Secular democracy and the future of Palestine

Palestine Update 523

How do we negotiate between my history and yours? How would it be possible for us to recover our commonality, not the ambiguous imperial-humanist myth of our shared human attributes, which are supposed to distinguish us from animals, but, more significantly, the imbrication of our various pasts and presents, the ineluctable relationships of shared and contested meanings, values, and material resources? It is necessary to assert your dense particularities, our lives and imagined differences; but could we afford to leave theorized the question of how our differences are intertwined and, indeed, hierarchically organised? Could we, in other words, afford to have entirely different histories, to see ourselves as living-and having lived-in entirely heterogeneous and discrete spaces? (Mohanty, 1989)

Secular democracy and the future of Palestine
It is an established fact that Israel is an apartheid state. The questions then are – how to dismantle it and what comes next?

The two-state solution continues to lose support in Palestine. More and more Palestinians are realizing that that the so-called peace process has only resulted in the the production of new Israeli facts on the ground, and new repressive practices that make a functioning Palestinian State impossible. No wonder then that a recent poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center indicates growing support for a one-state solution among the Palestinians at the expense of  the two-state solution.

The irony, though, is that the facts on the ground do not seem to have convinced the Palestinian leadership, right or left! Instead of fighting to crush Zionism and its apartheid policies in Palestine, the leadership of the PLO tries to coexist with it. Their argument, which have been shared by some international scholars and activists over the years, is that the two-state solution is supported by an “international consensus,” notwithstanding the fact it is nothing more than an unjust solution dictated by Israel and the US that it ignores our basic rights as humans. In this article I argue that the only hope for us, Palestinians, lies in an anti-apartheid form of resistance that mobilizes the components of the Palestinian people and international civil society and that ultimately leads to the establishment of single state in Palestine.

It is an established fact that Israel is an apartheid state.  The latest reports by Human Rights Watch and even Israel’s most respected human rights organization, B’Tselem, not to mention reports by so many Palestinian human rights organizations, have concluded that the regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is an apartheid regime.

Read more from Mondoweiss

A victory for common sense and free speech in Germany
All over the Western world today, Israel and its lobby attempt to impose its will, smearing any form of solidarity with the Palestinians as “anti-Semitism”. This is a terrible lie, but in few places does this lie have a more receptive audience than in Germany. The historical stain of Nazism – and the six million Jews it murdered during the Holocaust – means that many Germans today (wrongly) see support for Israel as a way to atone for their country’s past crimes.

But Zionism (the movement that expelled the Palestinians and birthed Israel) is not a repudiation of Nazism, but rather a particular expression of its victory. After all, both the Nazis and the Zionist movement agreed on the goal of removing Europe’s Jews from their homelands. Hitler’s Nazi government, prior to World War II, even collaborated directly with the German Zionist movement. The infamous Ha’avara Agreement meant a massive transfer of the resources of the richest German Jewish citizens to the settler-colony in Palestine. Collaboration was by no means limited to Ha’avara, and some Zionist-Nazi contacts even continued right up until the end of the Holocaust – at the expense of the lives of some half a million Hungarian Jews (while many Zionist leaders escaped with the agreement of senior Nazis).

All this is sort of forbidden history that is practically prohibited to speak of, even in Britain– let alone in Germany. That’s why it was brilliant to read this week that BDS activists in Germany had won an important victory. The city government of Munich had banned a debate on an anti-BDS resolution they imposed in 2017. But a German federal court has now declared Munich’s anti-BDS policy a violation of “the fundamental right to freedom of expression”.

Perhaps there is hope yet for de-Nazification in Germany
Read more from Middle East Monitor

Israeli soldiers join settlers in forcing Palestinian shops to close down in Hebron’s old town
Israeli soldiers today forced several Palestinian shops in Shallaleh street in the old town of the southern West Bank city of Hebron to shut down for no apparent reason other than to forcefully empty the area of the Palestinian businesses, according to the shop owners and Hebron mayor Taysir Abu Sneineh. The shop owners said soldiers forced them to shut down while last week settlers, who occupy several areas of the old town, known also as H2 and controlled in total by the Israeli military, also forced shop owners to shut down under army protection. The shop owners said the settlers and soldiers have escalated their harassment of the Palestinian residents of H2, mainly the businesses, which could force some 45 shops to shut down. Hebron mayor Abu Sneineh said these attempts aim to empty the old town from its Palestinian businesses and residents and turn it into a purely Jewish quarter. He said the shops are the only source of income for these families and closing them down would seriously hurt them, urging for immediate action to prevent this from happening.

Modi-Netanyahu signed deal for Pegasus spyware purchase in 2017 amended U.N. vote: New York Times
NYT’s Pegasus investigation reopens political storm over survellance allegations against Narendra Modi Government.

A new political storm erupted over an investigation by the New York Times that said the Indian government had purchased Israeli NSO group’s Pegasus software in July 2017 in order to carry out targeted surveillance on citizens, claiming that high-level visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and even a U.N. vote on a Palestinian organisation was part of a larger backroom deal.

The revelations that come just two days before the Budget Session of Parliament has provided fresh ammunition to the opposition  parties to corner the government on the issue. The opposition parties attacked the government, accusing it of “misleading” parliament and the Supreme Court on the issue on Saturday after the NYT report was published, while the Congress party said the alleged use of spyware on opposition leaders, Supreme Court judges, journalists and activists was an “act of treason”, and said they would raise the issue in the upcoming budget session as well.
Read more

Suspended Palestinian academic reinstated at UK university
UK-based Palestinian academic at Sheffield Hallam University has been reinstated in her teaching post, one week after she was suspended following a smear campaign by supporters of Israel.Shahd Abusalama was suspended by the university when an anonymous complaint was made against her. “I met with Sheffield Hallam HR today, and the university admitted that there had been issues with the way my case has been dealt with and has reinstated my teaching with immediate effect,” Abusalama confirmed that she had still not seen the allegations made against her, nor has it been revealed who made them. Despite her position at the university being reinstated, an investigation against her continues.