MIFTAH
Thursday, 23 May. 2024
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 

When Israel claimed women were sexually assaulted on a mass scale on October 7, the world exploded. Almost the entirety of Israel’s genocidal war was based on these and other allegations, many unsubstantiated. We all remember the infamous’40 beheaded babies” story, do we not?

This article is not about Israeli allegations per se, neither will it only focus on violations against Palestinian women. This is about a world that is immediately up in arms when one side merely alleges atrocities while it turns a blind eye to actual documented violations against the “other”.

In Gaza, it is painfully clear that we indeed, are ‘the other’. How else can anyone explain the muted cries of women being stripped, raped, starved and murdered practically in real time, on our phone screens, documented in UN reports and described in horrific detail in eyewitness testimonies? There is no other explanation than that Palestinians are what Arundhati Roy calls “Children of a lesser God”. We are the victims of deep-rooted colonialism, one whose geographic demarcations may have vanished but whose insidious, dehumanizing mentality still prevails and manifests in the ugliest of manners.

For nearly six months, Palestinians have endured unspeakable atrocities at the hands of Israel’s occupying army. Today, the Gaza Strip has been reduced to an emaciated shell of what it once was. As Gaza is being systematically decimated and ethnically cleansed, the world, for the most part, looks on. Barring sympathetic supporters and a few well-intended but timid political actors, nothing has been done to stop the carnage. Palestinians once believed there was no way the world would allow Israel to erase Gaza off the map, no way it could see a live-streamed genocide and do nothing. But that is exactly what is happening.

Then, when we thought things could not get any worse, something unfathomable emerged from the deathtrap of Gaza. When this happened, we were certain it would be the turning point in this hellish nightmare. Well-documented reports, corroborated by the UN and eyewitnesses on the ground, told of harrowing stories of sexual assault against Palestinian women in Gaza.

We were paralysed with horror when we heard of women being raped by Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza, assaulted and stripped in front of their families. What’s worse, we all know that in times like these, the undocumented atrocities will far outnumber those documented. Who knows what horrors will unfold once the dust settles in Gaza; no doubt they will be so horrific, our entire nation will be traumatized for years to come.

The real question here is not how Israel’s soldiers perpetrated such gross violations. I think by now we can all agree that this depraved military establishment and its political echelon to boot, has dehumanized and vilified Palestinians so much and for so long, they will justify just about anything. No, the question is more about the moral compass of the rest of the world. While alliances and political interests are always part of the equation, even when the issue pertains to basic human rights, nothing can better explain the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and loss of collective humanity than the deafening silence today.

Our women have not only been killed, starved and displaced, they have been exposed to the very violations that sparked global outrage and a genocidal war against an entire population under occupation, unprecedented in modern history. This is not only unacceptable, it is an indelible stain on humanity. Sexual violence is a crime so heinous it is imperative to condemn and prevent, no matter the perpetrator or the victim. That must always be the baseline in any argument.

Palestinians will never get past this genocide; it is not something you can come back from. However, be assured, this is not only about the Palestinians. The world’s women, the majority of so-called feminists who have remained disgustingly silent, must know this: when you do not stand up for women, all women, no one will stand up for you in your time of need.

 
 
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