End Times for Humanity, With the West Fully Committed to Israel’s Genocide of the Palestinians and to Complete Climate Collapse

16.4.24

A poignant message on the massive March for Palestine in London on November 11, 2023 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been suffering from a state of exhaustion that made me wonder if I had some undiagnosed terminal illness. I’ve been unable to concentrate, and, as soon as I woke up, I was wondering when I could go back to bed again.

Yesterday, the fog finally lifted, and I realized that my exhaustion was almost certainly a result of the dire state of the world right now — primarily related to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza (still, after the murder of over 37,000 civilians, largely supported by western politicians and the mainstream media), but also to the cascading climate collapse that these same politicians and media outlets don’t want to talk about.

On Gaza, I suspect that my exhaustion was primarily related to an overwhelming sense of futility and powerlessness regarding any hope that the relentless genocide might be stopped. For those, like myself, who have been watching this grotesque live-streamed genocide unfold for over six months — ever since Hamas militants and other Gaza-based militants broke out of the “open-air prison” of the Gaza Strip on October 7 and killed 695 Israeli civilians, 373 members of the military and the police, and 71 foreign nationals — there have only been a few moments when hope appeared to be in the ascendant, and on each occasion the aftermath, when that hope was crushed, has been difficult to negotiate.

One occasion was at the end of November, when a brief ceasefire — a “pause” — took place, enabling the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel’s brutal and lawless prisons, and another was in late January, when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures against Israel, after recognizing that a “plausible genocide” was taking place in Gaza.

In the first case, the resumption of Israel’s attacks after a week-long “pause” was profoundly dispiriting, as it also was when, showing complete contempt for the ICJ ruling, Israel responded to a call for increased humanitarian aid by cynically claiming that a handful of employees of UNRWA, the main aid agency for Palestinians, were working for Hamas and had been involved in the attacks on October 7, and western nations dutifully lined up to defund UNRWA, without any evidence having been provided by Israel to justify its claims. Although much of this funding has been reinstated after no evidence was found to back up Israel’s allegations, the biggest donors — the US and Germany — have not reinstated their vital financial support, as is also the case with smaller donors like the UK.

Most recently, my dashed hopes about an end to the constant carnage may have been related to an apparent recognition, in the west, that Israel was deliberately starving the Palestinian people, which, typically, only reached a level of outrage when a foreign aid convoy was deliberately targeted by the Israeli military, and six western aid workers were killed. For a brief moment, President Biden appeared to call for a ceasefire, but although Israeli troops subsequently withdrew from the southern city of Khan Younis, allowing its complete destruction to be shockingly revealed by Palestinian journalists on the ground, who, for once, were free of the perpetual fear of being shot by snipers, Israel has continued to bomb the Gaza Strip, and is still salivating at the prospect of “invading” Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s surviving population — about 1.5 million displaced civilians, living in tents — are currently located, on no other discernible basis except to continue killing as many Palestinian civilians as possible.

The complete destruction of Khan Younis as captured by photographer Ali Jadallah, posted on X on April 11.

Israel’s chilling embrace of genocide in Gaza

If that strikes anyone as an extreme assessment, then they evidently haven’t been paying attention for the last six months, as, fully supported by the west, Israel has been doing nothing except killing as many Palestinian civilians as possible, while destroying the entire infrastructure of the Gaza Strip to make it uninhabitable.

Everything about this reeks of genocide, as the ICJ recognized, and as UN Rapporteurs and countless NGOs and genocide experts have also explained, and yet Israel and its supportive western governments remain fixated on October 7 as a unique and unprovoked evil — a second Holocaust, a genocide, Israel’s 9/11 — which shamefully ignores its context as the latest (although admittedly the bloodiest) Palestinian response to a 75-year process of mostly one-sided slaughter and ethnic cleansing by Israel.

