Category Archives: Resistance

Cultural Warriors: Why Palestine’s Sports Victories Should Inspire Us 

The Palestine National Football Team has, once more, done the seemingly impossible by qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. By any standards, this is a great achievement, especially as the Palestinians have done it with style and convincing victories over Mongolia, Yemen and the Philippines, without conceding a single goal. However, for Palestinians, this is hardly about sports.

This accomplishment can only be appreciated within the larger context of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In November 2006, the Israeli military prevented all Palestine-based footballers from participating in the final match of the Asian Football Confederation qualification group stage. The news had a major demoralizing effect on all Palestinians. Even rare moments of hope and happiness are often crushed by Israel.

As disappointing as the Israeli decision was, it was hardly compared to the collective shock felt by Palestinians everywhere when, in 2007, Palestinian players were not allowed to participate in a decisive World Cup qualifying game against Singapore. Instead of showing solidarity with Palestinians and condemning Israel, the International Football Association (FIFA) decided to award an automatic victory to Singapore of 3-0.

This is why Palestine’s latest qualification is historic, as it is more proof that Palestinian resilience has no bounds. It sends a message to Israel as well, that its unjust draconian measures will never break the spirit of the Palestinian people.

The latest achievement should also be placed within another context. It is the third time in a row that the Palestine national team qualifies for the Asian cup finals, thanks to an impressive squad that represents all Palestinian communities, at home and in the Diaspora.

This moment, however, is bittersweet. Many Palestinian footballers, who should have been present in the Sports Center Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – where the qualification rounds were held – were missing. Some are in Israeli prisons, others are maimed or killed. Much of the killings happened in 2009.

Indeed, 2009 was a terrible year for Palestinian football.

In January 2009, three Palestinian footballers, Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshtaha, were killed during the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip. All three were seen as promising athletes with bright futures.

Two months later, Saji Darwish was killed by an Israeli sniper near Ramallah. The 18-year-old was slated to become a big name in Palestinian football, too.

In July of that same year, the tragedy of Mahmoud Sarsak began. Sarsak had only been a member of the Palestine National Football Team for six months when he was arrested and tortured by Israel in a painful saga that lasted for three years. He won his freedom after undergoing a hunger strike that lasted for over 90 days. The permanent health issues Sarsak was left with, however, meant that his once-promising sports career was over.

Arrests, torture and killings of Palestinian footballers became a regular headline in Palestine. This includes the killing of former Palestinian football star, Ahed Zaqqut, in 2014, and the deliberate shooting of the feet of Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd Al Raouf Halabiya, 17. The two players were attempting to cross an Israeli military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank to return home after a long training session.

These are but mere examples. The targeting of Palestinian sports is a constant item on the Israeli military agenda. Palestinian stadiums are often bombed during Israel’s brutal wars on Gaza. In 2019, the Israeli military attacked Al Khader Stadium in Bethlehem by lobbing tear gas at players during the match. Five players were hospitalized, as hundreds of fans rushed out of the stadium in panic. In 2019, Palestinians couldn’t hold the much-anticipated Palestine Cup final match, because Israel prevented the Gaza-based Khadamat Rafah team from traveling to the West Bank to compete against the FC Balata team. And so on.

Like every aspect of Palestinian life that can easily be disrupted by Israel, the Palestinian sports community learned to be resilient and resourceful. The Palestine National Football Team is the perfect example of this tenacity. When Gazan players are prevented from traveling, West Bankers come to the rescue. And when West Bank players suffer a setback of their own, Palestinian players in the Diaspora are dispatched to take their place. Luckily, Palestinian footballers, the likes of  Oday Dabbagh, are now gaining prominence in the international arena, giving them the chance to be available whenever duty calls.

When Palestine defeated Mongolia 1-0 in the Asian Cup qualifiers on June 8, Palestinian media reported about the sense of euphoria and hope felt throughout Palestine. But when the Palestinian team, known as the Fida’i – meaning the freedom fighter – won two more games with convincing victories of 5-0 and 4-0, hope turned into a real possibility that Palestine could perform well in the Asian Cup finals scheduled for June 2023. And maybe, the Fida’i could have a chance at World Cup qualifications for 2026.

