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Palestine: What is different this time?

January 1, 2024: I recently had a conversation with a friend during which I was explaining how devastated I was by the situation in Palestine. His response was, “there is always conflict in this world.” His tone was cold yet wise, and it was clear that he had not seen a fraction of what I have been seeing during the last 3 months. I have known him a long time. He is a good dude. The only explanation that I have for his reaction and the reaction or lack of reaction by too many is a lack of awareness. This is the first time that I have seen so many children injured, killed, and destroyed physically, psychologically, emotionally, in every way possible. Same goes for parents. Same goes for family members now missing their entire families when house after house, hospitals, schools, and UN refugee centers are relentlessly bombed. The stream of horrors has gone on for 3 months, and counting. [innocence-stolen]

Our history and our politics are never neatly explained, but are rather complicated matters made up of many interlocking layers, influences and perspectives. Despite this, I am convinced that what is happening specifically in Gaza, and to a lesser degree in the West Bank, is a genocide [7][8][28]. Not only are Palestinians being violently attacked, but they have been denied water, food and medicine. Kids, families, an entire population is being starved. Aid is being allowed in minuscule doses. Whatever your feelings are about the origins of this “war,” you can not collectively punish an entire population full of innocent people, specially a population that was already held captive in the open air prison known as Gaza.

I know that prior to October, I was unwillingly ignoring the situation of the Palestinians. Throughout my life I heard bits and pieces here and there, often seeing killings reported on the news. The genocidal language used by Israeli's in response to the October 7 attack caught my attention [36]. The language was very clear and it was receiving very little condemnation from anyone in power. I had never heard or seen anything like this. My attention has not left the issue since.

My captivation and focus on the issue of Palestine during the last 3 months has taken me on a very painful journey. I have been dislodged from my normal routine, from my normal concern with career, material satisfaction, the threat of climate change, and generally the comfort of my western lifestyle. I know this will not make sense to most people. It would not have made sense to me either prior to October. This post is an attempt to clarify things for myself, to unwind the chaos in my head and make some sense of it, and at the same time to hopefully influence others to take another look at the lives that we are living [37].

I know that Palestine is not the only ongoing tragedy, but my focus on it and the pain it has caused has given me a new perspective and I have been forced to re-evaluate a lot. Below I will discuss some of the things that Palestine has brought into focus. My values have been re-aligned by going through a process of reevaluating where I stand on these topics and how they are all connected to Palestine in a way.

1. Social Media

One of the main reasons why so many of us have been swept up in the outrage over Palestine is due to what we have seen on social media. Social media is the only way that we could see what is happening directly from reporters in Gaza. Social media is a fragile thing though, as companies now have a history of suppressing various voices, from across the political spectrum. This is troubling on its own, but I have seen first hand how social media companies have censored pro-Palestinian content [15]. It is concerning that we do not have a free, as in uncensored, means of news available to the public. It is concerning that the modern means of getting news is also controlled by private companies, when the Internet could and should be an open platform for communication, but it has been co-opted by the elite and corporations.

If your first thought is “that is how capitalism and markets work” then you may consider questioning that as well.

Another concern regarding social media and censorship, although preexisting, has been the direct cooperation with the U.S. government [2].

All of this should be concerning if you value free speech and value knowing the truth.

2. Mainstream News

It has been alarming how much the mainstream media has reported based purely on information provided by Israel. The bias is very obvious even though sometimes subtle [3][14].

Another alarming aspect regarding the news is the fact that Israel has killed more journalists during the last 3 months than during any other recent armed conflict [27]. We can't prove intent, but it is obvious that if you eliminate journalists, then you greatly curtail the information that comes out of an event. If I was a Zionist, journalists would definitely be a target of mine.

3. Western Government Support

From the start, Western governments drenched Israel with their support, despite the genocidal language used by Israeli government officials and other Israeli commentators all over Israeli media laying out plans to obliterate Gaza [36]. It was surreal to essentially see Western governments give their tacit consent for the violence being planned for the people of Gaza.

The reaction to the blanket support of Israel's genocide was an outpour of public support for Palestine and Western governments doubled down on their stance, suppressing free speech when it came to pro-Palestine voices (more about that below).

I was born in Chile and my family escaped the brutal U.S. installed Pinochet dictatorship, following a bloody coup, so I know very personally the atrocities that the West is capable of. But supporting a genocide, starting with the planning stage all the way through to its execution, was a new low, a jump straight into the depths of hell. I still can not believe that we are supporting this.

Finally, something specific to the United States, and this has more to do with government corruption [11]. In the U.S., a Zionist lobbying group call AIPAC [24] exists. Typically, any lobby that exists for the purpose of influencing U.S. policy towards a foreign government, entity, or person [25] must provide additional disclosures to the U.S. government. “Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents. [26]” Why is AIPAC allowed to skirt the law? Why is AIPAC allowed to operate with impunity [29]?

4. Western Values

For the majority of the West to be aligned on accepting Israel's response was jarring because the values that the West has proclaimed did not seem to align with a planned genocide. The West has pretended to champion freedom, justice and democracy. I am of course aware that there are plenty of previous and other examples that could have popped my Western values bubble, but for the exact opposite to be so openly on display was shocking to me.

Values that are applied selectively are not really values at all. Saying that Israel has a right to defend itself while allowing for 75 years of apartheid and outright violence towards Palestinians [17] is the most blatant and current example of the myth of Western values and moral supremacy.

