The Best of Humanity Weeps for Gaza, While the Worst Cheers On Genocide, Malevolent and Psychopathic: Whose Side Are You On?


Palestinian flags on the most recent March for Palestine in central London on March 9, 2024 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Last week, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, the Geneva-based NGO, published its latest assessment of the death toll in Gaza, after 160 days of Israel’s relentless genocidal assault on the largely civilian population of the Gaza Strip, refugees from the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the blood-soaked establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, who, for the last 17 years, have been trapped in what Human Rights Watch described in 2022 as an “open-air prison”, because of Israel’s total blockade of all routes in and out, but which it would now be more accurate to describe as the world’s largest open-air graveyard, or the world’s largest concentration camp.

Shamefully, no mainstream media outlet took an interest in Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s assessment, even though it reported, credibly, that the death toll from Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza has now surpassed 40,000 (40,042, according to the report), with 14,861 of those killed being children, and 9,273 being women, and with 36,330 of those killed (90%) assessed as having been civilians.

Over 160 days, this means that, on average, 250 Palestinians have been killed every day — or ten every hour — with nearly a hundred of those killed every day being children.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s assessment includes those buried under the rubble in its figures, correctly concluding that most of them are no longer alive, and also notes that 74,400 people have been injured, many of them, of course, gravely so.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s latest assessment of the death toll in Gaza since October 7, 2023.

For those of us who believe in the equality of all human life — and polls and protests over the last five months have shown that there are, quite literally, billions of us around the world — there is no justification whatsoever, under any circumstances, for the murder of over 40,000 people (over a third of them children, and nearly a quarter of them women) through relentless bombing, through summary executions and sniper assassinations, and, more recently, through deliberate starvation.

In the early days of Israel’s genocidal assault, I pointed out that, from January 2008 to September 2023, the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths in the various ongoing conflicts between the oppressor (Israel) and the oppressed (the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip) was 20:1, with, over that period, 6,407 Palestinians killed compared to 308 Israelis.

Since October 7 that ratio is now close to 25:1, setting that total of 40,042 Palestinians against the official Israeli death toll from the attacks by Hamas and other militants on October 7 of 1,068 (excluding valid claims that many of those who died were killed by Israeli forces), plus the 590 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza since October 7, according to a recent IDF statement.

However, unless Israel is stopped, and soon, that death toll of 40,042 will continue to rise, with no limit in sight. Will 50,000 dead be enough for Israel and its western backers? 75,000? 100,000? More?

Deliberate starvation in Gaza

While bombs still rain down, and summary executions and sniper assassinations continue, by far the biggest threat to the more than two million surviving Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is starvation, as Israel continues to implement the “complete siege” imposed by defense minister Yoav Gallant on October 9, when he promised that there would be “no electricity, no food, no fuel,” and that “everything [was] closed.”

The effects of the “complete siege” have been devastating. In conjunction with Israel’s heartbreakingly vile and illegal war on Gaza’s hospitals, which I covered extensively in November, the siege has cut off almost all medical supplies, leaving those with serious pre-existing health conditions, pregnant mothers and the many victims of the horrendous bombing deprived of essential medical supplies.

As CNN reported on March 2, Israel has “imposed arbitrary and contradictory criteria” on the limited aid that has been allowed into Gaza, banning “anesthetics and anesthesia machines, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and water filtration systems”, as well as “crutches, generators [and] x-ray machines”, plus “medicines to treat cancer, water purification tablets and maternity kits.” That ban on anesthetics and anesthesia machines alone has led to at least 1,000 children having to have limbs amputated without anaesthetics over the last five months.

Mostly, however, aid trucks have been stuck outside Gaza, fulfilling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise, on January 13, to permit only “minimal humanitarian aid” to enter Gaza. In recent weeks, Israeli citizens have also played a part, sickeningly holding raves and parties with bouncy castles as they have traveled to the border to gleefully prevent any humanitarian aid from getting through.

