Palestine Update 399
Gaza won’t relent whether or not Israel acts with impunity
Creative resistance from Gaza may not find approval in Israel or among Israel’s allies. But the people of Gaza refuse to relent. They are confusing the enemy with their out-of-the-ordinary resistance module. Incendiary balloons with the help of the sea breeze are sent out and end up causing fires when they land on crops and in agricultural fields. In addition to panic and pandemonium, the balloons normally lead to bush fires, requiring fire engines and even aircraft to extinguish them. It’s a nightmare that costs millions of shekels in damages and losses to Israeli farmers. They also adopt a tactic designed to create ‘nightly confusion’. They set off fireworks and explosives along the fence separating Israel from the enclave. This “noise confusion” interrupts the everyday lives of Israeli soldiers located along the fence, as well as Israelis living near Gaza. For those who would rather believe that a superior army can cancel out Gaza, there are some elementary lessons to be learned. It is not about the number of guns and bombs and uniforms. It is about the defiance of the Gazan who refuses to be cowed down. Every time Israel with tacit support from its allies in the West go on the offensive, Palestinians become more determined. It resembles a game of football where a strong striker is desperately trying to score against a strong defense . The skills may not be superior but the determination proves to be the cutting edge. mahatma Gandhi said “if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it. Even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
It is time for freedom-loving people of the world to take concerted action to oppose the Trump-Netanyahu Peace Plan. This misnamed peace plan has a single benefit – it has laid bare Israel’s intent to colonize Palestine and to annihilate the idea of a sovereign, viable Palestine.
And with the latest UAE-Israel deal obviously brokered by history’s most cock-eyed political leader, by far, the game of hide and seeks has begun. UAE tells the world that their deal will stop the annexation. Israel knows it has all but completed the occupation according to its own calculations. What both sides forget is that at the core are a people who will not capitulate.
The so-called process of normalization is a story that was read and re-read many times over. That it was coming was known. But it has proven to be an oversize letdown. Peace to prosperity was announced to concurrently happen with annexation. The latter has been held back and everyone knows that despite Netanyahu’s repeated rhetoric he’s on a slippery slope. This will certainly be recorded as one of history’s most curious yarns.
The Palestinians must still suffer the agony of the occupation, of an apartheid rule, of a colonialist strategy which strangulates them. But they remain unwavering. Among the many borrowed-from-the-circus things Netanyahu said was the UAE was a great democracy. What greater foolishness can one utter? The world must thank his greed for power and his foolhardiness. If anyone thinks the rest of the Arab states will join the party, we are reminded that “these are not democratic states, and these are not democratic, representative governments”. That fact should always be in the back of our minds. The Gulf state governments do not represent the people who are citizens of their countries.
As Sam Bahour asks in his article in Mondoweiss (Trump and Netanyahu’s celebration of failure and Netanyahu’s celebration of failure) “… I don’t know why the US is getting so excited about a non-representative government making an announcement, probably because they may be non-representative in the US, but that’s a different story”.
Why besieged Gaza is a ticking time bomb
Gaza’s two million residents have become accustomed for the past 20 years to Israeli air strikes, ground incursions and naval attacks. In fact, the besieged coastal enclave has become an experimental field where Israel’s latest technology and military arsenal including deadly drones are used. Fear and panic have become the norm as the sound of explosions and blasts rock the 40-kilometre Strip. For the past seven days, aerial strikes targeted different military training sites and security observation posts in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Hamas’ control since 2007. Tanks and navy warships take part in the frequent offensives, which also give new soldiers a chance to put what they learnt into action in a real battlefield, targeting the “enemy”.
To put things into perspective, the latest military escalation in Gaza, according to Israel, is “in response” to incendiary balloons released by Palestinian civilian activists (with the help of the sea breeze blowing from west to east toward the Israeli controlled areas) which cause fires when they land on crops and in agricultural fields. Kites were originally used with fuel doused sponges which had been set alight attached to them, but the use of balloons took over as they are cheaper and take no time to make. The balloons normally lead to bush fires, requiring fire engines and even aircraft to extinguish them. It’s a nightmare that costs millions of shekels in damages and losses to Israeli farmers.
This is “popular resistance” or “non-violent resistance” according to Palestinians who are working to pressure Israel to lift its ongoing siege. The blockade – a form of collective punishment – was imposed in response to Hamas winning the parliamentary elections in January 2006 and the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the summer of the same year. Shalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid via tunnels near the Israeli fence. When Hamas took control of Gaza from Fatah, as a result of its success in the election, the siege tightened.
“Nightly confusion” is another technique used by activists, with tyres being burnt and fireworks and explosives being set off along the fence separating Israel from the enclave. This “noise confusion” aims to disrupt the daily lives of Israeli soldiers positioned along the fence, as well as Israelis living near Gaza. The fires trigger powerful blasts and fill the sky with acrid smoke. These two popular resistance activities had ceased functioning in recent months as both Israel and Hamas reached an unofficial ceasefire agreement, but resumed over the past eight days to send a message to Israel that the cost of calm and tranquility along the fence is the full lifting of the prolonged suffocating strangling siege, which has transformed Gaza into the world’s largest open air prison and brought life and economic activities to a standstill.
Time to end Israel’s impunity
The Israeli plan to annex what’s left of Palestine leads us to a simple conclusion: It is time for freedom-loving people of the world to take concerted action to oppose the Trump-Netanyahu Peace Plan. This misnamed peace plan has a single benefit – it has laid bare Israel’s intent to colonize Palestine and to annihilate the idea of a sovereign, viable Palestine. It is an attempt to regularize Israel’s control of illegally occupied land, from which Palestinians have been forced out of since 1948. The plan is a one-sided agreement conceived by Trump in collusion with Netanyahu, which they intend to impose on Palestinians. This is standard US-Israeli practice. The Palestinian people have, since the inception of the Israeli occupation, been pressured to concede more and more to the demands of Israel; in contrast, there has been no pressure on Israel to cease its breach of international law.
We are all aware that the current plan is a direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 446 (1979), which determined that the Israeli policy of establishing settlements in Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 has no legal validity. In addition, the Fourth Geneva Convention prevents Israel from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature and “materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem” and most significantly “not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories”.
Because the current plan is blatantly illegal, the US-Israeli alliance is using coercion to force the Palestinians to submit. It is, therefore, no surprise that Trump announced the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the reduction of aid to UNRWA, the closure of the PLO offices in the United States, and acknowledged Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights. In addition to these egregious actions, the plan is premised on Palestinians giving up their right to international justice in the ICC.
Trump and Netanyahu’s celebration of failure
Sam Bahour made the comments below in an interview with a journalist.
The announcement of normalized relations between the UAE and Israel comes as no surprise for Palestinians. The normalization by several Gulf States, led by the Emirates, and Israel has been ongoing for a long period of time, under the table in a way, and this brings it to the surface. In analyzing, I would say it was brought to the surface at this specific time for a very concrete reason. And that’s Trump-Netanyahu’s failure to move forward on their “Peace to Prosperity” vision with annexation.
This was a colossal failure. Not only did they not bring the Palestinians into the game, thank God, but more importantly, even the international community was very clear that this is illegal, this will destroy the potential for a future resolution between the two sides, and even more important, within that international community, was Jordan, which took a very strong stance, basically threatening the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. All of those together culminated in the failure of Trump and Netanyahu to be able to realize any part of the plan. The way they run forward to get out of the crisis is to create this red herring, by describing the deal in the press conference at the White House as something so historic. They said historic so many times, I was wondering what the history books are going to write because nothing has happened yet.
What has happened is an indication to enter into some kind of normalization. So, it’s kind of a baby step forward that merely publicly states what a reality is already. So to me, the issue is not the UAE-Israel. The issue is the failure of the “Peace to Prosperity” vision to even have its first step, which was annexation to be realized. As for Palestinians, the deal definitely puts the Palestinians in a smaller corner than we already were in. Given the international attack against us led by the US, I don’t envy people in the Palestinian leadership in terms of how they have to deal with the day to day crisis. Not only Corona but also the financial strangulation and the continued occupation! Let’s remember, the occupation has not stopped for one day, not for one day throughout. Not only since the “Peace to Prosperity” vision was announced, but for the last fifty-three years. So that’s a heavy weight that the Palestinians are carrying.
But we are steadfast. I mean, if we do not know how to do anything– we do know how to be steadfast and that’s kind of something that is built into our DNA. So, anyone who thinks that such announcements are going to make the Palestinians vanish is living in La-La-Land. Having said that, there is a very crucial and sensitive diplomatic moment here. Is the Emirates announcement part of a larger plan that other Arab states will jump on the bandwagon to be able to serve Trump’s demands of them? Let’s remember, these are not democratic states, and these are not democratic, representative governments. That fact should always be in the back of our minds. The Gulf state governments do not represent the people who are citizens of their countries.