Bombed, Destroyed, Slaughtered

Map Gaza

Following on from my previous post, Léopold Lambert has produced the map above, showing an ‘infrastructural and militarized cartography’ of Gaza; you can download a hi-res version and read his commentary here.

Notice those repetitions marked by arrows; Rami Khoury writes in Lebanon’s Daily Star this morning:

What we are witnessing today is Israel behaving against Palestinians much as the French, British and Italian colonial powers behaved against Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians, Algerians and Libyans a century or more ago. In its colonization of Arab lands and its raw military savagery against civilians, Israel gives us the best history lesson available of the conduct of colonial powers who treated natives as servants or subversives without rights, and who dealt with them primarily by repeated shows of force.

Visit GazaBut this is far more than a postscript to my previous post on Gaza, with its own vocabulary of ‘all too familiar’, ‘this time round’, and ‘once again’. Over at Critical Legal Thinking Nimer Sultany has a truly excellent short essay, ‘Repetition and Death in the Colony: On the Israeli attacks on Gaza‘:

‘At the moment of writing these lines, the BBC reports 100 deaths thus far in Gaza in the recent Israeli onslaught. As we have seen these scenes before, the invocation of repetition comes naturally. “Once again” is a commonly used word when it comes to death and suffering under occupation in Palestine and specifically Gaza….

‘But “once again” is not a mere rhetorical gesture nor symptomatic of tragic despair. It connotes a recursive power dynamic and a structural relationship between an occupier and an occupied. It should be a reminder of context rather than an erasure of context…. Lacking context, the responsibility is either equally shared by two symmetrically opposed agents of violence or the stronger party bears no responsibility because it is merely responding to the irrational violence of the weak who bears the responsibility for death and suffering.’

Nimer develops his argument in relation to the juridification of (later) modern war, the construction of the (Palestinian) civilian as a negation (the non-combatant as ‘an afterthought’), and on a ‘peace process’ that is ‘conditioned on their abdication of their right to resist an unjust foreign occupier and … their subordination of demands on behalf of justice for the sake of peace’ (see also Nimer’s ‘Colonial realities’ here; his account of the role of the Israeli Supreme Court in the juridifcation of the occupation of Palestine, ‘Activism and Legitimation in Israel’s Jurisprudence of Occupation’ in Social and Legal Studies (online March 2014) is usefully read alongside George Bisharat, ‘Violence’s Law’, Journal of Palestine Studies 42 (3) (2013) 68-84, which addresses Israel’s concerted campaign to transform international humanitarian law [‘the laws of war’]).

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