In recent days, Israel’s cruelty has manifested itself in yet another new and horrific manner. In the north of the Gaza Strip, where efforts to displace the entire population to the south have been resisted by hundreds of thousands of people, either because they are unwilling to leave their homes, or because they are physically unable to do so, Israel’s efforts to starve the population to death as punishment for their intransigence were threatened by aid agencies demanding that at least some humanitarian aid be allowed through.

Israel’s solution was to establish food deliveries that were then attacked by their own forces, as happened with the notorious ‘Flour Massacre’ on February 29, when at least 118 civilians were killed and 760 injured after Israeli forces opened fire on them as they gathered for food deliveries from aid trucks in Gaza City.

Subsequent food massacres followed, and, in response, the police force in Gaza, and various clan chiefs, began coordinating their own aid deliveries, which were so successful that, just two days, Israel killed the main coordinator of the deliveries, Gaza’s chief of police, Faiq Al-Mabhouh, in Al-Shifa Hospital (the main hospital in the north, which had recently resumed the most basic of medical services after it was invaded in November on the false pretext that it was hiding a Hamas command center), and also murdered other “members of the civil police who were maintaining security and distributing aid”, including “Raed Al-Banna, the director of investigations in the north, and his family.”

Israel’s aim is clearly to destroy any efforts at solidarity in the north, and to maintain its policy of starvation, but it is also compounding its very evident war crimes and continued genocidal intent with even more grotesque behavior, reportedly engaging in dozens of summary executions, and having abducted all the journalists present in the hospital, as well as all the doctors and medical staff, who were stripped and taken off to an unknown location — perhaps the same location where the hospital’s former director, Dr. Mohamed Abu Salmiya ,has been since he was abducted on November 23, and where, according to reports from other prisoners, Israeli soldiers broke both his hands, forced him to walk like an animal on all fours, put a chain around his neck and dragged him in front of people, and made him eat off the floor like a dog.

While these atrocities continue to shock the conscience, the starvation in Gaza is now so dire that, just two days ago, the UN’s famine monitor, the IPC, warned that, as the World Health Organization explained, “Over a million people are expected to face catastrophic hunger unless significantly more food is allowed to enter Gaza.”

As the WHO proceeded to explain, “Before the recent months’ hostilities, 0.8% of children under 5 years of age were acutely malnourished [in the Gaza Strip]. Today’s report shows that, as of February, in the northern governorates, that figure is between 12.4 and 16.5%.”

Photos of dead children, starved to death, which have started to appear on social media and in those parts of the western media that haven’t succumbed entirely to Israeli pressure, ought to shock the conscience — especially as they so clearly resemble Jewish children starved to death by the Nazis — but Israel’s leaders, a majority of its population, and its prominent cheerleaders in the west continue to insist that Israel’s every action is justified, and that any criticism is antisemitic, empowered by a uniquely arrogant, gloating, self-righteous messianic fervour on the part of the Israeli establishment (and one that, simultaneously, is also disgracefully self-pitying).

In the meantime, western leaders, while occasionally hand-wringing, continue to send weapons, the western media has largely lost interest, and the international bodies that were set up after after the Second World War to prevent further genocides are either powerless (the UN Security Council) or glacially slow-moving (the International Court of Justice, which imposed provisional measures on Israel on January 26, after finding, on numerous grounds, that a “plausible genocide” is taking place).

Campaigners on the March for Palestine in central London on February 2, 2024, commemorating those killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Israel as the last European colonial settler project

Obviously, while nothing can compare even remotely to the almost inconceivable suffering of the people of Gaza, it’s nevertheless apparent that the shockwaves from Israel’s genocide are exposing its long persecution of the Palestinian people — and the reasons for it — like never before.

In the west, in particular, untold numbers of people (including, especially, many young people) are waking up to the fact that Israel is the last European colonial settler project (based, initially, on the immigration of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Europe in the 1920s and 1930s), and that, as such, it is replaying the horrors of European countries’ many centuries of rampant and genocidal colonial expansion, which involved the same claims of racial superiority and of being the “chosen people”, and the same dehumanization of those whose countries were invaded, that is currently playing out in Gaza in the third decade of the 21st century.