For Palestinians, sports – especially football – remains a powerful platform of cultural resistance. Every aspect of a Palestinian football match attests to this claim. The names of the team, the chants of the fans, the images embroidered on the players’ jerseys and much more, are symbols of Palestinian resistance: names of martyrs, colors of the flag and so on. In Palestine, football is a political act.

While Israel uses sports to normalize itself and its apartheid regime in the eyes of the world, Tel Aviv does everything possible to impede Palestinian sports because Israel understands, and rightly so, that Palestinian sports is, at its core, an act of resistance.

It is heartbreaking to think that Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe, Wajeh Moshtaha, Saji Darwish and others were not there to witness the celebrations of their beloved team’s qualification to a major international tournament. But it is the spirit of these valiant cultural warriors that continues to guide the Fida’i in their struggle for recognition, their fight for dignity and their quest for glory.

The post Cultural Warriors: Why Palestine’s Sports Victories Should Inspire Us  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Palestine’s New Resistance Model: How the Last Year Redefined the Struggle for Palestinian Freedom

What took place between May 2021 and May 2022 is nothing less than a paradigm shift in Palestinian resistance. Thanks to the popular and inclusive nature of Palestinian mobilization against the Israeli occupation, resistance in Palestine is no longer an ideological, political or regional preference.

In the period between the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and only a few years ago, Palestinian muqawama – or resistance –  was constantly put in the dock, often criticized and condemned, as if an oppressed nation had a moral responsibility in selecting the type of resistance to suit the needs and interests of its oppressors.

As such, Palestinian resistance became a political and ideological litmus test. The Palestinian Authority of Yasser Arafat and, later, Mahmoud Abbas, called for ‘popular resistance’, but it seems that it neither understood what the strategy actually meant, and certainly was not prepared to act upon such a call.

Palestinian armed resistance was removed entirely from its own historical context; in fact, the context of all liberation movements throughout history, and was turned into a straw man, set up by Israel and its western allies to condemn Palestinian ‘terrorism’ and to present Israel as a victim facing an existential threat.

With the lack of a centralized Palestinian definition of resistance, even pro-Palestine civil society groups and organizations demarcated their relationship to the Palestinian struggle based on embracing certain forms of Palestinian resistance and condemning others.

The argument that only oppressed nations should have the right to choose the type of resistance that could speed up their salvation and freedom fell on deaf ears.

The truth is that Palestinian resistance preceded the official establishment of Israel in 1948. Palestinians and Arabs who resisted British and Zionist colonialism used many methods of resistance that they perceived to be strategic and sustainable. There was no relationship whatsoever between the type of resistance and the religious, political or ideological identity of those who resisted.

This paradigm prevailed for many years, starting with the Fidayeen Movement following the Nakba, the popular resistance to the brief Israeli occupation of Gaza in 1956, and the decades-long occupation and siege starting in 1967. The same reality was expressed in Palestinian resistance in historic Palestine throughout the decades; armed resistance ebbed and flowed, but popular resistance remained intact. The two phenomena were always intrinsically linked, as the former was also sustained by the latter.

The Fatah Movement, which dominates today’s Palestinian Authority, was formed in 1959 to model liberation movements in Vietnam and Algeria. Regarding its connection to the Algerian struggle, the Fatah manifesto read: “The guerrilla war in Algeria, launched five years before the creation of Fatah, has a profound influence on us. […] They symbolize the success we dreamed of.”

This sentiment was championed by most modern Palestinian movements as it proved to be a successful strategy for most southern liberation movements. In the case of Vietnam, the resistance to US occupations was carried out even during political talks in Paris. The underground resistance in South Africa remained vigilant until it became clear that the country’s apartheid regime was in the process of being dismantled.

Palestinian disunity, however, which was a direct result of the Oslo Accords, made a unified Palestinian position on resistance untenable. The very idea of resistance itself became subject to the political whims and interests of factions. When, in July 2013, PA President Abbas condemned armed resistance, he was trying to score political points with his western supporters, and further sow the seeds of division among his people.

