Gaza Is Not As Far Away As You Think


And I tell myself, a moon will rise from my darkness.
– Mahmoud Darwish

The Israel government continues to pound Gaza, including with white phosphorus, resulting in the death, wounding, displacement and suffering of thousands, mostly women and children, in what are clearly war crimes.

Gaza, which was already under partial siege for 16 years, will now have “no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly.” (

This is another war crime – and is happening with the complicity – and silence – of major Western governments, including the US, which underwrites Israel with billions in aid, mostly weapons.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who, for months, has faced massive ongoing demonstrations in Israel calling for his removal – has so far managed to evade jail on long-standing corruption charges. Earlier this year he managed to form minority government with extremist settler parties, who wish to drive the Palestinians out of Palestine, build a Jewish temple at Al-Aqsa (Islam’s third holiest site), and extend Israel’s current borders to set up ‘Greater Israel’.

Indeed, Netanyahu presented a map showing ‘The New Middle East,’ to the UN General Assembly in September this year. There was no Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presenting to the United Nations in late 2023.

Netanyahu’s party does not represent the majority of the people in Israel, but he’s managed to swing public opinion his way due to the deaths of Israelis via the recent Hamas attack, targeting and killing civilians – including hundreds at a rave party in the desert – and taking hostages. This is a war crime, and has rightly been called out as such. Many Israelis are calling for revenge.

However, there are many groups and individuals in Israel who refuse to embrace Netanyahu’s extreme vision; who see, not Hamas, but the Occupation, Israeli Apartheid, and the 16-year siege of Gaza as the main culprit that’s destroying lives, both Palestinian and Israeli.

These include peace and activist groups like Yesh Gvul and B’Tselem, made up of ex-IDF soldiers, who refuse to serve in the army of occupation, and document war crimes. There’s the Parents Circle Families Forum, comprising Palestinians and Israelis who have lost loved ones in the conflict. These are voices of sanity and peace. These voices need to be amplified.

Today, Netanyahu’s government has issued an ultimatum, recommending over one million civilians leave Gaza within 24 hours, ahead of an Israeli ground invasion. Everyone knows this is an impossible, cruel joke.

Sixty-seven per cent of the population of Gaza are refugees; many are the grandchildren of Palestinians displaced in 1948, at the founding of Israel, via acts of ethnic cleansing. They have nowhere to go.

Netanyahu and the Israeli government are emboldened by the international communities’ silence on the destruction of Gaza. But some governments are speaking up by banning public demonstrations in support of Palestinians, like in France. The UK also plans to criminalise such protests as ‘terrorism’; while the Leader of the Opposition in Australia has called for temporary visa holders to be deported if they participate in acts of public solidarity with Gaza.

Activists promoting Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) – a peaceful movement whose chief aim is to draw attention to Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and Apartheid laws – have been hounded at campuses in the US; academics have been targeted as anti-Semitic and lost their jobs. But, as observers have noted, this is not just about Gaza and Palestinians.

Israel has been using Gaza as an experimental laboratory to perfect the weapons of an authoritarian state. Israel sells the technology of mass surveillance and weapons of destruction to many governments across the globe.

Palestinians search through the rubble of their destroyed homes hit by Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip, during the 2014 assault. (IMAGE: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan, Flickr)

Tactics used against Palestinians are studied by law enforcement in other countries, some of whom are trained by Israel. These tactics include the use of disproportionate force to quell peaceful protests, including live ammunition, detention without trial and torture.

As one Israeli ex-IDF soldier and peace activist said to students across US campuses some years ago: You may think Palestine is far away; but it’s not. These tactics will be used by your governments against you.

True to form, police, trained by the Israelis, used lethal force against Black people in US cities. So it’s not just Gaza: the infernal reach of Israeli Apartheid has blighted many lives worldwide.

Further, the real possibility of an expanding conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, pulling in Syria, (already a target of Israeli rockets), Iran, and other regional powers, threatens international peace. Not to mention the US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine, where Western powers back a regime influenced by Nazi ideology, which considers Ukrainians to be European and Russians to be sub-human, in language mimicking that of the Ziofascist extreme Right talking about Palestinians.

In other words, the Gaza war could turn into a veritable nightmare for everybody.

The first Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) happened with the formation of Zionist Israel in 1948. The second Nakba, happening now in Gaza, could easily morph into an international showdown.

Speak up in any way you can! Stand for human rights in Palestine! Say no to perpetual war!

You may think Palestine is far away; but it’s not!

#WarCrimes #GazaPalestine #nowar #BDS #nakba2023