On Palestine and Israel

Almost 15 years ago, we warned of the nightmare in our words. It was in a seedbed, and it was through the voice of the late SupMarcos that we spoke. Here it goes:

Of Plantings and Harvests
(January 2009)

Perhaps what I am about to say is not relevant to the central theme of this table, or perhaps it is.

Two days ago, the same day our words addressed violence, the inimitable Condoleezza Rice, an official of the U.S. government, declared that what was happening in Gaza was the Palestinians’ fault due to their violent nature.

The underground rivers that run through the world can change geography, but they sing the same song.

And the song we now hear is of war and sorrow.

Not far from here, in a place called Gaza, in Palestine, in the Middle East, right next door, a heavily armed and trained army, the Israeli government’s army, continues its march of death and destruction.

The steps it has taken are, so far, those of a classic military war of conquest: first, a massive and intense bombardment to destroy “neuralgic” military points (as military manuals call them) and to “soften” resistance fortifications; then, strict control over information: everything that is heard and seen “in the outside world,” that is, external to the theater of operations, must be selected with military criteria; now, intense artillery fire on enemy infantry to protect the advance of troops to new positions; later, it will be the siege and site to weaken the enemy garrison; then, the assault that conquers the position by annihilating the enemy, then the “cleaning” of probable “nests of resistance.”

The modern military war manual, with some variations and additions, is being followed step by step by the invading military forces.

We don’t know much about this, and there are undoubtedly specialists on the so-called “Middle East conflict”, but from this corner, we have something to say:

According to photos from news agencies, the “neuralgic” points destroyed by the Israeli government’s aviation are houses, huts, and civilian buildings.

We have seen no bunkers, barracks, military airports, or artillery batteries among the destroyed. So, we think, pardon our ignorance, that either the pilots have poor aim or that there are no such “neuralgic” military points in Gaza.

We do not have the honor of knowing Palestine, but we assume that people, men, women, children, and elderly people lived in those houses, huts, and buildings, not soldiers.

We have also not seen resistance fortifications, only rubble.

We have seen the so far futile effort to control information and the various world governments hesitating between ducking or applauding the invasion, and a UN, useless for a long time now, issuing lukewarm press releases.

But wait. It has occurred to us that perhaps for the Israeli government, those men, women, children, and elderly people are enemy soldiers, and as such, the huts, houses, and buildings where they live are barracks that must be destroyed.

Then surely the artillery fire that fell on Gaza this morning was to protect the advance of the Israeli army’s infantry from those men, women, children, and elderly people.

And the enemy garrison they want to weaken with the siege and site being laid around Gaza is none other than the Palestinian population living there. And the assault will seek to annihilate that population. And any man, woman, child, or elderly person who manages to escape, hiding from the predictably bloody assault, will then be “hunted” so that the cleaning is complete, and the military chief in charge of the operation can report to his superiors, “we have completed the mission.”

Again, forgive our ignorance; perhaps what we are saying is not, in fact, relevant or necessary. And instead of repudiating and condemning the ongoing crime, as indigenous people and as warriors that we are, we should be discussing and taking a position in the discussion about whether “Zionism” or “anti-Semitism”, or that at first, there were Hamas bombs.

Perhaps our thinking is very simple, and we lack the nuances and annotations always necessary in analyses, but for us, Zapatistas, in Gaza, there is a professional army killing a defenseless population.

Who, being at the bottom and to the left, can remain silent?


Is it useful to say something? Do our screams stop a bomb? Does our word save the life of a Palestinian child?

We think it is useful; perhaps we do not stop a bomb nor does our word become a shield that prevents that 5.56 mm or 9 mm caliber bullet, with the letters “IMI” (“Israeli Military Industry”) engraved on the base of the cartridge, from reaching the chest of a child. Because perhaps our word will join others in Mexico and the world, and perhaps it will first become a murmur, then a loud voice, and then a scream that is heard in Gaza.

We don’t know about you, but we, Zapatistas of the EZLN, know how important it is, in the midst of destruction and death, to hear words of encouragement.

I don’t know how to explain it, but it turns out that yes, words from afar may not stop a bomb, but they are as if a crack opened in the black room of death, and a small light leaked in.

For the rest, what will happen will happen. The Israeli government will declare that it dealt a severe blow to terrorism, it will hide the magnitude of the massacre from its people, the major arms producers will have obtained economic relief to face the crisis, and “world public opinion”, that malleable and always compliant entity, will turn to look elsewhere.

But not only that. The Palestinian people will also resist and survive and continue to fight and continue to have the sympathy of the bottom for their cause.

And perhaps a boy or girl from Gaza will also survive. Perhaps they will grow up and with them, courage, indignation, rage. Perhaps they will become soldiers or militiamen of some of the groups fighting in Palestine. Perhaps they will face Israel in combat. Perhaps they will do so by firing a rifle. Perhaps they will immolate themselves with a belt of dynamite cartridges around their waist.

And then, up there, they will write about the violent nature of the Palestinians and make declarations condemning that violence, and the discussion will resume about whether Zionism or anti-Semitism.

And then no one will ask who sowed what is being harvested.

On behalf of the men, women, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcommandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, January 4, 2009.


Those who were minors then, almost 15 years ago, and survived, well…

There were those responsible for sowing what is harvested today, and there are those who, with impunity, repeat the sowing.

Those who just a few months ago justified and defended Putin’s Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing their “right to defend themselves from a potential threat”, must now be juggling (or betting on oblivion) to invalidate that argument against Israel. And vice versa.

Today, in Palestine and Israel—and throughout the world—there are children and young people learning what terrorism teaches: that there are no limits, no rules, no laws, no shame.

No responsibilities.


Neither Hamas nor Netanyahu. The people of Israel will survive. The people of Palestine will survive. They only need to give themselves a chance and commit to it.

Meanwhile, each war will only be the prelude to the next, fiercer, more destructive, more inhuman.

From the mountains of Southeast Mexico.

Subcommandante Insurgente Moisés Mexico, October 2023.

Original posted on Enlace Zapatista