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Israel and Palestine

“In chess, the white and black pieces on the board are bitter enemies. But those who move the pieces are usually good friends”.

Two weeks ago I returned from the Sinai desert, about 200 kilometres and a couple of hours by car from the Palestinian and Israeli borders. There, like here, war is all anybody is talking about. Many of the people there have family members in both Gaza and Israel. They are angry about what is going on. And afraid.

As everybody says, the situation is complex. As always, the media is not a reliable source of information. The reason I have not spoken about the situation until now is because I needed to ensure that I understood the situation enough not to fall into the trap of promoting a false narrative that had been programmed into me without my awareness. I have fallen into that trap before. It is particularly easy to do when you are being bombarded with images of innocent people being slaughtered. It is also easy when you’re talking to people on the ground who have family members involved in the slaughter. And yes, people are being slaughtered. Thousands of innocent children, women and men have been killed, particularly in Gaza, and to a lesser degree in Israel, over the course of the past almost 100 years. It is devastating. The killing of children at such scale, in particular, is evil – and I don’t use that word lightly.

I have a responsibility to understand enough about what is going on to accurately identify the source of that evil.

Initially, I noticed that the inaccurate and sensationalised reporting of the Hamas attack on October 7th – which has since been largely revised and recanted - was pitched in a way designed to make us forget our humanity and mechanically start beating the drums of war. Since then, much of the information about the annihilation of Gaza has been distorted too. Of course, the intention of the media is to trigger us into a heightened emotional state so that we will consume more content and narrative. That narrative involves identifying an enemy (a person, a group of people, or an ideology), and focussing our attention on fighting them. Simplified “good vs evil” stories are always a red flag (it’s never that simple). It is no secret that the media is funded by the same organisations who themselves are significant shareholders in the military industrial complex. Those organisations are also the architects of the current push towards global technocratic authoritarianism.

There are some important, lesser known pieces of information to bear in mind.

More people should know that the US is funding both sides of the war. They gave $6 billion to Iran (to give to Hamas) whilst more publicly sending billions to Israel to aid in their military effort. It is no secret that the US is, to use their words, ‘Israel’s best friend in the world’. It is in many ways an unprecedented bi-lateral relationship; there is nothing like it in modern history. Could Israel’s ‘best friend’ fund Hamas (in a barely concealed manner) without Israel’s knowledge of same? Would the US fund Hamas without Israel’s approval of same?

At the same time, Hamas has been governing Palestine ruthlessly since 2006 and (these days) more than half of Palestine’s population wants them gone. In 18 years of governance, they have built 0 bunkers or protective barricades for Palestine’s civilians, despite constant aerial bombardment. Their priority (self-stated) is not protection of Palestinians, but eradication of Israel. They place their resources into that priority.

For some desperate Palestinian people, Hamas represent some resistance against a much more powerful nation in Israel who have shown that they have no issue bombing hospitals and using chemical warfare against Palestinian civilians, 50% of whom are children.

Palestine has suffered enormous casualties, including of children, for decades; orders of magnitude more than Hamas has caused to Israel. It is difficult to imagine the helplessness of living in an open air prison, without reliable access to food and water, under constant attack, with family members dead and dying. As a man, I have to be honest and say that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that I would decide to fight back, as opposed to waiting to die and see all of my family die too. Israel and Palestine both say they have legitimate claims to the land in international law.

Israel says that their claim and presence on the land predates Palestine’s by several thousand years and relies on this in justifying their position. Still, Palestine did not occupy the land in any unlawful way in the first place – technically, they are subject to an occupation, which under international law is itself unlawful.

All of the negotiations of the past few decades have been unsuccessful. Since 1976, there has been a generally agreed on two state solution, originally brought in a resolution to the UN Security Council. However, Israel refused to attend the session, and the US vetoed the resolution. Little progress has been made since.

Back to the quote:

“In chess, white and black pieces are bitter enemies. But those who move the pieces are usually good friends”.

Of course, the Israeli Government (along with the US) themselves originally funded Hamas to help get rid of Yaser Arafat, as admitted by multiple Israeli and IDF officials.

Just two weeks before the October 7 attack Israeli president Netanyahu presented the UN Assembly with a new map of the middle east that did not feature Palestine on it.

Egypt warned Israel of the attack weeks before its occurrence as well, yet Israel was allegedly caught off guard.

There is a genuine question about whether Israel facilitated, allowed or welcomed the attack in order to justify a ‘final solution’ for Palestine. That ‘final solution’ may be being pursued for ideological reasons or for economic reasons, or both. It would be very convenient if the Ben Gurion Canal didn’t have to divert several hundreds kilometres north to avoid Palestinian land. It is also well known that Palestine sits on a treasure trove of oil and natural gas.

In Netanyahu’s own words, “now is a time for war”. One could reasonably conclude that war is, and has been, the goal all along, intended to accomplish further goals which aren’t being shared by the governments involved. And war is only tolerated by people who are ramped up into enough of a heightened emotional state to want to vanquish some evil which needs to be vanquished.

Obviously, Hamas does not equate to Palestine, or Palestinians, and the Israeli Government does not equate to Israeli citizens. At the bottom, the people, as always, are fodder for these games. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have family members, children, killed as a result of these disgusting power games. I met one man who has – he was absolutely broken. It was difficult to know what to say or do, and it still is. But I will not point my vitriol in any direction other than the warmongers and globalists who are manipulating desperate people into fighting for one side or another, in the latest global conflict, as opposed to focussing on the globalists themselves. The US Government and the Israeli Government and their corporate benefactors seem to be guilty of conspiring to use war (mass scale death) as a tool to achieve economic and self-interested goals. In this context, peace between Israel and Palestine would be almost impossible.

A seismic shift in the current state of play will be required before a genuine peaceful solution is possible. I fear that the current conflict will not be the last. I just hope that the warmongering leaders who are plotting this course die off themselves before they are able to kill off even more of their own people.

In the meantime, those of us who are detached from the conflict must not fall into the trap of casting another group of people of a particular religion or national identity as the enemy.

It’s not the pieces on the chess board that are our enemy, it’s the people playing the game. It always has been.

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