Nation states — like individuals — like to pretend that they are the heroes of their own story, just as Israel is doing now, and lies are told so persistently, and uncomfortable truths so carefully suppressed, that many people never awaken to the terrible truth: that our countries are not, and have never been heroes.

Throughout the history of Britain’s global empire, for example, which, in 2014, polling showed 59% of respondents thought was “something to be proud of”, despite it being threaded through with the evil fruits of the transatlantic slave trade, hundreds of millions of people were killed, sometimes through deliberate starvation — from Ireland to India — and sometimes through concentration camps whose brutality was equivalent to that of the Nazis: in South Africa at the dawn of the 20th century, where the concentration camp was first invented, and where at least 50,000 Boers and black Africans were murdered, and in the 1950s in Kenya, where, after the Mau Mau uprising, the entire Kikuyu population of one and a half million people were interned in concentration camps and fortified villages and subjected to the vilest forms of torture, and tens of thousands — or perhaps hundreds of thousands — were murdered over an eight-year period.

The British were not the only colonizers to plumb the depths of human depravity, of course. From 1885 to 1908, King Leopold II of Belgium turned the whole of the Congo into a brutal labor camp, in which those who failed to meet quotas had limbs amputated, and up to ten million people died through murder, famine and disease, and, in Algeria, the French only finally abandoned their colony in 1962 after an eight-year war for independence in which up to 1.5 million Algerians were killed, the use of brutal forms of torture was widespread, and over two million people were also held in concentration camps.

Elsewhere, the US, Canada and Australia are all European colonial settler projects that involved the brutal suppression or elimination of their indigenous populations, and, back in Europe, the Holocaust — with an irony lost on the State of Israel — was, fundamentally, part of a Nazi colonial settler project whose aim was to colonize the whole of Europe (and beyond), eliminating all those regarded as sub-human; not just the six million Jews who were killed, but the million of other people also regarded as sub-human, including Russians, Poles, the Roma, disabled people, Serbs, Slovenes, Freemasons and homosexuals.

For many in the west, as leader after leader has stepped up to unconditionally support Israel — and with President Biden, the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, EU President Ursula von der Leyen and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz heading the list of those most complicit in Israel’s genocide — citizens of these countries, and of many other countries that have also been unconditionally supportive of Israel, have discovered that, more than has previously been apparent in most of our lifetimes, a mask has slipped, revealing the true horror beneath.

A campaigner on the March for Palestine in central London on November 11, 2023 with a hopeful message for the future (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Despite being apparently committed to mechanisms (primarily the United Nations) that were established in the wake of the Second World War to try to prevent humanity’s propensity to descend into genocidal slaughter, our leaders have revealed that, actually, they maintain an almost identical mindset to the butchers of the colonial era, who saw the colonized as sub-human, and themselves as the superior race, the chosen people.

Even as Israel gleefully livestreams a genocide that echoes the worst of history’s genocidal atrocities — the indiscriminate bombing of a civilian population, the almost total erasure of the built environment, the destruction of hospitals, deliberate and chronic starvation, the use of death squads and sniper assassinations, and a military prison network in which thousands of prisoners, including children, are held without charge or trial and subjected to torture — the west’s leaders still stand resolutely in support of the last European colonial settler project’s claimed “right” to eliminate an entire population if they refuse to be properly subjugated.

This subjugation means never rising up, and never even complaining about the horrors and indignities to which the colonized have been subjected — for generations, in the case of the Palestinians, since 1948, and the founding of the State of Israel, when, in the Nakba (“catastrophe”), 15,000 Palestinians were murdered, and 750,000 expelled from their ancestral homes, founding acts of genocidal intent that have been repeated, in numerous ways, in the long and unequal decades since.

