Much difficulty one finds in writing an article such as this. How can one proceed with unflinching objectivity and piercing insight when his heart tires from exhaustion and pain? My experience is neither singular nor admirable — billions of hearts sink with my own in knowledge of the sufferings in Palestine.
Home to countless martyrs, saints, and prophets (may peace be upon them all), Palestine has long been at the centre of the battle between good and evil, and it has certainly seen its fair share of turbulence.
Cries for help being smothered under pillow of hate and incredulity
Our current dilemma is well-known to the world: a superpower-backed pariah state is occupying and ethnically cleansing a native population whose cries for help are being smothered under a pillow of hate and incredulity.
This most recent episode follows attacks upon the people of Israel by Hamas fighters. It appears to have been pre-planned well in advance, and it has violently shaken the international political landscape.
How a medley of politically illegitimatised resistance fighters managed to breach an Iron Dome of defence and cause so much damage poses serious questions regarding Israel’s security forces and their military posturing.
Though it needn’t be said, it may serve to mention that Islamic law prohibits senseless killing and the targeting of non-combatants. None of what follows justifies the actions of any party.
Rather, it is an effort to tackle one specific question:
“How should one frame the Israel-Palestine conflict in our discourse?”
Much credit is due to Ilan Pappé, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and co-author of On Palestine, as well as many other works. His “new dictionary” of discussions on the topic is central to many of the arguments made here.
Israel is committing “incremental genocide”
Palestine’s storied history is continuously developing, and it is easy to lose track of what has taken place thus far.
Ilan Pappé coined the term “incremental genocide” in a September 2006 article published by the Electronic Intifada. 
An excellent descriptor, incremental genocide precisely describes the modus operandi of the Israeli forces. Their aim is to ethnically cleanse the region through continuous land creep enforced with occasional raiding.
Each raid follows Israeli forces incessantly provoking a downtrodden and captive populace until a reaction appears, as is the case both now and back in 2006. This reactive convulsing is treated with disbelief and a military response unleashes carnage on Palestinian civilians — all now considered “militants” when convenient.
The state was the West’s solution for the “Jewish problem”
To legitimise Israel’s terror are preposterously over-funded propaganda machines throughout a Western world who not only initiated the conflict through the solution for the “Jewish problem”, but provided their Israeli counterparts with a colonialist model to base themselves off of.
Ironically, the word genocide was coined in 1944 by a Jewish legal scholar from Poland named Raphael Lemkin.
Lemkin explained that mass killing is not the only weapon used by those committing genocide.
“More often [genocide] refers to a co-ordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups, so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight.” 
Then, Palestinians were both expelled internally and externally, made to form diasporas, made to live in open-air prisons, denied sovereignty over their own political and social structures, and assaulted in almost every way imaginable.
Then and now, the attacks were and are directed at Palestinians in particular and Muslims and Arabs more widely.
An Israeli minister this past fortnight stated publicly that “losing land is the price Arabs understand”; this makes a mockery of any pretence that this conflict is not racially motivated. These comments are far from isolated and they align perfectly with Israel’s internal Jewish supremacy laws. 
To weigh up the matter of Israel and Palestine, you must assess both sides
When discussing the Israel-Palestine dispute, one need not mince words.
It is a clear case of genocide by a militarily advanced and externally funded army against a largely civilian population with its back to a wall. Genocide is Israel’s crime.
And when we weigh up wrongs committed by both sides, we must put active genocide on the scale of the Israelis and then weigh any Palestinian responses accordingly.
Not doing so would be a deliberate disregard of fact, and will inevitably lead to the myopic pearl-clutching we find plastered across pro-Israeli propaganda pieces.
Israel is colonialist by its very nature
Israeli occupation is an extension of 15th-19th century European colonialism.
Whilst an unshakable stigma is affixed to imperialist rhetoric today, it was not the case during the earlier years of the Israeli occupation.
Reading earlier accounts highlights how overtly imperialist the whole idea of the state of Israel built on the graveyard of Palestine truly is. But nowadays, our language is re-fashioned. We ignore the colonialist rhetoric and racist ideologies of Jewish supremacy that abound in Israeli literature and lead to a marginalisation of not only Palestinians, but of significant non-White portions of the Israeli Jewish community.
Instead, we focus on discussions of “the right to exist” and “freedom from terror”.
Do rapists have a right to be protected from terror?
No rapist has a right to be free from terror if what he means by terror is his victim trying to eject him from her house!
Strikingly, while the colonialist language is most apparent in Israeli literature, it is a mere remnant of a historical frankness that irks Israelis and makes many uncomfortable when certain texts are translated.
Ilan Pappé points out that the words and phrases le-hitnahel (to settle), le-hityashew (to colonise), hitanchalut (settlement), and hitayasvut (colonisation) have been in frequent use in Israeli literature since 1882 to describe the Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land.
As much as they wish, they are unable to distance themselves from their overtly imperial aims.
Strike a nerve by challenging Israeli state criminality
Any criticism of Israel as a colonialist force will likely touch upon a few nerves — good. After all, no tyrant wants to be informed of his tyranny.
Each tyrant wants those whom he oppresses to proclaim his greatness and admit they deserve the retribution afforded to them. We must remember that as much as Israel wishes to represent Judaism itself, it does not.
Palestinians have no problem with Jews living among them
When the Muslims entered Palestine around 1,400 years ago, they found a paucity of Jews located therein.
Upon enquiring, they found that the Jews had been expelled from Palestine by the Christian authorities. It is said that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) then ordered that 40 Jewish families be relocated to Palestine so as to return to a land that was wrongly taken from them.
Palestinians specifically, and Muslims in general, have no issue whatsoever with Jews living among them in Palestine. A critique of Israel is not a critique of Judaism. Israeli crimes, like any crimes, deserve to be challenged, and erecting a barrier of victimhood is not fooling anyone.
