Ukraine and the Palestinian paradigm

Palestine Update 531
Editorial Comment

Ukraine and the Palestinian paradigm
Palestinians have warned against Israel’s exploitation of the world’s preoccupation with the situation in Ukraine to expand its aggression, violence and crimes against Palestinians. A 74 year old apartheid system has gone into the shadows as Europe and the US, Canada cry hoarse about defending democracy in the Ukraine.

To think of Ukraine as a democracy is farfetched. To speak also about justice is twisted talk from the West. Like most nations around the world, including those who claim to be democracies, there is hardly a perfect governance model in which people’s participation has any degree of perfection. There are money bag operations in the so-called democratic community of nations in which the corporates rule from behind and control a state that exists as a mere sycophant of economic interests.

Once in five year elections don’t constitute a democracy. It is hard to point to more than a handful of nations that are not corporatocracies. So, however much people may scream and shout about restoring democracy, it remains a laugh. And this applies to Russia too which, for all intent and purposes, is a full- fledged autocracy.

Palestine will now recede into the shadows and Israel will further unleash some of the worst violence it can against Palestinians. The world will apply the pretext that they must first squash the Ukraine war. After all, the NATO wants its countries to gain from the gigantic natural resources that Ukraine sits on. They care two hoots or less for Ukraine, or Palestine, or any other category of oppressed peoples. Crocodile tears are all they are able to shed.

 A friend shared with me this powerful insight while referring to Ukraine. He asked: “Why the silence on Nagorno-Karabakh, the 13,500 civilians killed by Ukraine in Donbas? “In the last 48 hours,” he points out, “there has been an Israeli airstrike in Syria, dozens of Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, and US airstrikes on Somalia. And the violent decades-long occupation of Palestine continues. The world is happy to support illegal invasions and destruction of nations it deems ‘enemies’, or where ‘interests’ make such actions ‘acceptable’, no matter what the cost to human life.”

Indeed, Ukraine is a case of Western two-faced rhetoric. Let’s name some of the other horrors. Sri Lanka and the unresolved Tamil question and the Kashmir occupation. What about self-determination for Taiwan or the massacre of the Rohingyas in Myanmar? There is a long list and the world must stop pretending that Putin is a lone oppressor. We can discuss that when Iraq, Syria, and Libya, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Central America, and Panama get reparations for the gigantic damages done to these countries in US based wars. (And this is an abbreviated list, especially when one considers the innumerable dictatorships that the US supported and profited from in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and elsewhere)

 Ideally, instead of investing in armaments and kowtowing the diktats of the murderous military-industrial-complex, NATO member nations might need a summit where they forge a formula for a just world. Until that happens, there will be wars and more wars, more suffering. Meanwhile NATO itself should shut shop.

As Ali Abunimah writing in The Electronic Intifada says: “The crisis in Ukraine today can be traced to American sponsorship of the 2014 coup against the country’s elected pro-Russian president that brought far-right and even neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists to power.Washington’s goal has been to bring Ukraine into the anti-Russia NATO military alliance – something Moscow sees as an existential threat – and is strongly opposed by many among Ukraine’s large ethnic Russian population”. Abunimah continues: “the sudden concern for international law regarding Ukraine is nowhere to be found when it comes to Israel’s illegal occupation and annexation of Palestinian and Syrian land, and its imposition of an apartheid regime on the entire Palestinian people – a crime against humanity. These Israeli crimes could of course not be perpetrated without American and European support or acquiescence.

When the Trump administration moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017, effectively recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of the city, the EU rejected the move …Ironically, one of the handful of countries ready to follow the US in recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of Jerusalem is none other than the US and EU-backed government in Ukraine.

At World Social World Forums, civil society has affirmed that ‘Another World is possible’. It is. But it will require that the savage instincts of those who wield power and want to accumulate even more, to claim an edge over those who are weaker will abandon those instincts.  It will oblige those who join hands with evil powers and believe that it will alter their bargaining power to surrender their short term ambitions and look ahead to a vision of a just and equitable world.

Seven decades before the Ukraine fiasco, the world had Palestine and a raw conqueror in Israel. Armed with a huge military machine that includes in its arsenal a deadly nuclear stockpile, Israel has done worse than possibly any other country in post World War II history. Instead of calling for sanctions on Russia, the question is: Can we dismantle the Israeli occupation with a swiftness and alacrity that emerges as a template for just relations between all nations and peoples of the world?