The truth is that Hamas neither invented, nor has ownership of, armed resistance. In June 2021, a poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), revealed that 60% of Palestinians support “a return to armed confrontations and Intifada”. By stating so, Palestinians were not necessarily declaring allegiance to Hamas. Armed resistance, though in a different style and capacity also exists in the West Bank, and is largely championed by Fatah’s own Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The recent Israeli attacks on the town of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, were not aimed at eliminating Hamas, Islamic Jihad or socialist fighters, but Fatah’s own.

Skewed media coverage and misrepresentation of the resistance, often by Palestinian factions themselves, turned the very idea of resistance into a political and factional scuffle, forcing everyone involved to take a position on the issue. The discourse on the resistance, however,  began changing in the last year.

The May 2021 rebellion and the Israeli war on Gaza – known among Palestinians as the Unity Intifada – served as a paradigm shift. The language became unified; self-serving political references quickly dissipated; collective frames of reference began replacing provisional, regional and factional ones; occupied Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque emerged as the unifying symbols of resistance; a new generation began to emerge and quickly began to develop new platforms.

On May 29, the Israeli government insisted on allowing the so-called ‘Flag March’ – a mass rally by Israeli Jewish extremists that celebrate the capture of the Palestinian city of al-Quds – to once more pass through Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem. This was the very occasion that instigated the violence of the previous year. Aware of the impending violence which often results from such provocations, Israel wanted to impose the timing and determine the nature of the violence. It failed. Gaza didn’t fire rockets. Instead, tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized throughout occupied Palestine, thus allowing popular mobilization and coordination between numerous communities to grow. Palestinians proved able to coordinate their responsibility, despite the numerous obstacles, hardships and logistical difficulties.

The events of the last year are a testament that Palestinians are finally freeing their resistance from factional interests. The most recent confrontations show that Palestinians are even harnessing resistance as a strategic objective. Muqawama in Palestine is no longer ‘symbolic’ or supposedly ‘random’ violence that reflects ‘desperation’ and lack of political horizon. It is becoming more defined, mature and well-coordinated.

This phenomenon must be extremely worrying to Israel, as the coming months and years could prove critical in changing the nature of the confrontation between Palestinians and their occupiers. Considering that the new resistance is centered around homegrown, grassroots, community-oriented movements, it has far greater chances of success than previous attempts. It is much easier for Israel to assassinate a fighter than to uproot the values of resistance from the heart of a community.

The post Palestine’s New Resistance Model: How the Last Year Redefined the Struggle for Palestinian Freedom first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Until the Destruction of the Last Cage

Welcome to another Episode of System Fail. In this episode we will be covering the trend of rising state repression around the globe.

We start in so-called Chile where the newly elected ostensibly left-libertarian president Gabriel Boric has failed to deliver on his promise to free political prisoners.

Meanwhile in Munich, police have raided a number of apartments, an anarchist library, and a print shop.

Then in Greece, long term anarchist prisoner Giannis Michaildis has announced a hunger strike demanding his release.

Finally, a run down of the recent events at the Defend the Forest Atlanta encampment.

The post Until the Destruction of the Last Cage first appeared on Dissident Voice.

System Fail 11: Lamborghinis and Tear Gas

CORRECTION: During the production of this episode we were working with the most up to date information at the time when we had said nobody had died at the May Day protests in Chile. Unfortunately we have since learned that Francisca Sandoval, a journalist age 29 died several days later in the hospital. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

Welcome to another episode of System Fail. In the news this week we do a quick rundown of May Day celebrations around the world. Although there were other May Day festivities we focused on Montreal Santiago de Chile, Istanbul, Berlin and Paris.

For our next segment we cover the drastic curtailing of reproductive rights in the United States as foreshadowed by the leak of Supreme Court documents. We also take a look at the acts of resistance and the obnoxious recuperationist conspiracy theorists who try to discredit them.

Later, we see how comrades in Greece are resisting Law 4777 which would station police on university campuses, where they have historically not been allowed to go.

Finally, we cover a violent insurrection in Sri Lanka where protesters have ousted the corrupt Prime Minister and torched two of the President’s houses and his presidential Lamborghini.

