The following lines take as their basis for reflection the courageous analysis of the Gaza tragedy by the American political scientist of the realist school, John J. Mearsheimer
Alberto Bradanini is a former Italian diplomat. Among many positions, he was Ambassador of Italy to Tehran (2008-2012) and to Beijing (2013-2015). He is currently President of the Research Center on Contemporary China
Versione originale italiana QUI
Translated by BRAVE NEW EUROPE
Only a grim cynicism that reflects the execrable deficit of human ethics that permeates a society subservient to widespread manipulation makes it possible to obliterate the immensity of the crimes against humanity that Israel (and the individual members of the Israeli government/army) continue to commit in Gaza against defenseless people, men, women and children, who die under the bombs of “the only democracy in the Middle East”, as the media on the payroll like to call the Apartheid Jewish State. What unfolds every moment under the helpless gaze of the ethically evolved world constitutes a deliberately planned massacre. Fathomless is the depth of the humanitarian tragedy that befalls masses of innocent people. Whether or not such conduct falls under the definition of genocide is a matter to be left to the human rights lawyers.
Surely these words of execration will not stop the perpetrators of such atrocities, impervious as they are to any human empathy. History, however, remains relentless, every event is recorded and sooner or later will rebound. Although it seems unlikely today, it cannot be ruled out that unpunished criminals will one day be put in the dock. In any case, if not that of men, they will have to answer for their atrocities before the tribunal of history. At that point, along with the torturers, we will see the shadows of their accomplices lengthen, in the front row the American oligarchies that allow all this to happen, followed by the European ones (in their well-known missionary position, the Italian one even proud of that). Alongside them we will therefore see the ranks of the indifferent, certainly not characterized by human sympathy, who will come to terms with the laceration of conscience, or what is left of it. It therefore remains imperative that the thoughts of those who insist on belonging to humans should not be confused with the complicity of the indifferent, so that when future historians turn their horrified gaze on our time, they will at least be able to appreciate the difference. The Jewish state – with the crucial political and military support of the United States (where today the commanding pro-Israel lobbies control media and politics) and the usual cover of European vassals – keep committing peace and war crimes against Palestinian civilians (70% women and children), without even achieving appreciable results against terrorism. After all, only the feeble-minded (or the corrupt) can believe that terrorism can be fought by massacring innocent civilians and destroying overpopulated places. It is trivial to note that anger and lust for revenge will grow out of all proportion among the survivors. Israeli politicians candidly confess that they are indifferent to the risk of civilian casualties. According to the IDF spokesman (10 October), ‘the emphasis is on damage, not precision’, while the Defense minister, Yoav Gallant, points out: ‘we have no restrictions: we will kill by any means anyone we fight against’. According to the Israeli press, ‘the bombings in Gaza are a factory of mass murders of innocent civilians’, adding ‘the Israeli army has no restraints, the data show unprecedented killings’. According to the New York Times (November 2023) ‘Civilians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli fire at a historically unprecedented rate’. Even the mild-mannered U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says: “We are witnessing a massacre of civilians that is unprecedented since the time of my appointment in January 2017 (and it could have gone much further back!)”.
A further Israeli objective, which belongs to the category of revenge or ethnic cleansing, certainly not to the fight against terrorism, is to starve the miserable Palestinian population, limiting the entry into Gaza of food, water, fuel, gas for cooking, and medicine, and the results are obvious: medical care is almost impossible for the more than 50,000 wounded civilians, some of them very seriously, to the point that even children (and it breaks our hearts to think about it) are sometimes operated on without anesthesia! Israel, however, does not merely prevent supplies for the few remaining hospitals, but bombs them directly, including ambulances and first aid stations. The words of the same Minister of so-called Defense, Yoav Gallant (9 October), resonate humanly sinister: ‘I have ordered a total siege in Gaza. No electricity, food or fuel, everything closed. We are fighting human animals and operating accordingly’. Under (minimal) international pressure, Israel has allowed some supplies, but the quantities are so meagre that, according to the United Nations, ‘half the population is starving and nine out of ten families spend days without food’. Israel constantly presents a narrative full of lies. That is why we are not surprised when we see that those responsible for the crimes committed in Gaza are the same people who raise the horrors of the Holocaust like a refrain (see: The Holocaust Industry, Norman Finkelstein). According to Omar Bartov and other prominent Israeli Holocaust scholars, it is clear that ‘Israel aims at genocide’. Let it be clear, Israel and its horrific strategy of destroying Palestine have nothing to do with either religion or Jewish ethnicity. Racism and anti-Semitism (which we should, if anything, call anti-Judaism) should have been relegated forever to the dustbin of history.
