The war in Gaza is entering its seventh day with the Israeli ground surge in force as I write. I feel entirely helpless and nearly immobilised by rage.
But reading Ilan Pappe’s ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ in Electronic Intifada helps to make sense of the murderous attack. My work on the commemoration of the Nakba by Israelis links me to the need, as Pappe, argues, to historicise this conflict from its inception, and the Zionist ideology which has engendered ethnic cleansing and the dehumanisation of Palestinians ever since 1948 and before.
Pappe writes: ‘Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza’.
Therefore, he reminds me of the importance of studying the history of the Nakba and the plan to transfer the Palestinians beyond the boundaries of the Jewish state, in a ’spaciocide’ impetus (as argued by Sari Hanafi) to control the space, but without the Arabs. Pappe insists that after 2008, the 50th anniversary of the Nakba (which did not fulfil the great hopes we all had for its potential to transform the world’s attitude to Palestinian and the Palestinians) we cannot allow 2009 to be just another year. We cannot treat the massacres in Gaza to be treated as ‘just another military operation’, in which, as Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak said, ‘Israel will take all the legal steps’ to eradicate Hamas. This type of war is not ‘legal’, and the horrendous crimes must be linked to what happened in the past and to the Zionist ideology.
In this new year, Pappe says, we must make all efforts to ‘realign public opinion to the history of Palestine and to the evils of the Zionist ideology as the best means of both explaining genocidal operations such as the current one in Gaza and as a way of pre-empting worse things to come’.
Read Pappe’s article http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10100.shtml