This began with the murder of 15,000 Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 others when the State of Israel was founded in 1948, and, in the 15 years before October 7, involved 6,407 Palestinians being murdered by Israel — in regular bombing raids on the Gaza Strip (known, disgracefully, as “mowing the lawn”), but also in numerous other contexts — compared, over the same period, to 308 Israelis.

Throughout this long and bloody history, there has never been a time, previously, when Israel itself was so consumed with self-righteous genocidal fury that it would not only have embarked on the total annihilation of the Gaza Strip, but would also have openly and repeatedly proclaimed its intentions to the world. This time around, however, a perfect storm of genocidal intent came together on three fronts.

The first of these was the government — a coalition led by the corrupt and opportunistic Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in order to take power after elections in December 2022, formed a coalition government that involved giving ministerial positions to two rabid, far-right, messianic settlers, Itamar Ben-Gvir (appointed as the minister of internal security), and Bezalel Smotrich (appointed as the minster of finance). While most eyes are, understandably, on Gaza, West Bank settlers, encouraged and armed by Ben-Gvir, and often backed by the army, have killed 460 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October 7, and seized and detained more than 7,350, and Israeli violence continues on a daily basis.

The second is the mirroring of this fanatical government in the Israeli media, which has becoming increasingly far-right, and the third is the baleful influence of social media, which, everywhere, encourages outrage and extremism, and which, in Israel, since October 7, has persistently featured violent, racist, dehumanizing posts, as well as videos by soldiers showing them clowning around as they blow up entire residential blocks, looting personal property, vandalizing shops and homes, and repeatedly demonstrating a weird fascination with the underwear of displaced or killed Palestinian women.

The grave problems of western support for Israel’s genocide

The problems in Israeli politics and the media are all also familiar problems in the west, where nuance and context are anathema to the “populist” politicians who are now so prevalent, although, as in Israel, where even so-called “moderate” politicians largely became indistinguishable from the fanatics after October 7, the Manichean certainties of “populism” have also infected western politics to such an extent that even supposed centrists, and some on the left, have mired themselves in one-sided emotionalism as an alternative to reason, nuance and context.

As with Israel, the same inability to think clearly — or, at least, to avoid one-sidedness — has also infected western mainstream media, and western social media, predictably, is also a cesspit of anger and outrage punctuated only by the occasional voices of sanity.

In the west, a precursor to the Manichean analysis of Israel and the Palestinians — one pure, the other unadulterated evil — had already been in existence since February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, and all context was swept aside in a thoroughly deranged insistence that Vladimir Putin is evil personified and that Vladimir Zelenksyy is a saint, ignoring the devious role played by NATO over many decades, Ukraine’s own checkered history, and the “red lines” repeatedly laid down by Putin and deliberately and provocatively broken by NATO, as I explained in an article last year.

So dumbed-down are western politicians that they seem not even to be aware that their collective response to October 7 — a blanket statement that Israel had “a right to defend itself”, issued as though everyone involved was reading from the exact same script — was such a sweeping and empty soundbite that it contained no parameters to prevent a brutally disproportionate response, just as Israel’s stated aims — to “destroy” Hamas, and to free the hostages seized on October 7 — were horribly ill-defined and also unachievable.

Astute military analysts — and former politicians and statespeople from an earlier age before dumb, belligerent soundbites took over — would have known this, but they were nearly all exiled from newsrooms and newspapers, as politicians turned a blind eye to the damage caused by their support for Israel.

When it comes to freeing the hostages, the only way to do that is by negotiation, a ceasefire and prisoner exchanges (as was demonstrated at the end of November), and when it comes to “destroying” Hamas, it should have been clear almost immediately that carpet bombing Gaza was wildly, shamefully and illegally disproportionate, and constituted a horrible form of collective punishment, that the death toll would undoubtedly create a new generation of armed resistance in future, and that its only possible rationale was that those in charge regarded all Palestinians as Hamas (which some, of course had explicitly stated), and that therefore what Israel meant when it spoke of “destroying” Hamas was implementing the “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem” — killing as many Palestinian civilians as possible.

