The martyrdom of Aaron Bushnell, and the ‘airlifting’ of aid

Arab regimes can’t claim they’ve done their duty by dropping some sandwiches

Two events captured public attention this week: The self-immolation of a young US serviceman at the front gate of Israel’s embassy in Washington in protest at his country’s collusion with its genocidal war on Gaza; and the theatrical despatch of six US-made C-130 military cargo planes — three from Jordan and one each from the UAE. Egypt, and France — to drop some supplies into the Strip.

The first incident, the martyrdom of Aaron Bushnell, went viral on social media, attracting hundreds of millions of viewers and arousing sympathy all over the world, especially within the US. It was a devastating moral indictment of the US and Israel whose nearly five-month war on Gaza has claimed more than 30,000 lives, injured 100,000 people, displaced two million, and destroyed 86% of their homes.

The second event, the delivery of ‘airborne aid’ to Gaza, was welcomed by some, but criticised and mocked by many more.

This ‘airlift’ dropped around 46 tons of supplies and ready-to-eat meals — hardly enough to feed a few hundred people for one day — while 2,300 trucks, carrying thousands of tons of humanitarian and medical aid, remained stranded at the closed Rafah crossing. Some of them had waited there for so long that the use-by dates of their cargoes expired.

The six planes were given access to Gaza’s airspace by the Israeli authorities. The aim was not to alleviate the starvation faced by the 1.5 million Gaza Strip residents living in tents in miserable conditions, but to give the parties involved a ‘humanitarian’ gloss and reduce international pressure on them.

The three Arab states participating in the airdrops — Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE — have normalised relations with Israel. They all portrayed that as a way of helping the Palestinian people and assisting them in their goal of achieving self-determination. All they have managed to achieve after four months of slaughter is to drop those 46 tons of aid. None of them even severed relations or closed down Israeli embassies in their capitals in protest at the genocide — unlike a long list of non-Arab and non-Muslim countries from South Africa to Chile.

Egypt, the former leader of the Arab world which bears historical and moral responsibility for the Gaza Strip, managed a mere 10 tons of aid, while complying obediently with Israel’s closure of the Rafah crossing

It is impossible not to feel shock, sorrow, and shame when viewing images of starving people — who had nothing to eat for days and were even deprived of drinking water — clamouring to grab some of these airdropped supplies. Nothing like this has happened in the history of the region and maybe the entire world. It is beyond disgusting to see these three Arab states — all close allies of the US with ample funds and massive armies — boasting and congratulating themselves about this tiny step, and pretending to be entirely satisfied that they have done all they can do to help fellow Arabs suffering unspeakable tragedies before their own eyes.

It is pure theatre, designed to offset public anger and outrage at these Arab regimes’ feigned impotence. People in the Gaza Strip need serious Arab political and military support — not airdropped sandwiches and canned food — if they are to avoid being exterminated and ethnically cleansed.

The martyrdom of Aaron Bushnell, and the ‘airlifting’ of aid

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