For interviews I have given on Palestine, please see the “Interviews” section on this website.
“The Wound Before Winter” – from my art series Impressions of Palestinian Memory in Watercolour, published in the Palestine Chronicle.
My art feature, “Impressions of Palestinian Memory in Watercolour”, published in the Palestine Chronicle.
“Discrepancies in applying UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 to the occupied Palestinian territories,” published in the Journal for Palestinian Refugee Studies.
English version of an article first published in Italian translation on Gramsci Oggi.
REVOLUTIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS, ANTI-IMPERIALISM AND PALESTINIAN LIBERATION
Israel’s latest colonial massacre under the euphemism of Protective Edge, minimised by imperialism as a conflict, has resulted in the renewal of Palestinian resistance. Decades of political concessions which ultimately resulted into a stagnation of political discourse departing from the imperialist-imposed two-state solution were brought to a halt, as Palestinians once again united behind the resistance. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains embroiled within the usual diplomatic conjectures and seeking to mire the recent massacre within premeditated oblivion, Palestinians and the resistance are seeking to utilise the new political space to identify unity and configure a struggle that goes beyond the usual perception of an isolated threat.
Palestinian resistance has been diluted through a number of factors – mainly the elimination of settler-colonial ramifications in favour of the more convenient term of military occupation. This imposition of western domination over Palestinian narratives has contributed to the fragmentation not only of Palestinian memory, but also of revolutionary consciousness. With each aggression described as an isolated incident, rather than the continuation and acceleration of Zionist settler-colonialism through imperialist supported violence, revolutionary consciousness needs to be reinstated and expanded in order to enhance the conditions for liberation.
Drafted by George Habash while imprisoned in Syria and later expanded into a first draft by Ghassan Kanafani, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) manifesto “Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine” is an important historical document that outlines several factors threatening the existence of resistance and revolutionary consciousness. This year, which marks the 45th anniversary since its publication, also coincides with the necessity of constructively navigating the new political opportunities following the latest Zionist massacre in a manner that articulates resistance from within the Palestinian experience.
Past decades have exhibited a trend of Palestinian leaders seeking legitimacy from their oppressors, hence the suffocation of the masses and their aspirations in order to accommodate political entities dependent upon the settler-colonial state and the US. With negotiations entrenched within official Palestinian political discourse – an external imposition forcibly internalised to the detriment of all Palestinians – the marginalisation of resistance became more pronounced. The process of settler-colonialism was accelerated through a political framework of concessions endorsed by the Palestinian Authority. As negotiations took precedence, resulting in further colonisation and dispossession, resistance was weakened by Palestinian leaders seeking to establish a dependent legitimacy through entities such as the fabricated state of Israel, the US and the UN – all complicit in imperialist dominance and the slow exterminations of Palestinians. Hence, resistance was traded for a willing subjugation to further colonial appropriation, with Israel dictating the political parameters in accordance with its allies, ensuring that negotiations become an open-ended process that serves settler-colonial expansion until its completion.
The manifestos of the main Palestinian factions all shared a common value – that of liberation through armed resistance combined with the importance of ideological strategy. The Palestine National Charter of 1964 explicitly refused recognition of the UN 1947 partition plan, endorsed armed resistance as the way to liberation and emphasised the importance of internationalism, defined as “a defensive act necessitated by the requirements of self-defence.” In addition Zionism was classified as an extension of world imperialism: “Israel is the tool of the Zionist movement and is a human and geographic base for world imperialism.”
The Hamas Covenant of 1988 also emphasises the imperialist infiltration through Zionist colonisation of Palestine. Article 32 of its charter states: “World Zionism, together with imperialistic powers, tries through a studied plan and an intelligent strategy to remove one Arab state after another from the circle of struggle against Zionism, in order to finally have it face the Palestinian people only.”
With liberation constantly thwarted by violent external imposition and the subjugation of Palestinian leaders – the most recent before “Protective Edge” being the formation of a unity government between the Palestinian authority and Hamas that acquiesced to the two-state solution, the PFLP manifesto’s analysis on the impediments to the entire liberation of Palestine, the significance of revolutionary consciousness is of paramount importance, as is the recognition of the threats to Palestinian resistance. Contrary to the conjectures promoted by imperialism, Palestinian resistance is threatened by systematic violence that requires strategic planning and understanding of revolutionary thought in order to promote a practical revolutionary consciousness within the masses.
Perspectives – that of the enemy and the revolutionary forces – are the PFLP manifesto’s primary concerns; both of which are considered the foundations of establishing revolutionary mass consciousness within a historical context. The amalgamation of both revolutionary consciousness and a profound understanding of history, in particular with regard to armed resistance, are necessary in order to establish a proper strategy that can be utilised to combat the infiltrated imperialism in Palestine. The establishment of Palestinian revolutionary struggle had clear aims that became fragmented within isolation, as diplomacy became the favoured option despite the inherent subjugation. Isolation was detrimental to the dissemination of revolutionary thought, resulting in unsustainable sporadic eruptions of fighting that lacked both planning and strategy. Meanwhile revolutionary thought was confined to intellectual and academic circles, becoming exclusionary to the very social class that incorporates the determination to sustain a prolonged resistance towards the historic liberation of Palestine. This, in turn, served settler-colonialism well, with the hegemonic narrative determining the definition of Palestinians solely through the officially recognised Palestinian leadership while intentionally obscuring the subaltern in order to eliminate any possible recognition and manifestation of Palestinian revolutionary intent.
The complications faced by Palestinian resistance, therefore, stemmed from a conglomeration of factors exacerbated by forms of subjugation, which “confuses revolutionary political thought with the outworn political methods.” A conscious repudiation of diplomatic hypocrisy and unified opposition to political negotiations based upon the invalidation of Palestinian narratives and history is therefore necessary to re-evaluate Palestinian resistance as a tangible process in combat with specific oppressive entities, as opposed to the misrepresentation and ambiguity imparted by “the enemy”. In this regard, the PFLP manifesto delves into a detailed analysis of what constitutes the enemy, in a manner that is particularly relevant to the contemporary scenario.
Recognition of the enemy encompasses four specific entities that, combined, necessitate a formidable resistance that is based both upon Palestinian revolutionary struggle and internationalism. According to the manifesto, Israel, the World Zionist Movement, world imperialism and Arab reaction constitute the major forces impeding Palestinian liberation. As will be seen, each separate entity constitutes a link leading to regional and international domination, as opposed to the fragmenting employed by mainstream discourse derived from Zionist myth and international condoning of oppression through institutions such as the United Nations.
Starting with Israel, the manifesto describes the settler-colonial state as an entity that bases its domination upon widespread indoctrination supported by its institutions. However, confining enmity solely to Israel not only undermines the superiority exhibited through its military strength, but also the historical process, and therefore, international oppression, that allowed the creation of the settler-colonial state in Palestine. Hence the importance, also of defining Israel through settler-colonialism as opposed to the detached military occupation, the latter failing to be inclusive of the fact that Israel is permanently concerned with both ideology and territory. As Nur Masalha (2000) states, “‘Greater Israel’ is both a territorial concept and an ideology aimed at achieving maximum territorial expansion and imperial domination in the region.” This fundamental premise articulated by Masalha and implied within the manifesto, exhibits the complexities of enmity notably through the intentional absence of borders – a reflection of the Zionist state’s integral connection to the World Zionist Movement and its aggressive lobbying.
As the manifesto states, “In our battle with Israel, we are facing, not the state of Israel alone, but an Israel whose structure is founded on the strength of the Zionist movement.” The perspective here widens to include what the manifesto terms “a material force” – a structure that links Israel to the international Zionist movement in terms that dictate propaganda dissemination, military force and allegiances, all of which need to be countered strategically by Palestinian resistance. Within its narrative, Israel imposes a hypothetical within its narrative in order to generate a fabricated concept of a defenceless state that has been taken up by its allies and promoted through imperialist international institutions so as to articulate “Israel’s right to defend itself”. This strategy is repeatedly promoted by the United Nations each time the settler-colonial state’s murderous rampage manifests itself through operations that are later isolated in order to remove all traces of historical context, including the obvious reference to the Nakba of 1948. Ultimately, imperialist dictates and narratives remain at the helm of any discourse emanating from international organisations as through Israel it attempts to consolidate its position in the region.
Defining imperialism through the international and the Zionist framework is also of paramount importance to Palestinian resistance. The constant maintenance of subjugation, with particular reference to Palestine and the Middle East in this instance, translates into the brutal annihilation of legitimate resistance against exploitation of land, people and resources. Israel’s illegal existence in the region constitutes a power base through which imperialism can consolidate its gains and foment further unrest – the ramifications of which can be seen within the wider framework of instability and alliances that threaten civilian populations, all the while facilitating the process of usurpation. While Israel acts as a powerbase for imperialism in the region, imperialism in turn facilitates its colonial expansion. “The protection, reinforcement and support of Israel and the maintenance of its existence, are fundamental matters for the interests of world imperialism.”
In turn, the fourth defined enemy of Palestinian resistance, described in the manifesto as Arab reaction, is clearly an extension of the foundations implemented by colonial and imperialist interests in the region. “In a real liberation battle waged by the masses to destroy imperialist influence in our homeland, Arab reaction cannot but be on the side of its own interests, the continuation of which depends on the persistence of imperialism, and consequently cannot side with the masses.” The conflict of Arab leaders with the masses as a perpetual occurrence is an extension of the obstacles to Palestinian liberation; hence the persistent attempts to subjugate resistance movements in accordance with colonial and imperialist exploits, lest the triumph of the masses should threaten the existence of oppressive authorities.
Given the regional and international extension of enemy forces against Palestinian liberation, it is all the more important to ensure a clear strategy aimed at victory, one that is articulated from within the Palestinian experience and void of improvisations, in particular the innovations that emanate from imperialist interpretations of what should a Palestinian state should constitute. Revolutionary consciousness therefore, should be enforced by the imparting of theory to the masses, in order to enable proper organisation, forge revolutionary alliances and affirm armed resistance as a legitimate right to liberation. History has proven, in particular through Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, that the only means to resist colonial and imperialist aggression is through armed resistance. Other revolutionary processes in Latin America, a case being Salvador Allende’s Chile, were brutally crushed primarily through the adherence to the so-called “democratic frameworks”, resulting in repression, murder and disappearances. There needs to be a realisation that without liberation, rhetoric of democracy is confined to the interpretation and exploitation managed by colonial and imperialist violence.
In recent months, diplomatic discourse has insisted upon solving the question of a “Palestinian state” as an appendage, divested of autonomy or independence. The tactic, inherent with the corrupt democracy espoused by the West, creates a reversal of that enshrined within liberation movements. Instead of allowing the resistance narrative to assert its position, the Palestinian Authority has continued with its willing complicity, bargaining over Palestinian prisoners to ensure Israel’s perpetual colonial expansion, cooperating with Israel in the detention of Palestinians prior to the massacre termed Protective Edge and, within a brief timeframe following the compromised ceasefire, reverting to negotiations discourse while miring the renewed Palestinian resistance into oblivion. Revisiting the PFLP manifesto at such a crucial time in Palestinian history is a reminder of the importance of the subaltern – the foundation of revolution that is routinely overlooked in favour of hegemonic narratives. With the officially-recognised Palestinian leadership depicting itself as willing to further concessions, including the approval of international infiltration in Gaza, it is up to the resistance movements and the people to determine the struggle for liberation by all means necessary, including the repudiation of legitimacy granted by imperialism to oppressive forces anywhere in Palestine.
WALK FOR GAZA ORGANISED BY PALESTINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK – MALTA, ON JULY 17, 2014
Photo credit: Jacqueline Chircop
Israel-affiliated shop closed before protest
Another Israel-affiliated shop closing shutters during calls for boycott
Shop closed before protest moved on
Exclusive statement by Khaled Barakat, leader within the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), about the recently proposed law targeting former Palestinian political prisoners and PA security coordination with Israel. Excerpts have been first quoted in my article for Middle East Monitor.
“Over the years, the occupation has never respected any agreements with Palestinians at any level, nor has it ever shown any regard for Palestinian rights, law, equity or justice. Former and freed prisoners have been consistently and repeatedly targeted for re-arrest, detained without charge or trial, or taken before closed courts with secret evidence. Former prisoners are re-arrested constantly under a variety of pretexts and justifications, from new laws like this one to those that date from the era of British colonization of Palestine, such as administrative detention. Many of the over 600 Palestinian political prisoners rounded up in mass arrests in the past week have been placed under administrative detention, indefinitely renewable imprisonment without charge or trial.
This last wave of mass arrests has clearly been motivated by “revenge” and collective punishment at the hands of Zionist colonialism in Palestine. This is so even though all of the former prisoners had no connection to the so-called “kidnapping” of the three settlers. The occupation, through this proposed law, is attempting to threaten the Palestinian prisoners, resistance and people: if you try to release prisoners, not only will we not release them, but we will re-arrest those previously released. Their objective is to turn the Palestinian people against resistance and divide the people from the resistance. This has always been a goal of the occupation state and these tactics have continually failed, and will fail again.
Palestinian prisoners were just engaged in a hunger strike for over 60 days struggling to bring administrative detention to an end. The occupation has arrested these freed prisoners and has more than doubled the number of Palestinians held in administrative detention in the past three weeks, the very policy the prisoners were striking to abolish. It is important to realize that the occupation always has dealt with prisoners who were freed in exchanges as potential threats, the first to be detained and re-arrested at all times. For example, Palestinian prisoners who were released in 1985: most of them were re-arrested in the first Intifada, some of them more than once.
This new law is juat another attempt on the part of the occupation to threaten and suppress Palestinian resistance and attack Palestinian prisoners, the imprisoned leaders of our national liberation movement. It only proves, however, the lesson that history has shown time and again, that resistance is the only means to liberate our prisoners, until all of our prisoners, all of our land, and all of our people are liberated.”
On the issue of security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation:
“Security cooperation is the essence of the Oslo agreement. There is no Palestinian Authority that suits Israel and serves Israel’s interests without security cooperation; the occupation supports the existence of the PA in order that it will do its dirty work.
The PFLP has always had a clear policy of demanding an immediate end to the betrayal of security cooperation and the repudiation of any agreements regarding security cooperation. It was was the first organization to suffer from such policies – our General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat was first arrested by the PA security forces under security cooperation in 1996. Many of our comrades were detained as well as many members and leaders of other factions, even before the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000.
Security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation state is also a U.S. policy, not just as a political position but as a practical matter – its implementation is supervised by the US, reports are sent to a US general, because this is the condition under which the PA security agencies are funded and supplied, technically and financially.
Security cooperation serves only the interests of the occupation and not the Palestinian people. Often, PA President Mahmoud Abbas tries to make it seem that security cooperation protects Palestinians. This is clearly false: Palestinians are subject to an onslaught of daily violence at the hands of Zionist colonialist soldiers and settlers, as well as to arrest and suppression by the Authority via security cooperation. Remember that even when the PA places someone in its prisons, Israel regularly re-arrests these prisoners the minute they are released and has even targeted them for assassination.
In the case of Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades, they were abducted by the Israeli forces in 2006 from a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho where they had been held for over four years under U.S. and British guards.
On a popular level, security cooperation is entirely rejected and is viewed as treason to the Palestinian cause. This can clearly be seen and heard in the slogans at Palestinian marches and demonstrations, and at the burials of the martyrs. There is a national consensus across Palestinian factions, including many cadres and members of Fateh, that security coordination is stabbing the Palestinian people and the resistance in the back.
The PA is not the only entity engages in security cooperation with Israel and the US; this is also true in the case of Jordan and Egypt. For any Arab country that engages in a ‘peace treaty’ with Israel, the essence of this so-called ‘peace’ is security cooperation.
As long as there is security cooperation between the PA and Israel, there will never be real Palestinian national unity. This is the fundamental problem – one cannot have Palestinian national unity and security coordination at the same time. It is impossible.
Security cooperation has the goal of ending the resistance and pursuing freedom fighters for arrest or assassination. It must be ended immediately.”
KHALED BARAKAT – PFLP LEADER
My book review of The Zionist Bible: biblical precedent, colonialism and the erasure of memory Acumen Publishing, 2013) has been published in the May 2014 issue of the academic journal, Holy Land Studies.
The review may be downloaded from http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/hls.2014.0083
Citation information: Holy Land Studies. Volume 13, Page 117-120 DOI 10.3366/hls.2014.0083, ISSN 1474-9475, Available Online May 2014 .
Full text of my speech on ‘Israel as an imperialist-supported colonising power’, during the seminar organised by Garden of Knowledge, Malta, on February 22, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og2wWAwUm3Y
While addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 1960, Fidel Castro stated “Colonies do not speak. Colonies are not known until they have the opportunities to express themselves.” Speaking about the situation of Cuba prior to the triumph of the revolution, the same discourse can be applied to the oppression which Israel, in collaboration with imperialism, is enforcing through its colonisation of Palestine.
It is extremely important to define Israel as an imperialist-supported settler-colonial state. Many references to the “occupation” fail to take into consideration the earlier Zionist plans of colonisation. In doing so, both Israel and the international community are stripped of accountability in the oppression of Palestinians. Eliminating the reference of Israel as a settler-colonial state creates an indirect form of complicity in fragmenting Palestinian identity – an identity which should go beyond Gaza and the West Bank. When we speak of Palestine, we need to emphasise the integrity of a nation dispersed by Zionist settler-colonialism, and that means recognising the early plans for colonisation, which Palestinian academic Nur Masalha has traced back to 1882.
The settler-colonial state of Israel is established upon the destruction of Palestinian land and memory. Of course, the Zionist narrative justifies the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement which created millions of Palestinian refugees since the Nakba of 1948. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed and their inhabitants massacred or displaced. Israel justifies the atrocities committed during the Nakba, describing them as beneficial to the establishment of the settler-colonial state. What followed later – settler-terror endorsed by Israel, the dehumanisation of Palestinians, the theft of water, the use of Palestinians for labour in the West Bank and Jordan Valley, the Gaza blockade, targeted assassinations of military leaders, home demolitions, the bombardment of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defence are proof of a strategy to ensure the continuation of colonisation. However, Israel has also been very cautious in avoiding international condemnation of genocide. While Operation Cast Lead was deemed genocide by the Independent Fact Finding Committee on Gaza, the report also claims it did not find sufficient evidence to prove that Israel’s policies against Palestinians constitute genocide – the term used was collective punishment. Speaking about the same Gaza assault, a former Israeli foreign minister once stated “It’s a bit like going to a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but they won’t die.” This means that Israel is perfecting its oppression – it will not risk calls of genocide, but it will continue its oppressive expansionist practices to evict Palestinians from their land.
The international community’s recognition of Israel is partly to blame for Israel’s failure to uphold its commitment to recognise and implement the Palestinian right of return enshrined by the imperialist collective embodied by the United Nations. Israel’s widely known intention has been to create refugees. In the case of Palestinians still living in their territory, Israel seeks to create as many hardships as possible to encourage further displacement. Although Israel does exploit Palestinian labour, it is dispensable – just another strategy to break resistance, encourage population transfer and embark upon further appropriation of land. This is possible because Israel has twisted the narrative of nationhood and applied the indigenous label to its settler population. According to a recent article by a settler leader, Dani Dayan, settlement expansion is “legal, legitimate and necessary for peace” and it would be “immoral for Israel to wind back the clocks and go back to square one”. The Zionist state itself is an impediment to peace. But Israel’s concept of peace is a settler-colonial state which not only retains a demographic majority. The Zionist state considers Palestinians a problem which should be eliminated. And imperialism actively supports Israel’s ambition of creating an exclusively Jewish state, obliterating Palestine in the process.
Similar reasoning has been applied to the plight of African migrants in Israel. As will be seen, racism and discrimination are institutional in Israel. Zionists claim that migrants’ attempts to seek refuge in Israel constitute proof of the democratic nature of the Jewish state. At the same time, Netanyahu’s government has been seeking collaboration with undisclosed African countries to repatriate refugees – in return for economic aid. Migrants in Israel are called ‘infiltrators’. Israel has now passed a law which allows the authorities to detain African migrants indefinitely. Thus, migrants can avoid prolonged detention only by consenting to be deported to their country of origin – meaning that the Zionist state is willing to collaborate upon further oppression. Last June, Netanyahu stated: “We have stopped the infiltration phenomenon into Israel. Now we are focused on the infiltrators leaving.” Since the construction of the fence on the border between Israel and Egypt, the number of migrants seeking refuge has become negligible – only two migrants were able to cross into Israel. Yet the rhetoric about Israeli benevolence remains a focal point for its allies, who insist upon describing Israel as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. Israel has stated countless times that it does not want migrants ‘living on their land’. And that discourse is not disputed in mainstream media, despite the fact that it is not their land – the land belongs to Palestine.
Throughout the decades, Israel has increased its impunity mainly because mainstream discourse about Israel is manipulated within false neutrality. Edward Said clearly states “There can be no neutrality or objectivity about Palestine.” However, neutrality has served its purpose well within imperialism, as it allows a constant debate about human rights violations which are never addressed. The complicity between imperialist neutrality and Israel disfigures Palestinian legitimacy. It has prohibited Palestinians from a proper opportunity to assert their history. Every so-called opportunity or expression of solidarity with Palestinians needs to be assessed as part of the imperialist framework supporting Israel’s settler-colonialism.
Having seen how Israel always intended to embark upon colonisation, it is now important to see how imperialism, in various forms, contributes to the colonisation of Palestine and the subjugation of the Palestinian people. To achieve this, I will be focusing upon the United Nations as an imperialist international organisation.
The United Nations has invalidated Palestinian narrative and history since its recognition of the Zionist state. This means that although it passed a resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees, it has also justified the violence, destruction and massacres which Zionists committed during the Nakba of 1948. And it continues to justify violence against Palestinians by endorsing Israel’s right to defend itself. What the UN should assert is the fact that Israel cannot claim self-defence for the atrocities it committed through illegality. Yet every time Israel attacks Gaza, for example, the UN continues to uphold defence as an exercise for the Zionist state to perpetrate further massacres. And it does so, on the basis of an allegedly equal conflict while Israel continues to deplete the Palestinian population gradually, to make murder appear like a routine exercise in collateral damage.
Since then, Israel has been allowed to infringe international law despite the countless UN resolutions which are supposed to safeguard Palestinians. The UN has dedicated this year to international solidarity with the Palestinian people. However, the UN marginalised Palestinians by allowing them a passive role. So far it is only a symbolic declaration which has failed to challenge Israel’s settler-colonialism. The UN is simply proposing pretence of compassion in return for allowing Israel to continue its colonisation of Palestine. It is an extension of the usual rhetoric of concern, seen regularly in statements which deplore violations and yet still uphold Israel’s right to defend itself. Some might argue that the international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people will create global awareness. Colonisation cannot be fought only by awareness – it needs to be fought from within through resistance, and internationally by holding Israel and its allies, including the United Nations, accountable for complicity in colonisation and the committed atrocities. Every international effort allegedly attempting to grant rights to Palestinians is an extension of the colonial process implemented in Palestine. The United Nations provides the perfect platform for imperialists to further oppression under the guise of concern.