This was especially apparent because Israel failed to come up with any other viable outcome other than relentless, industrial-scale slaughter and the complete destruction of Gaza’s entire infrastructure. Without anywhere else to go, all the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip could do was to die.

Insofar as the genocidal Israeli government had thought about any other end strategy, they had hoped that Egypt or Jordan could be persuaded to open their borders and allow the largest influx of refugees in modern history. However, as neither country would entertain these outrageous ethnic cleansing fantasies, it was left to Bezalel Smotrich (who called in December for the emigration of two million Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to be “encourage[d]” to “make the desert bloom”) and to other settler spokespeople — desperate to fulfil their vile dreams of resettling the Gaza Strip — to reveal to the world the extent of their delusional self-obsession by suggesting that other countries should step up to help them, oblivious to the fact that anti-immigrant sentiment is now so marked in the west that the UK, to cite a particularly grim example, has passed a law making it illegal to be a refugee.

As a result of all the above, the only viable conclusion that can be reached about western leaders’ essentially unconditional support for Israel is that they are either very stupid — and incapable of understanding nuance and context — or that, fundamentally, they endorse and support Israel’s “final solution” — and I choose that phrase, with its Nazi echoes, with very particular determination.

The key to all of this is the doddering, sclerotic figure of Joe Biden, to whose coat tails most western leaders cling. The definition of sclerotic — “becoming rigid and unresponsive; losing the ability to adapt” — seems to perfectly describe a president who lacks the nimbleness of mind to recognize that his self-declared Zionism, and his dedication to his lifelong friend “Bibi” (Netanyahu), is not only eroding the voting base that he needs to defeat Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, but is also very deliberately endorsing a genocide, his lifelong warmongering and unwavering support for Israel suggesting to me that, fundamentally, he endorses Israel’s “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem.”

President Biden is welcomed by Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023 (Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters).

Whether it is idiocy or deference to the US that is driving other western leaders — with the exception, it seems, of Germany, which has chosen its own route, attempting to erase its guilt over the Holocaust by facilitating Israel’s genocide in Gaza — we can only hope that they, the media and prominent genocidal commentators will all end up being held accountable, although there is obviously no guarantee that that will ever happen, especially given that Gaza is not the only topic on which politicians and the media have lost touch with reality and with a sense of responsibility.

No one in power and authority can handle the reality of climate collapse either

One of the ironically bleak aspects of Israel’s genocide in Gaza is the way that the rabid settlers, who are hoping to resettle an entirely de-populated Gaza Strip, and were recently exposed selling real estate opportunities in the West Bank across North America, ignore the extent to which their malignant dream has been poisoned by the environmental effects of Israel’s six-month assault.

As the Guardian explained in an article last month, “‘Ecocide in Gaza’: does scale of environmental destruction amount to a war crime?”, analysis of satellite imagery “shows the destruction of about 38-48% of tree cover and farmland. Olive groves and farms have been reduced to packed earth; soil and groundwater have been contaminated by munitions and toxins; the sea is choked with sewage and waste; the air polluted by smoke and particulate matter.”

In the bleakest sense, the settlers’ dreams are the ultimate example of “regeneration,” as experienced in cities throughout the west, which I regard as a kind of cannibalistic form of capitalism, whereby poorer people are forced from their homes so that they can be destroyed and replaced with overpriced new properties for incomers.

An image posted on X in December 2023 of promotional material for a proposed beach resort in Gaza by an Israeli real estate company.

In Gaza, the “regeneration” is messianic in intent, but its horrible materialistic angle — the desire for luxury beach reports to rise up, quite literally, on the corpses of those for whom it was formerly home — represents, in a microcosm, the greed and entitlement that is contributing to an unprecedented planet-wide emergency that has been overshadowed for the last six months by Israel’s genocide, but that continues to demonstrate the same chronic failures of politicians and the mainstream media as their indifference to, or blatant support of a deranged nation’s efforts to eliminate an entire population.

