Whatever your politics or your worldview or your take on the merits or demerits of the Israeli or Palestinian ‘cause’, if you have a conscience you cannot but be shocked and horrified by the immense violence of events in Gaza in the past days. 

Before we start trading comparisons and insults about the honesty or legitimacy of the behaviour of both ‘sides’, we should at least condemn, without reservation, the use of indiscriminate violence that kills innocent people, demolishes hospitals and medical facilities, community infrastructure, basic public services and ultimately human lives and dreams. 

What has yet again happened is reprehensible and those locally and internationally who seek robotically to excuse, justify or defend it are implicated in its violence and its consequences.  

Watching the calculated destruction of a people while engaging in semantic gymnastics is a characteristic of inhumanity. Comparing and contrasting the mathematics of rockets, bombs and air strikes while talking of proportionality and justification is a deep sickness.

The fact that this current moment in the long drawn out political, economic and cultural strangulation of the Palestinian people was predicted locally and internationally and that we have witnessed it time and time again makes it all the more reprehensible.

The repeated weakness of the UN, the blocking tactics of the US and the prevarication and silence of so many governments and leaders is sickening. Talk of ‘behind the scenes’ diplomacy is manifestly inadequate despite the welcome current ceasefire.

The response of the US to the brokered ceasefire illustrates the fundamental injustice of the current situation. The US has agreed to supply humanitarian assistance for yet another attempt to ‘rebuild’ Gaza (with assistance from European taxpayers) while simultaneously supplying further military aid to Israel to rebuild its Iron Dome. 

In the guise of items in a ‘peace’ process, an ongoing ‘war’ process is sustained. 

Actors on both sides have hailed recent events as in some way ‘victorious’ despite the human toll. In stark contrast Aluf Benn, editor of the liberal and respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz described recent events as a "most failed and pointless war." 

There are no victors in the current situation, just direct and indirect victims on both sides.

Repeatedly, the well-promoted and highly selective line that Israel has the right to defend itself is delivered by politicians and commentators.  Self-evidently it does but what precisely is implied by this – are there any limits to such a right?  And what of the equal right of Palestinians? This line in unreasoning amounts to a zero-sum game for all involved, especially the weakest and least protected.

All Palestinians continue to be held responsible for the behaviour, views and criminal acts of individuals and organisations within their ranks. Those Palestinians who simply seek to challenge the illegal and aggressive occupation of their land or more recently eviction from their homes are to be punished for simply doing so. 

While vigorously upholding the legitimacy of Israel and Israeli militarism, that same legitimacy is denied to Palestinians.  In much commentary, Palestinians are told that there is no effective action they can legitimately take in response to evictions, occupation or attacks. The very cause of Palestine has been deemed by many to be dubious at best.  The victims are depicted as aggressors and as such should accept their fate.

For being on the wrong side of an enforced history they must continue to be punished.

Inevitably there are many religious, community and human rights groups and organisations across both societies who do not accept this depiction of themselves or their societies. Against immense opposition and threats, they constantly struggle against the hawks and the militarists insisting that basic dignity and rights are upheld even amidst the destruction and hate.

Consistently they have offered and practiced alternatives, but these are all too often brushed aside as naïve, wishful thinking or devious.

While the dignity of so many Gazan civilians continues to be denied in life, it is currently also denied in death. 

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