Humanitarian Thanksgiving

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Despite halfway to achieving its goal of eliminating the population of Gaza, a second Nakba, Israel, and its benefactor, the United States, have received an enormous, probably irrecoverable, blow to their moral standing in the world. Keenly aware of this, the Machiavellian minds that determine the two countries’ foreign policy have contrived a four-day ceasefire. This occured the day before Thanksgiving in the benefactor nation, a day itself that Disneyfies the genocide of Native Americans by European settlers.

People in the benefactor nation are disturbed by images of the slaughter of innocents and the literal obliteration of northern Gaza, as if struck by an atomic bomb. The good people of the benefactor nation want to stuff themselves and watch football with a clean conscience. The bombing has stopped for a few days. There is a prisoner exchange. Desperate people have been reunited with desperate loved ones. In the benefactor nation the home team wins. People are happy. Relax and take some Mylanta. Digest in peace.

There will be two days after Thanksgiving to decompress in good conscience, spend time with the family, watch heart-warming images on television. Tearful, joyous people, the quiet, friendly skies. Go outside and toss the football around, rustling autumn leaves underfoot. What goodness, at bottom, lies in the hearts of Israeli and US policy-makers. As a sweetener Israel promises to extend one day, but no longer than ten, for each ten captives released by Hamas. A two-for-one sale. A bonus. Read the fine print for details.

Northern Gaza no longer exists. 1.6 million people on the move. Don’t look back. A brighter future lies ahead. A win-win for all parties. Gazans happily united in the south. From there they can plan their future together in the Sinai. Camping. Fun for the kids.

After the ceasefire Israel will resume its bombing, but with humanitarian warmth, goodwill, and selectivity. Perhaps they’ll stop destroying hospitals, but don’t bet on it. The IDF will move in with greater force, “secure” the areas, surround the tunnels, continue bombing, wait Hamas out. They can’t stay down there forever, can they? Keep the Rafah crossing open and “encourage” emigration. Certain debts will be forgiven to mollify the Egyptians. Allow enough humanitarian aid through to keep Gazans from starving, but no more. Keep them on a diet, it’s good for them. Nutritionally conscious Zionism. Disseminate widely in US corporate media images of grateful Palestinians lining up. Liberal, humanitarian Zionism. The benefactor nation will continue to provide the bombs, but with stern, public caveats. Another win-win.

Nothing fundamentally will change. After the carnage, anything less grotesque will appear relatively benign. Kinder, gentler Zionism. While the world focuses on the Gaza Strip Israel will continue to step up its settler-colonial mission in the West Bank, the crazed settlers doing the dirty work, backed up by the police and the IDF. There will be a lot of huffing and puffing about a two-state solution. With a wink and a nod the benefactor nation for the umpteenth time will call for restraint on both sides, possibly formal negotiations. All a charade. The two nations, joined at the hip, ride the whirlwind of history.

Richard Ward divides his time between New Mexico and Ecuador. His novel about the early 70s, Over and Under, can be seen here. He can be reached at: