How Joe Biden's statement on Hamas echoed George W Bush's 'axis of evil' speech, indicates author Huda Al-Marashi

Politicians and analysts argue for Israel’s “right to defend itself”, even when it is in clear violation of international law.

Published: 18th November 2023 02:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2023 02:12 PM   |  A+A-

Palestine refugee camp

Palestinians rescue a survivor of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Nusseirat refugee camp. (Photo | AP)

By Online Desk

When US President Joe Biden said Hamas had “unleashed pure, unadulterated evil in the world”, I heard an echo of former President George W Bush’s “axis of evil” speech, and his argument that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," writes  Huda Al-Marashi on the Middle East Eye.

Then came the statements about how Hamas’s use of “human shields” justifies the bombing of schools, churches and hospitals, which reminded me of past claims that Iraq supported terrorist groups and had weapons of mass destruction, requiring our immediate intervention, points out Huda Al-Marashi.

Several Israeli figures have called October 7 the country’s 9/11 moment, a disturbingly apt description. It, too, was a moment in history when a recently attacked nuclear superpower was firing on a population with no culpability, save for living in an area of strategic interest, the author said.

The Conversation quoting a a former US government intelligence and counterterrorism senior official had this to say, "the ongoing Israeli attack on Gaza will likely resemble heavy urban fighting similar to other battles over the past 20 years elsewhere in the Middle East against Iraqi militants and the Islamic State group – and very different from the more limited engagements Israel has attempted in Gaza up until now."

The prediction has not been proved wrong so far.

When my grandfather passed away at the height of the Iraq war, our Iraqi-American immigrant community consoled us with: “At least you have a body to bury.” Car bombings and rocket strikes made a proper funeral a luxury in Iraq, recalled Huda Al-Marashi.

This is one of several similarities that have haunted me since Israel’s declaration of war on Gaza, Huda Al-Marashi adds.

Politicians and analysts argue for Israel’s “right to defend itself”, even when it is in clear violation of international law. This “us vs them” framing permeates the way people speak to each other online, at work and in classrooms, further dividing us while a humanitarian crisis of untold proportions continues to unfold. 

"After wars, we console ourselves that maybe we’ve learned something, that maybe the incalculable loss of life did, indeed, deliver us to a safer, wiser world," Huda Al-Marashi says.

After being sold an unjust war only 20 years ago, I would have thought that we’d be better at recognising a political and economic agenda operating under the guise of “self-defence”; that we’d learned to reject the indiscriminate use of force not only against people, but against our ailing planet. And that we’d finally come to understand, irrevocably, that we’re all on the same side - the side that is vulnerable to the decrees of those in power, governed by leaders who do not act with our best interests at heart. The side of humanity, she signs off.

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