I suspect that this sense of inadequacy, this pained appreciation of language’s limitation assails anyone who tries to convey through the intangibility of words the tangible flesh and blood reality of lives rent asunder by the cruelties of any number of regimes, in this case, the barbarism of Israel.
A barbarism that has in effect been fostered by the UK, USA and EU, all of whom limit themselves to the issuance of an inexhaustible supply of free passes to Israel, allowing it to carry out its daily horrors. Their response to the horrors? Mere hand-wringing statements, faux rebukes expressing ‘deep concern’ for actions that it purports to disapprove of, from which nothing follows, alongside the formulaic utterance of vacuous pieties about their notional hopes for a better future.
The other separation wall
Essentially, those bastions of the international community have erected their own protective separation wall around Israel, creating a ‘safe’ space within which Israel can shoot, wound and kill Palestinians, practically daily; where Palestinians of almost any age can be incarcerated without charge for any length of time under so-called Administrative Detention; where Palestinian homes are destroyed and land stolen as a matter of state policy, along with the unconcealed collusion between Israel’s armed forces and rampaging settlers. And in a further twist, Israel will, when it so pleases, and it does so please, often, deny Palestinians – child, woman, man – access to medical treatment irrespective of the severity or urgency of the need. Needless suffering, death and disability results.
Having enumerated at least some of the ills that Israel inflicts on Palestinians is it sufficient to say that the UK, USA and EU are ‘complicit’ in Israel’s policies and brutalities? It’s a well-worn word in this context. I’ve probably used it many – too many? – times. A case of the power of words running out, in this case, by a combination of inherent inadequacy and repetition.
Here’s the dictionary definition of complicity: ‘Involved with others in activity that is unlawful or morally wrong’. Well, it’s not incorrect, but feels too passive, though ‘involved’ suggests the active sense. But more is required.
As if their finger was on the trigger – its more than ‘complicity’
The UK, USA and EU, by its actions and inactions, by its words, facilitates, emboldens, smooths the way for, gives permission to, actually encourages, Israel to maintain and extend its violent tutelage over Palestinians. And it is these states’ policy so to do. It is as if they themselves pull the trigger of the gun, drive the home-destroying bulldozer, turn the Palestinian ambulance away; echoing the contempt Israel heaps upon Palestinians.
And what justifies this pointed accusation?
It is that the UK, USA and EU consciously, as a matter of state policy, clamp themselves to Israel’s interests. They massively fund it, inoculate it against any censure. The level and extent of support, which is fundamental to Israel’s ability to maintain itself as an apartheid state, means that if the UK, USA and EU ceased to tolerate Israel’s behaviour, if it withdrew, or threatened to withdraw, its support, the very fabric of Israel as a colonising, apartheid state would be thrown into question. But they do not do this. They turn away from deploying the power that is in their grasp. They are fellow travellers in the evils perpetrated by the Israeli state.