‘They’ are all Gaza, now

Kolna Gaza, كلنا غزه , is a popular maxim symbolizing the worldwide pro-Palestinian support to the populations living in the Gaza strip. Literally it means “we are all Gaza”. A high number of facebook pages are published under this logo and an increased amount of social network users post the above mentioned red and black banner to show their belonging to the “cause”. As expected, recent events have led to an exponential growth of individuals condemning Israel on social networks and arguing that the Jewish State must stop the so-called acts of aggression. These remarks are unsettling to any rational international observer.

It does not come as a surprise that Arab states such as Egypt use their diplomatic weight to safeguard the Hamas terrorist movement. It is indeed well engraved in their local political balance to weaken Palestinian organizations as much as possible through inter-Arab power plays, while empowering the terrorist group when they face Israel. Recalling the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, voicing strong condemnations against the Jewish State and questioning the validity of the peace treaty are all ‘normal’ events which do not present anything beyond the usual political stance kept by Arab Governments.

It does not come as a surprise that a majority of young Arabs, from the Middle East or Europe and the United States, take these events personally and express their support for an often intangible idea of Palestine. Supporting the Palestinians and opposing Israel is an integral part of their education and social sphere. Their attachment to the “cause” goes beyond their family wealth and success or their place in the community; it is simply an absolute portion of their personality.

It does not come as a surprise that war wary, crisis beaten and soul-searching EU member states have an easier time calling for Israel restraint than using their remaining politico-economic powers to once and for all shut down Hamas terrorist machine. An essential anti-Israeli feeling has been part of the European Institutions since their inceptions as Israel, so Western in his culture, represents what European countries have lost: the will to fight for his own protection and sovereignty.

It does not come as a surprise that the United Nations, through their Security Council and General Assembly follow the European lead and maximize their calls for restraint and strong limitations over the Israeli use of force. Chapter 7 Art. 51 of the UN Charter reads: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”; yet time and again, when dealing with terrorist aggression against Israel, the international organization has proven its willingness to apply double standards in the application of this right given to sovereign states.

Beyond these sad but unsurprising power plays, what is and will remain truly unsettling is the blind and irrational support some parts of the European and American civil societies are ready to give to Hamas and other Gaza based terrorist organizations.

On university campuses and during week-end demonstrations, high percentages of the European and American youth call day after day for the respect of human rights, equal opportunities and the fight against discrimination. NGOs and student associations denounced the Italian government for its way of handling illegal immigrants, the French government for its policies over the Roma populations, the Flamish regional government for its nationalistic message and so on and so forth. Nowadays, the presence of a religious discourse or religious inclined references in the European public sphere is easily defined as narrow minded and dismissed as part of an obscure past. Peaceful demonstrations questioning the ongoing debate over same sex marriage are disregarded as symbols of a backward mentality.

If it is their constitutional right to express their ideas in such ways what is utterly surprising is that those same groups, those same exact persons so attached to progressive ideals and the quest of secular discrimination-free societies, are ready to unconditionally support Gaza and its ruling party: Hamas.

Every time someone posts the كلناغزه emblematic words, the question that must be asked is: “who are you for?”. If it is true that the people of Gaza may be enduring hardships and sufferings, these same people repeatedly chose to back a form of government which is known to practice everything except what European and American left wing organizations and NGOs call for. The full abolition of religious freedom, the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, arbitrary killings, persecution of homosexuals and discrimination against women are day to day realities in Gaza. Suicide bombings along with the use of women, children and places of worship as “protection” for military weaponry are common tactics adopted by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The inconsistence between the philosophy and values of these European and American organization in regard to their ‘national’ policies and their pro-Palestinian stance lead to a further question: why are they ready to give up all their professed believes and principles only when it comes to defending a group who is intrinsically devoted at killing Israeli civilians? Shouldn’t these associations and these persons at least show some dignity by stating the fact that a great deal of suffering in Gaza is caused by the repeated choice of violence over peace and of extremism over dialogue?

The Palestinian negotiator Saëb Erakat stated, in regard to the ongoing escalation: “Even if the Palestinians had a Mother Teresa as president, Thomas Jefferson as parliament speaker and Montesquieu as premier, there would still be a Lieberman to say these are not partners and that they must be killed”. The problem with this reasoning is that they don’t. In Gaza people have time and again chosen to sacrifice their wellbeing, their freedom and their safety to pursue war and terrorism against Israel. As Hamas is not a peaceful movement based on non-violence, the respect of human rights and made of Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson and Montesquieu then why are “they”, the European and American left wing and pro-Palestinian activists, so keen on being associated to it?

About the Author
Riccardo Dugulin is an independant international affairs analyst. He holds a Master in International Security from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and has worked in leading think tanks in Washington DC, Beirut and Dubai and has held the position of security coordinator for a security assistance firm.