Sat 25-May-2024

Kushner’s vision for ‘rebuilding Gaza’ is shameful

Tuesday 26-March-2024

“It’s unfortunate that no one’s taking in the refugees,” lamented former White House advisor during the Trump administration Jared Kushner. He made his comment during an interview at Harvard University last month. The reason? Gaza is being eyed as potential space for valuable waterfront property, so why shouldn’t Israel “clean up”?

Asked to comment on the fact that Palestinians wouldn’t be allowed to return once they were forcibly displaced from Gaza, Kushner responded, “Maybe, but I’m not sure there’s much left of Gaza at this point.” And to further discredit the enclave, Trump’s son-in-law described it as having no historical precedent – “It was the result of a war – you had tribes that went different places and then Gaza became a thing.” He’s wrong, of course; Gaza has a very long history behind it. It’s the Gaza Strip as a territorial entity that is a relatively recent construct.

It holds Palestinian history and memory within a confined space that is now subjected to what is very obviously genocide according to all legal definitions, while the world debates and questions whether Israel really is, when all is said and done, committing genocide. And if it is, what about 7 October? This obscene normalization and acceptance of genocide is built upon normalizing decades of Israeli colonial violence so, unfortunately, no one should really be surprised. Nevertheless, the shame of it should stain the international community forever.

Kushner’s humanitarian pretenses are equally as hypocritical as those of the international community. The international community, a euphemism for Western countries, refuses to take in Palestinian refugees on the grounds that those countries do not want to be complicit in the forced displacement of the indigenous population of Palestine. But the same countries do not appear to mind Palestinians being subjected to an Israeli genocide, which is the ultimate form of ethnic cleansing. How far fetched would it be for Israel and Kushner to have their way, and we see the international community praising settlements and real estate deals as “economics for peace”? Of course, there would be no Palestinians left to make peace with in such a scenario, or the numbers would be so low that peace would fall from the equation, leaving only economic benefits for Israel and its accomplices.

There is not much left in terms of Gaza’s infrastructure, but Kushner is wrong to say there’s not much left of Gaza. If the citizens of a country are its essence, then 2.3 million Palestinians are Gaza. His sweeping statement eliminates even the existence of Gaza — and thus its Palestinian population — which is still a territorial reality, albeit one now imbued with a new bloody history that is Israel’s doing.

“I’m sitting in Miami Beach right now,” Kushner added for context, while explaining to the interviewer what he’d do if he was in Israel. This was the epitome of how international politics plays out in Palestine, and what Palestinians have suffered as a result.

Someone sitting in Miami Beach, or anywhere else for that matter, has no right to decide the genocidal fate of Palestinians. However, as much as Kushner should be called out for his complicity, so should the UN, the international entity that recognized a colonial enterprise built upon an ethnic cleansing in process which has now morphed into the world’s most complicit genocidal action.

Waterfront real estate in Gaza when Palestinians’ homes have been completely destroyed? This is what happens when the UN only speaks in terms of purportedly isolated violations and not in terms of the ongoing Zionist colonial conquest of Palestine.

-Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger. Her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America. Her article appeared in MEMO.

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