Truth-telling creates justice – Normalization merely creates mirages

Palestine Update 225

Truth-telling creates justice – Normalization merely creates mirages
Politicians seek narrative-alteration by imposing facts on-the-ground in the hope that reality will follow suit. This was the intent of Trump when he shifted the US Embassy to Jerusalem. In his grandiose designs, he thought the world would follow suit. Not to be. History does not change according to whims and fancies. What happened with the embassy shift is likely what could happen to the “deal of the century’ especially if it violates international law and agreements. Unilateralism holds sway only momentarily. A change will stick only when it has occupied the hearts and minds of people. The recent attempt to refer to ‘Israeli-controlled’ territories with reference to Golan Heights has changed nothing. Israel probably buys into the notion that imposed facts will become the new normal. When flagrant violations of international law posses no legal validity, announcements and unilateral declarations have no political value. The combination of political naivety and arrogance is a deadly cocktail and can cause chaos where it is needless.‘J Street U’s’ “Let Our People Know” campaign merits scrutiny. US Jewish students who sign a pledge to only participate in organized trips to Israel that include meetings with both Israelis and Palestinians are useful. But it is not enough to meet ‘both sides’. The trip must witness to occupation impacts on daily life in the West Bank, and prompt discourse about the brutal impacts of the occupation on Palestinians. There have to be self-imposed audits from J-Street to avoid normalization and accept that its vision of peace and security obliges justice as precondition.By contrast, there are clear-cut narratives emerging as seen in protests against unilateralism, especially from the US, and its consequences in Palestine. These protests ask decision makers in the US to comprehend and respond to the collective psychology behind the kind of mobilization happening in Gaza, and in support of it on the streets of the USA? How does power fail to recognize “why it is so essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true positions, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society in their Friday protests in Gaza”. The falsification and distortion of the ‘March of Return’ which is happening in Israel exposes the underestimation of the role of the Palestinian people in reclaiming their own legitimate authority and authentic positions. Solidarity rallies in the US only go to show how wide the solidarity is growing. It can and must be affirmed: “Palestine will be free. Justice will prevail”.

With a shocking flood of hate posts in Israeli social media (one every 66 seconds according to a shocking report), it is somewhat naïve to believe that normalization can be nothing less than a smokescreen. The Palestinian is seen as the’ enemy’ whose presence is against Israeli interests of more land, and total suppression is the only offer Israelis will freely offer.

Ranjan Solomon

My heart is heavy today…Allie reflects a day after the Gaza attacks

Allie is a staunch campaigner  for justice in Palestine. She has served  several times in Olive  picking programmes, and has been recognized with a ‘Bethlehem passport’ .  We share an excerpt from her reflection

In a church hall: Two faiths, Allie
with a Palestinian Muslim woman


All morning while at work, I had to suppress my feelings of sadness and continue to smile at the many people I deal with everyday working in a busy OPD in a community hospital. I had read a personal reflection from a friend before I went to work and I was eager to share it as the words mirrored how I feeling on this day. So on leaving work at lunchtime, I wrote the following on a social media platform.

‘Hope is in the hand of humanity’

‘My heart is heavy today. While the UK government bickers about Brexit like children in the playground, the world is in turmoil. Gaza bombed again last night and the most awful news on the radio this morning from New Zealand. Shattered lives; broken hearts. I find it all so overwhelming; only my faith and the love of those around me keep me strong, determined to keep fighting the good fight for justice, peace and freedom for the many who so badly need it.’

The more I read articles and hear news about the hatred that is entrenched in our society; I just want to love people a little bit more. Whether you have faith in God or none, there should be no room for hatred for mankind because all lives matter and I firmly believe that despite the brokenness of our world, if we love one another and have hope, there will be a better tomorrow.

US drops references to ‘occupation’; Its now ‘Israeli-controlled’

In the latest annual global human rights report, the US has stopped using the term “occupied” when talking about areas of Palestine controlled by Israel, including the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza. In a report to detail data regarding human rights around the globe in 2018, the US has decided to alter the words it uses to describe the situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel, opting for what seems to be more neutral language. This decision comes despite the fact that the word “occupation” is official terminology approved by the United Nations and how the US had formerly described the territories in question.

