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’.
His main argument is that what Israel needs is a US president who encourages Israel to end the occupation, not bolster it, who remembers that Palestinians, not only African Americans, have human rights, who stops funding Israeli re-arming, who encourages talks with Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.
I saw a marvellous exhibition at the Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh created by the Scottish artist Jane Frere, titled ‘Return of the soul: The Nakbah project’.
Frere, who was inspired by visits in the Nazi concentration camps, deciedd to create a project on the plight of the Palestinians, dispossessed by the Zionists during and after the 1948 war, which Israelis calls their ‘war of independence’ and Palestinians their Nakba, or catastrophe.