Day 278 roundtable: Resisting the Zionist genocide

This week, Palestinians marked another grim milestone as Israel’s genocide entered its tenth month, as The Electronic Intifada director Ali Abunimah stated during the news segment at the top of this week’s livestream.

Monday also marked the tenth anniversary of the start of Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in 2014 which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children, Abunimah added.

With new estimates from public health experts that 200,000 Palestinians or more may lose their lives as a result of this genocide, there is no let up in sight.

Israel on Wednesday ordered the complete evacuation of civilians from Gaza City, as airstrikes across the Gaza Strip in recent days killed dozens of people, and famine and disease spread throughout the devastated territory.

Across Gaza, the resistance is fighting back, days after the spokesperson for Hamas’ military wing said the Qassam Brigades had recruited thousands of new fighters and restored the full strength of their 24 brigades.

View from Lebanon

On day 278 of the genocide in Gaza, The Electronic Intifada editors Ali Abunimah and Asa Winstanley were joined by journalist Rania Khalek, the host of Dispatches, a BreakThrough News show reporting on current affairs from a left perspective.

In an extended and wide-ranging discussion, Khalek spoke to The Electronic Intifada from Beirut about the resistance in Lebanon and across the region to Israel’s American-backed genocide in Palestine.

Khalek described the reaction in Lebanon to threats made by Israeli leaders to destroy that country as they are doing in Gaza.

“In the first couple of months, people were quite frightened, including myself,” Khalek said, given all the red lines crossed by Israel in Gaza.

“But I think at this point, it’s become so normal and so routine to hear threats of annihilation and genocide from Israel, that people have learned to live with it,” she added.

Even among people in Lebanon who dislike the Lebanese resistance group, according to Khalek, “there is a sense that Hizballah is in fact acting as a kind of deterrent to Israel turning Lebanon into Gaza.”

Khalek discussed the origins of Hizballah in Israel’s invasion and occupation of Lebanon, including the 1982 siege of Beirut.

“It was out of these horrors that Hizballah emerged in the South as resistance to Israel’s occupation in the ’80s and continued to resist,” she said, eventually making history by kicking the Israelis out of Lebanon in 2000 and defeating the military in the summer of 2006.

“This is when the image of Israel as the strongest power ever started to crack,” Khalek added. “And then … Hamas delivered a bit of a death blow on October 7.”

Today there is a regional resistance axis working in a coordinated fashion and in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza to hit Israeli and US targets and in some cases, actually striking Israel.

“And that’s never happened before,” Khalek said.

New Hannibal revelations

Following the extended conversation with Khalek, Asa Winstanley presented a report on a significant new article published by the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz on the military’s deliberate use of lethal force against its own people during Hamas’ attack on 7 October.

The Haaretz story is the first in the English-language Israeli media confirming what The Electronic Intifada and other independent media outlets have long reported: that the Hannibal Directive – a once-secret military order that allows Israeli forces to kill their own people rather than allowing them to be captured by an enemy – was used extensively on 7 October.

Never before that date was the Hannibal Directive used on such a massive scale or employed against Israeli civilians.

Yet a conspiracy of silence is being maintained among the English-language mainstream media “to continue to cover up what we know to be true,” as Khalek said during the ensuing discussion.

“It’s a lesson into just how much so much of the corporate media apparatus is completely aligned with the State Department,” she added.

UK, French and US elections

After bidding farewell to Khalek, Abunimah and Winstaley discussed recent developments including the Labour Party’s victory in the UK elections and the success of five independent candidates who won seats after campaigning primarily on the issue of Palestine.

The editors also touched on the surprise success of the left-wing bloc in France’s parliamentary elections, upsetting the anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim nationalist far-right led by Marine LePen.

“These elections are at least indicative of where the popular sentiment is, in some ways, and that’s important,” Abunimah said.

Meanwhile in the US, the fitness of US President Joe Biden for office has dominated the headlines, with the moneyed class turning against him while he enjoys the support of prominent members of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Progressive lawmaker Ilhan Omar has rallied to Biden’s defense, calling him the best president of her lifetime.

“I don’t even know what to say about that,” Abunimah said. “Who is perpetrating genocide? I mean, you just can’t even make sense of it.”

“Let me just say, there’s nothing worse than genocide,” he added. “There’s nothing worse.”

The Electronic Intifada’s Tamara Nassar produced and directed the program and this author contributed writing and production. Eli Gerzon contributed post-production assistance.

The Electronic Intifada editors Nora Barrows-Friedman and Jon Elmer are traveling and will return to the livestream next week.


Add new comment

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.