Suppressing dissent in the west — and even risking political collapse — to support Israel

Western leaders are so desperate to support Israel at all costs — even though Israel has no discernible plan for Gaza beyond killing as many Palestinians as it can get away with — that they are now turning on their own people, who, as noted above, are refusing, in significant numbers, to support a western-backed genocide of a historically oppressed people by a deranged, messianic, settler colonial regime that, while undertaking the industrial-scale slaughter of civilians, still has the nerve to aggressively insist that it is the victim.

In the US, Joe Biden seems prepared, in the service of Israel, to lose this year’s Presidential election to Donald Trump, leaving voters who have not lost touch with their essential humanity stranded, because Trump, of course, will be just as supportive of Israel and as hostile to the Palestinians as Biden is, and recently, in an interview at Harvard University, his creepy, soulless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, “praised the ‘very valuable’ potential of Gaza’s ‘waterfront property’ and suggested Israel should remove civilians while it ‘cleans up’ the strip,” echoing the views of Israel’s far-right settler community, headed politically by the vile Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Minister for National Security in Netanyahu’s coalition government, and the equally vile Bezalel Smotrich, the Minister of Finance.

Similar problems afflict the UK, where Labour’s leader, Keir Starmer, is as complicit in Israel’s genocide as Rishi Sunak and the Tories, although in the UK, at least, it’s feasible that dozens of independent socialist, and/or Muslim anti-war candidates could, with the support of other parties, end up preventing either the Labour Party or the Tories from having a majority in the next Parliament.

At present, however, western supporters of Zionism are now so deranged that, in the US, where pro-Israeli lobbying groups have more power than anywhere else, the US Congress recently passed a bill to shut down TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media company, not for any of the stated reasons — in particular, paranoia about China spying on and manipulating Americans — but because it has been so successfully used by young people to debunk Israel’s lies about its genocidal aims and intent.

Throughout the US, Canada, Australia, the EU and the UK, strenuous efforts have been and still are being made to suppress all criticism of Israel as antisemitic, to silence or sack dissenting academics, and to criminalize all forms of pro-Palestinian protest — as in the UK, where the desperate Tory government is currently trying to equate the regular and peaceful Marches for Palestine, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, and representing a cross-section of UK citizens, including a substantial number of Jewish protestors, with Islamist extremism, a position that is unlikely to be reversed if the Labour Party were to win the General Election later this year.

The Jewish Bloc for Palestine on the March for Palestine in central London on January 13, 2024 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Although I — and million of others in the west — have never felt such powerlessness and despair as we have been feeling for the last 167 days, as we have witnessed over 33,000 civilians being murdered, while being blamed for their own deaths because “Hamas started it,” and as our own leaders have tried to bully us into submission, we must keep fighting for an end to the slaughter, for Gaza to be rebuilt, for the Palestinians to finally be free of the occupation and to have genuine autonomy, and for the Zionist project that is entirely responsible for the horrors of the last five months — and the last 76 years — to be discredited and thoroughly isolated, and, hopefully, to collapse.

And as for those who have, in any way, supported this unforgivable slaughter? The mass of Israelis, from the genocidal pop stars, to the self-incriminating soldiers, to those at the very top of the government must be ostracized, as must all those politicians in the west who have supported Israel unconditionally, and who must never receive our support again, as well as all the prominent Jewish celebrities and pundits and so-called intellectuals who have also put their own “fears” and “feelings” — often hysterically or aggressively — above the simplest of expressions of our common humanity: you never, ever, ever try to justify a genocide.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

23 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    My latest article about Israel’s genocide in Gaza follows the most recent report, by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, that over 40,000 people (mostly civilians) have now been killed by Israel over the last five months.

    I discuss the latest horrors to be inflicted on the trapped Palestinians of Gaza — deliberate starvation — and assess how, despite so much unconditional support for Israel in the west, an untold number of people are waking up to the fact that Israel is the last European colonial settler project, and that the brutality of the Israelis, their belief in themselves as the “chosen people”, and their horrendous dehumanization of the Palestinians, is all part of the same colonial template that western countries undertook for many centuries, and which in some cases (including the UK and France) involved their engagement in unspeakable brutality as recently as the 1950s, and into the 1960s.

