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Till Death Palestine

25 October 2023

Till Death Palestine
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Child in Gaza; Image credit:The Independent

We are in a circle of impotence and calculation from which there is no escape; the catastrophe will therefore carry to term, and we will suffer the consequences, writes Etienne Balibar who in 2004 had observed, “do we support the cause of the Palestinian people and consider it a test for any politics that claims dignity and responsibility? I speak in my own name but frame my answer from the perspective of a broad convergence of opinions and forces joining their efforts towards a just peace in the Middle East. I presume this is a universal cause.” The title of the article in French is “Palestine à la mort” which is reminiscent of the phrase “à la vie à la mort” similar to the English phrase “till death do us part”.

The death instinct is ravaging the land of Palestine and massacring its inhabitants.

The Hamas commandos, trapped with two million refugees in what has been called an "open-air prison", had gone underground and prepared for a long time, receiving support from other regional powers and benefiting from a certain complacency on the part of Israel, which saw them as its "favourite enemy". 

They succeeded in launching an offensive which surprised Tsahal, which was busy lending a hand to the Jewish settlers on the West Bank, and this understandably aroused the enthusiasm of Palestinian youth and opinion in the Arab world. 

Except that it has been accompanied by particularly odious crimes against the Israeli population: the murder of adults and children, torture, rape and kidnapping. Such crimes can never be excused by the legitimacy of the cause they claim to represent. 

Despite the vagueness of the expression, they justify the use of the term terrorism, not only in relation to the actions themselves, but also in relation to the armed resistance organisation that plans them. There is more: it is hard to believe that the aim was not to provoke a response of such violence that the war would enter a new, truly "exterminationist" phase, obliterating forever the possibilities of the two peoples living together. And this is what is taking place.

But it is happening because the State of Israel, officially redefined in 2018 as the "nation-state of the Jewish people", has never had any political project other than the annihilation or subjugation of the Palestinian people by various means: deportation, expropriation, persecution, assassination, imprisonment. State terrorism. 

It is sufficient to look at the map of the successive settlements since 1967 for the process to become absolutely clear. After [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination, (1) the governments that signed the Oslo Accords did not conclude that the "two-state solution" should be implemented, preferring instead to tame the Palestinian Authority and cordon off the West Bank with checkpoints. And now that a racist right-wing has taken over, it is pure and simple ethnic cleansing. 

With the "revenge" against Hamas and the Gazans, which is now beginning with massacres, a food and sanitary blockade, and population displacements that can only be described as genocidal, the irreparable is being committed. The Israeli citizens who denounced the instrumentalisation of the Shoah and fought against the apartheid are hardly audible any more. Colonialist and nationalist fury is suffocating everything.

In truth, there is only one possible outcome: it is the intervention of the so-called international community and the authorities with which it is theoretically endowed, demanding an immediate ceasefire, the release of the hostages, the prosecution of the war crimes committed by both sides, and the implementation of the countless UN resolutions that have gone unheeded. 

But there is no chance of this happening: these institutions have been neutralised by the major or medium-sized imperialist powers, and the Jewish-Arab conflict has once again become an issue in the manoeuvres they engage in to determine spheres of influence and networks of alliances, in a context of cold and hot wars. “Geopolitical" strategies and their regional projections obliterate any effective international legality. 

We are in a circle of impotence and calculation from which there is no escape. The catastrophe will therefore carry to term, and we will suffer the consequences.




1. Rabin was assassinated 4 November 1994 by the Zionist terrorist, Yigal Amir on who was opposed to the peace process.

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