Category Archives: Israel/Palestine

Art Is a Dream in Which We Imagine Our Future

On 11 May 2022, an Israeli sniper fired at the head of the veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh as she reported on an Israeli military raid on a refugee settlement in Jenin (part of the Occupied Palestine Territories). The snipers continued to fire at the journalists who were with her, preventing them from aiding her. When she finally arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital, she was pronounced dead.

After Abu Aqleh’s death, the Israeli military raided her home in occupied East Jerusalem, where they confiscated Palestinian flags and attempted to prevent mourners from playing Palestinian songs. At her funeral on 13 May, the Israel Defence Forces attacked the massive turnout of family and supporters – including her pallbearers – and grabbed Palestinian flags held by the crowd. The murder of Abu Aqleh, who had been a highly respected journalist for Al Jazeera since 1997, and the violence by the Israeli forces at her funeral reinforce the apartheid nature of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Palestinian leader Dr Hanan Ashrawi tweeted that the attack on Palestinian flags, posters, and slogans exposes ‘the insecurity of the oppressor’. The assault on these cultural icons, Ashwari went on to explain, shows Israelis’ ‘fear of our symbols, fear of our grief & anger, fear of our existence’.

The raid that Abu Aqleh was covering when she was killed took place in Jenin, the home of Palestine’s remarkable Freedom Theatre. On 4 April 2011, Juliano Mer-Khamis, one of the theatre’s founders, was shot dead not far from where Abu Aqleh was killed. ‘Israel is destroying the neurological system of [Palestinian] society’, Mer-Khamis said, and this neurological system ‘is culture, identity, communication … We have to stand up again on our feet’, he said. ‘We are now living on our knees’.

Front: Actors of a Beijing opera troupe perform. Back: Drama students of the Lu Xun Academy of Arts rehearse a play in a structure they built themselves.
Credit: Yan’an Red Cloud Platform [延安红云平台]

Eight decades ago, in the heart of China, hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and artists from cities such as Shanghai gathered in Yan’an, which had become a red base for the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 1942, in and around the caves of this city, a serious discussion took place about the paralysis of Chinese culture in the face of three serious challenges: the sclerotic nature of the Chinese feudal system, the viciousness of Western-led imperialism, and the harshness of the Japanese fascist occupation. Cultural workers had to confront these facts of history as well as the historical tasks that they presented. In Yan’an, the debate circled around the confounding assertion that artists could work without confronting the major historical processes of our time. Imagine, for example, a Palestinian artist who works today without being gripped by the force of Israeli apartheid.

The CPC’s head of the propaganda department, Kai Feng, invited artists to gather in the central Party office for three weeks to debate the state of art and culture during the revolutionary war. Mao Zedong, a leader of the CPC, listened to the interventions, made his own commentary, and the following year published Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art. Our dossier no. 52 (May 2022), Go to Yan’an: Culture and National Liberation, is an assessment of the Yan’an debate and its implication for our times. The dossier, illustrated by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research’s art department, looks back at the debates in Yan’an in order to illuminate our conjuncture and insist on the centrality of cultural work for our movements today.

Top: A singing troupe performs the Yangge opera, Brother and Sister Reclaiming the Wasteland. Bottom: Fine arts students take sketching lessons.
Credit: Yan’an Literature and Art Memorial Hall [延安文艺纪念馆] and Yan’an Red Cloud Platform [延安红云平台]

Artists root their imagination in their lived experiences. The Freedom Theatre in Jenin does not perform plays that are a mirror of café life in Tel Aviv or New York; their plays go deep into the imagination of occupied Palestine. In Yan’an, our dossier explains, ‘urban intellectuals … had to go through their own transformation in order to close the gap between themselves and the peasant masses. This transformation was at the heart of the Yan’an Forum … together, they could turn into an effective political force’.

On 23 May 1942, Mao took the floor at the Yan’an Forum to offer his concluding remarks to the artists and intellectuals that had left cities such as Shanghai and made their way into the interior. Here, Mao said, new forms of life were being created, a new buoyancy that straightened the spines of the people and produced new forms of social life. ‘To arrive in a base area’, Mao said, ‘is to arrive in a period of rule unprecedented in the several thousand years of Chinese history, one where workers, peasants, and soldiers, and the popular masses hold power … the eras of the past are gone forever and will never return’. He meant that the imagination must be stretched to tell stories of and for the newly upright Chinese people. The purpose of art, the intellectuals at Yan’an argued, is to be relevant to these major historical events.

To make his point, Mao quoted the writer Lu Xun (1881–1936), who understood these changes and reflected on them in his poetry:

Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers,
Head-bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children.

Mao described the enemy, these ‘thousand pointing fingers’, as the vampirish imperialists and cadaverous feudal landlords. The ‘children’ were the working classes, the peasantry, and the popular masses. Lu Xun’s words show that the artist – the ‘willing ox’ – must never submit to the old granite block of oppression, Mao explained; he or she must be willing to accompany the people in their struggle for freedom.

It is the struggle that enabled the popular masses to stand upright, to refuse to bow down to the centuries of humiliation of seeing their labour subordinated to the accumulation of wealth by the elites. Artistic practice and intellectual activity must reflect these broad changes which are present today in China’s mass campaign to abolish absolute poverty, in Indian farmers’ refusal to submit to the Uberisation of their livelihoods, in South African shack dwellers’ bravery to stand firm against political killings, and in the massive mobilisation of Palestinians at the funeral of Shireen Abu Aqleh.

Yangge singing troupes perform for the people at the 1943 Spring Festival celebration.
Credit: Yan’an Red Cloud Platform [延安红云平台] and China Youth Daily [中国青年报]

The debates at Yan’an cleared the way for artists and writers to germinate intense cultural activity, to disseminate new ideas into the cultural domain, to lift the conversation from the day-to-day to new horizons, and to create new political spaces and epochs. This cultural work called upon intellectuals and artists to focus on the future, no longer merely concerned with their own temperament (‘art for art’s sake’), to work for a new horizon, and to inaugurate a new humanity. There was no obligation to collapse their work solely into a political project, since that would reduce their capacity to go beyond the dilemmas posed by the present. Artists and intellectuals needed to support movements, but also to retain the space to create a passionate fervour in society that could fuel a new culture.

Mao’s interventions at Yan’an made it clear that intellectual and artistic activity would not by themselves change the world. Artists and intellectuals allude to reality, draw attention to certain problems, and provide an understanding of them. But art alone cannot remedy all problems. For that, it is necessary to turn to the organisations and movements that churn society into something new. If art forms must carry the enormous burden of political theory and praxis, they are often diminished. Art must breathe in the sensibilities of the working class and the peasantry and breathe out new cultural propositions. Alongside the tide of humanity that refuses to submit to oppression, this leads us into new possibilities.

Malak Mattar (Palestine), Last Scene Before Flying with the Dove to Paradise, 2019.

Asma Naghnaghiye, a young girl who participated in a Freedom Theatre camp, spoke of the beauty of cultural work ‘In one of the exercises in the theatre I imitated a bird who flies above my neighbourhood and then above Jenin and then above the sea. It was a like a dream’. That dream of the future converts the present into a place of struggle.

The post Art Is a Dream in Which We Imagine Our Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Limits of Israeli Intelligence: Does Israel Have a Yahya Sinwar Problem?

Like typical analyses offered by western intelligences when trying to assess risks or understand major political phenomena in the Middle East, Israeli intelligence is equally short-sighted. It insists on analyzing the attitudes and body language of individuals instead of focusing on the behavior of collectives. This is the case today as Israel is desperately trying to understand the changing political dynamics in Palestine.

Following the Israeli war on Gaza in May 2021, the Israeli military prepared a ‘personality profile’ of Gaza-based Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar. Though Hamas, and Sinwar, were important political actors in the events that took place throughout Palestine at the time, the real stars of the show were the Palestinian people. The popular Palestinian rebellion did not only challenge the Israeli occupation, but the stagnant Palestinian political discourse, saturated with factional references and power struggles.

Typically, the Israeli government, military and their various intelligence branches refuse to accept that the Palestinian people are capable of behaving and responding to Israeli violence on their own accord.

For example, following the popular Palestinian uprising of 1987 – the First Intifada – Israel resolved that the entire event was orchestrated by top Fatah and PLO leader, Khalil al-Wazir, Abu Jihad. In April 1988, a group of Israeli commandos assassinated him in his Tunis residence. However, the Intifada did not stop, but continued more furiously than before.

Now, Israel says it has a Yahya Sinwar problem.

The Hamas leader made his latest public appearance in Gaza City on April 30. Addressing a group of leaders and representatives of various Palestinian political groups, Sinwar declared that “Our people must prepare for a great battle if the occupation does not cease its aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

Though Sinwar did not declare war on Israel, he emphasized that Israeli violations in Al-Aqsa would lead to “regional, religious war”.

Much can be surmised from these words and the rest of Sinwar’s speech. Clearly, Palestinians are trying to change the rules of engagement with Israel altogether. As Israel’s religious and far-right groups are now the forces that are shaping mainstream Israeli politics, many Palestinians, too, find their religious symbols, whether Muslim or Christian, strong points of unity.

In some sense, the choice by all Palestinian groups, including Hamas, is strategic. Failure to achieve unity around other issues – the ‘peace process’, the two-state solution, political representation, the type of resistance against Israel and other contentious points – made the search for common ground more difficult by the day. However, East Jerusalem, Al-Quds and, particularly, Al-Aqsa Mosque, are always a guaranteed platform for national and spiritual unity among all Palestinians.

Prior to May, Palestinians were divided, not only politically, but also in terms of language and priorities. Hamas wanted to end the siege, thus its own isolation in Gaza. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas wanted a semblance of any political process that would keep him relevant in the eyes of the world. East Jerusalimites fought alone against mounting Israeli pressures to ethnically cleanse them, one house at a time, from their historic city. Palestinians who are citizens of Israel were almost entirely removed from the national conversation altogether, despite the fact that their struggle against racism and marginalization is a defining one, and matters to all Palestinians.

May changed all of this. When Gaza responded to relieve the pressure on Jerusalem – though at a heavy price of war and massive destruction – Palestinian communities throughout historic Palestine rose in tandem. Using social media and other platforms, they managed to communicate amongst themselves and coordinate their actions. Their unified message resonated throughout the world.

Hamas, like other Palestinian groups, was part of this collective action. But as Abu Jihad did not instigate the First Intifada, Sinwar did not instigate the May rebellion. Israel, however, refuses to accept this because, by doing so, it would be forced to swallow a bitter pill – that Palestinian resistance is not linked to individuals or groups, but is inherent in the behavior of the Palesitnian people themselves. This obvious realization is difficult for Tel Aviv because it simply means that no amount of fire power, military preparedness or intelligence data will ever succeed in maintaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine forever.

Oblivious to the changing reality, last July, Israel declared its assessment of the situation, practically stating that the problem is not human rights violations, apartheid, military occupation, Jewish settlers’ provocations, racism and home demolition, but Yahya Sinwar himself.

In an article reporting on the Israeli military assessment, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz conveyed the obsession of Israel with Sinwar’s messages. “Sinwar is turning himself into a spiritual figure,” the military analysts claimed, alleging that the Hamas leader, who “has become unpredictable”, is taking on the “characteristics of someone who believes that he was chosen to lead the Arabs in the world,” and is “chosen by God to fight for Jerusalem on behalf of the Muslims.”

If Israeli analysts paid closer attention, however, they would have concluded that Sinwar’s growing popularity, confidence and evolving language are all intrinsically linked to the events on the ground. Namely, Sinwar’s political discourse, as of that of other Palestinian leaders – including heads of the Fatah military groups and even some PA officials – are a reflection of popular events on the ground, not vice versa.

While Israelis continue to chase mirages and desperately try to decode messages, Palestinians feel, for the first time in many years, that they are able to influence political outcomes. A case in point was Israel’s decision to postpone the Flag March, scheduled to be held by Israeli extremists in Jerusalem on April 20.

Palestinian messages are not only confined to Israel, however. The fact that the Gaza resistance has threatened to fire 1,111 rockets on Israel, should the latter carry on with its provocations in Al-Aqsa, was intended for a Palestinian audience. The operation, according to Gaza groups, will be called Abu Ammar – the nom de guerre of late Palestinian Fatah leader, Yasser Arafat. Abu Ammar died on November, 11, 2004.

After years of political discord and disunity, there is evidence that Palestinians are finally uniting, the kind of unity that does not require high-level meetings in luxury hotels followed by press conferences and official statements. It is the unity of the Palestinian people themselves, around a set of values, new language and a collective frame of reference. Deep down, this is what truly terrifies Israel most, not the speeches of Sinwar or any other.

The post The Limits of Israeli Intelligence: Does Israel Have a Yahya Sinwar Problem? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What Does Standing up for Ukraine Signify When Sitting on One’s Derriere for Violence against Others?

