The US ambassador to the United Nations uses her veto against a draft resolution to stop the war in Gaza (French)

Since the events of September 11, 2001, there has been extensive talk about what was called Islamic violence or terrorism, and experts on it have multiplied like mushrooms, and a torrent of writings have emerged that attempt to explain this described violence.

Some of our intellectuals even engaged in searching for its roots in Arab culture in particular, or in Islamic heritage in general.

In 2007, I observed the explanations given by Western writers for this violence, and I found that they revolved around - they claim - that violence is part of the nature of Islam, or that it is a product of geopolitical problems, or that it is a product of faltering modernity in the Islamic world, or that the problem lies in the roots. These are the texts of the Qur’an and Hadith.

If I have discussed these allegations at length on previous occasions and published my book: “Permissible Violence,” the ongoing war on Gaza pushes us to redirect the question of violence, but in the opposite direction this time.

So why are the actions carried out by Israel in Gaza - for months - not called Israeli violence or even Jewish violence?

Why does this Israeli violence, which is broadcast live, not raise questions similar to those raised by what was called “Islamic violence” after the events of September, about its cultural and religious roots and about modifying religious curricula?

Violence exceeding two nuclear bombs

Regardless of the Israeli history of violence and terrorism;

Especially since the State of Israel was founded primarily on terrorism, we can observe two main aspects of the ongoing Israeli violence in Gaza:

  • The first:

    the large number of civilian casualties, regardless of their locations.

  • The second:

    the enormous destructive force inflicted by the Israeli bombing on Gaza.

    The Israeli army leveled entire residential neighborhoods to the ground, turning them into ruins, and their residents were displaced and buried under the rubble.

As for the huge number of civilian casualties, we have talked about it more than once in previous articles, and the number of martyrs has now approached 30,000, most of whom are children and women, including doctors, journalists, and UN employees.

Despite the decision of the International Court of Justice, which implicitly acknowledged the existence of genocidal intent, more than one party saw a similarity between what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews on the one hand, and what Israel is currently doing to the Palestinians on the other hand, and in this context the Brazilian President’s recent statement came .

We are, therefore, faced with brutal violence that escapes any legal or moral control.

Despite all the Israeli and American claims, we are facing a one-sided war with a heavy and painful humanitarian cost for those who watch it daily on Al Jazeera.

The death toll numbers should not distract us from the other forms of suffering suffered by the people of Gaza, including killing, wounding, siege, pain, torture, and deprivation of all necessities of life and treatment.

Israeli violence and the West’s position on it force us to rethink the questions of violence, its terminology, concepts and policies.

As a subject or field that reflects the balance of power and control;

Whoever decides what is right is the strongest, and the reference for what is good and bad does not lie in independent legal and moral references, but rather who determines what is good and bad is the political and military power.

As for the destructive force that Israel inflicted on the Gaza Strip, the frequent and vivid images are the best evidence, and the Israeli army admitted that its aircraft targeted more than 12,000 targets in the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant, the Israeli army dropped more than 10,000 bombs on Gaza City alone. The area of ​​this city is 56 square kilometers. Some of these bombs are extremely destructive and weigh between 150 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms.

Given this huge amount of explosives, the per capita share of it was estimated to exceed 10 kilograms.

This heavy toll prompted a comparison between what Israel dropped on the Gaza Strip on the one hand, and the nuclear bomb that America dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II on the other hand.

The American nuclear bomb was estimated to contain about 15,000 tons of explosives.

For example, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observatory concluded through this comparison that what Israel has dropped since October 7 until now amounts to more than 25 thousand tons of explosives, the equivalent of two nuclear bombs.

This comparison - in reality - finds justification for it;

Taking into account three factors:

  • The first factor:

    the development that occurred in the military industry between 1945 (the date the American bomb was dropped) and 2023, especially with regard to explosive materials, their effectiveness, and the extent of their impact.

    Even if we assume that there is a similarity in the weight of explosives between the cases of Japan and Gaza, technical and military development would double the effect and destructive capacity.

  • The second factor:

    the quality of the materials used by Israel in this war.