    With western countries still engaged in desperate attempts to stifle all criticism of Israel, I conclude with a hope that an end to this horrific situation is in sight, that Gaza will be rebuilt and Palestinians given autonomy, that Israel will collapse, and that everyone who has supported this genocide in any way will be permanently ostracized.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Pam Hardy wrote:

    Right! Things can never go back the way they were … the colonial project is over … no more blood can be spilled … the west bank restored and all squatters removed … trials and compensations on a massive scale. We won’t let up!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree, Pam. No let up. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but there can be no way back to ‘normal’ for Israel after this. I’m pretty sure that the Israeli economy is suffering massively, and I also think a formal genocide ruling will eventually emerge from the ICJ, but it’s how we challenge and dismantle our own pro-Zionist political establishments and institutions in the west that’s going to be particularly interesting.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Hope you got to read Kathy Kelly’s article. It’s worth sharing, too.

    ‘When Starvation Is a Weapon, the Harvest Is Shame’:

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing Kathy’s excellent article, Ward.

    It’s extraordinary how so little of the mainstream media (apart from Al Jazeera, of course) has anything worthwhile to say about Israel’s genocide, but fortunately there are many great independent voices online, and certain websites too.

    I’ve actually been on X a lot since October 7, which I recommend to anyone looking for astute commentary, and also of course, voices from Palestine. My page is here:

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Russell B Fuller wrote:

    Thanks Andy & Ward. Sharing.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Russell. Good to hear from you.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    For anyone who wants to know more about Israel’s targeted killing, over the last few days, of senior police officials and tribal leaders who were coordinating safe aid convoys in northern Gaza, here’s a very informative thread on X by Muhammad Shehada, the comms chief for Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor:

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Zoon Imran wrote:

    Thnx Andy, there was a time i was the most positive & optimistic person, now somewhat an opposite to myself, all i know is there is no end to this genocide and this will not stop at Rafah, they will do to Ramallah what they’ve done to Gaza 😢
    The powers that be, the world govt’s, the imperialists war mongers and the Arab govt’s are all complicit in this genocide so who’s left to stop this, who?!?
    I await now only the divine intervention of Allah/God, till then – – – – – – – – – – – – – just heartaches & heartbreaks 🇵🇸💔🇵🇸

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    I empathize, Zoon. What we’re having to witness destroys any suggestion any of us might have clung to that the west – not all the countries of the west, but most of them – would not just sit back and allow Israel to implement its ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian ‘problem.’

    It is impossible to have any optimism now as a death sentence hangs over so many tens of thousands of Palestinians, who will die unless hostilities cease immediately, and humanitarian aid is allowed in, along with international peacekeepers, and organizations to distribute it and to begin rebuilding the infrastructure necessary for life.

    But will that happen? Where there should be outrage, there is still almost none. Obviously, I know that western leaders, behind their masks, love war, and, throughout this century, have repeatedly embarked on wars in Muslim countries, in which an untold number of innocent people have been killed as a result – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen – but something unexplained has happened to our leaders over the last two years, since Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin was denounced as the most evil man who ever lived, and anyone who tried to put the conflict into a longer historical context was silenced. Perhaps it was just the logical conclusion of the west’s mania for ‘regime change’ that began in the former Yugoslavia and, of course, was the driver of the Iraq War, and the overthrow of Gaddafi. Our leaders no longer seem to even understand that, fundamentally, just because we dislike how another country operates, it doesn’t give us the right to try to destroy it.

    Just as all nuance and context was abandoned after the invasion of Ukraine, so the west’s response to October 7 was also one-sidedly hysterical and emotional. Like the invasion of Ukraine, it was perceived as an act of pure evil occurring in a vacuum, and all those who tried to frame it within the necessary context of a brutal 75-year occupation, in which Palestinian deaths have always massively outnumbered Israeli deaths, were – and still are – silenced.