And why would it? Speaking about a state and its evils is not something alien to mainstream Western discourse. One need only browse a major news provider for its discussions on other unloved states, be they Russia or North Korea, to appreciate this fact.
Like viewing an abusive partner for what they truly are
Viewing Israel as a colonising force rids us of the façade of mystery that Israel, like every abusive partner in a relationship, wishes to shroud its crimes in.
Whenever blatantly malevolent transgressions from Israeli forces are pointed out, a retort of “it’s complicated” is returned.
It is not complicated, however. It is rather simple.
Israel represents a foreign colonising force aiming to suppress and ethnically cleanse a local populace that is stubbornly resisting its rule. Israel’s wish is for the ethnic cleansing to complete, after which point any token apologies and offerings are largely meaningless. As long as the resistance continues, the colonising force will not be allowed to rest.
A colonialist paradigm is fitting and also helps, in part, to explain many unmoved hearts in the Anglosphere.
In the words of Professor Noam Chomsky,
“There is a kind of intuitive feeling on the part of the population. Look, we did it, it must be right. So they are doing it, so it must be right.” 
Conversely, and more optimistically, there are huge swathes of the Anglospheric populace who are truly pro-peace and are disillusioned with overly nationalistic rhetoric.
Mind you, those with thin veneers of impartiality are quickly outed the moment their less favourite “team” — to use Joe Biden’s term — does something inappropriate.
Be careful not to see the aggressor as the victim
As for the true peace-lovers, the colonialist paradigm offers an easy and accurate precedent packaged in an appropriately charged term for Israel’s crimes. Any future aims at liberating Palestine are thus expressible in clear and frank terms of decolonisation.
Decolonising populations is not a controversial aim and this language asserts a clear appreciation of Israel as an aggressor.
If this language is adhered to, then there is really no need to explain why the retaliatory strikes by Hamas or anyone else — whether morally correct or reprehensible — are actually resistance strikes against an occupying force.
But if this is forgotten, it is dangerously easy to disorientate readers and make the aggressors appear as victims.
Israel is an apartheid regime
Ever since post-apartheid South Africans visited Palestine, comparisons have been made between apartheid South Africa and the Israeli occupation.
In 2006, Jimmy Carter, US President from 1977-81, echoed and amplified these sentiments.
During a radio broadcast, the former US leader noted,
“When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa.” 
Nelson Mandela viewed the Israeli occupation of Gaza as a direct continuation of his anti-apartheid fight for liberation.
In 1997 — while serving as the first President of South Africa — he said,
“The United Nations took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system…
“But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” 
Apartheid South Africa was backed by UK and US until no longer tenable; look at Israel
In academia, scholars have seen the many similarities with the South African and Israeli apartheid systems.
Among those similarities is the support of the UK and US up until the apartheid system was no longer feasible. American and British support for apartheid, spearheaded by Reagan and Thatcher, extended almost until the 1990s.
Declassified documents from the US now tell us that a South African minister called the US ambassador during the end-times of South African apartheid and stated that they were aware that the world was against their apartheid system, but that they did not care so long as the US continued to support them.
Israel now enjoys the unwavering support of the biggest thug on the block. It has little care of being considered a pariah state, so long as this thug remains loyal to it.
Israeli regime change is needed
Notably, when public pressure in the US, and resistance movements in South Africa, managed to divest the apartheid system of US backing, it crumbled and was overthrown.
Regime change is similarly possible in Israel. It will likely take a combination of both internal and external pressure.
Mandela saw Palestinian resistance as essential to the fight for freedom, saying,
“I sincerely believe that there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the Palestine Liberation Organization.” 
Post-apartheid South African society teaches us, however, that the fight is not over at the mere tumbling of a tyrant’s statue.
Indigenous South Africans suffered from ghettoisation and continued discrimination post-apartheid.
Even now, difficulties in securing educational and vocational equality among the indigenous population and the overthrown pro-apartheid colonising force persist. South African apartheid also tells us that regime change is likely not to come from within Israel itself. South African elites were clinging on to whatever scraps of tyranny they could, until the very end of apartheid.
Don’t expect Israel to give up its stolen kingdom magnanimously.
Hopefully, this very brief article arms readers with useful paradigms within which to frame discussions about Israel and Palestine.
Let us be clear, Israel is a colonising force overseeing an apartheid regime and actively committing genocide. There is no ambiguity in any of this. It is not hard to understand for any impartial reader.
When discussing these issues, we need not cower and mince our words. Tact and cordiality are useful, but they are not excuses for ignoring the reality of the situation. It is a situation that we may speak candidly about, but it is one with grave consequences.
As Muslims, we are commanded by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to act in whatever capacity we can:
“Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” 
Whilst we sit in our comfortable homes feeling inept and unable to fix this situation with our hands, let us at least learn how best to fix it with our tongues!
May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings. May Allah protect our brothers and sisters in Palestine.
- Be confident in using charged language, it is both appropriate and effective in exposing Israel’s genocide.
- Don't allow others to frame your discussions; Palestinian citizens are not the aggressors or an army at war.
- Study and empower yourself with the truth; it is our duty to use history to ease the suffering of the Ummah.
- Why the Muslims lost the mandate to rule
- Calling out atrocity propaganda to end Palestinian genocide
- Israel declares war on Gaza: a call for Muslim unity and action
- Western state media in disinformation drive to justify Gaza genocide
- Dr. Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi writes to US and allies on Gaza genocide
 Oxford English Dictionary “Genocide” citing Raphael Lemkin Axis Rule in Occupied Europe ix. 79
 Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé and Barat, F. (2015). On Palestine. London. Penguin Books.