Note: This article was originally posted on Truthout. The original version can be found here.
By Michel Moushabeck
The past two weeks have been very difficult and painful. I’ve had little sleep and when I did manage to close my eyes I was unable to stop the nightmares. The horror that is taking place in Gaza became like a noose around my neck preventing me from breathing. I couldn’t help but think of all the children who lost their parents, their homes, and who can’t understand why no one in the world cares about them and why no one is coming to their rescue. Close to half the population of Gaza was born under the 17-year-long suffocating siege and have known nothing but misery and extreme hardship.UN OCHA. The dire, inhumane consequences of Israel’s halting deliveries of food, water, fuel, electricity, and medicine will take their toll and will result in the death of an even larger number of Palestinian children and civilians in the coming days. The Palestinian health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said that “Hospitals have lost their ability to treat [patients], and medical teams are treating the patients with very limited capabilities.” Major General Giora Eiland told Israeli media that “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieve the goal. Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” “Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity and no water [in Gaza], there will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell,” said Major General Ghassan Alian, head of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).The death toll from Israel’s aerial bombardment has now reached 5000, almost half of them children. Fifty-one percent of all homes in Gaza have now been destroyed and over 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes in northern Gaza, according to
Every government official in the US, the UK, and the EU who isn’t calling for a ceasefire and an end to the carnage should be held accountable for their part in this genocide. Sending billions of dollars in missiles and weapons to the Israeli military in order to mercilessly kill and ethnically cleanse more Palestinians amplifies the US’s complicity in the atrocities. The tragic loss of Israeli lives on October 7 should not be used as a pretext to launch this genocidal campaign against Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel is actively implementing a strategy I have called the “out of-state” solution. This strategy aims to transfer Palestinians — or keep terrorizing and oppressing them until they give up and leave — to neighboring Arab countries, dispossessing them of their homeland. This is what we are witnessing in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem before our very eyes. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, Israeli Defense Forces and armed settlers have killed at least 90 Palestinians in the West Bank and displaced at least 13 Palestinian communities in the last two weeks. B’Tselem, the oldest Israeli human rights organization, told the BBC that since the Oct. 7 attack, it had documented “a concerted and organized effort by settlers to use the fact that the entire international and local attention is focused on Gaza and the north of Israel to try to seize land in the West Bank.”The two-state solution promised to Palestinians during the Oslo Accords is no longer possible; the chances of a one-state solution with equal citizenship rights for everyone are even slimmer, since Zionists insist on keeping Israel a Jewish state with democratic rights for Jews only. What is left—and what many in the new extremist Israeli government are in favor of—is driving as many Palestinians as possible out of Israel/Palestine. The Netanyahu government made clear its intentions of committing genocide against the Palestinians and is counting on people around the world becoming numb as the death toll rises. During yesterday’s visit to Israel by France’s president Macron, Netanyahu said that the fight “was a battle between the ‘axis of evil’ and ‘the free world’ … This battle is not merely our own … it’s everybody’s battle.” Macron’s visit to Israel completes the pilgrimage to Israel by prominent western leaders renewing their pledges of allegiance to the Israeli state and giving it the green light for its ground offensive.
But, as we’ve seen time and time again, Palestinians are resilient and are determined to keep their struggle alive no matter how severe Israeli attempts are at their erasure.
There is a newly invigorated global grassroots movement for justice in the Arab and Muslim world as we’ve seen from the massive demonstrations in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, and elsewhere. Palestine is also on the minds of the masses in Europe too. From Paris—in defiance of the pro-Palestinian protest ban—to Dublin, London, Scotland, Geneva, and Sydney, the voices of Palestinian supporters chanting “Free Free Palestine” are reverberating in cities throughout the western world. And in Washington, DC we heard the voices of American Jews mobilizing in solidarity with Palestinians and loudly declaring “Not in Our Name” as they marched to Capitol Hill and called on their representatives to demand an immediate ceasefire. They shut down Congress to draw attention to the U.S. complicity in Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.due to the war in Israel.” Contrary to what the New York Timesarticle reported, Shibli, whose first two novels Touch and We Are Equally Far Away from Love I published, did not agree to the cancellation. In light of these announcements and the FBF’s attempt to silence of Palestinian voices, many exhibitors—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Arab Publishers Association, the Sharjah Book authority, and others—decided to withdraw their participation as a sign of protest leaving behind many empty booths. In a statement, the Sharjah Book Authority, organizer of the world’s third largest book fair, said: “Given the recent announcement by the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, we have decided to withdraw our participation this year. We champion the role of culture and books to encourage dialogue and understanding between people. We believe that this role is more important now than ever.” I too was compelled to withdraw from my scheduled talk sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair, where I was asked to participate in a discussion about the role of literature-in-translation in promoting cross-cultural understanding and knowledge. How could I participate in such a discussion when the FBF has just silenced an author whose novels we translated into English simply because she is Palestinian? The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which claims to monitor the Frankfurt Book Fair each year for books that foment “Anisemitism and Hate” apparently did not like the Palestine-related books displayed on our stand and suggested that Interlink “be denied access, in the spirit of the Fair’s rules.” They called several of our titles “in the lineage of the so-called ‘self-hating’ Jews.” While their “Hate Prize” went to Turkish publisher Timas Yayinlari, the “Runner-Up Prize” is shared by our publishing house Interlink Publishing and French publisher La Fabrique “for their combined effort to demonize Israel and indulge in antisemitism.” The silencing of Palestinian voices and/or their supporters is not restricted to Germany. It is happening here at home, in mainstream media, and on college campuses. The cultural institution known as the 92nd Street Y canceled an event with author Viet Thanh Nguyen after he signed an open letter critical of Israel. As a result several authors, including Saidiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, and Andrea Long Chu have canceled their own upcoming talks at the 92nd Street Y. Similarly, the Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel canceled its contract to host the upcoming conference of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights scheduled to take place on October 27th-29th. You can read the full press release here. And according to a report in Arab News, US news network MSNBC suspended Muslim anchors Mehdi Hasan, Ayman Mohieddine, and Ali Velshi amid Israeli war in GazaI spent this past week in Germany attending the Frankfurt Book Fair. Upon my arrival in Frankfurt, I was greeted by an overwhelming display of Israeli flags everywhere—at the airport, on train ticket machines, on government buildings. Why, I wondered? Is it because Germany is still atoning for its past crimes? The next morning, I woke up to a shocking statement by the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair Juergen Boos that said: “We want to make Jewish and Israeli voices especially visible at the book fair … Frankfurter Buchmesse stands with complete solidarity on the side of Israel.” As if this was not bad enough coming from a renowned institution that was celebrating its 75th anniversary—and one that prides itself on promoting cultural exchange and freedom of expression—the FBF followed their one-sided statement by announcing their decision to cancel the award ceremony of the LiBeraturpreis 2023, awarded this year to Palestinian writer Adania Shibli, “
For the rest of the month of October, Interlink will be donating 30% of your purchases to Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) for food, hygiene supplies, water, and fuel for hospital generators in Gaza. You can also donate to MECA directly at www.mecaforpeace.org
The world’s failure to challenge Israel’s ongoing oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing provides the context for what is taking place now. Fearing a repeat of their mass displacement 75 years ago, many Palestinians in Gaza are opting to stay where they are and risk death. Israel’s message to the people of Gaza to leave or die is being ignored because Palestinians know that if they leave they will not be able to return. There is an urgent need for a ceasefire to stop the deliberate mass killing of Palestinians, which is in flagrant violation in International Law. The genocide is underway; we can no longer say that we didn’t know.
Michel Moushabeck is founder and publisher of Interlink Publishing in Northampton.