Today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, comes at a time of intensified aggression by occupation forces and violence in Palestine and throughout the region. As conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate globally, the situation is amongst the worst facing Palestinians since 1948.
In Palestine, Zionist settlement expansion continues to usurp more land unabated in the West Bank, while settler and soldier violence has reached relentless levels in all of historic Palestine. Meanwhile, Gaza has experienced three devastating assaults by Israel since 2008 — which according to a recent UN report will render the strip uninhabitable within five years.
Palestinians have watched helplessly, as every so called peace process since Oslo, has only served to provide Israel with diplomatic cover, to kill and blatantly steal more land and consolidate power. Meanwhile, the international “quartet” tasked with negotiating a solution are consumed by violence they are responsible for creating, thus rendering hopeless any chance of creating a more peaceful solution, in the foreseeable future.
As the complacent Palestinian leadership, tasked with the role of suppressing resistance, serves to accelerate the colonization of our homeland –the situation becomes more desperate than ever. In what many have called a Third Intifada, individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.
The acts of resistance by Palestinian youth are spontaneous expressions of anger – yet lack sufficient organization and strategic direction, calling into question whether the demonstrations can be sustained. Despite a lack of political leadership or clear organization, the Palestinian people continue their struggle for freedom against one of the world’s largest and most powerful militaries in the world. Regardless of what it’s called, the biggest achievement of the latest surge of rebellions is its ability to reactivate the youth to directly confront Zionism.
Palestinian Youth Movement Call for Solidarity
To combat this Zionist project of erasure, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) the only transnational, independent, grassroots movement made up of Palestinians in exile, and within historic Palestine, put out the following statement:
“On this international day of solidarity November 29, 2015, the PYM calls on Palestinians worldwide and the solidarity movement to join us in support of the Palestinian resistance, culminating in an international mobilization on this day, and until Palestine is free: Our aspirations for justice and liberation motivate us to assume an active role as a young generation in our national struggle for the liberation of our homeland and people.
In recent weeks, Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the target of particularly brutal assaults while arbitrary killings are committed daily by the Zionist military and settlers and mass youth arrests are implemented in Palestine. In response to this Zionist violence, we must recognise that resistance is a mandatory element to surviving in the face of an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing.”
Solidarity glimmers, beyond the otherwise bleak horizon
As a principle, solidarity with the world’s oppressed provides a guiding light of how to navigate in an increasingly hostile, complex and violent world. Every day in the corporate media – from Palestine to Iraq, Syria, Ferguson and beyond, we are bombarded with images of mass violence and those spewing hate against poor people and people of color.
Settlers, police and soldiers are portrayed as the victims, while given free range and even incited by government officials to kill with impunity, while media pundits provide no context or cause of the violence. In 2005, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call was signed by more than 170 civil society organizations and has gained unprecedented global success, and its leadership has filled an important vacuum left by the traditional political parties.
Likewise solidarity for Palestinians means overcoming the media misinformation and recognizing that #BlackLivesMatter and Indigenous peoples around the world that are killed with the same impunity. For us to be in solidarity means we too must make these connections and understand that all state violence is connected – while working to address the root causes. BDS is central to our movement, however BDS alone is not enough. A genuine strategy for Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers–in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel’s borders and in the diaspora. The Palestinian working class can then make regional and international alliances with all those seeking the democratic self- activity necessary for liberation.
Road Map to Peace, Where to Begin?
Solidarity statements with Palestine are an important first step. Yet to transform the oppressive nature of occupation, we must navigate from this initial symbolic show of support – to practical liberatory action. We can begin by looking at historic and current examples – both of which provide an excellent source of inspiration.
Emigrating after the First World War, Palestinians created the first Palestinian institutions outside of Palestine, in Latin America. As early as 1920 and by 1947 there was a strong lobby in several countries against the partition of Palestine by the United Nations.Today Latin American solidarity is expressed in a variety of forms of delegations and cooperation, and organizations in Latin America demanding their governments break all relations with Israel.
As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Pinochet in Chile. Today Israel shares “expertise” with U.S. police under “various facets of counter-terrorism and first response to better protect the American people.” And as “cooperation” increases we see in both instances, an increasing number of victims are blamed for their own murders, even when evidence is clear they provided no threat whatsoever.
Exporting Global Repression
Israel is perfecting surveillance, and one of the top occupation profiteers, through the surveillance of the Palestinian people. Using knowledge and expertise gained from assisting in the occupation of Palestinians, the Israeli defense systems company, Elbit, has made millions exporting surveillance worldwide – and increasingly in Latin America. While, Israel’s role in arming dictators and oppressive regimes in Latin America during the last century is well documented, Elbit, is at the forefront of a new growing movement working in at least five Latin American countries, as well as along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Elbit – Crossing Borders, Building Fortress Walls
The technology Elbit is using to profit off of the “Wall of Death” along the U.S.-Mexico border was first deployed in Palestine along Israel’s Apartheid Wall that in 2004. The International Court of Justice ruled was illegal, and must be torn down, and that Israel must pay reparations. Despite this ruling, Elbit continues to participate in the maintenance of the Wall, thereby being complicit in a grave breach of international law, which is a war crime.
G4S – Leading Repression in Palestine and Globally
In August 2015, more than 1,100 prominent Black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations signed a historic Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine. As part of the BDS campaign, they are taking up targeting the British security company G4S that backs Israel’s notorious prisons. From their statement:
“G4S is the world’s largest private security company. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the U.S. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia. We reject notions of ‘security’ that make any of our groups unsafe and insist no one is free until all of us are.”
The current struggle is the uprising of a new generation of Palestinians, united with those everywhere around principles of dignity, justice and the liberation. It is a conflict between native Palestinian community and a settler colonial invading community that has been supported from the beginning by Western imperial powers who also succeeded in creating states and leaders in the region complicit with their interests.
Let us create an alternative, inclusive vision that is in solidarity with indigenous peoples and sovereignty rights globally, that challenges settler colonial practices, and violations of civil rights and military occupation and militarization, including the criminalization of the U.S. borders, mass incarceration and all forms of oppression. To remain silent in the face of injustice and violence that any and all people are subjected to, is to side with the oppressor.
Noura Khouri is Palestinian, her family is originally from Birzeit and Jerusalem, Palestine. She grew up in the Bay Area of California, United States where her family came to, after fleeing the ’67 war. Noura has been a fearless community organizer, activist, writer, and blogger. She studied International Relations at San Francisco State and lived and worked in Palestine in 2003, 2005-07 and in Egypt 2011-13.