The US had voted last November against a UN resolution condemning Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights for the first time ever. The vote was 151 to 2, with the US and Israel the only opponents of the declaration. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, a move condemned by the UN and rejected by the international community. UN Resolution 2334 calls Israeli settlement activity on the territory a “flagrant violation” of international law with “no legal validity.”
RT news has full article

The implications of normalization with Israel (excerpts)

Israel has imposed itself through successive wars and military victories since the 1948 war. Israel has also exploited American support which is committed to making it militarily superior to the armies of the Arab states. Israel is the only country possessing nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Israel’s military victories did not offer it recognition and legitimacy, nor did it solve the problems of water, economy and trade. Israel needs markets and openness to the Arab region. Israel wants from the Arabs is acceptance of its occupation of Jerusalem and Palestine. In essence, “normalization” for Israel, is, in essence, normalization with the Israeli occupation and Zionism and acceptance of Israeli and Zionist narrative regarding the land and the population, which includes abandoning the narrative opposing Zionism and the occupation. Normalization without justice is the Israeli goal that will open the door to more Jewish immigration and allow Israel to take more Palestinian land. This will be a new formula for instability in the Middle East, Jordan and surrounding countries.
Read details in Middle East Monitor

J Street offers trip to Israel/West Bank as alternative to Birthright

J Street is a self-described ‘pro-Israel,
pro-peace’ group supported by progressive US Jews

J Street, a leading, US-based progressive peace advocacy group, will soon offer a free 10-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories for 40 Jewish students selected from universities across the country as an alternative to Birthright Israel. American Jews want to visit Israel – and J Street wants to develop a deeper understanding of what life is like there. That means meeting with both Israelis and Palestinians – and learning what life is like for those living under occupation…While Birthright and similar organized trips currently fail to provide these important experiences, J Street wants to provide a truly educational Israel trip.  The trips are part of J Street U’s “Let Our People Know” campaign, which asks US Jewish students to “sign a pledge to only participate in organized trips to Israel that include meetings with both Israelis and Palestinians and witness to how occupation impacts daily life in the West Bank.”
See more in i24 news

Year of the People: The Untold Story of Gaza’s ‘March of Return’

What is the ‘Great March of Return’ but a people attempting to reclaim their role, and be recognized and heard in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine? Much has been said about what the popular mobilization in Gaza, which began on March 30, 2018, represents. Sympathetic views rightly understood the daily protests at the fence separating Israel from the besieged Gaza Strip, as a people frustrated with a protracted and inhumane blockade. Others also emphasized the fact that the protesters are mostly refugees from historic Palestine (today’s Israel), who are demanding their right to return home. Israeli and pro-Israeli media falsely claim that the popular initiative is a Hamas-driven ploy to embarrass Israel and imperil Gazan lives for media attention.

What is largely missing from the discussion, however, is the collective psychology behind this kind of mobilization, and why it is so essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true positions, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society. The narrow reading or the misrepresentation of the ‘March of Return’ speaks volumes about the overall underestimation of the role of the Palestinian people
Read article in Middle East Monitor

From the Streets of NYC: Palestine Will Be Free!
Solidarity rallies were held in New York City last week as hundreds showed their support for the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and violence. The rallies were a response to the slaughter of Palestinian protesters at the fence marking the border of Gaza.

Trump’s announcement about moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was viewed as a particularly provocative assault on the rights of Palestine due to Jerusalem’s importance for Muslims. What resulted from the then-upcoming inauguration of the embassy was intensification in Israeli military oppression of Palestinians, specifically in Gaza. It was as if the increase in the U.S. government’s public support was the clue for Israel’s vicious attacks on unarmed protesters.

Beginning on Land Day this year, Palestinian protesters engaged in the “Great March of Return,” demanding the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, who have been living under Israeli military occupation in Gaza for over 50 years. In this latest manifestation of the Al Nakba, Palestinian resistance in Gaza was met with armed force against unarmed protesters. 17 Palestinians were killed and 1,400 were injured by Israeli forces.
Read article in Left Voice

66 inciting posts on Palestinians every 66 seconds in Israeli social media’

In 2018, 474,250 inciting posts against Palestinians were written. Legislation about the Nation-State Law was the main engine of racism for hate speech via Facebook. Palestinian politicians and Palestinians Citizens of Israel are most vulnerable to incitement.

The results of the Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli social media, released annually by 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, shows a staggering rise in incitement and Israeli racism against Palestinians on social networks in the past year (2017 – 2018). The most hate and racism in 2018 was directed at Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset and their political parties in Israel during the discussions and passing of the Nation-State Law, which gives rights to only Jewish citizens. In general, the rate of racism and hate online has increased since 2017 and an inciting post was published every 66 seconds in 2018 (up from every 71 seconds in 2017). In total, there were 474,250 posts that call for violence, racial profiling and insults against Palestinians (compared to 445,000 in 2017) published past year. From all of the posts about “Arabs,” 1 out of 10 contain an insult or an invitation to violence against Palestinians (in 2017 it was 1 out of 9).
Read Palestine News Network for full report

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.