The leaders of a bevy of NATO-aligned countries have appeared in a collage that reads “Stand up for Ukraine.” It comes across blatantly as propaganda cooked by a corporate PR firm as part of the information war being waged against Russia.

My question to these upstanding, er … these people standing up, is: When have you stood up for, in no particular order:

Palestine
Syria
Libya
Iraq
Afghanistan
Yemen
Iran
Democratic Republic of Congo
Somalia
Haiti
Serbia
Venezuela
Bolivia
Honduras
Nicaragua

This is, of course, an inexhaustive list. What follows is an analysis of what NATO types standing up for signifies for the first six listed countries above, along with two unlisted countries.

Palestine

According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 10,165 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, and an additional 82 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians. This disregard for the life of the non-Jew is ingrained in many Talmudic Jews, as Holocaust survivor and chemistry professor Israel Shahak detailed in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight Of Three Thousand Years. If anyone needs convincing of this Jewish discrimination and racism towards non-Jews, then peruse the statistics at the B’Tselem website on home demolitions, who can and cannot use roads in the West Bank, the water crisis, and settler crimes against Palestinians.

On 10 April, Ghadeer Sabatin, a 45-yr-old unarmed Palestinian widow and mother of six, was shot by Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem and left to bleed out and die. Will any of the politicians standing up for Ukraine also stand up for Palestine? Image Source

Many of these Stand up for Ukraine types have been been glued to their seats during the slow-motion genocide by Zionist Jews against Palestinians.

Are Palestinians a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Syria

These Stand up for Ukraine types in their spiffy business attire have also been seated while backing Islamist terrorists in Syria. Americans later invaded and still occupy the northeastern corner of Syria, stealing the oil and wheat crops.

The UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet reported that more than 350,000 people have been killed in 10 years of warring in Syria, adding that this figure was an undercount.

Are Syrians a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Libya

In February 2020, Yacoub El Hillo, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, called the impact of the NATO-led war on civilians “incalculable.”

Are Libyans a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Iraq

I have a vivid memory of a crowd of students gathered around a TV screen in the University of Victoria to cheer on the start of Shock and Awe in Iraq. The US-led war on Iraq was based on the pretext that Iraq had weapons-of-mass-destruction although the head UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter had found Iraq to be “fundamentally disarmed.”

Chemistry professor professor Gideon Polya was critical of how the western monopoly media “resolutely ignore the crucial epidemiological concept of non-violent avoidable deaths (excess deaths, avoidable mortality, excess mortality, deaths that should not have happened) associated with war-imposed deprivation.” Polya cites 2.7 million Iraqi deaths from violence (1.5 million) or from violently-imposed deprivation (1.2 million).

Abdul Haq al-Ani, PhD in international law, and Tarik al-Ani, a researcher of Arab/Islamic issues, wrote a legal tour de force, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States, that makes the case for myriad US war crimes that amount to a genocide.

Nonetheless, US troops are still stationed in Iraq despite being told to leave by the Iraqi government.

Are Iraqis a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Afghanistan

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University estimates 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001. The institute’s key findings are:

  • As of April 2021, more than 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians are estimated to have died as a direct result of the war.
  • The United States military in 2017 relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, which resulted in a massive increase in civilian casualties.
  • The CIA has armed and funded Afghan militia groups who have been implicated in grave human rights abuses and killings of civilians.
  • Afghan land is contaminated with unexploded ordnance, which kills and injures tens of thousands of Afghans, especially children, as they travel and go about their daily chores.
  • The war has exacerbated the effects of poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, and environmental degradation on Afghans’ health.

Are Afghans a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Yemen

In November 2021, the UN Development Programme published “Assessing the Impact of War in Yemen: Pathways for Recovery” (available here) in which it was estimated that by the end of 2021, there would be 377,000 deaths in Yemen. Tragically, “In 2021, a Yemeni child under the age of five dies every nine minutes because of the conflict.” (p 12)

The Yemeni economy is being destroyed and has forced 15.6 million people into extreme immiseration along with 8.6 million people being malnourished. Worse is predicted to come: “If war in Yemen continues through 2030, we estimate that 1.3 million people will die as a result…” (p 12)

Countries such as Canada, the US, UK, France, Spain, South Africa, China, India, and Turkey that supply arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are complicit in the war on the Yemeni people.

Are Yemenis a lesser people than Ukrainians?

One could continue on through the above list of countries “invaded” and arrive at the same conclusions. The predominantly white faces of western heads-of-government in their suits and ties or matching jackets and skirts did not stand up for the brown-skinned people killed in the countries adumbrated. Most of these countries were, in fact, directly attacked by NATO countries or by countries that were supported by NATO. What does that imply for the Standing up for Ukraine bunch?

The Donbass Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk

And lastly, most telling, is just how many of these people stood up for Donbass when it was being shelled by Ukraine?

If France and Germany, guarantors for the Minsk Agreements that Ukraine signed, had not only guaranteed but also enforced Ukraine’s compliance, then, very arguably, no Russian recognition of the independence of the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk would have been forthcoming and there would have been no Russian military response. But France and Germany did not stand up for their roles as guarantors of the Minsk Agreements.

Consequently, for all these politicians to contradict their previous insouciance and suddenly get off their posteriors and pose as virtuous anti-war types standing up for Ukraine is nigh impossible to swallow. Given that the historical evidence belies the integrity of this Stand up for Ukraine bunch, they ought better to have striven for some consistency and remained seated.

The post What Does Standing up for Ukraine Signify When Sitting on One’s Derriere for Violence against Others? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Gaza’s Forthcoming Crisis Might Be Worse than Anything We Have Ever Seen

“The water is back,” one family member would announce in a mix of excitement and panic, often very late at night. The moment such an announcement was made, my whole family would start running in all directions to fill every tank, container or bottle that could possibly be filled. Quite often, the water would last for a few minutes, leaving us with a collective sense of defeat, worrying about the very possibility of surviving.

This was our life under Israeli military occupation in Gaza. The tactic of holding Palestinians hostage to Israel’s water charity was so widespread during the First Palestinian Intifada, or upirising, to the extent that denying water supplies to targeted refugee camps, villages, towns or whole regions was the first measure taken to subdue the rebellious population. This was often followed by military raids, mass arrests and deadly violence; but it almost always began with cutting Palestinians off from their water supplies.