The post System Fail 11: Lamborghinis and Tear Gas first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Between Crosshairs, a Man, and His Revolution

Imperial proprietorship over the small Caribbean Island of Cuba, from the United States’ perspective, has been from its earliest founding understood as a foredrawn conclusion, a predetermined inexorable; a geographical inevitable. Heads of State, from Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe to John Quincy Adams et al. shared a similar conviction, “[that Cuba’s] proximity did indeed seem to suggest destiny, a destiny unanimously assumed to be manifest.”i Through the mid 19th century, US opinion toward Cuba was made jingoistically evident by Secretary of State John Clayton, “This Government,” he advised, “is resolutely determined that the island of Cuba, shall never be ceded by Spain to any other power than the United States.”ii The Secretary went on to define his nation’s hardened and inalterable commitment to the possession of the island, “The news of the cession of Cuba to any foreign power would, in the United States, be the instant signal for war.”iii These assertions were now foundational, as reiterated by Indiana Senator (and historian) Albert J. Beveridge in 1901,“Cuba ‘[is] an object of transcendent importance to the political and commercial interests of our Union’ and ‘[is] indispensable to the continuance and integrity of the Union itself,’”iv sentiments that were (later) codified into the Cuban Constitution by the US (after the Spanish/American war of 1898) in the form of the Platt Amendmentv ratified in 1903. Which Louis A. Perez soberly describes as, “[An] Amendment [that] deprived the [Cuban] republic of the essential properties of sovereignty while preserving its appearance, permitting self-government but precluding self-determination,”vi in contradiction to (Cuba’s heroic bard of national emancipation) José Martí’s 19th century grand-vision of a truly liberated and self-governing island nation. In fact, this historic outlook permeates US strategy toward Cuba for the next century; merged in a complex web of amicable approbation combined with antagonistic condemnation, defiance, resentment, and ruin – all converging at a flashpoint called the Cuban Revolution of 1959, which not only shocked and bewildered US policymakers, but, for the first time, challenged their historic preconceptions of US hegemonic (i.e., imperial hemispheric) dominance. One man stood at the center of their bewilderment, criticism, disdain, and resentment: Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz. Thus, US policy then directed at Cuba, by the early 1960s, was designed to punish this man, the small island nation, and its people, for his disobedience and defiance; and, as such, was intentionally aimed at destabilizing all efforts of rapprochement, as long as he (Castro) remained alive.

Although US intelligence (throughout the 1950s) provided the Eisenhower administration with a thorough history delineating the dangers of instability looming throughout the island, commanded by then military despot and “strong-man” Fulgencio Batista (who seized his return to power in an army-coup in 1952), the US foolishly continued to provide economic, logistical and materiel support to the unpopular and graft-driven dictatorship.vii US intelligence understood the potential danger posed by “[this] young reformist leader”viii Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries. Castro and the 26th of July movement were a defiant response to what they considered a foreign controlled reactionary government.ix This response stood as a direct threat to the natural order of things, i.e., the US’s historic prohibition (beyond legalistic euphemisms and platitudes)x of any genuine vestige of national sovereignty and self-determination by the Cuban people – which undergirded a belief that, like most Latin American states, the Cuban people were innately “child-like,” incapable of true self-governance.xi Beyond that, after the ousting of Batista, and “flush with victory,” a young Fidel Castro, on January 2, 1959 (in Santiago de Cuba), assertively threw down the gauntlet, “this time, fortunately for Cuba, the revolution will not be thwarted. It won’t be as in 1895, when the Americans came in at the last hour ‘and made themselves masters of the country.’”xii Hence, as Jeffery J. Safford makes evident, this existential risk, in the minds of US policymakers, would have to be dealt with, embraced, evaluated, and analyzed (at least initially)xiii in order to maintain the desired outcome – i.e., evading Communist influence and maintaining economic “stability” through the protection of US interests on the island of Cuba no matter the cost.