    I may be naive, but I simply don’t understand how western leaders, who had all, just months before, been genuinely troubled by how far-right Netanyahu’s government was, and how dangerous it was that Ben-Gvir and Smotrich had ministerial positions, suddenly not only abandoned all nuance and context, but also decided to wilfully ignore any notion, under international humanitarian law, that, where civilian populations are involved, there must be a sense of proportionality when armed conflict is involved – and how they are still essentially supporting this, destroying the last traces of the post-WWI ‘rules-based order’, imperilling their own electability, and forced into suppressing their own populations in service of an Israel that has dropped its mask – in a way not seen since its bloody founding in 1948 – to reveal itself as a messianic, supremacist death cult that is not only engaged in a genocide, but openly delights in proclaiming it 24/7.

    I don’t know how this can be resolved, but I agree with you that, if Israel isn’t made to stop its slaughter in Gaza, it will step up its ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and I also think it’s important for people in the west to realize that, if this is what our leaders endorse, then they will have no problems not only in repeating it elsewhere, but also in applying some of its ‘lessons’ to their own populations.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    What an era we are in god help us … The world is run by insane people for insane reasons, John Lennon … he was right, everywhere we look we see uglyness horror and destruction … the horror show of Gaza is one of the many horror shows that are happening egged on and supported by our so called leaders … of both sides … Starmer cannot be trusted in any way as he keeps on proving … Trump’s repulsive grotesque son in law proved what the Gaza horror show is all about … Greed, theft, ethnic cleansing, Genocide … MURDER … where are we?? as a species?? the fact that a monster like Trump could be president again … well we might as well bring back Boris … ffs you couldn’t make this sh*t up …

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    I agree, Damien, our leaders are – with few exceptions – small-minded people with no ability to think anything through, a reflection of the dumbed-down populations they supposedly serve: Sunak, Starmer, their ministers and shadow ministers, the dreadful Ursula von der Leyen, and Olaf Scholz and the entire German government, seeking WW3 via Ukraine, and reviving Nazism in defence of Israel to suppress the very notion that the Palestinians have any right to even exist.

    And in the US, of course, both Biden and Trump are fundamentally unhinged old men who seem to be driven by their desire to make as many people as possible suffer as their own life force dwindles. I think we need to be much more aware of how old men with power shouldn’t, in general, be trusted, because so many of them are driven to kill as vengeance for their mortality.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    It’s a madhouse … a madhouse … Taylor, Planet of the Apes 1968 … and we are in an era where the evil doers are lorded as saints and heroes and the good and righteous are painted as devils and monsters … a madhouse

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, our leaders are deranged in a way that they haven’t been before, Damien. It began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it’s continued with Israel and the Palestinians, and almost all the sane voices – not just on the left, but also anyone with fully-functioning brains, who insist on the importance of nuance and context – have been silenced or sidelined. In our soundbite reality, apparently Putin is 100% evil, Zelenskyy is a saint, all Palestinians are Hamas and deserve to be killed, and Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are also saints.

    Just three days ago, Ben-Gvir, the vile, far-right Minister for National Security in the Israeli government that our leaders are all so strenuously defending, proudly proclaimed the successful distribution, since October 7, of 100,000 guns to Israeli settlers – and all without a murmur of dissent from our so-called leaders. Imagine what wild west bloodbath of Israel’s ‘manifest destiny’ awaits the Palestinians of the West Bank unless someone can relocate a moral compass in our broken world.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    For a detailed analysis of quite how horrendous the deliberate starvation of the people of Gaza is, I recommend this article by Alex de Waal, who cites projections of up to 200,000 dead by August if there is no resolution to this engineered mass murder, and who points out how every day that necessary humanitarian aid is impeded, the damage gets worse. As he states, “Even if the shooting ends today and the aid trucks begin to roll, the dying will carry on for some time.”

