Amid Israel’s ongoing airstrikes on Gaza, Palestine Deep Dive’s Mark Seddon speaks live with Gaza-based author and mother Rana Shubair, and is also joined by US-based Palestinian journalist and intellectual Dr. Ramzy Baroud from Seattle.
Israeli airstrikes have killed scores of people including multiple children and at the time the death toll stood at 15. Since then, the number has risen to at least 26 and shows no sign of abating, as hopes of a ceasefire have faltered.
Rana Shubair describes the situation on the ground and what kind of effect this has had on children especially. On the surprise nature of this round of Israeli bombing, Shubair explains how “it shocked everybody” as she and her family “thought we were having a peaceful day and evening” only for them to return home, go to sleep, “and then just suddenly out of nowhere, we hear these huge explosions and we woke up to them.” Her own children, she describes, “came running into my room, telling me ‘they’ve [the Israelis] shelled an apartment in a building in our neighborhood” attacking three different places across Gaza simultaneously.
She discusses her own children’s artwork and how their drawings communicate the trauma children in Gaza feel, having to endure intense and repeated Israeli bombings. “When they were younger I tried to deal with this by talking to them, taking them out to do activities like to go horse-back riding, to go swimming to do anything that would help them release all this negative energy they had inside.”
She also praises the work of those in Britain who are using direct action to shut down Israeli-owned arms company, Elbit Systems, and how these acts are vital in ending complicity with Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. “I have always had faith in people, in grassroots movements” and “when I see these protests, even if they are small, but when I see consistency in these protests and people uplifting our voices, and talking about us...I think it gives us all hope” as it “makes us feel that we are valued, that we are heard despite what is happening to us.”
Ramzy Baroud discusses the brutality against Palestinians and how Israel has been allowed to get away with its crimes time and time again. Commenting on the killings of children, Ramzy passionately argues that “Israel is becoming bankrupt, intellectually, morally” and that it is being exposed “because of the power of the Palestinian voice even of little children after they die!” On the other side, he describes the “moral bankruptcy” of western states showing solidarity with Ukrainians facing Russian invasion and occupation but who then side with Israel’s violent and 75-year-long occupation of Palestine. He also admonishes western media for the continued dehumanisation of Palestinians acting upon their legitimate right to resist and defend themselves against foreign occupation, saying that the word “hypocrisy” does not even begin to describe this double-standard.
Both Shubair and Dr. Baroud emphasise the importance of showing solidarity with the Palestinians around the world and how this is slowly helping to shift public opinion away from Israel and onto the side of the Palestinian people after much struggle. However, Baroud stresses that those who want to support Palestinians should not waste time trying to directly convince western governments and mainstream media to change their minds as they have long demonised national liberation movements, not only the Palestinians.
Instead, Baroud argues, people should be organising where they are, persuading their peers to join the growing movement to, in turn, apply pressure on their respective governments. Shubair also stresses the importance for people to support Palestinians and argues that “activating BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement] everywhere” is crucial to achieve justice for Palestinians, arguing that “the million-mile journey starts with a step”.