    According to the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory, Israel uses a mixture known as RDX (called “the complete science of explosives”), the strength of which is equivalent to 1.34 TNT.

  • The third factor:

    the area of ​​the city in which the bombing is taking place. The area of ​​the Japanese city reached 900 square kilometers, while the area of ​​the Gaza Strip does not exceed 360 kilometers.

The enormous destructive capacity justifies such a comparison, especially since Israel used in its attacks on the Gaza Strip - in addition to the above - internationally banned weapons, such as cluster bombs and phosphorus, which is a waxy toxic substance that reacts with oxygen quickly and causes severe burns.

Israel also used these weapons in dense residential areas, and this is sufficient to classify the Israeli threat among the most dangerous threats facing civilians in contemporary armed conflicts.

The two aspects of Israeli violence (namely, the magnitude of the victims and the destructive power) confirm Israel's intentional targeting of civilians, as is clearly visible through the pictures of the victims, the nature of the war and the weapons used in it, and the demographic nature of the land being bombed, in addition to the siege measures, the destruction of civilian and medical facilities, and the targeting of doctors and journalists.

Through these two aspects, it is also possible to prove

two main features of the Israeli act that make it a terrorist act


  • The first:

    the systematic use of violence against civilians as a means of war.

  • The second:

    using violence to achieve political and religious goals.

ومع كل ذلك لم يتحدث مسؤول غربي واحد عن "عنف يهودي" أو حتى "عنف إسرائيلي"؛ بالرغم من أن هذا العنف صادر عن دولة إسرائيل بطريقة رسمية ومنظمة، وهي دولة تحرص – باستمرار – على تقديم نفسها في صورة "دولة يهودية".

ولم يرَ مسؤولون إسرائيليون وأميركيون بأسًا في تقديم العنف الإسرائيلي الجاري في صيغة الدفاع عن اليهود وباسمهم؛ رغم أنه خرجت بعض التجمعات اليهودية المحتجة على الحرب الإسرائيلية ترفع شعار: "ليس باسمنا".

عنف غير معزول عن الدين

وقد حرص بنيامين نتنياهو وغيره، سواء من أعضاء حكومته أم من غيرهم، على تأكيد السمة الدينية للعنف الذي يمارسونه ضد الفلسطينيين، فقد استدعى نتنياهو مثلًا – في أحد خطاباته – نصًّا دينيًّا قائلًا: "يجب أن تتذكروا ما فعله عماليقُ بكم، كما يقول لنا كتابنا المقدس. ونحن نتذكر ذلك بالفعل ونحن نقاتل بجنودنا الشجعان وفرقنا الذين يقاتلون الآن في غزة وحولها وفي جميع المناطق الأخرى في إسرائيل. إنهم ينضمون إلى سلسلة من الأبطال اليهود التي بدأت قبل 3000 عام مع يشوع في لبنان".

وكنت قد توقفت – في مقال مفصل – عند هذه الإحالة النصية وبينت الأسس الدينية للحرب الإسرائيلية وما سماه بعض الحاخامات "قيم التوراة" في الحرب.

يقدم مظهرا العنف – إذن – المعطيات اللازمة لإثبات أن ثمة عنفًا إسرائيليًّا يجمع بين تقنيات الحداثة وبعض مقولاتها من جهة، وبين المقولات الدينية من جهة أخرى. فالعنف الإسرائيلي هو عنف دولة مدعومة عسكريًّا وسياسيًّا من قبل قوى دولية كبرى، وتمتلك قدرات عسكرية وسياسية ومالية ضخمة.

وبفضل تلك الإمكانات، فإن قدرتها على تدمير البشر والحجر لا يمكن أن تقاس بأي طرف آخر من جماعات العنف التي ظهرت خلال العقود الماضية. أضف إلى ذلك أن ثمة سمة مركزية لهذا العنف الإسرائيلي، وهي أنه عنف حديث، وتتمثل حداثته في ثلاثة أمور:

  • الأمر الأول: أنه عنف قائم على استخدام أحدث التقنيات، بالرغم من أن إسرائيل استخدمت في غزة أسلحة غبية وأخرى ذكية واستثمرت الذكاء الاصطناعي بكثافة أيضًا، وذلك أن غزة مثلت حقلًا لإجراء بعض التجارب العسكرية لتطوير الصناعة العسكرية من جهة، وللتخلص من مخزون الأسلحة الغبية الذي كان بحوزة إسرائيل ليفسح المجال لأسلحة ذكية وحديثة من جهة أخرى.
  • الأمر الثاني: أن الوسائل العسكرية المدمرة إنما تجد شرعيتها في أنها تُستخدم باسم الدفاع عن دولة إسرائيل، وفي مواجهة جماعات قروسطية أو بربرية أو بدائية، وهي أوصاف جرت على ألسنة مسؤولين إسرائيليين وأميركيين بل وأوروبيين بعد أحداث 7 أكتوبر/ تشرين الأول، وحرصت إسرائيل – منذ البداية – على ربط حماس بداعش.

والدفاع عن "الدولة" الذي يتخذ صورة "الحق في الدفاع عن النفس" المزعومة، يكفي لشرعنة كل الوسائل العنيفة لإحداث تغييرات سياسية وعسكرية وديمغرافية بما فيها التطهير العرقي بحجة الدفاع عن "الأمن القومي" لدولة إسرائيل.

فالدفاع عن الدولة ومصالحها القومية هو أحد منتجات الدولة الحديثة، والذي يرسم حدود الحسن والقبح في "الأمن القومي" هو حدود الدولة من جهة، وما تراه هي وحلفاؤها مجالًا حيويًّا لها من جهة أخرى؛ مع الأخذ في الاعتبار مسألتين في حالة إسرائيل: عقدة الذنب التي تحرك بعض الأوروبيين تجاه اليهود ومحاولة التطهر منها على حساب شعوب أخرى، وأن إسرائيل تختزل المشروع الاستعماري الغربي في صورته الفجة الوحيدة الباقية في العالم.

  • The third matter:

    This violence uses the ideology of modernity.

    Israeli and Western officials appeared - after the events of October 7 - talking about that this war is between the civilized world and barbarism, and one can detect several manifestations of Israeli and American officials’ embrace of racial and cultural superiority, perhaps the most prominent of which are those embarrassing questions that were directed more than once to the spokesman for The White House, which exposes the West's hypocrisy and double standards, and that there is no equality in evaluating human lives.

Otherwise, how can we understand the insistence of the United States of America and its allies to liberate a group of prisoners (they call them hostages) and to express verbal remorse for the killing and wounding of tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and their general children and women?

How can praise for a commando operation to free two Israeli prisoners - for example - and cause the death of about a hundred civilians be understood without any moral sensitivity?

How can what Hamas did on October 7 be considered a massacre and a barbaric and barbaric act, while not describing the indiscriminate Israeli bombing operations that left the massive destruction we talked about, and this huge number of victims, in addition to the ongoing siege and starvation over the months? past?

If a Western official was confronted with these facts, he would stutter and maneuver and find nothing but expressions of regret and cloudy diplomatic rhetoric!

Israeli violence and the position of Western countries towards it would force us to rethink the questions of violence, its terminology, concepts and policies.

As a subject or field that reflects the balance of power and control;

The evaluative and categorical language here is an expression of power and domination.

Whoever decides what is right is the strongest, and the reference to what is good and bad does not lie in the existence of legal and moral references independent of the major powers. Rather, the one who determines what is good and bad is the political and military power.

Then, the geography of violence and terrorism delineates the sites of power and hegemony, and attempts to impose its policies in the name of fighting violence and terrorism, through the type of questions that are discussed, and directing the discussion in a specific direction that serves the colonial powers.

Which aims to bring about profound intellectual and cultural changes among vulnerable peoples so that they can dominate them.

Hence, it does not tolerate the concepts of freedom and independence of these peoples and does not recognize their right to resistance and self-defense. This is true of individuals as well as of groups that are below the state.

Peoples are controlled by authoritarian regimes that manage the interests of major powers, and the institutions and structures of the international system appear helpless and disabled in the face of American-backed Israeli terrorism.

Because the rhythm of the international system is controlled by the major powers towards their interests and consensus, and God is the Helper.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.