Ranjan Solomon   

Ukraine-Russia war: West unites to sanction Moscow as Middle East braces for fallout
Western countries moved swiftly to impose a first tranche of economic sanctions on Russia on Thursday, after President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. US President Joe Biden announced sanctions targeting Russia’s access to the global financial system, large Russian state-owned banks, and oligarch “elites close to Putin”.

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden told reporters at the White House. The US president also pledged that sanctions would target wealthy Russians close to Putin. “We will keep up this drumbeat of those designations against corrupt billionaires in the days ahead,” he said.
Read more

Israel Chose to Stand With US Over Ukraine, But Will It Harm Tel Aviv’s Ties With Moscow?
Aside from enjoying stable trade, cultural links, and booming tourism, the two nations have cooperated on a number of security issues. Moscow has played a pivotal role in mediating between Israel and the Palestinians. It shared its intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme and it turned a blind eye to the Jewish state’s actions in Syria.

It took Israel hours to decide how to react to President Vladimir Putin’s decision to begin a military operation in Ukraine. But on Thursday afternoon it finally happened. Israel took sides.

“Israel has deep, long, and good relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Tens of thousands of Israelis are located in these states. Hundreds of thousands of Jews reside there, and keeping them safe is our top priority”, he added. In recent years, Israel has been the beneficiary of these relations. Trade has been steadily increasing, and before the outbreak of COVID-19 so did tourism thanks to the mutual removal of entry permits. In terms of security, Russia has played a pivotal role in mediating between Israel and the Palestinians, specifically with the Islamic group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the Jewish state.

It has cooperated with Israel in Syria, turning a blind eye to alleged Israeli attacks against what’s believed to be Iranian targets. And it has also assisted in sharing its intelligence when it comes to Tehran’s nuclear programme. Now, with Israel taking a stance, this cooperation might come to an end.

Al-Haq Launches a Report titled “Cultural Apartheid, Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza”
“On 23 February 2022, Al-Haq launched its report titled “Cultural Apartheid, Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza”. The report builds from an investigation by the London-based research agency Forensic Architecture using advanced technologies and ‘open-source’ techniques to reconstruct one of the most significant archaeological sites in the occupied Gaza Strip. The report draws on Israel’s strategic bombing of the Gaza coastline to exemplify the erasure of Palestinian cultural heritage and the denial of the relevant human rights. Israel’s bombardments not only breach the principle of military necessity in violation of the laws of armed conflict, but also aim at gradually erasing Palestinian cultural heritage to deny the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination over their cultural resources, and by extension threatens their existence as a people. Such bombings are a gross violation of the Rome Statute, constituting war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In the report, Al-Haq outlines that the bombing of the site may amount to a war crime and contributes to the crime against humanity of apartheid. The targeting of Palestinian cultural heritage, fundamentally affects the core of their identity and existence as a people.”
See full report ‘Cultural Apartheid, Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza’ here.
See video by Forensic Architecture in English here.
See video by Forensic Architecture in Arabic here.

Read more

 The Anti-Semitic Face of Israel’s Evangelical Allies

 “Evangelical Zionists want Jews to move to Palestine to set the stage for the divine requital of Armageddon. This hasn’t stopped Israel from sealing alliances with even nakedly anti-Semitic evangelicals, so long as they support the dispossession of Palestinians.”

Each such relationship represents a political calculation on the part of Israeli authorities. Underlying each partnership is the assumption, or wager, that such potential partners are either more Islamophobic than they are antisemitic (often true), or above all committed to their own nationalism (also mostly true), such that any whiff of antisemitism is overridden by a deeper commitment to the principle that a state can do whatever it wants inside the territory it controls. By either road — Islamophobic or isolationist — Israeli decision-makers are willing to excuse a little antisemitism for the certainty of silence or support in Israel’s incessant abuses against Palestinians.
Read full article for insights

Artists Ask to Pull Out of British Art Survey Amid Call for Manchester Museum Director to Leave on Palestine Statement
Days after news emerged that Manchester University’s Whiteworth Art Gallery reportedly asked its director to leave  after his inclusion of a statement of solidarity with Palestine in an exhibition, 21 artists, including several winners of the prestigious Turner Prize, said they would pull out of a British art survey scheduled to open at the institution in May. Many of the artists announced their decision on social media, where a message posted on multiple accounts said the move was intended as an act of “solidarity with the ongoing liberation struggle of Palestine and Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.”
Read more