In March of 1960, while naively underestimating Castro’s success and support on the island, “the Eisenhower administration secretly made a formal decision to re-conquer Cuba … with a proviso: it had to be done in such a way that the US hand would not be evident.”xiv Ultimately, US policymakers wanted to avoid a broader “backlash of instability” throughout the hemisphere by overtly invading the small island nation. That said, Castro and his revolutionaries understood the stark realities and nefarious possibilities cast over them, given the US’s history of flagrant regime change throughout the region. Castro’s accusations as presented at the United Nations, on 26 September 1960, which declared that US leaders were (intending if not) preparing to invade Cuba, were dismissed by the New York Times as “shrill with … anti-American propaganda.”xv Furthermore, Castro was ridiculed, by US representative James J. Wadsworth, as having “Alice in Wonderland fantasies”xvi of an invasion. But Castro’s committed revolutionary coterie knew better, “In Guatemala in 1954 [Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara witnessed] the first U.S. Cold War intervention [in the region] as U.S.-trained and backed counter-revolutionary forces overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz…”xvii In fact, similarly, the imminent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated assault, known as the Bay of Pigs (BOPs) invasion, under the Kennedy administration in April 1961, was heavily reliant upon anti-revolutionary factions, the Cuban people, and the military, rising up to join the invadersxviii – which as history proves, and journalist/author David Talbot underscores, did not come to pass:

To avoid Arbenz’s fate, Castro and Guevara would do everything he had not: put the hard-cored thugs of the old regime up against a wall, run the CIA’s agents out of the country, purge the armed forces, and mobilize the Cuban people … Fidel and Che became an audacious threat to the American empire. They represented the most dangerous revolutionary idea of all – the one that refused to be crushed.xix

This became an epic ideological battle in the myopic mind of US officials: the possible proliferation of an assortment of “despotic” Communist controlled fiefdoms vs. the-free-world! Indeed, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., special aide and historian to President John F. Kennedy in 1961-63, ominously warned the Executive, that “the spread of the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands,xx had great appeal in Cuba (and throughout Latin America), i.e., everywhere that, “distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favor[ed] the propertied classes … [thus] the poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, [were] now demanding opportunities for a decent living.”xxi This was the urgent and fundamental threat (or challenge) Fidel Castro and his movement posed to US hemispheric rule.

US media focused heavily on the plight of the “majority middleclass” Cuban exiles, that chose to leave the island as a result of the revolution’s redistributive polices.xxii Cubans, particularly the initial waves, were dispossessed of substantial wealth and position and often arrived Stateside in chiefly worse conditions.xxiii But the essential question as to, “why the [majority of] Cuban people [stood] by the Castro ‘dictatorship’?,”xxiv as Michael Parenti contends, was ignored by public officials and the press alike:

Not a word appeared in the U.S. press about the advances made by ordinary Cubans under the Revolution, the millions who for the first time had access to education, literacy, medical care, decent housing [and] jobs … offering a better life than the free-market misery endured under the U.S.-Batista ancient régime.xxv

Castro’s revolutionary ideals based on José Martí’s patriotic theme of national sovereignty and self-determination, effectively armed the Cuban people through a stratagem of socialist ideology and wealth redistribution meshed in a formula of land reform and social services (i.e., education, healthcare, jobs and housing) which included the nationalization of foreign owned businesses; as such, US policymakers believed, “His continued presence within the hemispheric community as a dangerously effective exponent of ‘Communism’ and Anti-Americanism constitutes a real menace capable of eventually overthrowing the elected governments in any one or more ‘weak’ Latin American republics.”xxvi Fidel Castro was thus wantonly placed within the crosshairs of US covert-action.

American officials assumed that the elimination of Castro was central to the suppression of his socialist principles, as Alan McPherson demonstrates, “In fall 1961, after the [BOPs] disaster, [JFK] gave the order to resume covert plans to get rid of Castro, if not explicitly to assassinate him.”xxvii Earlier in 1960, then CIA director, Allen Dulles’ hardline that Castro was a devoted Communist and threat to US security “mirrored [those] of the business world such as, William Pawley, the globetrotting millionaire entrepreneur whose major investments in Cuban sugar plantations and Havana’s municipal transportation system were wiped out by Castro’s revolution.”xxviii Thus, US officials, the Security State and US business-interests were unified, “After Fidel rode into Havana on a tank in January 1959, Pawley [a capitalist scion] who was gripped by what Eisenhower called a ‘pathological hatred for Castro,’ even volunteered to pay for his assassination.”xxix Countless attempts followed, thus, killing Castro became vital to the idea of US hemispheric “stability,” i.e., capitalist economic and ideological control; and as such, Intelligence Services believed, “[The] political vulnerability of the regime lies in the person of Castro himself…”xxx Hence, the purging of Fidel Castro and the cessation of his ideas, through the punishment of the Cuban people, became not only the strategy of choice for the US, but its incessant authoritative doctrine. Accordingly, as longtime US diplomat to Cuba, Wayne Smith verifies, the US’s two overarching obsessive qualms which it believed required the eradication of Fidel Castro were: the long-term influence of his revolutionary socialist ideals in Latin America and beyond; and, the possible establishment of a successful Communist state on the island which would diminish US security, stature, image, influence and prestige in the hemisphere; and, in the eyes of the world.xxxi

