Our abdication of responsibility

The kaleidoscopic nature of international politics dictates that the world’s attention is constantly being torn from crisis to crisis. Towards the backend of 2014 our screens were filled with images of the horrific Peshawar massacre one minute, followed by the actions of a deranged fanatic in Sydney the next. Right now, we are consumed with utter revulsion at the events transpiring in Paris. 

 

As a result we either miss out on or completely ignore other atrocities worth our attention. The brutal quelling of the democratic opposition in Bahrain springs to mind, as does the flogging of a human rights activist in Saudi Arabia. For the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories, the world has returned to safeguarding Israel’s occupation, as it rolls into a 48th year. Though the bombardment of Gaza has ended- for now- the world has turned away. This is our abdication of responsibility. 

 

The seemingly endless struggle of the Palestinian people is not over, even though the violence inflicted upon Gaza in the summer of last year has ceased for the time being. As the world’s media focuses on Paris, people are forgetting the everyday reality of being a Palestinian. On a daily basis, the people of Gaza are unable to access resources we take for granted and that are of absolute necessity. These include resources such as toilet paper, toys and chocolate. Gaza’s exports are still faced by extreme restrictions, severely hampering efforts of workers to earn a living. Poverty remains the norm. The people remain destitute. The donor conference announced with such fanfare has barely materialized. Gaza lies in ruins, made worse by such a harsh winter. 

 

And that is just the situation in Gaza. In the West Bank, over 5,000 Palestinians have been injured this year alone. Freedom of movement, such an intrinsic right of humanity, is a pipe dream for many. The Gulf States, with pledges of solidarity for their Palestinian brethren, sit on piles upon piles of petrodollars, leaving their so-called brethren to the wrath of the Israeli occupation. The world says nothing as the IDF breaches the most recent ceasefire on a nearly daily basis. It has almost become a suicide mission for Gazan fishermen to ply their trade. 

 

The list of abuses faced by the Palestinian population goes on and on; as does the occupation. There remains no obvious sign of a renewed ‘peace process’, with the Likud set to regain power in the upcoming Israeli elections. International opprobrium is growing against Israel. But when Abbas takes steps such as he did in the UN last month, the US steps in to maintain the status quo. Quite unbelievably, it threatens the PA with a cut in its aid, while Israel gets off scot-free. Where is the campaign against America’s bankrolling of the occupation? Where are the concrete international steps to ensure that the Palestinians receive their right to self-determination? When will the international community decide that enough is enough, and sanction Israel for its continued flouting of international law through its building of settlements? 

 

Unfortunately, the world has no answers to any of these questions. People are quite happy to raise a half-hearted protest against the policies of this, and past Israeli governments. Yet, we will continue to sit on our hands and do nothing. This is our abdication of responsibility.

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