For those of us who are awake — which doesn’t seem to include most of our politicians or most of the mainstream media — any sense of normality, of “business as usual,” evaporated many years ago, when the reality of catastrophic man-made climate collapse became apparent. In my case, that awakening came in October 2018, when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that we had just 12 years, until 2030, to halve our greenhouse gas emissions globally, to maintain a climate conducive to continued human existence.

The IPCC report coincided with the emergence of protest movements led by the Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg and by the UK-based activists of Extinction Rebellion, and their impact was such that climate change briefly became headline news, and it seemed as though drastic and necessary action might finally be taken.

Sadly, however, after the disruptions of Covid, when all its glimpses of a quieter, more sustainable life were instantly discarded, politicians turned on climate activists, passing increasingly punitive laws to prevent protest, and the media largely supported them, sidelining the most important crisis of our lifetimes as though the collapse of a liveable climate can somehow be ignored, and despite the ever-increasing evidence that doing so is the most spectacularly stupid decision in the whole of human history.

Just last week, Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, delivered a speech at Chatham House in London in which he declared that now, rather than having six years (until 2030) to effect major change, we have just “two years to save the world.”

In fact, even that assessment isn’t alarming enough, as we have already passed the 1.5°C rise in temperature that the IPCC was warning about in 2018, temperature records are being broken every month, our oceans are heating at an alarming rate, polar ice is also melting at an alarming rate, and droughts, wildfires and extreme rainfall mean that global food shortages are both inevitable and imminent.

The answer, as it has always been, is for the world to shift to a war footing, and to recognize that the enemy is ourselves, but as we’ve been seeing in Gaza for the last six months, and as is also happening elsewhere in the world, human beings seem to be incapable of looking in the mirror, and are on a constant quest to find other human beings to murder instead.

How genocide and climate collapse are connected

The west’s largely uncritical support for genocide in Gaza, and the failure to tackle the ever more alarming effects of climate collapse are intimately connected. Just as governments have cynically sought to ban protest through the implementation of outrageous authoritarian measures, so too they are now seeking to further quash dissent in Israel’s service, using a deliberately engineered fake hysteria about antisemitism — which claims that any criticism of Israel’s government is antisemitic — to silence all critical voices, and to push for even more curbs on legitimate protest, and it isn’t far-fetched to fear that, if authoritarian governments get their way, criticism of their own governments will also be outlawed.

Even more significantly, however, the genocide of the Palestinians, fully supported by the west, also suggests that, when western powers are prepared, so easily, to shred international humanitarian law on Israel’s behalf, no one anywhere is truly safe. Just as there is no safe place in Gaza, so, around the world, any authoritarian regime — which may include our own — may feel empowered to do to their own populations what they have got away with in Gaza.

In a brutal future — one which awaits all of us, one way or another — it is unacceptable, and profoundly alarming, that an entire civilian population is regarded as disposable because everyone involved in killing them, and in providing them with the weapons to do so, has decided that they are all terrorists.

In Northern Ireland, during “The Troubles,” it was inconceivable that the British government would have bombed entire Catholic neighbourhoods to the ground because it had decided that no one was innocent, but as Israel has been allowed to get away with outrageous comments by, for example, Prime Minister Isaac Herzog, who stated on October 12 that “it is an entire nation out there that is responsible” for the October 7 attacks, it is no longer safe to assume that any community that can be held collectively responsible for a perceived transgression by any of its members is safe.

For this reason, of course, Israel must be held accountable, but so too must all those who have supported its actions in any way. When genocide is endorsed and supported by those who claim to uphold the law, wherever they are, none of us are safe.

* * * * *

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.

38 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    In my latest article about Israel’s genocide in Gaza, I examine a little-discussed aspect of Israel’s actions — the lack of an exit strategy. With no prospect of any other countries accepting the population of the Gaza Strip as refugees, I conclude that Israel’s genocidal actions are actually a “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem”, and that President Biden, who leads the west’s largely unconditional support for Israel, also endorses this approach.

    Criticizing western leaders for the emptiness of their support of Israel’s “right to defend itself”, I also condemn their refusal to recognize that Israel’s two stated aims — to “destroy” Hamas and to free the hostages seized on October 7 — are either unworkable or self-defeating, and conclude my analysis by comparing how the west’s position on Israel is as dangerous and irresponsible as its failure to take climate collapse seriously.

    I warn that, by allowing Israel to so blatantly shred international humanitarian law, and by using fake antisemitism claims to suppress dissent and to further stifle protest, they are ensuring that, not only is nowhere in Gaza safe, but nowhere in the west is safe either — not from any external “terrorist” threat, but from our own governments.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Bernard Sullivan wrote:

    Profoundly depressing but realistic analysis, Andy. Faced with such realities, many basically good people who think they are not directly affected prefer to bury their heads in the sand. One can almost understand it, were it not so fatalistic and ultimately self destructive.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks so much for sharing, and for your comments, Bernie. It’s an indictment of the majority of our politicians, and of our mainstream media, that they’re incapable of asking hard questions about what the endgame is in Gaza, that they’re apparently largely indifferent to the inevitability of chronic climate collapse, and that they’re seemingly supportive of draconian restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of speech with regard to both Israel’s crimes and climate activism.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Tamzin Jans wrote:

    The real antisemitism is against the people of Gaza, who are 100% “Semites”, if we wish to apply this label culturally, ethnically and linguistically.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for that observation, Tamzin, although it’s undoubtedly of no interest to the devious criminals whose only interest in the notion of antisemitism is to demand that it means any criticism whatsoever of the actions of the State of Israel. I genuinely worry that, if it isn’t stopped, it will provide a template for a similar clampdown on any and all criticism of our own governments – and not just by far-right “populists.”

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Judith Lienhard wrote:

    Thanks, Andy! Great points.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Judith. I’m glad you appreciate my assessment. I’ve been increasingly troubled by the failure of politicians and the media to ask what Israel’s overarching intention in Gaza is, and how the scale of the genocidal intent means that it can only logically be regarded as the attempted implementation of a “final solution.” I also think it’s hugely important, in the west, for us to recognize how deeply troubling the efforts to shut down dissent and protest are.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    the human race has become deranged

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    I’d say that the deranged are relatively small in number, Damien, but they have a lot of power, although it will be interesting to see how they can continue to hold onto that power when it is being exercised solely to shut down criticism of a foreign genocidal entity, or the continued defence of a liveable planet. At present they seem to be relying on a small number of twisted bigots to support them, a vast plateau of indifference populated by those with money to spare, and a mass of poor people struggling to get by on a daily basis, but it doesn’t seem like a very stable recipe for containment in the long run.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    David Barrows wrote:

    YES!!! I agree with you. Wake up, people!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, David. Good to hear from you. As ever, sadly, the mainstream media is a huge part of the problem, as we’ve been seeing persistently with the New York Times, as The Intercept reported yesterday: https://theintercept.com/2024/04/15/nyt-israel-gaza-genocide-palestine-coverage/

    I’m reassured that there’s so much grassroots support for the Palestinians – in numbers not seen since the Vietnam and Iraq wars – but it’s deeply troubling that all of the arms supplies, and the suppression of dissent in so many workplaces, is for a foreign government that doesn’t deserve our support.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    They always put the “antisemitism” like a shield. It’s just absurd, just like the “we are peacemakers” statement. Monsters, that’s what they are, it’s pure evil.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, the notion of antisemitism is so discredited now, Natalia, after it’s been falsely used to bring down or silence so many legitimate critics of Israel’s actions. The irony is that there are real antisemitic people out there, but as I see it they’re almost exclusively white and far-right, and not Muslims or those on the left.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    In total agreement with you, Andy. Such horrifying times.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ruth. I’m so glad you appreciate my assessment. These really are very dark times. It’s evident that our cosy duopolies of power are no longer even capable of pretending that they represent our interests, but it’s so hard to see how they can be replaced without some kind of major disaster, although many are on the horizon, food shortages being perhaps the most obvious.

