory word usage against what has factually happened versus what is depicted will paint a grossly distorted picture of the situation on the ground. It is only through social networking sites and connecting with people who are actually living under the Israeli occupation that one quickly becomes aware of the true circumstances surrounding the escalation of tensions in the region. On this basis, I decided to preemptively pen the truth.

While it would be convenient to accept that Operation al-Aqsa Storm falls into the narrative of “Palestinian terrorism”, what is sorely missing from this is a core element of context. What precipitated this attack? Besides the gruelling effects of systematic occupation over the last 75 years, there is a rapidly growing far right-wing Israeli movement that is infiltrating every crevice of Israeli society.

Right-wing fundamentalist Jews, under the heavy protection of the Israeli Defence Force, tour the Aqsa compound daily, threatening to take over the land and build a temple. With their provocation and radicalised behaviour, Palestinians are perpetually taunted, attacked, and even killed at one of their holiest sites. Despite the fact that the idea of a Jewish temple being rebuilt is completely forbidden in Orthodox Judaism, modern Zionism has twisted religious thoughts to suit political goals.

In the past decades, especially the past couple of years, this idea has mainstreamed into Israeli society as Zionist fundamentalism has taken prominence. But this religious fanaticism isn’t the only daily human rights violation that occurs against Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. Having visited both sites personally, I am well acquainted with the humiliation Palestinians incur in every aspect of their lives.

With thousands of reports by renowned NGOs and organisations on the ground documenting Israeli human rights and international law violations over the years, the question of Israel’s morality has always been more than questionable. Yet somehow, when this appears in the news (if it even does), people gloss over it, fatigued by the monotony of such atrocities and having resigned themselves to the fact that “there will never be peace in the Middle East”. Is it then a surprise that the Palestinians have had to resort to armed resistance merely to survive? Reactions are always a consequence of actions, and one cannot play the victim after perpetuating years of oppression.

Examples of the Zionist regime’s human rights abuses are not difficult to find. 27 788 child detentions by Israel only between 2008 and 2022 have been formally documented by Defence for Children International. In these cases, these children are held without trial, interrogated without their parents’ or legal presence, and sometimes jailed for long periods of time with no charge.

Why Israel is no longer held to the same standards of morality as the rest of the world is a question that has long been left unanswered; however, a more heinous breach of sanctity that resonates with me given my profession is its frequent targeting of hospitals, doctors, and paramedics. Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Doctors Without Borders, and Amnesty International are just a few of the reputable organisations that have lent their voices to the chorus of outcries at such barbarity. There is no lack of evidence when it comes to these crimes.

Ofer Cassif, a member of the Knesset and leftist Hadash coalition, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that his party had repeatedly warned the regime authorities that the way they treated the Palestinians would have serious repercussions. The “fascist” regime, he said, “supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians.”

Recognised by its own leaders, never in history has an occupier continued indefinitely without repercussions, and Israel is no exception. Systematic Apartheid, wanton murders and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian leaders, disregard for the extremes of age in the murdering of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, uprooting of homes, impingement on holy sites—every boundary has been crossed when it comes to human rights, and Israel has respected none. While some will call it Palestinian terrorism, an examination of the facts will lend itself to the fact that these are actually acts of resistance in response to real terrorism.

Meticulously planned and bravely executed, the Palestinian resistance is showing the world that they are willing and more than capable of defending their own land and people, albeit being forgotten by most for the past 75 years.

*Dr Aayesha Soni is a specialist neurologist and member of the Media Review Network

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL