Never again for anybody—except for some
Destruction in Gaza

How does one process the anger, the pain, the hopelessness, the disappointment and above all the feeling of disgust that has become the all-consuming reality of daily life for so many of us? What excuse does the world have for its decades’ long blindness to, and passive acceptance of the gross injustice which is now unraveling before our eyes in Palestine, naked in all its ugliness and brutality? What mental laziness and moral apathy allows us to swallow the self-serving, fabricated narrative propagated by those whom we consider the ultimate weavers of our political fabric?

The fact that in its attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, Hamas targeted not just the Israeli armed forces but also innocent civilians including women and children, taking many of them hostage, was unequivocally loathsome, and is deserving of the highest condemnation. For this Hamas has to be held accountable. Had it only been aimed at the Israeli military, it would have been legitimate retaliation for decades of illegal and inhuman subjugation. However, what Israel has since inflicted, and continues to inflict, upon Gaza, defies definition. This is not retaliation born out of a righteous anger, let alone proportionate retribution. What we are witnessing is the most savage brutalization and dehumanization of a whole people. Israel’s aggression has crossed all boundaries – legal, moral and human, it has broken every rule of engagement, and it has made a mockery of international law. The fact that it does so with impunity is a sad testimony to the world’s prioritization of power politics over justice and humanity.

Last week I attended a Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Holocaust and Liberators Memorial at the Ohio Statehouse. It was the 113th day of the Israeli genocide of Palestinians. The space was shared by the descendants of holocaust survivors and victims, and by Palestinians mourning the loss of family members in Gaza, and by a few like us who share the pain of both, and marvel at their ability to come together in friendship to share their grief.

A young Palestinian American doctor, whose father and grandfather had been instrumental in building the Shifa hospital in Jenin, related the horrors he himself was an eyewitness to. Dr. Khalid was the general manager at this hospital, and had returned to America just the week before, having been persuaded by his elderly parents to evacuate with his young family. It was cold and wet, yet this beautiful young couple stood in the rain with their little two-year-old, because they wanted the world to wake up, and hear the story of the long, unending suffering of Palestine.

Even more compelling was the story of a young woman who was wearing her grandfather’s World War 11 uniform. She told me: “My grandfather had fought in the Second World War to liberate the Jewish people from Nazi concentration camps. Today, I’m here to raise my voice to liberate the Palestinian people from the Israeli concentration camp which is Gaza.”

Yesterday I listened in to a virtual rally organized by Just Peace Advocates, a Canadian based human rights organization. I had planned to listen in for an hour or so only, but the diversity of the participants, their moral clarity and intellectual honesty kept me spell bound for more than four hours.

For the first time, all together on the same forum, I heard Muslims from Kashmir, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, a member of Canada’s indigenous community, Palestinians and Jews, all articulating their own grief and suffering, and genuinely internalizing and empathizing with the pain of the other. They were established writers and renowned intellectuals, poets and authors, and their voices were powerful.

The poems were sometimes both brave and defiant in tone, sometimes heartbreaking in their lament for lost lives and destroyed homes. The story of a Jewish rabbi who related his personal journey from having been a Zionist to his belief now that Zionism is incompatible with his own Judaic faith was both courageous and inspirational.

Last week, the Israeli Occupational Forces (IOF) (they are not Israel Defense Forces) desecrated a cemetery, dug up graves of Palestinians who had already been mourned over by their families, and left the bodies exposed. After the soldiers left, friends and family returned, gathered together the decomposing bodies of their loved ones, wept over the indignity, and buried them again. Two days ago, three IOF soldiers entered a hospital dressed as medics, and pointblank shot three people – a patient asleep in his hospital bed, his brother watching over him and another man.

Also two days ago, bodies of thirty Palestinian men were found, hands tied behind their backs and blind folded, stuffed in black garbage bags, and buried underneath rubbish and rubble in a school yard. All these, and many more incidents, have been reported in both Western and world media.

Internationally and legally, Gaza and the West Bank are known as Occupied Palestinian Territories. The present armed conflict is not a war between two independent states. It is the aggression of a colonizing occupier, Israel, against an occupied people, the Palestinians.

Since 1948, Israel has been increasingly occupying Palestinian land, either through armed operations or through settlements, both declared illegal by the United Nations.

Since 1948, according to UN, an estimated 5.9 million Palestinians have lost their homes and become refugees.

Since 1948, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, more than 90,000 Palestinians have been killed.

Since 2006 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has passed 45 resolutions against Israel’s occupation, which is 45.9 percent of all country-specific resolutions passed.

In 2022, the special rapporteur for Human Rights for Occupied Palestine submitted a report to UN Human Rights Council, stating that Israel’s control of Palestine amounted to Apartheid.

The October 7, 2023 attack on Israel was indeed horrific but this attack did not start this conflict. It came as the culmination of 75 years of dehumanization, subjugation and humiliation that the Palestinians have been subjected to by Israel:

  • Before the present violence started, Israel maintained 49 checkpoints, 139 occasional checkpoints, 304 roadblocks, earth mounds and road gates, 73 earth walls, barriers, and trenches to control all civilian movement of Palestinians, who are stopped and searched at all these checkpoints both in Gaza and the West Bank (
  • Israel also maintains hundreds of ‘flying checkpoints’, where Israel’s Military and Border Police vehicles are placed in the vicinity of Israel’s illegal settler-colonies.
  • Israel controls all access by sea and air into all of Palestine, including its exports and imports, and all its resources including water.
  • 8,928 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons. There are two sets of laws in Israel – one for Israelis, another for Palestinians who are always tried by military courts.
  • 2500 Palestinians, including children as young as 14, are being held in what is euphemistically called Administrative Detention, without being charged with any crime and without any recourse to any legal aid. They can be so detained for an indefinite period of time.

How is this different form hostage taking?

Human Rights Watch has termed Gaza as the world’s largest “Open Air Prison.” But whereas prisoners have a term limit, there is no release date for the people of Gaza. Therefore it has been called an “Outdoor Concentration Camp” by academics like Norman Finkelstein and activists like John Prusinski.

Crushed beneath this suffocating chokehold, Palestine was a pressure cooker, ready to explode. Why is the world surprised that it did?

Since October 8, 2023 almost 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, of which more than 12,000 are children. Thousands more have been wounded and maimed, their lives forever destroyed. Hundreds are still buried under the rubble of their destroyed homes.

Universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, civic structures, places holding the art and culture of a whole civilization stand decimated.

Who is the perpetrator of horrors and who is the victim here?

The most horrific acronym to come out of this tragedy: WCNSF—Wounded Child No Surviving Family.

The most heartless and inhuman term I’ve ever heard and recently learnt: Mow The Grass, which describes the official Israeli strategy of periodically “cutting” down the Palestinians like blades of grass! When I first heard it, I couldn’t believe that human beings could devise such an unutterably cold-blooded and callous term for the planned murder of other humans.

But, wonders never cease! Yesterday, President Biden “sanctioned” four out of 450,000 Israeli settlers for perpetrating violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. Maybe, the other 449,096 just went up to the Palestinians living there, and politely asked them to hand over their homes, and to please go live in refugee camps elsewhere? Maybe soon, President Biden will also discover that these settlers are all illegal occupiers sitting on stolen land in the first place.

One ray of hope in these dismal times is that it is now possible for the world to open its eyes to the truth if it wants to. This violent conflict is the most orally and visually recorded in the history of the world. Fabricated narratives and overpowering propaganda no longer need to dominate our minds. There is enough unfiltered history and documented evidence available to those of conscience.

This article first appeared at