Paradox of double standards in the West

Nabil Abdel Fattah
Tuesday 14 Nov 2023

One of the most notable indicators of Israel’s Operation Iron Swords in the Gaza Strip, marked by a rising death toll exceeding 11,000 Palestinians, predominantly comprising of children, women, and the elderly, with over 26,000 wounded, is its resurgence of the Palestinian cause to the forefront of the political landscape in the Arab region.


This resurgence comes following numerous attempts by various Arab countries, each driven by distinct internal motives, to prioritize normalization and establish diplomatic relations with Israel or engage in indirect relations. This shift inadvertently led to a waning official interest in the settlement occupation in the West Bank and the blockade policy in the strip.

It is a systematic Israeli policy that led to the expansion of the Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad, fostering the dissemination of Islamic fundamentalist ideology within many social circles. Consequently, this ideology started to be the prevailing religious culture among the population. What contributed to the perpetuation of the religious-political discourse of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is the portrayal of both movements as fighters against the expanding settlement occupation. This narrative is reinforced by the Israeli right's tendency to procrastinate the resolution of the Palestinian issue in line with international legitimacy, starting from Resolution 242 through Oslo and ending with disregarding its significance.

Israel, along with the US, Britain, Germany, and France, has been implicated in supporting Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. This support continued despite the Israeli blockade on the strip. The use of the term "terrorism" in the West to label radical Islamic fundamentalist groups overlooks the historical fact that British and American policies strategically utilized Islam after World War II.

Initially targeting Arab national liberation movements, particularly Nasserism, this political utilization began with the Islamic alliance and later expanded to counter-leftist movements, Arab nationalism, and communist parties. The main goal was to diminish their influence in the Arab region, with a strategic focus on leveraging them against the former Soviet Union and its policies in the Arab and Islamic world. This strategic use of Islam also played a role in creating Al-Qaeda which was instrumentalized initially in combating the Soviets and the allied regime in Afghanistan.

The US, Britain, and Europe did not describe these actions as "terrorism," which is a wide and vague term, before the agreements reached for fighting terrorism after 11 September 2001, because it was used as a tool for their interests!

Supporting such groups, the political administration in these countries did not have a profound awareness of these movements’ ideological foundations. They kept them without fully grasping the intricate ideological dynamics at play. Over time, Al-Qaeda shifted focus from the near enemy theory to the distant enemy theory, reflecting a shift in its strategic orientation. These groups leveraged their experience and combat operations in Afghanistan to carry out numerous "terrorist" activities in various regions, extending to Africa and Europe.

This operational background contributed to the development of their tactics in subsequent operations. After invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the Islamic State group (IS) emerged and swiftly gained control of numerous areas. The US and its allies paid the price of such an invasion, but concerted efforts eventually led to a relative elimination of IS.

Consequently, we face a double-standards policy toward these fundamentalist movements. When these groups are utilized for American and Western interests, the term terrorism is not employed. However, when their actions oppose these interests, they are swiftly labeled as terrorists.

Moreover, the European policies, particularly those of France and Belgium, aimed at the social integration of their Islamic communities, have been marked with failure and political and social neglect. These policies inadvertently allowed radical preachers from the Middle East, especially Wahhabis and Salafists, to glow and practice preaching within suburban mosques which led to a radical reshaping of the religious identity of these groups.

Simultaneously, the violent actions carried out by radical individuals contribute to fostering an environment of despair, marginalization, Islamophobia, and animosity towards Muslims, often perceived as foreigners.

This contributed to motivating some youth to join the IS ranks and Al-Nusra Front, often through digital recruitment. Additionally, some prisoners among the Muslim minority within French prisons were recruited; some of whom carried out terroristic actions using seemingly simple tools like knives and vehicles to run over pedestrians!

In such cases, the portrayal tends to label individuals as terrorists without delving into the underlying motivations behind these brutal operations. Here, what shows up is silence and talks of brutality, branding them as examples of Islamic terrorism without examining the individual motives and the shortcomings of the internal integration policy.

In international relations, discussions revolve around public international law, war laws, and international humanitarian law. However, when adversaries of the US and the European Community engage in behaviours against this system, such violations are leveraged against them, and then it goes overlooked. This happens when you run counter to the interests of these countries and their foreign policies.

On the other hand, the US and Europe often depict the massacres carried out by Israel as acts of self-defense. This categorizing applies even when the scale of the used firepower equals that of a nuclear bomb, like those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US, as described by the military experts assessing the intense devastation in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions on civilians.

Nevertheless, the justification of self-defense is consistently reiterated in political addresses from the US administration and European politicians, in Western visual, written, and audio media.

This viewpoint frequently overlooks the fact that Israel is an occupying state in the Palestinian territories, impeding efforts to resume the peace process and attain a two-state solution.

More crucially, it dismisses the principles of war law, international humanitarian law, and the right of resistance for those living under occupation, putting no constraints on the actions of the occupying state. This includes actions tantamount to ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, collective punishment, and the obstruction of access to essential resources like food, water, energy, and medical supplies.

Let alone the aerial bombardment of hospitals and their surroundings which led to a notable increase in casualties, particularly among children, women, and the elderly. This complicated the challenges, hindering medical supplies, breaking down the health system, and killing journalists, UNRWA employees, and personnel from other international institutions.

These unprecedented violations committed by Israel in war are frequently supported by the US and Western countries under the pretext of self-defense, leading to increasing protests and demonstrations in these influential Western nations. These demonstrations focus on denouncing the massacres and their countries’ policies that support Israel.

The contradicting stances of the US and European administrations played a role in demoralizing their behaviour. Most significantly, it reflects an indifference towards human rights values and principles. Their primary objective appears to be calming the various regional actors, including Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf countries. This complex situation aims to prevent the escalation of war into a state of comprehensive regional turmoil.

Thus, they pressure Israel to establish temporary humanitarian corridors to deliver food, medicine, and relief supplies. This occurs without a comprehensive ceasefire, a mutual exchange of prisoners, post-war arrangements, or a return to the path of the peace process, in order to establish an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its legitimate capital, accompanied by security guarantees for both parties under the supervision of the UN or international parties.

Undoubtedly, the double standards exhibited by the US and Western nations are likely to foster socio-cultural and psychological discontent among the new generations of Arab youth towards Western countries and Israel.

This discontent may contribute to the growth of religious extremism in the region, coupled with a growing indifference to Western policies, particularly in light of the ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, and genocide perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.

The fact that these actions receive support from Western countries under the guise of legitimate defense appears absurd, reinforcing the perception of the double standards in their approach to the Palestinian people and the Arab world. These dynamics unfold in a world characterized by turbulence, striving to reshape the global balance of power.



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