5. Human Rights

As the genocide was ramping up, people took notice. Massive protests were taking place. A lot of western governments suppressed free speech by limiting or preventing protest in ways that were in obvious violation of free speech and the freedom to assemble.

Businesses are also suppressing pro-Palestinian voices [6][38]. This may have a greater impact. Although businesses are not bound to protect free speech, it should outrage everyone that voicing support for stopping a genocide or for Palestinian freedom is reasonable basis for firing someone. Furthermore, and maybe more troubling, why are businesses compelled to support a foreign country, such as Israel, to the point that speaking out against this country is enough to have you fired.

This all happened against a backdrop of existing laws and legislation that serve to support Israel or to prevent people from opposing the apartheid. These laws include anti-BDS [10][39], prevention of opposition and outright forced support of a foreign country [40]. Maybe I am ignorant, but is there any other country besides Israel that benefits from such laws?

If rights are not respected when they matter the most, then what good are they?

6. International Humanitarian Law

The crimes against humanity committed by Israel are hard to dispute [9]. Read through the complaint by South Africa to the International Court of Justice for some of the documented abuses by Israel [28].

Why was an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Putin [18] less than one month after Russia attacked Ukraine, but 3 months into a genocide and we have not seen any action from them, despite there being clear evidence of violations of international humanitarian law?

If laws are applied selectively, then they are not laws, but levers used by those in power to control outcomes.

7. United Nations

How does the U.N. [19] justify its existence if it cannot stop a genocide? Would you not think that this is the most fundamental protection that the U.N. could offer?

Maybe the lack of response by the U.N. should not be surprising. After all, it was the U.N. that was responsible for helping to establish the illegal state of Israel in 1947 [20], although there is nothing in the U.N. charter that gives it the authority to determine national boundaries or the creation of new states. The Zionists used U.N. Resolution 181 as justification for their violent creation of the state of Israel [21].

During my life, since I was 10 or 11 years old, I can not remember a time during which the United States has not been at war. If this was not bad enough, we are now clearly seeing the direct support and involvement of the United States in Israel's genocide of the Palestinian people. Should the U.S.,being the instigator of so many wars and military actions, be the country to host the United Nations, an organization whose mission it is to bring peace and stability to the world?

If Nazi Germany had survived WWII, what would it say about the U.N., how would you question its legitimacy, if it was based out of Munich? Would you not question the influence that Germany would have on the U.N.? Would the U.N. still be seen as neutral?

One last point I want to make about the U.N. Western nations regularly say they value democracy, and they regularly condemn nations that do not operate as a democracy, demonizing them actually. So why is it that the U.N. Security Council [22] does not function democratically. The United States has repeatedly vetoed resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza [41]. How can a single country have the power to block all other member states from passing a ceasefire resolution? If democratic principles are so great, why does it not apply to this important body of the United Nations? Why is the U.S., arguably the greatest threat to peace, a permanent member of this council which is responsible for peace?

By the way, Israel has killed a record number of U.N. staff [23] during the last 3 months.

8. Israel: Technologically Aided and Encased in Lies

Generally, politicians, public officials and the media regularly lie and misinform. This becomes background noise and is standard operating procedure for how the world runs. This is nothing new. As Malcolm X famously said, “If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

The case in Israel has both highlighted this and elevated it to an extreme, or maybe it feels that way because the lies [4] are responsible for furthering the genocide of Palestinians. The long trail of lies has brought many of us to ask for evidence before believing anything originating from a Zionist or their supporters.

So on the one hand, Israel operates in the public sphere by saying whatever in needs to say, completely decoupled from the truth, to accomplish its goals, while at the same time it runs internally on some of the most advanced uses of technology around data, espionage and warfare.

The infamy that Israel's spy industry has gained [30] may not be news to everyone. Regardless of how aware you are of this, it is an important factor to consider in trying to understand the influence of Israel. Their spying capabilities gives them privilege to a lot of information, a lot of truths. It is a weird dichotomy to see Israel operate in both lies and with access to more truths than most of us have access to.

The truths, the data, this advantage that Israel has, extends to the battlefield and improves the efficiency of their genocide of Palestinians. Israel uses AI to identify targets for bombing at a rate that Israel can hardly keep up with [31], and they know exactly how many innocent people will be killed by each strike. Writing that last portion of the previous sentence makes me feel disgusted.

What takes my disgust to an even more extreme level, is the demonstration by Israel that they are capable of more precision bombing [33]. The killing of as many innocent people as possible is not an accident, but a calculated maneuver.

The atrocities committed by Israel did not start after October 7th [12]. Contrary to what popular media and Zionists attempt to make you believe, and I fell for this myself before the current genocide, the history is not complicated [17][32]. Israel, with support of the West, stole the land from Palestinians. That is the original sin, and it has evolved from that since then, in 1948.

9. The Empire and the Metacrisis

The connections that I now see between this genocide and many other social and political ailments point to a root. For the sake of simplicity, I will call this root the Empire [42]. The forces behind the Empire are driving the Metacrisis [34], a crisis of overlapping, related and pressing issues. Part of the reason why the occupation of Palestine has been allowed to persist for over 75 years is that it serves a purpose for the Empire. Tied to endless greed and racism, Palestine is just another victim, another dimension of the Metacrisis.

Every crisis presents an opportunity. As deeply troubling [1] and as life-changing as this crisis has been for me, I also see a new path forward, for me and for us. A path that has been revealed to us by Palestine, but up to us to walk it.

And one last thing… fuck Israel, all day, every day, until the day I die [35].