Israel’s water war on the Palestinians has changed since those early days, especially as the Climate Change crisis has accelerated Israel’s need to prepare for grim future possibilities. Of course, this largely happens at the expense of the occupied Palestinians. In the West Bank, the Israeli government continues to usurp Palestinian water resources from the region’s main aquifers – the Mountain Aquifer and the Coastal Aquifer. Frustratingly, Israel’s main water company, Mekorot, sells stolen Palestinian water to Palestinian villages and towns, especially in the northern West Bank region, at exhorbitant prices.

Aside from the ongoing profiteering from water theft, Israel continues to use water as a form of collective punishment in the West Bank, while quite often denying Palestinians, especially in Area C, the right to dig new wells to circumvent Israel’s water monopoly.

According to Amnesty International, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank consume, on average, 73 liters of water a day, per person. Compare this to an Israeli citizen, who consumes approximately 240 liters of water a day, and, even worse, to an illegal Israeli Jewish settler, who consumes over 300 liters per day. The Palestinian share of water is not only far below the average consumed by Israelis, but is even below the recommended daily minimum of 100 liters per capita as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As difficult as the situation for West Bank Palestinians is, in Gaza the humanitarian catastrophe is already in effect. On the occasion of the World Water Day on March 22, Gaza’s Water and Environmental Quality Authority warned of a ‘massive crisis’ should Gaza’s water supplies continue to deplete at the current dangerous rate. The Authority’s spokesman, Mazen al-Banna, told reporters that 98 percent of Gaza’s water supplies are not fit for human consumption.

The consequences of this terrifying statistic are well known to Palestinians and, in fact, to the international community as well. Last October, Muhammed Shehada of the Euro-Med Monitor, told the 48th UN Human Rights Council session that about one-quarter of all diseases in Gaza are caused by water pollution, and that an estimated twelve percent of deaths among Gaza’s children are “linked to intestinal infections related to contaminated water.”

But how did Gaza get to this point?

On May 25, four days after the end of the latest Israeli war on Gaza, the charity Oxfam announced that 400,000 people in besieged Gaza have had no access to regular water supplies. The reason is that Israeli military campaigns always begin with the targeting of Palestinian electric grids, water services and other vital public facilities. According to Oxfam, “11 days of bombardment … severely impacted the three main desalination plants in Gaza city.”

It is important to keep in mind that the water crisis in Gaza has been ongoing for years, and every aspect of this protracted crisis is linked to Israel. With damaged or ailing infrastructure, much of Gaza’s water contains dangerously high salinity levels, or is extremely polluted by sewage and other reasons.

Even before Israel redeployed its forces out of Gaza in 2005 to impose a siege on the Strip’s population from land, sea and air, Gaza had a water crisis. Gaza’s coastal aquifer was entirely controlled by the Israeli military administration, which diverted quality water to the few thousand Jewish settlers, while occasionally allocating high saline water to the then 1.5 million Palestinian people, granted that Palestinians did not protest or resist the Israeli occupation in any way.

Nearly 17 years later, Gaza’s population has grown to 2.1 millions, and Gaza’s already struggling aquifer is in a far worse shape. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that water from Gaza’s aquifer is depleting due to “over-extraction (because) people have no other choice”.

“Worse, pollution and an influx of seawater mean that only four percent of the aquifer water is fit to drink. The rest must be purified and desalinated to make it drinkable,” UNICEF added. In other words, Gaza’s problem is not the lack of access to existing freshwater reserves as the latter simply do not exist or are rapidly depleting, but the lack of technology and fuel that would give Palestinians in Gaza the ability to make their water nominally drinkable. Even that is not a long term solution.

Israel is doing its utmost to destroy any Palestinian chances at recovery from this ongoing crisis. More, it seems that Tel Aviv is only invested in making the situation worse to jeopardize Palestinian chances of survival. For example, last year, Palestinians accused Israel of deliberately flooding thousands of Palestinian dunums in Gaza when it vented its southern dams, which Israel uses to collect rain water. The almost yearly ritual by Israel continues to devastate Gaza’s ever shrinking farming areas, the backbone of Palestinian survival under Israel’s hermetic siege.

The international community often pays attention to Gaza during times of Israeli wars; and even then, the attention is mostly negative, where Palestinians are usually accused of provoking Israel’s supposed defensive wars. The truth is that even when Israel’s military campaigns end, Tel Aviv continues to wage war on the Strip’s inhabitants.

Though militarily powerful, Israel claims that it is facing an ‘existential threat’ in the Middle East. In actuality, it is the Palestinian existence that is in real jeopardy. When almost all of Gaza’s water is not fit for human consumption because of a deliberate Israeli strategy, one can understand why Palestinians continue to fight back as if their lives are dependent on it; because they are.

The post Gaza’s Forthcoming Crisis Might Be Worse than Anything We Have Ever Seen first appeared on Dissident Voice.

How Can One Remain Silent?

I have never doubted that apartheid – because it was of itself fundamentally, intrinsically evil – was going to bite the dust eventually.

— Desmond Tutu, 2007

Along with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Nelson Mandela ‘Madiba,’ and Martin Luther King, Jr., the world has lost one of the greatest souls of the last two centuries or any prior — the last of the rare iconic figures who truly, genuinely cared for and spoke up with courage and conviction for the oppressed, the downtrodden, the marginalized, the humiliated, and any and all abused humankind.

These years of the raging COVID pandemic continue and spill over to 2022 – and have brought to an end the physical presence of one of humanity’s finest — the anti-apartheid human-rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. But there is no doubt that his thoughts, words, and actions will continue to be powerful and compelling forces for good for those who care and dream about a kinder, gentler, more just world — most principally, a free Palestine: “From the River to the Sea” — and Palestinian Muslims’ and Christians’ right to return to their own homeland from many points of diaspora.

The evidence is abundant and irrefutable: Palestine is the current-era victim of apartheid — an epic tragedy very recently (mid-2021) confirmed by both Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem. The above quotation is one example of Archbishop Tutu’s distaste for apartheid. Here are others apropos the Palestinians’ torment:

(2014) “Nelson Mandela famously said that South Africans would not feel free until Palestinians were free. He might have added that the liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too.”

(2014) “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

(2014) “(Palestinians’) humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.”

(2014) “I know first-hand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed.”

