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Incinerating Palestinian Children

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Systemic incineration of human beings is a familiar tactic used in relation to racism and hate crime. The European Jews have had this experience with Nazism and the Third Reich with the use of Crematoriums. The African Americans have had this experience with white supremacist groups known as “spectacular lynching”; a tactic also devised by the Islamic State in one of their gruesome killings.

Notwithstanding the recent attacks by Jewish settlers in Nablus that burned a Palestinian toddler to death, the burning of Palestinians by Jewish settlers in Israel is not new as it is embedded in the structural psyche and ideological state apparatus of Israel. For example, Jewish settlers kidnapped and burned a Palestinian teenager to death which was merely a warm up to what was to come after for Palestinian children- Operation Protective Edge.

As per the work of Dr. Marc H. Ellis, a Jewish theologian, intellectual and author of the book titled “Burning Children: a Jewish View of the War in Gaza”, the book demonstrates the epitome of Israel’s contradictory essence as a Zionist aspiration- whereby Zionism’s endemic is precisely with the fact that it portrays to be a safe haven from victimhood of incineration whilst simultaneously victimizing others with incineration. It is at this juncture that coherence needs to come to the surface; Zionism is a racist political ideology that seeks to erase Palestine and the Palestinians by any means necessary using the victimhood and suffering of one group of people to justify the victimization of another- in the name of a religious identity. In fact, Zionism has been deemed a form of racism and racial discrimination illegal under international law as per United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379; a resolution later abrogated with the assistance of the United States.

It is worth noting that prior to Operation Protective Edge, Israel also engaged in a military campaign against the Gaza Strip known as Operation Cast Lead. Setting aside the illegalities of the military campaign and the gross violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law caused by Israel; the Operation was particularly distinct due to the use of banned weapons such as white phosphorous bombs. White phosphorous bombs releases a thick white smokescreen upon explosion while simultaneously incinerating victims to death from the inside out if the smoke is inhaled or makes contact with the would be victims.

The question is why does this remain an occurrence today. The reasoning behind the continuation of the incineration of the Palestinians is based on two-fold: Israel’s colonization, politico-religious and expansionist interests along with the international law regime’s politics of double standards where the application of mind in relation to morality, ethics or humanity is only available to some but not others.

Whether Israel publicly denounces and condones the acts of incineration caused by the Jewish settlers illegally occupying Palestinians and their land; Israel is in fact protecting and facilitating the immigration and moving in of the settlers through the annexation of the lands, the systemic matrix of control that uses apartheid tactics of Jewish only roads, Jewish only buses and Jewish only lands in the name of security policy alongside the State of Israel’s arming and aiding of these settlers that constantly attack and terrorise the Palestinians under occupation.

Although many of the actions of the ‘Jewish’ State has been compared to the ‘Islamic’ State including the nature of the incineration crimes conducted by both entities, it becomes clear that incineration is not exclusive to any one group of people but rather a by product of hate and racist politics that is justified and contextualized by connotations of religious superiority be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam given the examples above.

Last but not least, the international law regime fails to address these contexts on an equal playing field as one groups humanity is worth more than ‘the other’ thereby perpetuating what it professes to be fighting or putting an end to. Until such religiously justified superior-inferior relating ends and the normalization and desensitization of suffering stops, the politics of ‘othering’ will continue to burn us all; making racism and hate crime a floating signifier in permanent continuum; be it the African Americans, the Jews, and now the incremental burning of Palestine and the Palestinians today.

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Ahmad Moussa is a Palestinian-Canadian writer, scholar and international human rights activist. 

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