Palestine Updates 63
Justice and only justice, the pre-requisite for a bona fide democracy- Introspecting as an Indian on the Palestinian struggle for freedom
As I write this opinion piece, my mind is swayed by thoughts of the Indian independence on 15th August nearly 70 years ago from the British. The Indian independence movement spanned 90 years and took on non-violent, even violent political actions to end the British Indian Empire.
Any rational Indian will confirm that India’s freedom arrived sans justice? A cursory glance shows India as caste/class-ridden, and a cruelly unjust society. Its rulers show utter disregard for human rights and resort to the crude use of state machinery to control political thinking, silence critics of the government, undermine the power of judiciary, and use both constitutional means and fascist foot soldiers to suppress religious freedom. Poverty is rampant and affects the vast majority of India’s populace. (Echoes of Israeli and Palestinian governance)
Why do I raise this overview in an opinion piece in ‘Palestine Updates’? Palestinians once saw India leading the international struggle against Israeli occupation. India has since withered into a non-power; dangerously on the side of ex-colonialists (Western Europe) and firmly in the USA-Israel camp. It has, off late, repetitively been traitor to the Palestinian case for justice in international fora, casting its vote in favour of Israel. India, in its current fascist avatar has abandoned political ethics, once the forte of Indian foreign policy.
As someone who shares the Palestinian aspiration for a just peace, I so hope that Palestine will not continue down the road of its current pattern of achieving liberation. An archetype that Palestine can use is one espoused by Ambedkar, the architect of India’s constitution. Ambedkar was guide by the notion that social and economic equality are integral to the struggle for freedom and liberty.
Palestinians must never want an end to Israel occupation if it were a freedom that did not offer the entire Palestinian people an inclusive and egalitarian society. True freedom does not have a hierarchical format where people in the margins come second in gaining the fruits of freedom. Freedom and justice have to be concurrent. One will recall with shivers the specter of freedom from apartheid in South Africa where justice today is a massively lost case.
There is no country that offers Palestine a model of democracy. Palestine must ideally forge its own model of democratic socialism. The ideologues for this are in Palestine and in the diaspora.
Cruelty and inhuman conditions at Israel’s borders
From the Independent: The occupation has now entered its 50th year. This glaring injustice has gone on for nearly a half century, aided by ignorance and indifference.”
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, also known as B’Tselem, has accused Israel of forcing Palestinians to withstand “cruel and inhuman” conditions at its borders. They claimed that even those with legitimate work permits were being made to wait for hours in extremely hot weather. B’Tselem posted an image onto its Facebook account and said in a statement: “The Palestinians photographed waiting in line have permits that allow them to work in Israel. Such permits are issued only after meticulous security screening. “Making people wait in line for hours, in unbearable conditions, highlights the cruel and inhuman aspects of military control over a civilian population…The occupation has now entered its 50th year. This glaring injustice has gone on for nearly a half century, aided by ignorance and indifference.”
Revoking citizenship: Israel’s new repressive tool
The revoking of Alaa Zayoud’s Israeli citizenship sets a dangerous precedent
Al Jazeera report: There are very few firsts when it comes to the ways in which Israel has selectively and disproportionately singled out Palestinians for differential justice. In early August, the Haifa district court ruled to strip Palestinian Alaa Zayoud of his Israeli citizenship after he was convicted of four counts of attempted murder. This ruling was a first even for Israel.The stripping of Zayoud’s citizenship is based on Israel’s 2008 “Nationality Law”, which gives the court the right to revoke citizenship in cases of “breach[ing] of loyalty to the State of Israel” including, for example, terrorist acts. That Israel will selectively apply the law is not surprising. As the organisation, Adalah, noted, “there has never been a request to revoke the citizenship of a Jewish citizen, even when Jewish citizens were involved in serious and grave crimes”. This includes the case of Yigal Amir who assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Palestinians with Israeli citizenship are 20 percent of Israel’s population. They are what remains of the Palestinian population within today’s Israeli borders after expulsion, displacement and killing, which Palestinians refer to as al-Nakba. Israeli citizenship for this group of Palestinians is far from inclusive and has often been used as a tool through which the state can further promote Jewish supremacy, acting on its fears of the demographic growth of the Palestinian population.
‘Internal Palestinian dispute should not become aggression against Gaza’
Starving Palestinians in Gaza weakens the foundations of the steadfastness of the Palestinian nation as a whole.
Middle East Monitor report: Internal Palestinian disputes should not turn into “aggression and tyranny that mirror the criminal procedures of the Israeli occupation against the Gaza Strip”, the head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Youssef, said. His comments come after the Palestinian Authority forces 6,000 Fatah members in the Gaza Strip into early retirement.
“The only solution is to agree on radical solutions that bring the different parties closer and that do not increase the division and the impoverishment of the Palestinian people,” Youssef said in a press release issued on Thursday. He called on the Palestinian factions to stand firm against the punitive measures of the PA against the people of the Gaza Strip, warning that it will be their turn soon in the “deal of the century”.
Settlers storm Al-Aqsa in violation of 1967 agreement
Scores of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa while Muslims left outside. Dozens of Muslim worshippers have been sleeping at Al-Aqsa after it was closed by Israel in mid-July and then installing new “security measures” at the Muslim holy site.
Middle East Monitor report: Scores of far-right Israelis toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound early today under heavy police protection, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Israelis entered the compound through the Mughrabi Gate while dozens of Palestinian Muslim worshippers were attending a religious seminar in its courtyard.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Despite the agreement with Jordan – which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa – Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site and hold prayers, often under armed guard. Dozens of Muslim worshippers have been sleeping at Al-Aqsa after it was closed by Israel in mid-July and then installing new “security measures” at the Muslim holy site.
The dubious demolition policy Israel just can’t quit
Tearing down terrorists’ homes is a controversial deterrence tactic with a long history.
Israel’s practice of home demolition is controversial, and thus much-discussed, its origins aren’t as well known. It was first employed by the British in the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). The British then imported the tactic into Palestine. In 1945, in response to guerilla attacks by both the Arab and Jewish undergrounds, the British instituted a policy that would allow the destruction of the homes of underground militants, whether Jewish or Arab. The British military never destroyed any Jewish homes, even after devastating attacks such as the July 1946 bombing of their headquarters at the King David Hotel.Israel’s version of the demolition law started off somewhat different from the British policy. Israel permitted home destruction only when it was clear that the structure itself had been used in planning or executing the terrorist attack. Israel implemented the policy in 1967, but began using it more extensively with the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987. The IDF found itself facing a force unlike anything it had previously encountered. Public buses and cafes were being bombed; Israelis were petrified; there was enormous political pressure on the army to solve the problem. But the IDF, long accustomed to the traditional battlefield, struggled to find an effective response. It was then that Israel emulated British precedent, and allowed the destruction of terrorists’ homes even if the structure itself had not been part of the attack.
Ten myths about Israel
“Historical disinformation, even of the most recent past, can do tremendous harm.”
Ilan Pappé’s latest publication, “Ten Myths about Israel” (Verso Books, 2017), opens with an overview of the intentional violence inflicted upon Palestinians through several forms of colonial violence. Applying a thorough analysis of the myths perpetuated by Israel to sustain its presence in Palestine, Pappé exposes the fabricated Zionist historical framework and explains its impact upon the Palestinian people and their land.
The historian identifies ten fundamental myths which are discussed in separate chapters. The analysis incorporates the historical framework, its absorption by the international community and its repercussions upon Palestinian memory and the scarce options available for anti-colonial struggle and autonomy. The approach chosen by Pappé enables the reader to embark upon a historical journey, while at the same time providing an opportunity to apply that knowledge to the present circumstances.