Archbishop Tutu was honored years ago with the title “International Patron of Sabeel” — his Christian-brotherhood association with the Palestinian Christian organization Sabeel Ecumenical Christian Liberation Center, established in 1989. (Sabeel is Arabic for “the way” or “the path.”) Sabeel, in a statement issued on 12-28-2021, wrote “Bishop Tutu spent his life actively struggling against apartheid and working for the liberation of his South African people.  Equally, however, he was committed to the liberation of the Palestinian people from the oppression and apartheid of the Israeli government in Israel and Palestine. For many years… he faithfully advocated for the achievement of justice, truth, inclusivity, equality, and liberation for all our Palestinian people.”

Elsewhere in this suffering world, we single out the ‘savages’ of India — the RSS, Hindutva/Sanghi promoters (followers of Nazism responsible for assassinating Gandhi) who are openly calling for GENOCIDE, taking up arms against and eliminating Muslims, Christians, and the Dalits (the ‘untouchables’). Perversely, they have also announced that all citizens of India must revert to Hinduism – the Pakistanis be made Hindus again – surely their DNA must have HINDU in them! Soon a civil war will be engaged — it is already in the making enabled by the ruling party of India, headed by Narendra Modi — he is completely SILENT: such an appalling prospect! And of course the majority who continue to be silent, covertly believing all along in the same or coming out of the woodwork now, have been emboldened by the silent stance of their government. They are putting up vile, demeaning and dehumanizing images of prominent Muslim women for auction: the ‘Sulli’ ‘Bulli’ deals that are circulating freely and brazenly.

And to add to the danse macabre of India: Kashmir is as occupied and oppressed as is Palestine. India plays by the colonial Zionist ‘playbook’: they believe in the same policies of oppression, humiliation, and subjugation. They are the ‘bosom pals’ of Israel. With support, assistance, and training from Israel’s Mossad, the Indian military has created the world’s largest prison camp in Kashmir — deploying seven hundred thousand soldiers.

How can one remain silent? In Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s immortal and searing words: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This is so apparent now and brings to mind the prediction of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan who said in 1945, “Muslims who are opposing Pakistan (now) will spend the rest of their lives proving loyalty to India.”

We wish fervently in this 2022 that our world would transform into a kinder, gentler, more compassionate, healthful and vibrant place to live, in empathy, justice, dignity, tolerance, peace, and all encompassing love!

The post How Can One Remain Silent? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia?

Over the past three weeks, CJPME has witnessed Canada’s prompt and forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, clearly demonstrating its opposition through both words and actions.

Canada’s willingness to take these steps against Russia within days, and its refusal to take such steps against Israel after decades, is hypocritical. At the same time, this jarring contrast provides an opportunity for us to force a rethink and push politicians to be more consistent in their foreign policy.

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CJPME has been talking to politicians and others about this double-standard, and we summarize our key points below. Please consider using these points as you discuss with your friends, family and colleagues:

A. If Canada can target Russian officials for sanctions, it can also sanction Israeli officials

Just days after the Russian invasion, Canada imposed targeted sanctions against Russian officials (including asset freezes and prohibiting dealings), but has never taken any action against Israeli officials. As recommended by Amnesty International and others, Canada must now consider targeted sanctions on Israeli officials deemed responsible for acts of military aggression, violence against civilians, and violations of international law.

B. If Canada can impose sanctions on Russia and its occupied territories, it can also impose sanctions on Israel

Again, just days after the invasion, Canada imposed significant sanctions on Russia, targeting both the country itself and specific Russian-occupied or annexed territories. In contrast, Canada has implemented free trade with Israel, including its illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Canada must pressure Israel economically, starting with a strict boycott of trade with illegal Israeli settlements.

C. If Canada can call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Russia, it should support the existing ICC investigation of Israel

A week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada referred the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, asking for an investigation into alleged Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity. In contrast, for years Canada has opposed an ongoing ICC investigation into Israeli violations of international law in Palestine. Fortunately, the ICC ignored Canada’s pressure and launched its investigation of Israel in 2021.

D. If Canada can vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Russia, it should also vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Israel

On March 2, in a vote of 141-5, Canada voted with the overwhelming majority at the United Nations to condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine. Just last fall, on almost all resolutions condemning Israel, Canada was on the losing end of hugely lopsided votes. For example, in a UN vote to condemn illegal Israeli settlements, Canada sided with Israel on the losing side of a 142-7 vote.

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E. If Canada can remove Russian products from shelves in protest of Russian aggression in Ukraine, it can remove Israeli wines in protest of Israeli aggression against Palestinians

Mere hours after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian products were ordered removed from liquor store shelves by provincial governments across the country. But despite its human rights violations, you can still find Israeli products – including wine products from illegal Israeli settlements – in Canadian stores. The Canadian government even fought against a legal case challenging the sale of illegal “settlement wines” as made-in-Israel products.

F. If Canada supports the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate Russian human rights violations, it should support the UNHRC investigation into Israeli violations

Canada supported the March 4 decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Russian human rights violations in Ukraine. However, not long ago, Canada expressed “significant concerns” with the UNHRC’s recent Commission of Inquiry into rights violations in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

G. If Canada supports Ukraine’s plan to take Russia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), it should stand up for Palestine’s ICJ case against Israel

Canada supported Ukraine’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which just ruled against Russia over its justifications for invasion. But Canada has never spoken up for the ICJ’s 2004 decision asserting the illegality of Israel’s wall. In fact, it abstained on a UN General Assembly vote which passed 150-6.

More In-Depth Exploration

Listen to episodes of the CJPME Debrief Podcast which explore the double standards in the government and media responses to Ukraine and Palestine. You can find the CJPME Debrief on your favourite podcast platform, or via these links:

Read articles addressing the Russia-Israel comparison by CJPME’s Thomas Woodley in rabble.ca:

The points earlier in this email are taken from a recently-published CJPME position paper on the contrast in Canada’s response to Russia-Ukraine vs. Israel-Palestine. See the detailed document here: “Consistent Application of Measures to Uphold International Law – Israel and Russia.”

Finally, CJPME’s Michael Bueckert spoke to CTV Montreal about the lessons that the cultural boycott campaign against Russia can learn from the BDS movement against Israel. Read it here.

The post Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia?

Over the past three weeks, CJPME has witnessed Canada’s prompt and forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, clearly demonstrating its opposition through both words and actions.

Canada’s willingness to take these steps against Russia within days, and its refusal to take such steps against Israel after decades, is hypocritical. At the same time, this jarring contrast provides an opportunity for us to force a rethink and push politicians to be more consistent in their foreign policy.

image1.png

CJPME has been talking to politicians and others about this double-standard, and we summarize our key points below. Please consider using these points as you discuss with your friends, family and colleagues:

A. If Canada can target Russian officials for sanctions, it can also sanction Israeli officials

Just days after the Russian invasion, Canada imposed targeted sanctions against Russian officials (including asset freezes and prohibiting dealings), but has never taken any action against Israeli officials. As recommended by Amnesty International and others, Canada must now consider targeted sanctions on Israeli officials deemed responsible for acts of military aggression, violence against civilians, and violations of international law.

