Devalued lives

Ahmed Abu Artema
Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

On the morning of Saturday, June 8, the racist Zionist colonial army carried out horrific massacres in the central governorate, killing at least 274 Palestinian civilians, including women, children, and men.

Hours later, they announced that these massacres were a cover to free four Israeli captives in the Nuseirat camp. At the time of the massacre, I was visiting the central governorate and heard Israeli bombing everywhere. F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, artillery, and warships were all involved in the random bombing of civilian gatherings. People fled in all directions, not knowing where to go, as there is no safe place in Gaza.

Many of those in the central governorate at that moment had recently fled Rafah after the occupation army dropped leaflets urging residents to evacuate. As for northern Gaza, none of the displaced were permitted to return. Since the beginning of the war, the occupation army had separated it from the central region, with tanks in the Netzarim corridor – which cuts across Gaza – ready to kill anyone attempting to return.

The most significant observation about this massacre is that there was no operational necessity for it. The occupation army could have freed the captives with far fewer Palestinian casualties, with the basic principle that killing even one civilian is a crime that demands accountability.

Mass Civilian Casualties: That the Israeli military deliberately caused mass civilian casualties is reinforced by the fact that the relentless Israeli bombing targeted a wide area and locations far from the site of the operation.

For example, massacres were committed in Deir al-Balah, about 10 kilometers away, while the operation took place in the Nuseirat camp. This excessive killing of civilians without any “operational need” has only one explanation: the colonial Zionist state seizes any opportunity to shed the blood of as many Palestinians as possible. It sees the killing of every additional Palestinian as a gain since its project is fundamentally based on the idea of ethnic cleansing. It wants to instill in the Palestinian consciousness that the cost of any attempt to rebel against the colonial project will be high.

Israel is not alone in devaluing Palestinian lives. The friendly governments of this colonial state, primarily the US administration, adopt rhetoric that legitimizes the genocidal crimes committed by this colonial state. Since the beginning of this genocidal war, Western officials have called for the release of Israeli hostages, implying that the only problem in Gaza is the hostages’ detention.

Excerpted: ‘The Nuseirat Massacre Shows How Israel and the West Devalue Palestinian Lives’.