Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes are taken from the morgue of Al-Aqsa Hospital to be buried as Israeli attacks continue, Gaza on 15 October, 2023 (Reuters)
The present war in Gaza should come as a surprise to no one. This highly publicised explosion of the Gaza Strip has been years in the making and is telling of the people's despair to break Israel's 16-year siege.
Moreover, Israel's response has been consistent in its brutality, and Palestinians in Gaza are all too familiar with the genocidal intent and warfare that Israel continues to put on full display.
Here, five Palestinian academics and researchers give their take on the ongoing conflict.
Ben Gvir and Smotrich normalised | Mouin Rabbani*
"The US and Europe give Israel free hand in Gaza", read the headline from Globes, Israel's financial daily, published the day before US President Joe Biden delivered remarks at the White House indicating that, rather than giving Israel a free hand, he considers the United States a full and active partner in its systematic destruction of the besieged Strip.
Even by US standards, it was an extraordinary speech. Hamas, according to Biden, exists for the sole purpose of killing Jews. He even placed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, Hamas's term for its opening attack on 7 October, firmly in the context of the Holocaust and the Islamic State group, thereby denying any relationship between the Palestinian fighters' attack against Israel and Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, with which he is all too familiar.
Biden devoted a substantial portion of his remarks to denouncing attacks against civilian non-combatants, or rather against Israeli civilians and them alone. The mass killings of Palestinian civilians and the razing of entire neighbourhoods with high explosives was waved away with the claim that, unlike Hamas, Israel "upholds the laws of war".
Before concluding with an anecdote about Golda Meir, which seemed to suggest both he and she were fully aware of Egypt and Syria's impending launch of the 1973 October war, Biden made a number of statements emphasising that during the current crisis there is no daylight between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
[Right-wing government ministers] Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich have, as predicted, been normalised.
Biden emphasised that Israel will get all the high explosives and support it needs, without any strings of any sort attached, to achieve the objectives its leadership chooses.
This was received in Israel as a licence to not only continue but to escalate yet further, and it is inconceivable that the White House is not fully aware of this. Predictably, that same evening the Al-Karama neighbourhood of Gaza city was vaporised, with rescue teams indicating that the scale of the destruction had thoroughly overwhelmed their capacities.
Yet, as Israel shut off the food, water, medicine, and electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, and as Israeli leaders issued increasingly genocidal threats, their torment of Gaza's long-suffering population failed to conceal their military ineptitude, even from Biden.
Washington's dispatch of an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean to deter Hezbollah from opening a second front in solidarity with the Palestinians demonstrates that Washington, too, has concluded that Israel is no longer capable of defending itself without massive foreign assistance and involvement.
The perfect victim | Ghassan Elkahlout*
As a Palestinian who grew up within the confines of a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, I find it imperative to share some reflections on the ongoing war in Gaza. It is indigestible to witness the international community's overt and clear selectivity in addressing and condemning global injustices.
The international community's shock and ensuing engagement with the discourse displays a profound misunderstanding of the situation. They have had numerous opportunities to grasp the nature of the "conflict", engage in meaningful dialogue, and exert pressure on the Israeli government to alter its actions. Yet, they have repeatedly chosen inaction.
False allegations about Palestinians have stirred greater outrage than documented Israeli crimes against Gaza's children. Palestinians seemingly must be "perfect victims" to garner sympathy, but often, even when fitting this mould, they are sidelined and forgotten.
Indeed, attacking civilians cannot be glorified. The necessity to shield civilians is paramount. Yet, my anguish stems from the glaring double standard when addressing Palestinian civilians.
It isn't a mere "war tactic" to deprive an entire population of essentials like food, water, electricity and medical aid, amounting to a concentrated assault on Gaza's residents....
This opinion was written by Mouin Rabbani, Ghassan Elkahlout, Amena El Ashkar, Tamer Qarmout, and Tariq Dana