B. If Canada can impose sanctions on Russia and its occupied territories, it can also impose sanctions on Israel

Again, just days after the invasion, Canada imposed significant sanctions on Russia, targeting both the country itself and specific Russian-occupied or annexed territories. In contrast, Canada has implemented free trade with Israel, including its illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Canada must pressure Israel economically, starting with a strict boycott of trade with illegal Israeli settlements.

C. If Canada can call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Russia, it should support the existing ICC investigation of Israel

A week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada referred the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, asking for an investigation into alleged Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity. In contrast, for years Canada has opposed an ongoing ICC investigation into Israeli violations of international law in Palestine. Fortunately, the ICC ignored Canada’s pressure and launched its investigation of Israel in 2021.

D. If Canada can vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Russia, it should also vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Israel

On March 2, in a vote of 141-5, Canada voted with the overwhelming majority at the United Nations to condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine. Just last fall, on almost all resolutions condemning Israel, Canada was on the losing end of hugely lopsided votes. For example, in a UN vote to condemn illegal Israeli settlements, Canada sided with Israel on the losing side of a 142-7 vote.

Banner_2_-_Alcohol_boycott.png

E. If Canada can remove Russian products from shelves in protest of Russian aggression in Ukraine, it can remove Israeli wines in protest of Israeli aggression against Palestinians

Mere hours after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian products were ordered removed from liquor store shelves by provincial governments across the country. But despite its human rights violations, you can still find Israeli products – including wine products from illegal Israeli settlements – in Canadian stores. The Canadian government even fought against a legal case challenging the sale of illegal “settlement wines” as made-in-Israel products.

F. If Canada supports the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate Russian human rights violations, it should support the UNHRC investigation into Israeli violations

Canada supported the March 4 decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Russian human rights violations in Ukraine. However, not long ago, Canada expressed “significant concerns” with the UNHRC’s recent Commission of Inquiry into rights violations in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

G. If Canada supports Ukraine’s plan to take Russia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), it should stand up for Palestine’s ICJ case against Israel

Canada supported Ukraine’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which just ruled against Russia over its justifications for invasion. But Canada has never spoken up for the ICJ’s 2004 decision asserting the illegality of Israel’s wall. In fact, it abstained on a UN General Assembly vote which passed 150-6.

More In-Depth Exploration

Listen to episodes of the CJPME Debrief Podcast which explore the double standards in the government and media responses to Ukraine and Palestine. You can find the CJPME Debrief on your favourite podcast platform, or via these links:

Read articles addressing the Russia-Israel comparison by CJPME’s Thomas Woodley in rabble.ca:

The points earlier in this email are taken from a recently-published CJPME position paper on the contrast in Canada’s response to Russia-Ukraine vs. Israel-Palestine. See the detailed document here: “Consistent Application of Measures to Uphold International Law – Israel and Russia.”

Finally, CJPME’s Michael Bueckert spoke to CTV Montreal about the lessons that the cultural boycott campaign against Russia can learn from the BDS movement against Israel. Read it here.

The post Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia?

Over the past three weeks, CJPME has witnessed Canada’s prompt and forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, clearly demonstrating its opposition through both words and actions.

Canada’s willingness to take these steps against Russia within days, and its refusal to take such steps against Israel after decades, is hypocritical. At the same time, this jarring contrast provides an opportunity for us to force a rethink and push politicians to be more consistent in their foreign policy.

image1.png

CJPME has been talking to politicians and others about this double-standard, and we summarize our key points below. Please consider using these points as you discuss with your friends, family and colleagues:

A. If Canada can target Russian officials for sanctions, it can also sanction Israeli officials

Just days after the Russian invasion, Canada imposed targeted sanctions against Russian officials (including asset freezes and prohibiting dealings), but has never taken any action against Israeli officials. As recommended by Amnesty International and others, Canada must now consider targeted sanctions on Israeli officials deemed responsible for acts of military aggression, violence against civilians, and violations of international law.

B. If Canada can impose sanctions on Russia and its occupied territories, it can also impose sanctions on Israel

Again, just days after the invasion, Canada imposed significant sanctions on Russia, targeting both the country itself and specific Russian-occupied or annexed territories. In contrast, Canada has implemented free trade with Israel, including its illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Canada must pressure Israel economically, starting with a strict boycott of trade with illegal Israeli settlements.

C. If Canada can call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Russia, it should support the existing ICC investigation of Israel

A week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada referred the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, asking for an investigation into alleged Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity. In contrast, for years Canada has opposed an ongoing ICC investigation into Israeli violations of international law in Palestine. Fortunately, the ICC ignored Canada’s pressure and launched its investigation of Israel in 2021.

D. If Canada can vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Russia, it should also vote in support of tough UN resolutions condemning Israel

On March 2, in a vote of 141-5, Canada voted with the overwhelming majority at the United Nations to condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine. Just last fall, on almost all resolutions condemning Israel, Canada was on the losing end of hugely lopsided votes. For example, in a UN vote to condemn illegal Israeli settlements, Canada sided with Israel on the losing side of a 142-7 vote.

Banner_2_-_Alcohol_boycott.png

E. If Canada can remove Russian products from shelves in protest of Russian aggression in Ukraine, it can remove Israeli wines in protest of Israeli aggression against Palestinians

Mere hours after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian products were ordered removed from liquor store shelves by provincial governments across the country. But despite its human rights violations, you can still find Israeli products – including wine products from illegal Israeli settlements – in Canadian stores. The Canadian government even fought against a legal case challenging the sale of illegal “settlement wines” as made-in-Israel products.

F. If Canada supports the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate Russian human rights violations, it should support the UNHRC investigation into Israeli violations

Canada supported the March 4 decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Russian human rights violations in Ukraine. However, not long ago, Canada expressed “significant concerns” with the UNHRC’s recent Commission of Inquiry into rights violations in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

G. If Canada supports Ukraine’s plan to take Russia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), it should stand up for Palestine’s ICJ case against Israel

Canada supported Ukraine’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which just ruled against Russia over its justifications for invasion. But Canada has never spoken up for the ICJ’s 2004 decision asserting the illegality of Israel’s wall. In fact, it abstained on a UN General Assembly vote which passed 150-6.

