Today pretty much laid to waste any fantasies that the Biden administration had a working relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The ‘new, improved’ so-called humanitarian way to drive Palestinians out of the homes that are going to be destroyed, and so that a lower percentage of them aren’t bombed to death, turned out to be a sick joke. Israel’s ‘solution’ was to have Palestinians check an Israeli online map, to see when their little area is going to be destroyed. (Alternatively, they could use a QR code on their phone.) When it was pointed out that the electrical and communications network had been devastated, a senior Israeli official told the Times of Israel the equivalent of, ‘That’s how the cookie crumbles.’
The reckless disregard for human life is not hidden. The IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus enthusiastically declared that Israel’s killing of two civilians for each Hamas fighter was a “tremendous” accomplishment. As the top UN emergency relief official Martin Griffiths put it: “Every time we think things cannot get any more apocalyptic in Gaza, they do. People are being ordered to move again, with little to survive on, forced to make one impossible choice after another. Such blatant disregard for basic humanity must stop.”
Gaza’s second biggest city, Khan Younis, where so many Palestinians had been told to flee to, is being devastated. The next so-called ‘safe zone,’ Rafah, on the Egyptian border is being hit with artillery. There are over 1.8 million displaced Palestinians (out of 2.3 million in Gaza) who are being offered the latest (and last?) ‘safe zone,’ a five-square mile area on the Egyptian border, lacking the infrastructure to deal with even 1% of the refugees. Isn’t that how the name “concentration camp” originated? But in this case, there’s no need for gas chambers or working people to death—disease and starvation will do the job.
What tragic flaw in well-intentioned Westerners, even morally-outraged Westerners, that keeps them from stopping this horror show? Why does Biden’s administration think they will teach Netanyahu a lesson by revoking visas to the US for West Bank settlers who inflict violence upon Palestinians? Why not just cut off all weapons and money to Israel?
Today Qatar was very straightforward—the UN Security Council (UNSC) exists, so force Israel to the negotiating table. China, with seemingly endless patience, reiterates that the powers sit down and work this out at the UNSC. South Africa’s Foreign Minister finds the treatment of Gaza much worse than the evils of apartheid that they suffered through, but insists that the UN peacekeepers be sent in to protect the Palestinians from the slaughter, that a permanent ceasefire be established, and that the negotiations commence. (Of some note, she finds it “extremely shocking” that the international support against apartheid that helped South Africa did not immediately appear to provide a peacekeeping force for Gaza.) These countries may have problems, but they think horror shows should be stopped. It’s a normal human response.
The reality is the West doesn’t enjoy being creative any more. Both Israelis and Palestinians have no basis for a real ceasefire, for laying aside their deep psychological scars—unless they be dealt with honestly and openly, with the simple offer of a grand project to green the deserts with massive irrigation projects and plentiful energy from, e.g., modular nuclear plants.
Admittedly, the Western world would have to enjoy once again facing problems, identifying them, and solving them—because they’d have to reconfigure their economies around actually productive enterprises. In the process, the U.S. might find salvation for the dollar, the Social Security system, opioid addictions, and perhaps even the rush to discover a new sexual identity.
Today was a very ugly day. Let it be a wakeup call. That’s what normal humans do.