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    An important article by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor about the extra-judicial, summary executions by Israeli forces of dozens of Palestinians inside Al-Shifa Hospital, based on the accounts of eye-witnesses, which seems to have been entirely ignored in the west:

    Excerpt here:

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Tamzin Jans wrote:

    I have to truly suspect that racism has much to do with this, when I see how jobs, transport, schools, homes and the borders were opened to Ukrainians, while Palestinians are blocked in Gaza, unable to flee.

    In the meantime, so much hatemongering, propaganda and sanctions and pressure on nations was made to stop all trade and talks with Russia and nothing of this sort is even being considered for Israel!

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, racism very much plays a part, Tamzin, in the same way that the Syrian refugee crisis has contributed to the rise of the far-right over the last decade, where the Ukrainians are portrayed as “like us”, even though, in the UK at least, Brexit also involved a profound xenophobia against the immigrants who had come to the UK from Poland and other Eastern European countries (who are surely as much “like us” as the Ukrainians).

    And then also, of course, we mustn’t underestimate the impact of the decades-long unquestioning and fanatical support for Israel that is part of so much of western politics, and that has also, of course, been very deliberately engineered by powerful Israeli lobbying groups – again, on the basis that the Israelis are “like us”, even though there’s no evidence that hardline Zionists have anything but contempt for anyone but themselves.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote, in response to 14, above:

    Andy, I don’t think there is a moral compass anymore.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    I fear you’re right, Damien. We have warmongering idiots in charge almost everywhere, not only supporting Israel’s genocide in Gaza, but trying to bring back military conscription to protect Europe from a completely illusory Russian advance, we have the prospect of WW3 via western promises to send troops into Ukraine, and we have deranged sabre-rattling regarding China and Iran. Diplomacy and statesmanship are derided, and every day international humanitarian law dies in Gaza.

    I’m starting to think that the reality of climate collapse, which our leaders want to ignore, even though most of them must recognize it as real, has unhinged them to such an extent that they’re taking vengeance on the planet, on us, and on themselves by retreating into humanity’s default position whenever anything gets too complicated: go forth and kill everything.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Siobhán O’Cuinn wrote, in response to 16, above:

    Andy, this is just unreal. I am speechless. How well these criminals learned from the nazis. My god.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s almost beyond comprehension, isn’t it, Siobhán, the multiple levels of barbarism taking place simultaneously. In addition to the summary executions, Israeli forces bombed the surgical department, abducted all of the medical staff, leaving patients to die, and are also laying waste to the entire area around the hospital, with the streets apparently full of corpses. They claim, today, to have “killed 150 fighters and apprehended ‘hundreds of suspects'” over the course of what is now a four-day siege, but who can trust a word they say?

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    You will cry, but you must read this (or listen to it):

    Canadian eye surgeon Yasser Khan, recently returned from working at the European Hospital in Gaza (the last functioning hospital in the Gaza Strip), spoke to Jeremy Scahill about the deepest horrors of Israel’s descent into evil.

    While Israel has been deliberately destroying hospitals, the bravest doctors in history continue to try to deal with relentless injuries that defy description – amputations beyond number, and, as revealed through Dr. Khan’s speciality, countless patients who have lost one or both eyes.

    The human carnage is beyond belief, and is also deliberately compounded by Israel through the withholding of essential medical supplies (morphine, for example, which ran out when he was there), and through the deliberate destruction of almost the entire infrastructure of Gaza, so that there are no homes for the severely wounded to return to (imagine double amputee orphaned children, or orphaned blinded children having literally nowhere to go) and no possibility of rest, care and rehabilitation. Also profoundly alarming is the inability of doctors to prevent re-infection – again because of the critical shortage of supplies and functioning facilities.

    You will not find a more startling and graphic example of what genocide means, or a more compelling reason why anyone with a shred of humanity in their hearts cannot – and must not – stop calling for an end to hostilities, for the reconstruction of Gaza, the freeing of the Palestinian people, and the complete ostracization of everyone in Israel – and anywhere else in the world – who has in any way supported this unprecedented and unforgivable demonstration of the depths to which humanity can sink.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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