Ignoring Israel’s genocidal policies in Gaza supposedly brings political dividends. As the situation in the tiny sliver on the Mediterranean deteriorates rapidly, most so-called Muslim regimes especially in the Muslim East remain impotent and the rest of the world looks the other way.
Let us consider some statistics about Gaza. On September 5, the Istanbul-based Gaza Aid Association (GAA) held a conference dedicated to and publicizing the harrowing statistics of the besieged Strip that has been referred to as the largest open-air prison in the world.
According to GAA, Gaza’s figures are “the highest in the world in the fields of unemployment with 52%, poverty 53%, and water pollution 95%, and the daily power outage rate that reached 75%.” The Turkish-based NGO pointed out that the “rate of medicines shortage is 50% and lack of medical supplies is 27%; also, 77% of homes in Gaza have been destroyed and damaged by Israeli attacks.”
The data presented by the GAA is corroborated by other sources, such as the UN. The UN website states that “the Gaza blockade (through land, air and sea) is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment… over 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer is undrinkable.”
Mondoweiss, a news website co-edited by Philip Weiss, a Jewish American journalist, regularly highlights Israel’s genocidal policies. In a report posted on Mondoweiss in August 2018, Israel’s leading, anti-Zionist historian, IlanPappe, shed light on the driving ideology behind this genocidal policy. Pappe stated that “in some places, such as North America, annihilation was literally a genocide of the native; in Palestine it was a different kind of elimination, obtained through segregation, ethnic cleansing and enclavement.”
In 2012, the Israeli not-for-profit organization Gisha, published documents showing that Israel used to calculate the calories for Palestinians in Gaza just enough to put the population “on a diet” but not to cause famine. According to the Electronicintifada.net, “there was chronic malnutrition among some of the most vulnerable populations.”
In May 2019, Gisha reported, “since March 2015, Israel has also allowed an even smaller number of products from Gaza to be sold in Israel. From 2007–2014, only exports abroad had been permitted. The monthly average number of truckloads of goods exiting Gaza to all destinations in 2018 was about 20 percent of the monthly average in 2007, before the closure was imposed.”
Zionist officials do not hide their genocidal ambitions in Palestine; they are quite open about them. Ayelet Shaked, the Zionist entity’s “justice” minister, in 2014 wrote on her Facebook page, “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
The genocidal nature of Zionist policies is an open secret. The question is why is it being tolerated? If Muslims were to utter such sentiments or subject other people to the conditions Zionists are subjecting the Palestinians to, there would be international outcry. In addition to charges of anti-Semitism, a “coalition of the willing” would be formed sending cruise missiles and bombs to deliver democracy and lessons in human rights.
The reason behind Western silence over Israeli crimes is clear. The Zionist lobby wields enormous power in many countries. The US offers a prime example. David Ochs, founder of HaLev, which helps send young people to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference, was recorded on tape, saying, “Congressmen and senators don’t do anything unless you pressure them. They kick the can down the road, unless you pressure them, and the only way to do that is with money.” Imagine a Muslim activist saying this about mobilizing Western politicians to back Muslim causes?
Zionist influence is not limited to the Western world, perhaps one of the most fundamental reasons for Gaza’s horrible situation today. It is also because there is a pro-Zionist regime in Egypt. If the Egyptian people were to free themselves from the autocratic system and establish a people’s representative government, it would be difficult for it to participate in the siege of Gaza. The plight of the people in Gaza would be very different. It would require Egypt to act like a sovereign state and refuse to allow its policies toward Gaza to be dictated by Zionist Israel.
Egypt’s astonishingly brutal role has surprised people of non-Muslim faith as well. As far back as 2010, the Christian Science Monitor wrote that while people mainly focus on Israel’s role in the siege of Gaza, Egypt’s important role is often forgotten. In January 2019, as reported by the Jerusalem Post, Egypt’s dictator, ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, openly declared that security cooperation with Israel was the closest ever.
Let us now address the question raised at the beginning of this article: what political dividends do regimes get by turning a blind eye to Palestinian suffering? The primary advantage is that these regimes tap into the Zionist lobby’s global influence and believe they can derive benefit from their connections.
Let us take Turkey’s example. If it were to cut its trade ties with Israel, it will be scolded by Western powers and perhaps subjected to sanctions. However, due to the Western world’s shaky economic situation and the emergence of means of global communication, if Turkey and other self-respecting states were to cut ties with the Zionist entity, there is little the Western regimes could do for a prolonged time period. For example, Turkey dominates the hazelnut market with an estimated share of 67.1%. Would Germans and Italians accept paying triple the price for Nutella if Turkey retaliates by raising the price of hazelnuts because Western governments put Israel first?
With the means of modern communication, if Muslim countries explain to people in the West that they are paying triple the price for hazelnuts, olive oil, petrol, and palm oil because their regimes see Zionist impunity as more important than their own peoples’ well-being, few governments in Europe or North America will be able to justify their pro-Zionist stance to their public.
There is a real opportunity to put Zionists on the defensive; what is lacking is political will. This political will can be cultivated through pressure, thus forcing governments to cut trade ties with the Zionist entity. Israel is a subsidized entity, it would not last long if even a few self-respecting states were to sever trade relations with it. Gaza’s harrowing statistics should motivate people to pressure their governments to cut trade ties with the Zionist regime.