More In-Depth Exploration

Listen to episodes of the CJPME Debrief Podcast which explore the double standards in the government and media responses to Ukraine and Palestine. You can find the CJPME Debrief on your favourite podcast platform, or via these links:

Read articles addressing the Russia-Israel comparison by CJPME’s Thomas Woodley in rabble.ca:

The points earlier in this email are taken from a recently-published CJPME position paper on the contrast in Canada’s response to Russia-Ukraine vs. Israel-Palestine. See the detailed document here: “Consistent Application of Measures to Uphold International Law – Israel and Russia.”

Finally, CJPME’s Michael Bueckert spoke to CTV Montreal about the lessons that the cultural boycott campaign against Russia can learn from the BDS movement against Israel. Read it here.

The post Could Canada Punish Israel Like It Is Punishing Russia? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Next Step in Palestine’s Anti-Apartheid Struggle is the Most Difficult

When Nelson Mandela was freed from his Robben Island prison on February 11, 1991, my family, friends and neighbors followed the event with keen interest as they gathered in the living room of my old home in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip.

This emotional event took place years before Mandela uttered his famous quote “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.  For us Palestinians Mandela did not need to reaffirm the South African people’s solidarity with Palestine by using these words or any other combination of words. We already knew. Emotions ran high on that day; tears were shed; supplications were made to Allah that Palestine, too, would be free soon. “Inshallah,” God willing, everyone in the room murmured with unprecedented optimism.

Though three decades have passed without that coveted freedom, something is finally changing as far as the Palestine liberation movement is concerned. A whole generation of Palestinian activists, who either grew up or were even born after Mandela’s release, was influenced by that significant moment: Mandela’s release and the start of the official dismantling of the racist, apartheid regime of South Africa.

Even the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 between Israel and some in the Palestinian leadership of the PLO – which served as a major disruption of the grassroots, people-oriented liberation movement in Palestine – did not completely end what eventually became a decided anti-Israeli apartheid struggle in Palestine. Oslo, the so-called ‘peace process’ – and the disastrous ‘security coordination’ between the Palestinian leadership, exemplified in the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Israel – resulted in derailed Palestinian energies, wasted time, deepened existing factional divides, and confused Palestinian supporters everywhere. However, it did not – though it tried – occupy every political space available for Palestinian expression and mobilization.

With time and, in fact, soon after its formation in 1994, Palestinians began realizing that the PA was not a platform for liberation, but a hindrance to it. A new generation of Palestinians is now attempting to articulate, or refashion, a new discourse for liberation that is based on inclusiveness, grassroots, community-based activism that is backed by a growing global solidarity movement.

The May events of last year – the mass protests throughout occupied Palestine and the subsequent Israeli war on Gaza – highlighted the role of Palestine’s youth who, through elaborate coordination, incessant campaigning and utilizing of social media platforms, managed to present the Palestinian struggle in a new light – bereft of the archaic language of the PA and its aging leaders. It also surpassed, in its collective thinking, the stifling and self-defeating emphasis on factions and self-serving ideologies.

And the world responded in kind. Despite a powerful Israeli propaganda machine, expensive hasbara campaigns and near-total support for Israel by the western government and mainstream media alike, sympathy for Palestinians has reached an all-time high. For example, a major public opinion poll published by Gallup on May 28, 2021, revealed that “… the percentages of Americans viewing (Palestine) favorably and saying they sympathize more with the Palestinians than the Israelis in the conflict inched up to all-time highs this year.”

Moreover, major international human rights organizations, including Israelis, began to finally recognize what their Palestinian colleagues have argued for decades:

“The Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians,” said B’tselem in January 2021.

“Laws, policies and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power and land has long guided government policy,” said Human Rights Watch in April 2021.

“This system of apartheid has been built and maintained over decades by successive Israeli governments across all territories they have controlled, regardless of the political party in power at the time,” said Amnesty International on February 1, 2022.

Now that the human rights and legal foundation of recognizing Israeli apartheid is finally falling into place, it is a matter of time before a critical mass of popular support for Palestine’s own anti-apartheid movement follows, pushing politicians everywhere, but especially in the West, to pressure Israel into ending its system of racial discrimination.

However, this is where the South Africa and Palestine models begin to differ. Though western colonialism has plagued South Africa as early as the 17th century, apartheid in that country only became official in 1948, the very year that Israel was established on the ruins of historic Palestine.

While South African resistance to colonialism and apartheid has gone through numerous and overwhelming challenges, there was an element of unity that made it nearly impossible for the apartheid regime to conquer all political forces in that country, even after the banning, in 1960, of the African National Congress (ANC) and the subsequent mprisonment of Mandela in 1962. While South Africans continued to rally behind the ANC, another front of popular resistance, the United Democratic Front, emerged, in the early 1980s to fulfill several important roles, amongst them the building of international solidarity around the country’s anti-apartheid struggle.

The blood of 176 protesters at the Soweto township and thousands more was the fuel that made freedom, the dismantling of apartheid and the freedom of Mandela and his comrades possible.

For Palestinians, however, the reality is quite different. While Palestinians are embarking on a new stage of their anti-apartheid struggle, it must be said that the PA, which has openly collaborated with Israel, cannot possibly be a vehicle for liberation. Palestinians, especially the youth, who have not been corrupted by the decades-long system of nepotism and favoritism enshrined by the PA, must know this well.

Rationally, Palestinians cannot stage a sustained anti-apartheid campaign when the PA is allowed to serve the role of being Palestine’s representative, while still benefiting from the perks and financial rewards associated with the Israeli occupation.

Meanwhile, it is also not possible for Palestinians to mount a popular movement in complete independence from the PA, Palestine’s largest employer, whose US-trained security forces keep watch on every street corner that falls within the PA-administered areas in the West Bank.

As they move forward, Palestinians must truly study the South African experience, not merely in terms of historical parallels and symbolism, but to deeply probe its successes, shortcomings and fault lines. Most importantly, Palestinians must also reflect on the unavoidable truth – that those who have normalized and profited from the Israeli occupation and apartheid cannot possibly be the ones who will bring freedom and justice to Palestine.

The post The Next Step in Palestine’s Anti-Apartheid Struggle is the Most Difficult first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Criminal Cold-blooded Assassination of Palestinian Resistance Fighters

Funeral Procession in Nablus for assassinated resistance fighters.

