A turning point?
For some years now, Israeli propaganda has been claiming that there is no longer any "Israeli-Palestinian conflict", that the Israeli army has subdued the Palestinian population, that their military superiority guarantees their security, and Western governments have been pretending to believe it.
Taken by surprise yesterday morning by Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, Western governments did not have time to update the press releases they always issue in this kind of situation. They condemned "terrorist" actions, reiterated Israel's right to defend itself, and called for an end to the violence on the part of the Palestinians.
The absurdity of these communiqués stems from the fact that they focus only on the events of the last few hours. However, to understand the situation in Palestine in general and Gaza in particular, we need to remember that most Palestinians in Gaza are the descendants of refugees from the 1948 war. The UN has given them the right to return to their homes within the current borders of the State of Israel, which refuses to let them do so. We must remember that for decades Israel has not respected international law and continues to colonise, repress, segregate and flout the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. We must remember that the Palestinians in Gaza have been under an illegal blockade, condemned but without effect, for 17 years. Finally, we must also remember that for a year now, the extreme right-wing Israeli government has not negotiated anything with the Palestinians. All it has done is use force, blindly, in the hope of subjugating them and diverting attention from the corruption scandals in which it is implicated.
Since the beginning of the year, there has been an increase in the number of Palestinians murdered (over 230, far more than in the last 10 years), as well as expulsions amounting to ethnic cleansing, incarcerations, including without trial, with an unprecedented number of children, and the retention of the bodies of murdered Palestinians. These state practices go hand in hand with a blank cheque given to Israeli settlers, who also attack Palestinian villages in the West Bank in veritable pogroms, as well as Muslim and Christian religious sites, causing death and destruction, encouraged by far-right ministers.
Contrary to the hopes of these arsonists, the daily humiliation of the Palestinians has not made them lower their heads. On the contrary, it has fuelled their anger and prompted them to take up arms again, a tactic that had been abandoned for years. This turning point began with the return of armed groups to the West Bank in 2022, and we are now seeing the Palestinian resistance in Gaza inflict on the Israeli army and government the worst debacle in its history.
There is no such thing as a clean war, we condemn all war crimes, and we know that such an attack will unfortunately cause hundreds of Israeli civilian casualties, while Israeli civilians and soldiers are already being held in Gaza. We also know that the Israeli government currently knows no other strategy than to respond with bombardments and cause further Palestinian casualties, which are already in the hundreds. It is also possible that armed forces from neighbouring countries will intervene, thereby risking putting the whole region under fire.
Let's not forget that the civilian casualties have only one culprit: Israeli colonisation and the violence it produces. This is where the international community must act and put pressure on the Israeli state to finally change its ways and stop adding death to death. In addition to the humanitarian arguments, yesterday should be enough to convince us that Israel's 70-year strategy is not working. The Palestinians will fight as long as they suffer injustice. It is therefore also out of pragmatism that Israel must seek a lasting solution and take the path of international law: lift the blockade on Gaza, evacuate the occupied territories, let the refugees return to their homes, and put an end to the apartheid situation by granting full equality to all its inhabitants. Without these common-sense measures, the succession of massacres will only continue.
If our governments refuse to apply such pressure, it is up to us to put pressure on them, to make them listen to reason, and to demand an end to impunity for Israel. There is still time to avoid a bloodbath, and the people of the world must put pressure on their governments to stop the military operation undertaken by the Netanyahu government, humiliated by Hamas, and bring it back to the negotiating table. This is how the current turning point could unblock the situation and finally lead to a just peace in Palestine.