Gaza: The Donkey and the Fate of Western Civilization

Image by Craig Manners.

Blackened smoke in the background, the raging inferno ripped through tents long after Israel had bombed another designated “safe” zone for evacuated civilians from north of Gaza. A charred body, of a boy or a girl, pulled from the wreckage, still burning. It’s the “bigger shoah,” the bigger Holocaust, Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense minister had promised Gaza in 2008.

In the same scene, three children helped their mother place their tattered floor mattresses on a cart. The middle-aged woman’s face was grooved like newly tilled rows of arid soil. The scrawny donkey hobbled in the sand, struggling to pull the cart. He appeared as hungry and thirsty as the gaunt children trying to climb on top of the mattresses.

The donkey seemed confused as the woman ordered him to move toward the central of Gaza. The poor animal was directed to the same location from which he had moved the family days earlier. Donkeys in Gaza have a better memory of the place than many Western leaders.

The load this time was lighter, perhaps due to the loss of a husband or child. The same family was on the move from one “safe” place to another Israeli-designated “safe” area. Like all the people of Gaza, families were ordered to move from the north and to evacuate the south to the middle of Gaza, even as the Israeli army bombs Al Mawasi, Nuseirat, and Bureij in the center of the Strip.

The four-legged creature trudged slowly. The TV camera focused on his expressive, glossy wide eyes. Even the donkey had realized what President Joe Biden has yet to recognize: there was no safe place in Gaza. Until then, I didn’t realize donkeys could have emotional reactions. I was mistaken; the famished donkey had more heart than Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Rishi Sunak, Justin Trudeau, and Olaf Scholz combined.

The donkey is not be the product of the “values” of Western civilization. He does not make a 2000-pound bomb and drops it over the most densely area on planet earth, such as Jabalia camp, nor does he possess the mental capacity to exploit Artificial Intelligence for more efficient mass assassination factory. Most importantly, the donkey does not understand the ingrained white Western racism toward non-white cultures.

American officials typically waste no time to condemn the killing of an Israeli, but are over cautious when addressing the murder of the less than equal human beings at the hand of Israel. In response to a question about the Israeli Shoah in Rafah, the U.S. State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller justified the burning of children telling the reporters that “Israel has a right to go after the Hamas … as appears to have been Israel’s aim here.”

At the White House, John Kirby took offense when CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Ed O’Keefe confronted him with, “How many more charred corpses does he have to see?” Kirby replied in part that Israel is investigating the attack, suggesting that it should be given time to complete its investigation before reaching any conclusion. The democratization of self-investigation is such a novel idea: allowing the criminal to investigate their own crimes. While we’re at it, the U.S. Department of Justice should consider allowing Donald Trump to investigate January 6 and see what he comes up with.

It is this American absurdity that emboldens Netanyahu’s belligerence, allowing him to ignore Biden and other Western leaders’ movable red line. Israeli tanks have reached the center of Rafah, forcing UNRWA and the World Central Kitchen (WKC) to cease food aid operations, and the charred bodies of Palestinian civilians are piling up. Yet, Israel has not crossed Biden’s line in the sand.

Israel has investigated previous murders, such as the killing of WCK aid workers, claiming that the killing was not intentional. Israeli army Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi declared it a “grave mistake.” Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu described the latest massacre in Rafah with similar lexicon, calling it a “tragic mishap.”

In explaining the large number of killed journalists, circa 140, an Israeli army spokesman stated that they “never . . . deliberately target journalists.”  Regarding the murder and injury of more than 100,000 Palestinian civilians, Israel claims they were unintended causality because it “takes all operationally feasible measures to mitigate harm to civilians.”

In the last seven months, Israel has “mistakenly” murdered more than 225 humanitarian aid workers, “three times as many humanitarian aid workers killed in any single conflict recorded in a single year.” Additionally, over 700 of healthcare professionals lost their lives, and hundreds of hungry people were killed waiting for food aid trucks at Gaza roundabouts. In all these cases, Israel denied responsibility and blamed the victims for their death.

It is a clear case of cognitive dissonance when Western powers provide food aid to alleviate the Israeli-made famine, while supplying the means for Israel to perpetuate a starvation regime, and the bombs to burn (less than hungry) children alive. Gaza has become not just the tombs of famished children, but the graveyard of the values of Western Civilization.

The outcome of past Israeli investigation is evident in a boilerplate of mistakes despite the writ large evidence suggesting otherwise. Yet, if we take the Israeli assertions at face value and accept, they all were “mistakes,” it raises the question: how many mistakes can one make before they become either liars or certified as stupid? Or, are Western leaders who continue to believe these “Israeli mistakes,” the real fools?

Jamal Kanj is the author of Children of Catastrophe: Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America, and other books. He writes frequently on Arab world issues for various national and international commentaries.