    I do hope that, when we finally get a General Election, there will be enough independents and third parties to prevent Starmer from having a majority. That would be a small glimmer of hope!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Lizzy Arizona wrote:

    I agree Andy. The Israel exception hurts humanity, international law and our dignity.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lizzy. Yes, the obsessive defense of Israel is corroding everything of value – our humanity, international law and our dignity, as you say.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Gail Baker wrote, in response to 7, above:

    Andy, this is becoming ever more a fear around the globe – “deeply troubling efforts to shut down dissent and protests” – this is already happening.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s troubling on so many fronts, Gail. I find the assault on educational establishments particularly troubling, which seems to be a particular problem in the US – and in Germany too, which seems to have become particularly deranged – but it’s a concern everywhere, when free speech is being so fundamentally undermined.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Lizzy Arizona wrote, in response to 17, above:

    For decades, Andy. End the occupation so we can all be free of that sorrow & stress.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, sorrow and stress describes well what so many of us around the world have been feeling, Lizzy – and all of us also aware that it’s the most infinitesimal fraction of what the people of Gaza are experiencing.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Tony Dowling wrote:

    Same here Andy: “exhaustion was almost certainly a result of the dire state of the world right now” 🥺

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone, Tony. The Marches for Palestine have been so helpful, as protests usually are, for showing concerned people that they’re not alone – and, in this case, that there are vast numbers of us who stand with the Palestinians – but on an everyday basis it’s being nudged out of the news, and so much of ‘everyday life’ continues as though a genocide isn’t even taking place.

    I suppose many people have just switched off for the sake of their mental health (I certainly have friends who’ve told me that), and I suppose others have massively internalized what’s happening, but it’s difficult, isn’t it, to carry on with “business as usual” when an actual genocide is just a click away, on Al Jazeera or on X (where I spend hours every day): https://twitter.com/GuantanamoAndy

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    What I didn’t mention in my article – essentially because it’s such a distraction – is Iran’s response, on April 13, to Israel’s attack on an Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, in which 13 people were killed, and endless discussion about its significance, and about how Israel may or may not respond. While this is obviously of interest – not least because Iran succeeded, to some extent, in piercing Israel’s defenses, and also because questions deservedly need to be raised about western participation in Israel’s response – what seems primarily to have happened is that the media has largely shifted its attention from Gaza, even though Israel has continued to murder civilians at numerous locations.

    As Al Jazeera reports today, “The Israeli military has intensified attacks across the Gaza Strip. The situation is dire in many areas, in particular, Nuseirat refugee camp. Attacks and confrontations are still raging in the vicinity of the recently established corridor [bordering the camp]. Residents tell us they have been hearing constant bombardment as residential houses come under attack and agricultural land is targeted.”

    The attack on the refugee camp killed 11 people, including several children.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2024/4/17/israels-war-on-gaza-live-eleven-killed-in-israeli-strike-on-refugee-camp

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Of course, Andy, these attacks on refugee camps don’t surprise me … what shocks me is the lack of accountability …

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it just goes on and on, doesn’t it, Natalia, with barely a murmur of dissent from those providing the weapons and still staunchly standing with Israel, even though, every day, it’s obvious that civilians are being slaughtered indiscriminately, and that not even the over-broad targeting parameters of Israel’s AI programs can provide an reason for it. Murdering civilians for its own sake, with horrible impunity, almost, it seems to me, as though the military and the politicians have quotas, and aren’t happy unless at least a hundred civilians a day are killed.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    And not enough governments standing with Palestine too, Andy. The AI program is chilling. This goes on and on and on like you say without any relief or with any possibility of peace on the horizon.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Hence my conclusion that it’s essentially the “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem”, Natalia – a daily death count tailored to not cause too much outrage, but not to bring it to an end, because Israel is now addicted to the daily slaughter of Palestinian civilians, but also because there is no other strategy.

    The Palestinians have nowhere to go. Egypt and Syria won’t take them in, and nor will any of the western countries supporting Israel – not just because anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment is running high pretty much everywhere around the world, but specifically because the Israelis have more or less tarred everyone in Gaza as being a terrorist sympathizer, which isn’t exactly helpful if you genuinely want other countries to take them in.

    Every day this continues, the western countries supporting Israel become more and more mired in what will eventually, I’m sure, be definitively ruled a genocide by the international bodies charged with upholding the now largely broken post-WWII efforts to define and uphold international humanitarian law, but they just don’t seem to care.

    I have a dream that one day at least some of them will be held accountable, but that won’t bring back the Palestinian dead, it doesn’t stop them from being killed even as I type this, and it may, in any case, be a fantasy, the final exposure of post-WWII idealism as nothing more than an academic exercise – something for the law books, but not something that can actually be enforced in the real world.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Lizzy Arizona wrote:

    It’s hard to know that Israel with the U.S. is killing innocent people and UNRWA.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s like endless nails being hammered into the coffin of international humanitarian law, Lizzy, and the fact that those of us who care can see the murders happening every single day – on Al Jazeera or on X – is particularly grotesque, as though the whole world has turned into a murderous reality show, in which genuinely evil people pretend that they’re the heroes, and anyone who dissents risks losing their job or being arrested.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Tamzin Jans wrote, in response to 5, above:

    Yes, I’ve noted the same, Andy. It seems, however, that we must take back the words. The use and abuse of the words to denote racism against Jews (as real as that may be) does NOT allow Israel to abuse people with its own definition of racism.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    I fear it’s going to come back and bite them, Tamzin, as in ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, which I vividly remember from an illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables that I had as a child.

    I’m pretty sure that I personally don’t know anyone who is genuinely antisemitic (as in hating all Jewish people, on the same basis that anti-black racism is a hatred of all black people), and it was particularly shameful in the UK when Jeremy Corbyn, who is definitively not antisemitic, was tarred as being just that, and a witch hunt took place against him, which also suggested, cynically and erroneously, that antisemitism was rife throughout his supporters in the Labour Party.

    The real antisemitic people have always been the white far-right, and I fear that people aren’t looking closely enough at what they might do if they see an opening to start spreading their hate. I’d suggest that it’s already happening amongst Trump’s supporters, I can definitively say that it’s part of the mentality of the white far-right here in the UK, and it’s also very problematical in the former Soviet countries of eastern Europe, including the former east Germany. Is it unfeasible to suggest that far-right populists will seize on this genuine antisemitism to gain support against the so-called centre, which has done nothing but subvert its own democratic processes to defend Israel at all costs?

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Cathy Teesdale wrote, in response to 15, above:

    Ruth & Andy, horrifying times indeed, well articulated & connected in your piece Andy, & also taking their toll on my physical & mental health.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Cathy. Good to hear from you, and unsurprised to hear that you’re also suffering from the madness of now. I suppose what we can hope for in the UK is that independents and third parties might surprise the cosy genocidal duopoly in the forthcoming General Election by holding the balance of power, and preventing the very dangerous Zionist authoritarian Keir Starmer from having an outright majority.

    I certainly hope so, because, on Israel and on authoritarianism, he promises only to be at least as bad as the Tories, if not worse, and on pretty much everything else, of course, his version of Labour is largely indistinguishable from the Tories. Here in Lewisham it’s hopeless, of course, as it’s an impregnable Labour stronghold, but I’m hopeful for other places, and particularly imagining that the inspiring Leanne Mohamed can beat the execrable NHS privatiser Wes Streeting in Ilford North: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-british-palestinian-candidate-wes-streeting

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote, in response to 28, above:

    Exactly, Andy, that won’t make this right, won’t bring back the dead or repair the devastating destruction.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, well said, Natalia. And yet, instead of engagement, we hear nothing anymore about “the day after” in Gaza – just uncritical reporting about, for example, Netanyahu claiming just last month that it could take two years – in other words, another 18 months of this relentless carnage – for Hamas to be “eradicated”, and with additional plans for Israel to continue occupying the broken shell of Gaza for another eight years.

    Nor is there any apparent interest in the reconstruction of Gaza, with the cost estimated at $20 billion in February, and presumably even higher now. Do western leaders ask about any of this? Do western journalists ask their editors why they’re not talking about it? What’s the plan? For the survivors to continuing living in tents in a broken, sewage-filled dystopian hellscape? For Israel to pay? For other countries – presumably the guilty Arab and Muslim nations who have done nothing to help – to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into reconstruction projects, with no guarantee that Israel won’t bomb them again as soon as they’re completed?

    The absence of any questioning, of any fundamental criticism is beyond shameful. We are led by idiots, and those who are supposed to monitor them are generally nothing more than stenographers – when, that is, they can even be bothered to pay attention, and not to be endlessly distracted by celebrity gossip, or the latest domestic political micro-scandal, or what sh*t you’re supposed to wear on your summer holiday in a place that might, inconveniently, be on fire.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Deborah Emin wrote:

    Andy, as with you, I am overcome with the exhaustion of living on a planet that so desperately needs a pause from the constant attacks on its vital infrastructure and the communities of animals and plants that are going extinct. My wife and I own a vegan pop-up bookstore. Our season begins this weekend. We expend enormous amounts of energy trying to get people to pay attention to how the world can be saved, the planet allowed to restore its homeostatic balance. But I know that ultimately we just don’t have the resources (this is not a money-making venture) to affect the kind of change necessary. But we do continue to speak about the books we sell to people we hope may also find the determination to affect change.

    We are under no illusions. But we have nothing to stop us from doing this work until we run out of money.

    The Palestinians and the Sudanese and so many more are being subjected to the horrors of this brutalist age which is in total subservience to the money hoarders who truly wish us all dead. We are an inconvenient obstacle and an unworthy user of the dwindling water supplies and arable land. And if we ever wised up to their ways, we’d kill them because that is what they would do.

    Suzanne and I love books. My whole life has been devoted to them. They saved my life. I’d like to help others discover their healing powers.

    Thanks, Andy, for keeping us informed and supplying that nuance and context. We are better for it.

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks so much for the supportive words, Deborah. I appreciate your support, and also appreciate the work that you and your wife do in your neighborhood. Opening people’s eyes to change is what we’re all trying to do, and if we persuade at least one person to live differently or to think differently, then we can validly measure that as a success.

    As for the state of the world, I’m getting back to your message after another extraordinary week in which, suddenly, the pent-up frustrations of decent young people – forced to watch a genocide for the past six months – have found an outlet on college campuses, and while I’m genuinely troubled at how violently the authorities are responding, at various locations across the US, it feels to me as though the final vestiges of the empire’s mask have fallen, and our leaders’ grotesque corruption and violence is more exposed than ever before.

    As we’re also seeing with climate activists, there’s no possibility of compromising with the old and increasingly violent status quo, because all it supports, in a time of unprecedented crisis, is extinction and genocide. When there is genuinely no future to see beyond catastrophic environmental collapse and the normalization of genocide, it’s difficult to imagine how all these young people can be persuaded to put the genie back in the bottle.

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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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