Through 1960-64, Castro had good reason to be on guard, “…the fact that the Kennedy administration was acutely embarrassed by the unmitigated defeat [at the BOPs] -indeed because of it- a campaign of smaller-scale attacks upon Cuba was initiated almost immediately.”xxxii Then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy stated unequivocally, as Schlesinger reveals, that his goal, “was to bring the terrors of the Earth to Cuba.”xxxiii RFK went on to emphasize the point that the eradication of the Castro “regime” was the US’s central policy concern, “He informed the CIA that the Cuban problem carries, ‘…top priority in the United States Government -all else is secondary- no time, no effort, or manpower is to be spared.’”xxxiv Beyond the multifaceted covert actions directed at Cuba under Operation Mongoose, RFK and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, aided by the CIA et al., implemented a long-term multi-pronged plan of punishment, focused on Cuba through Latin America, which included disinformation campaigns, subversion and sabotage (they called hemispheric-defense-policies) that comprised a Military Assistance Program (MAP), which included economic support, subversive tactical training and materiel, devised to terminate “the threat” (i.e., Castro and his ideas) by establishing an Inter-American-Security-Force (of obedient states) under US control.xxxv

With Cuba now in the crosshairs, in the early 1960s, “the CIA … played savior to the [anti-Castro] émigrés, building a massive training station in Miami, known as JMWave, that became the agency’s second largest after Langley, Virginia. In fact, it coordinated the training of what became known as the disastrous landing … in 1961.”xxxvi Conversely, historian Daniel A. Sjursen focuses more on JFK (than the CIA) as the culprit behind the heightened tensions amongst the three principal players. By 1962, with Cuba in the middle, both superpowers (the US and the USSR) stood at a standstill amid the very real possibility of a global conflagration which, Sjursen states, was primarily due to US bravado on behalf of a “military obsessed” young President, “In preparing for a May 1961 summit meeting with Khrushchev [Kennedy stated] ‘I’ll have to show him that we can be as though as he is….’”xxxvii Sjursen argues, “This flawed and simplistic thinking grounded just about every Kennedy decision in world affairs from 1961 to 1963 … and would eventually bring the world to the brink of destruction with the Cuban Missile Crisis; and, suck the US military into a disastrous unwinnable war in Vietnam.”xxxviii And yet, as Smith contends, Kennedy was certainly not without bravado, but ultimately, did make attempts to “defuse” the situation. Kennedy, Smith discloses, ruffled-feathers within the Security State by, 1) his desire to end the Cold War, 2) his starting of a rapprochement with Castro (who was desirous of such — even if indirectly) and, 3) his goal to pull-out of Vietnam.xxxix In fact, with the Kennedy-Khrushchev negotiations finalized by JFK’s promise not to invade Cuba if Soviet warheads were removed from the island – Khrushchev acquiesced, to Castro’s dismay, but tensions did diminish.xl

Be that as it may, Philip Brenner maintains, the crisis did not go-away on 28 October 1962 for either the US or the USSR. The Kennedy-Khrushchev arrangements had to be implemented. On 20 November, the US Strategic Air Command was still on high alert: full readiness for war – with the naval quarantine (i.e., blockade) firmly in place.xli As a result, Castro stayed open to negotiations with the US, but at the same time purposefully cautious. “At this point Castro, like Kennedy and Khrushchev, was circumventing his own more bellicose government in order to dialog with the enemy. Castro, too, was struggling, [but willing,] to transcend his Cold War ideology for the sake of peace. Like Kennedy and Khrushchev both, [he knew,] he had to walk softly.”xlii Nevertheless, Castro stressed the fact that the Soviet Union had no right to negotiate with the US per inspections or the return of the bombers, “Instead, he announced, Cuba would be willing to comply based on [specific] demands: that the United States end the economic embargo; stop subversive activities … cease violations of Cuban airspace; and, return Guantanamo Naval Base.”xliii Of course, the United States security apparatus was arrogantly steadfast in its refusal to agree or even negotiate the matter.xliv

