Palestinian Lives Matter

Steven Katsineris with his latest on the upsurge in conflict in Occupied Palestine. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.

In the latest outbreak of violence in Palestine, which began in early October, 50 Palestinians have been killed (many are children) in shootings and clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, while eight Israelis have been killed in knife and gun attacks.

One Eritrean asylum seeker was killed by Israelis after he was mistaken for a Palestinian attacker during a raid in southern Israel. As well over 2,000 Palestinians and 83 Israelis have been injured so far this month. 

On the Australian TV news and in newspapers, when the numbers of killed and injured are mentioned in Palestine, the reports always start with the figure of Israelis first, even though the total of Palestinians deaths and injuries is constantly more. The media always focuses on Israeli dead and injured first, then the Palestinian casualties last. The inference is that despite suffering more fatalities, Palestinian lives are less important.

To me this is a potent symbol of exactly what is the crux of the Palestine issue. For Israel and its western backers like Australia, Israeli lives matter and Palestinian lives do not. And neither does the dispossession, displacement, occupation, repression and numerous human rights abuses of these millions of people. Israel has an impunity granted by its western supporters, to do what it likes and whereas other countries who break international laws by carrying out illegally actions, such as occupying territory, carrying out massacres of civilians and numerous other human and civil rights abuses, building settlements, seizing houses, land and water sources, evicting people, destroying property and trees and arresting and jailing minors and others without charge or convictions would be held to account, but Israel is exempt from such rules of conduct.

Until Israel is forced by the international community to abide by proper moral and humanitarian standards and international laws that are applicable to other nations and not do as it pleases without any restrictions, Israel will never feel compelled to treat Palestinians as people with human, civil, political, social and national rights. And without the necessary international pressure Israel will never seriously engage in meaningful negotiations to justly resolve the Palestinian problem. Only then will things change and until then Palestinians will continue to rise in revolt against Israeli occupation and oppression.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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