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) assassinated three resistance fighters in the Occupied West Bank on February 8. The targeted military operation took place in the heart of Nablus in broad daylight.

Israeli soldiers used two private vehicles with Palestinian plates to enter the al-Makhfiya neighbourhood of the northern West Bank city to reach their target. They then got out and surrounded the vehicle carrying the Palestinian men, and opened fire on it from point-blank range. A fourth occupant of the vehicle who survived the attack was arrested.

Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets to condemn this crime. A general strike was held across the West Bank, with protesters engaging in fierce clashes with the Israeli occupation forces in many places. The people affirmed their right to resist the ongoing crimes of the Zionist occupiers, rejected cooperation with the IDF on matters of security in the Occupied Territories and called for international condemnation of the assassinations in Nablus.

On February 10, Israeli soldiers carried out further crimes to suppress the movement of the Palestinian people, invading several Palestinian communities across the occupied West Bank, including the occupied capital Jerusalem. Raids were carried out on many homes in which at least 12 Palestinians, including former political prisoners and three children, were abducted.

Protest in Jenin against Israeli assassinations, February 9, 2022.

General Strike in the West Bank, February 9, 2022. Photo by Shadi Jarar’ah

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) noted in its weekly update for February 3-9, that “So far in 2022, IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] attacks killed five Palestinians and wounded 47 others, including eight children and four journalists, all in the West Bank.”

Since the beginning of 2022, the Israeli military has also “made 21 families homeless, a total of 128 persons, including 23 women and 50 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 27 houses and three residential tents. IOF also demolished 11 other civilian objects, and delivered 12 notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.”

Prior to its latest crimes on February 10, the Israeli military in 2022 had “conducted 697 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 444 Palestinians were arrested, including 35 children and six women.”

As concerns crimes by Zionist settlers in 2022, the PCHR informs that these forces have carried out 21 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank so far this year.

*****

Uphold the Right of Palestinians to Resist Zionist Occupation! Uphold the Right of Return!

Condemn the Crimes of Zionist Occupiers! Hold Israel to Account!

Toronto rally in solidarity with Palestinian people, January 29, 2022

On February 8, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out a targeted assassination of three Palestinian resistance fighters in Nablus in the West Bank, part of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. It was one more heinous crime of the occupation forces against the Palestinian people while their backers, with their stranglehold on the United Nations Security Council, let it happen.

The Shin Bet security service and the Border Police issued a joint statement which, once again, cited Israel’s alleged right to self-defence:

A terrorist cell from the Nablus area was eliminated. The cell is responsible for a series of shooting attacks in the area against the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians in recent weeks.

As usual, there is no evidence of terrorism. On the contrary, the right of the Palestinian people to resist their occupation, which is acceptable under international law, is confounded with terrorism, which is not. Putting the Palestinians on trial rather than Israeli actions is the trick perpetrated by the imperialist media, as if this can justify cold-blooded executions.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter: “I recently ordered that preventive actions against shooting attacks and troop presence in central arteries and areas of the [West Bank] be stepped up […] We’ll continue with proactive operations, prevent [attacks] and capture anyone who tries to hurt people.”

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the assassinations, ongoing arrests and incarceration of Palestinian men, women and children, the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and the theft of their ancestral homes and lands.

CPC(M-L) also condemns Canada’s support for Israel’s crimes. Global Affairs Canada has been notably silent on the February 8 assassinations and all the other crimes Israel has committed against the Palestinian people in 2022.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2105174-Calgary-FreePalestine-38cr.jpg

Canada’s silence on Israel’s latest crimes follows the federal government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism in 2019. This definition is actively used to falsely claim that anyone criticizing Israel’s crimes against Palestine is anti-Semitic. The Trudeau government has also said that it plans to “strengthen the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to more effectively combat online anti-Semitism and hate.”

The crimes against Palestine are all based on a huge historical fraud. The state of Israel has never once applied the terms of its foundation by United Nations Resolution 181, passed on November 29, 1947. According to this resolution, the British Mandate for Palestine was partitioned into Arab and Jewish states, and international status for the City of Jerusalem as the joint capital of both states.

As stated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the opening session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on February 8, “There is no plan B.” Yet Israel has continued, since its founding, to displace and dispossess the Palestinian people, in its ongoing program of genocide.

Israel’s grave violations of international law are being exacerbated in the present, with Zionist settlers taking over the government, including the office of the president. They are committing ever more heinous crimes against the Palestinians, such as brutal seizures of ancestral homes during the night or at the crack of dawn, with elders, men, women and children thrown into the streets, while anyone who resists is arrested or killed in cold blood.

The media should be asked to explain themselves for never discussing the duties of Israel as an occupying force. They should explain why they cower before threats that they will be accused of hate crimes if they criticize Israel and why instead they try to provide justifications for what cannot be justified.

UN Secretary-General Guterres said in his remarks on February 8: “Political, economic and security conditions across the Occupied Palestinian Territory are deteriorating as Palestinians experience high levels of dispossession, violence and insecurity.” He called on the international community to urgently intensify efforts to resolve the conflict and end the occupation in line with UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements. He noted with concern the territory-wide violence, including actions carried out by settlers and during military operations, that have led to numerous deaths.

“All settlement activity is illegal. It must stop,” he stated.

He also called for an improved economic and humanitarian situation in Palestine. He highlighted the need to increase support for the UN Humanitarian Flash Appeal, ongoing reconstruction efforts in Gaza, and COVID-19 response.

Guterres also expressed concern over what he called the “dire” economic situation facing the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as the financial crisis facing the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the agency, reported in 2021 that funding for UNWRA has not increased in nearly 10 years.

The Israeli occupation is directly responsible for wrecking Palestine’s economy, including its high unemployment, which in turn is undermining the revenue and stability of the PA and its capacity to provide the services the people require.

Israel also withholds tax revenue that it collects on behalf of the PA. It does so under a 2018 law, in which it calculates an amount it claims equates to the financial support the PA provides to Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed or injured during attacks by Israel. In 2021, Israel deprived the PA of $180 million based on its calculations for 2020.

While Israel has recently permitted increased movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip, UN Secretary-General Guterres asked for a full lifting of the closures in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1860. The Israeli occupiers have maintained their illegal and inhuman siege of Gaza for 15 years.

“Time is running short,” the UN Secretary-General said.

(TML Daily, posted February 12, 2022. With files from UN News Centre, PCHR and news agencies.)

The post Criminal Cold-blooded Assassination of Palestinian Resistance Fighters first appeared on Dissident Voice.