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The Road to Palestine – Anti-War Blog

In Part Two of his Three part series, From Beirut to Bosnia, Robert Fisk gives detail to the tragedy of Palestine. As it was then when the series was made, 1993, the people of Palestine had already suffered tremendously. A lost people, those blamed for the crimes of terrorism or should those militants ever become an accomplished government, liberators. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine all share a commonality with the Jewish terrorists of the Haganah or the Irgun Gang. The Jewish terrorists going on to help form the State of Israel.

Whether a left wing terror organisation or one founded in ideological religion, the terrorists fought for a liberation that responded to aggression or sought to accomplish political means. The people caught in the middle suffered. This is true for all wars of liberation, those which stained the late twentieth century. The tragedy of Palestine is a remnant of that blood thirsty century.

The Gaza in Fisk’s 1993 documentary is dystopian. Hamas militants shooting at any cars with Israeli plates, regardless of the occupants to IDF checkpoints manned by armed brutes. Bombings, snipers, hunger. Children dead, wounded and starving.

Palestinians who died in their fight against Israel, celebrated as martyrs. Whether as a suicide bomber, inspired by the Tamil Tigers in their fight against Sri Lanka, or gunman shooting at the IDF with as much bravado as masked IRA men killing British soldiers. It’s a land under occupation, people desperate to free themselves from the occupier. The terrorists angry and steeled by vengeance and faith, their acts hard to rationalise, though when a government kills the innocent it’s generally accepted. When a non-government organisation does so, it’s criminal.

The fragmented Palestine in 1993 is a mess. People dying, we see a man shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. Fisk is filmed submitting his report by phone to the world outside, just another corpse or martyr. Outside of the reactionary Hamas and their violent killers, we see the Jewish settlers who are protected by the IDF. Just as convicted in their belief to the ownership of the land. God Wills It, God is Great. A voiceless God used as a justification to conquer and kill. The promised land, manifest destiny, the thousand year Reich, whatever the human mind invents for conquest a spiritual source validates. Because people believe, it must be so.

Fisk gives voice to the extremists of Palestine independence and Zionist exceptionalism, those who see the land as theirs, those who see the blood of the innocent justified to spill so long as it’s for a voiceless God or in the name of a cause. The mandate of zealots, the writ of government, belief of human beings. Such beliefs know no limit to cruelty and arrogance, they enhance both.

Inside the documentary we can see the roots which were already deep by 1993 for what we are seeing now, what occurred in October of 2023 and pushes deep into 2024. Fisk concludes the documentary by returning to Europe, where he interviews the survivors of another government that decided it had the ordained right over the land and the people. A government that waged war on nation, race and religion to the point that millions were executed, tortured and brutalised. Following the journey to Treblinka, where thousands of people were murdered. Such mass murder is not illegal, immoral certainly regardless of what those who believe decided.

If there’s one thing you can say
About Mankind
There’s nothing kind about man
You can drive out nature with a pitch fork
But it always comes roaring back again”

So sings Tom Waits in his song, Misery is the River of the World. In the case of policy it gushes into roaring oceans. In another song, God’s Away on Business, that never stopped humanity from assuming his mind or speaking on his behalf so that they may do as they please with the most savage and vile of intentions. God serves their needs, they may claim to kill for him, the cruelty comes from their own hearts.

The innocent, they drown in the river of misery.

If you believe that victims should have more of a say than people who commit atrocities, then yes, I take a definite position. If reporters don’t do that, then they are out of their minds.” – Robert Fisk, 2005

The documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx-Xd1Pzu88

June, 2024

Published inAll Articles and EssaysWar, History and Foreign Policy