Israel views children’s lives as irrelevant

The destruction caused in Nuseirat refugee camp during Israel’s latest attack on Gaza. 

Ahmed Tawfeq APA images

In its latest attack on Gaza, Israel killed at least 33 Palestinians within five days.

The attack was accompanied by calls from Israel’s government ministers – including the overt fascists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – for greater violence, in effect the intensification of genocide.

Gaza has long been acquainted with Israel’s policies of extermination. Yet not a single action has been taken against Israel by any Arab country nor by any Western “democracy.”

The failure of the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its crimes indicates complicity. That is precisely why Palestinian civil society issued its 2005 call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Such appeals are not addressed to the sanctimonious “international community” but rather to solidarity groups and other civil society organizations around the world. Palestinians have advocated effective campaigning – with the aim of compelling Israel to end its aggression against Gaza and the West Bank.

The apartheid state of Israel would not be able to commit all its war crimes against Palestinians in general – and Gazans in particular – without the full impunity offered by the “international community.” That is a glaring fact.

It is unnecessary to remind the “civilized world” that Israel has mounted a continuous wave of attacks against the civilian population in Gaza..

In September 2007, Gaza was declared an “enemy entity.”

Israel prevented a wide range of food and basic materials from being imported into Gaza. It was even revealed that Israeli bureaucrats decided how many calories people in Gaza could consume.

Fuel and electricity were cut, too. Gaza has endured an electricity crisis for many years.

Concentration camp

Israel has turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in the world.

Its people have to dig tunnels so that they can bring fuel, medicine and other necessities from Egypt into Gaza.

True, we do hear words of sympathy from the “international community.”

One wonders what it will take to translate those words into action. Children killed in the early hours of the morning?

Among the seven children killed in Gaza last week were 4-year-old Hajar al-Bahtini and Ali and Mayar Izzedine, aged 8 and 12. US-sourced warplanes were used to bomb their homes.

Other children were orphaned.

The dentist and hospital administrator Jamal Khaswan and his wife Mervat were killed, along with one of their sons. They leave behind four other children.

To Israel the children it killed were just “collateral damage” of its military onslaught – grotesquely named Operation Shield and Arrow.

To “justify” the dehumanization of Palestinian children, Maurice Hirsch, who spent almost two decades in Israel’s Military Advocate General Corps, tweeted that “while the incidental loss of life of non-combatants is always unfortunate, the Laws of War take into account that this is a possible & even legitimate result.”

And in a much worse tweet, he goes further: “Considering the military advantage gained by eliminating these senior terrorists, it is irrelevant to ask how many children were incidentally killed.”
Hirsch’s words encapsulate Israel’s ideology. Under Israel’s genocidal, settler-colonial doctrine, the lives of the natives are “irrelevant.”

Natives have to be “eliminated” so that white European colonizers – in this case Jewish supremacists – can flourish.

According to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Apparently, that right does not apply to the Palestinians of Gaza. Such is the cruel logic of settler-colonialism.

Haidar Eid is an educator and independent commentator from Gaza. Twitter: @haidareid




When a racist, terroristic state kills children in a targeted attack, we make a mistake in imagining that those casualties are "incidental" or "collateral" in scope. They're not. Palestine's children are every bit the intended targets of Israeli violence as any other members of the population. When the object is to teach the natives a lesson, what better method than to kill their children? We have seen this tactic used throughout the entire course of Israel's existence. Zionist forces use Palestinian children as human shields in house searches. They shoot them down at the site of protests. They arbitrarily detain them without charges. They beat and torture them in custody as well as in the streets. Can anyone name a form of abuse the Israelis haven't inflicted on these young bodies? Why then should there be any hesitancy in acknowledging the same intentions when it comes to bombing a house? They're aiming at Palestinian children every day. One has only to recall Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's posting of a genocidal screed urging the extermination of Palestine's people, describing newborns as "little snakes". One does not welcome venomous reptiles into the garden promised by God. They are to be eliminated without compunction.