Peculiar perspective on Israel-Palestine conflict

A very peculiar letter was published in the Sunday Express titled “What are you afraid of?”, with the author listed as “S Ali”.

The letter began by expressing concern that The UWI (The University of the West Indies) cancelled the presentation of the Israeli ambassador who was scheduled to speak on Middle Eastern affairs, thereby robbing the students of The UWI the opportunity to hear a different perspective of the Palestine/Israel conflict.

I am not sure why anyone would think that UWI students require a presentation from the Israeli ambassador to T&T in order to be able to “know the truth” of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict when, with the simple click of a computer mouse, UWI students—or any citizen of T&T, for that matter—can access the website of the United Nations, which has a comprehensive and unbiased historical account of the ongoing conflict.

S Ali went on to state that “it is a shame that our students should cite the protests and acts of violence occurring in universities around the world (making reference to the global outrage of university students in foreign countries over Israel’s inhumane military action against Palestinians) as a reason to shut down the meeting”.

It is interesting that this author was more outraged over university protests against Israel—university protests which have resulted in no cities being destroyed, no lives being lost, no people being displaced—as opposed to being outraged (like university students around the world) at Israel’s exces­sive military campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of over 30,000 Palestinians—of which almost half are children—and the displacement of 1.3 million Palestinians!

S Ali claims there was a “poll” conducted that showed most UWI students did not know that there was an October 7 massacre in Israel. I find this hard to believe because this suggests our UWI students are unsophisticated Neanderthals living in the mountains, with no access to print media, cable TV or social media.

S Ali referenced the October 7 massacre carried out by Hamas in Israel, but failed to mention that prior to October 7, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) published a report stating that 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children being murdered at the hands of the Israeli military.

Nor did S Ali mention the 75 years of abuse Palestinians have endured at the hands of Israel, and the growing Israeli settlements which have tirelessly been declared illegal and a violation of international law by the UN because the creation of these settlements involves the violent displacement of Palestinians from their lands.

The most curious paragraph in S Ali’s letter was the following: “Do you know the name Palestine in maps and documents and even in religious books historically referred to Jews, and not Muslims or Arab?” A very curious statement to be made by someone who claims to be interested in “truth” when any UWI student can visit the website of the UN, National Geographic, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the History Channel or any reputable research institute to be presented with a historical account of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.

“S Ali” went on to ask: “Do you wonder how ‘they’ are able to be in place and be able to put out videos without electricity, food, and water?”

For someone who claims to be writing from the perspective of being a Trinbagonian, I find it curious that S Ali wrote this letter identifying the citizens of Israel as Jews, but constantly referred to Palestinians as “they”. And, no, we don’t wonder because we know for a fact that international news agency Al-Jazeera has been utilising generators and satellites to conduct live reports from the ground in Gaza.

The most egregious and inhumane statement to be made by this S Ali was the following: “‘They’ claim to be speaking truth, yet ‘they’ use videos that are staged with fake blood and posted on social media to justify their cause and their anger.”

Even Israel’s allies, the US and Germany, who have been supplying weapons to Israel, have begun to speak out against the high casualty of Palestinians. Yet S Ali­—someone who claims to be a Trini—seems to have much more intelligence than the UN, US and European allies of Israel, that Palestinians are faking deaths.

Oke Zachary

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