Sometimes complex explanations are necessary and sometimes they are not.
When it comes to the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli colonial apartheid state, we have reached the latter stage.
Perhaps the biggest question that remains, after Israel dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza in a matter of days, unleashed the illegal chemical weapon white phosphorous on civilians, and publicly demanded the forced displacement of 1.1 million people, is whether you think genocide is justified for any reason.
Cause and effect can be a morally confounding question. The killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas — and its assault on the military perimeter that besieges the Gaza Strip — served as the immediate cause of these events.
Yet, that too must be understood within a decades-long history of colonial violence, displacement, and subjugation, factors that Frantz Fanon long ago taught us are necessarily and tragically productive of violence.
But, quite frankly, we are past the point where any of those explanations matter.
The United Nations tells us that the “deportation or forcible transfer of population” constitutes a crime against humanity when “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.”
Similarly, the UN defines one version of genocide as “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” The current bombing campaign, including bombs deliberately dropped on civilians attempting to follow the forced evacuation order, constitutes such conditions.
Israel is subjecting Palestinians in Gaza to a form of genocide. And genocide is either morally defensible or it is not.
We recognize that the Hamas terror attacks on civilians – Israeli and non-Israeli alike – are reprehensible. So are the attacks on Palestinian civilians inflicted by Israeli forces year after year. At issue today is the imminent displacement of more than one million people.
Now is the moment for all of us, as citizens of political states with the resources and leverage to put an end to the displacement – and as people belonging to a shared humanity with its conscience at stake – to decide whether genocide is tolerable.
We are certain that it is not.
Nathan Kalman-Lamb, Tracy Glynn, David Gordon Koch, Dani Godbout and Sophie M. Lavoie are members of the NB Media Co-op editorial board.