For the Israeli leaders all Palestinians are “human beasts, horrible inhuman animals”. According to the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, “not only Hamas, but the entire Palestinian nation out there is responsible”. The New York Times reports that the entire Israeli political system wants “the erasure of Gaza “. A former IDF general states that “Gaza must become a place where no human being can ever live again” and adds that “serious epidemics in the south of the Strip will facilitate victory”. An Israeli minister, also allegedly in a momentarily altered state, but not an isolated extremist, suggests dropping a nuclear device on Gaza. The Palestinians remember the 1948 Nakba with indelible horror. Now, the Israelis (in the words of the Minister of Agriculture) have plans to repeat it in 2023, in Gaza and the West Bank.
Further, chilling evidence of the moral abyss into which Israeli society has sunk is provided by a video of children celebrating the destruction of Gaza in song: ‘Within a year we will annihilate everyone and go back to ploughing our fields’. Israel does not only kill, injure, and starve the Palestinian people, it also destroys their homes and critical infrastructure, mosques, schools, historical sites, libraries, government buildings, places of healing. As of 1 December 2023, the IDF had damaged or destroyed at least 100,000 (one hundred thousand!) buildings, entire neighborhoods now reduced to rubble. Over 90% of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians have been driven from their homes. The National Public Radio notes that Israel intends to wipe out the entire Palestinian cultural heritage in Gaza: “more than a hundred sites have already been demolished”. Israel then publicly humiliates the arrested men. Israeli soldiers force them to remain in their underwear, blindfold them and expose them to the public in their neighborhoods, making them sit in groups on the pavement or parade through the streets, before locking them in prison for some time and then releasing them, as they have nothing to do with Hamas. The Israelis kill and massacre because they can count on the perennial and unconditional support of the United States that by using veto prevents the passing of U.N. Security Council resolutions in favor of a cease-fire, and which provides Israel with the weapons to carry out this massacre.
According to Israeli general, Yitzhak Brick: “All the missiles, ammunition, precision bombs, planes and so on are US. If the US wanted it, with the end of supplies, the massacres would also cease. Full stop.” Instead, the Biden administration accelerates the shipment of munitions to Israel, bypassing normal procedures on arms exports. Media attention is apparently focused on Gaza, but not enough. Indeed, newspapers and TV obliterate the dramatic images of destruction and massacres of human beings (including children) buried under the rubble. For the past few days, these atrocities have been relegated to the bottom of the page or reported only in a political perspective, omitting the bulk of the issue, those who die today or will die in the coming days (Israel has already killed 17,000 people), while all the 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza are at risk of being chased to Egypt or elsewhere, to spend the rest of their lives there as refugees. This indeed appears to be Israel’s intent.
And we must not lose sight of what is also happening in the West Bank. Israeli settlers, always supported by the army, continue to kill innocent Palestinians and steal their homes and land. In an article in the New York Review of Books, David Shulman reports on a conversation with a settler that reflects the moral dimension of Israeli behavior towards Palestinians. “it’s true what we are doing to these people is inhuman,” the settler candidly admits, “but if you think about it, it’s all down to God, who promised this land to the Jews, and only to them.” In essence, the Israeli government behaves in the same way, systematically violating humanitarian law, both in Gaza and the West Bank. According to Amnesty International, there is overwhelming evidence that Palestinian prisoners, often arrested on trivial pretexts, are regularly tortured, or subjected to degrading treatment in that so-called democracy. This is why it should come as no surprise that some people prefer autocracies. While in many countries around the world millions of people take to the streets against the atrocities committed by Israel and endorsed by the US government, we too raise a cry of revolt and at the same time of unspeakable sorrow for the crimes that seem to have no end in Gaza. And the knot that tightens our throat is accompanied by a question that we would like to ask those who can put an end to these horrors: tell us, in all truth, what is your insane strategy and above all what is in the place where your heart is supposed to be.