Another way in which Palestinians are subjugated within the wider realm of imperialism is the dependence upon humanitarian aid. At the 68th UN General Assembly, which addressed the humanitarian aid provided to Palestinian refugees, the web of imperialism was evident. Israel portrayed Palestinian refugees as privileged, despite the Zionist state’s refusal to acknowledge the right of return for Palestinians. The history of colonisation was never discussed. Palestinians were described as a humanitarian problem and divested of identity. The insistence upon the right of return, according to Israel “locked the refugees in a distorted reality”. On the other hand, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) attempted a neutral stance, even expressing gratitude to Israel for allegedly partly lifting the Gaza blockade. The agency is also part of the imperialist scheme – it receives its largest financial contributions from the US – the imperialist power which is responsible for creating the conditions around the world that evoked the need for human rights to be addressed. It is true that the US remains the biggest donor, however the financial compensation it provides to UNRWA is nothing compared to the billions which Israel receives to maintain its colonisation of Palestine. Imperialism embarks upon destruction and plunder, and then offers a limited amount of aid to ensure the cycle of dependence.
To summarise, Palestinians are refused the right of return by Israel, which creates dependence upon international organisations whose loyalty is already bequeathed to imperialism. It is an unwanted dependence – a further exercise through which Israel can continue its colonisation and ensure a demographic majority. The humanitarian aid provided does not allow autonomy – it is simply a means of preventing Palestinians from furthering resistance. And also a practical way through which the international community can falsely claim concern and pledge help, to alienate the world from the fact that aid only creates dependence, and aid dependent upon imperialist collaboration can only result in maintaining the cycle ofhuman rights violations.
Another example of imperialist collaboration this time comes from the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The current so-called peace negotiations, which aim at providing the means for Israel to continue its colonisation, have taken a sinister twist. Should the hypothetical two-state solution become a reality, Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that, following the three year period during which Israel would gradually withdraw its soldiers from the borders, there would be an additional interim period during which border security would be provided by NATO! There is already a major compromise in declaring the 1967 borders as acceptable for a “lasting and legitimate solution”. Accepting a state based upon the 1967 borders does not address colonialism. It does not address the atrocities of the Nakba and the right of return for Palestinians. Even more importantly, it does not address international complicity in recognising and maintaining the colonial state of Israel. Israel is also in talks with NATO, discussing a possible collaboration which would result in an Israeli representative at NATO. In this case, besides the obvious subjugation of Palestinians by Israel and imperialism, Abbas is also seeking to oppress Palestinians through collaboration with imperialism by entrusting border security to NATO – the entity which is responsible for genocide in various countries under the guise of humanitarian intervention.
In conclusion, it is important to bear in mind that Palestinians have experienced a massive betrayal – the main reason being the intricate complicity of Israel, the Palestinian leadership and the international community with imperialism. It is all too easy to view discourse about international solidarity as a political step forward. Every step taken by Israel, the US and the UN as an imperialist international organisation only has one main concern – that of avoiding accountability for maintaining Israel’s settler-colonial state and sanctioned state-terror. To avoid becoming unwitting accomplices in the oppression of Palestinians, it is important to oppose compromise, to oppose discourse which describes Israel as an occupying power without mentioning settler-colonialism. We should assert that international solidarity expressed through imperialist organisations is nothing but an exercise in furthering Israel’s impunity.
My book review of ‘Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ (Pluto Press, 2012) has been published in the May 2013 issue of the academic journal Holy Land Studies.
The review may be downloaded from http://www.euppublishing.com
Citation Information. Holy Land Studies. Volume 12, Page 112-115 DOI 10.3366/hls.2013.0063, ISSN 1474-9475, Available Online May 2013