In spite of that, a reproachment (devised by Kennedy diplomat, William Attwood, and, Castro representative to the UN Carlos Lechuga) was surreptitiously endeavored through a liaison, journalist Jean Daniel of the New Republic, who stated that, Kennedy, retrospectively, criticized the pro-Batista policies of the fifties for “economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation” of the island and added that, “we shall have to pay for those sins….”xlv Which may be considered one of the most brazenly honest statements, regarding the island, on behalf of an American President, in the long and complex history of US/Cuban relations. Daniel then wrote, “I could see plainly that John Kennedy had doubts [about the government’s policies toward Cuba] and was seeking a way out.”xlvi In spite of JFK’s pugnacious rhetoric directed at Cuba, during his 1960 Presidential campaign, Castro remained open and accommodating, he understood the forces arrayed upon the President, in fact, he saw Kennedy’s position as an unenviable one:

I don’t think a President of the United States is ever really free … and I also believe he now understands the extent to which he has been misled.xlvii …I know that for Khrushchev, Kennedy is a man you can talk with….xlviii

While in the middle of (an Attwood arranged and Kennedy sanctioned) clandestine meeting with Castro, Daniel reported, that (at 2pm Cuban-time) the news arrived that JFK was dead (shot in Dallas, Texas, on that very same day, 22 November 1963, at 12:30pm), “Castro stood-up , looked at me [dismayed], and said ‘Everything is going to change,…’”xlix and he was spot-on. Consequently, with (newly sworn-in) President Lyndon Baines Johnson mindful of the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was “proclaimed” a Castro devotee, accommodations with the Cuban government would be much more difficult. As such, the Attwood-Lechuga connection was terminated.l Julian Borger, journalist for the Guardian, maintains that “Castro saw Kennedy’s killing as a setback, [he] tried to restart a dialogue with the next administration, but LBJ was … too concerned [with] appearing soft on communism,”li meaning opinion polls, and their consequences, trumped keeping channels of communication open with the Cuban government. Which obliquely implies the notion that relations with Cuba might have been different if JFK had not been murdered.

With the Johnson administration bogged down in an “unwinnable war” in Southeast Asia and Civil Rights battles occurring on the streets of the US, Cuba and its revolution began to fall off the radar. By 1964, the Johnson administration, concerned with public opinion, as mentioned, took swift and immediate action to stop the deliberate terror perpetrated on the Cuban people. LBJ, in April of that year, called for a cessation of sabotage attacks. Johnson openly admitted, “we had been operating a damned Murder, Inc., in the Caribbean.’”lii Nonetheless, the national security apparatus (i.e., the CIA, the Joint-Chiefs and military intelligence) along with US policymakers (and US based exile groups), remained obstinate, steadfast and consistent in their goal – to punish (if not kill) Fidel Castro and his revolution, by maintaining a punitive program of economic strangulation with the hopes that Castro would be, not only isolated on the world stage, but condemned by his own people who would rise up and eradicate the man and his socialist regime – which did not occur. Of course, the termination of hostilities directive ordered by Johnson did not include economic enmity – which persisted throughout the 1960s and beyond. In fact, a CIA field-agent appointed to anti-Castro operations detailed the agency’s sadistic objectives as expressed through author John Marks, by explaining:

Agency officials reasoned, … that it would be easier to overthrow Castro if Cubans could be made unhappy with their standard of living. ‘We wanted to keep bread out of the stores so people were hungry … We wanted to keep rationing in effect….’”liii

The purpose of the economic blockade remained fixed from the early 60s onward: to contain, defame, discredit and destroy Castro and his experimentation with, what the US considered, subversive Communist ideals.

Finally, the US’s belligerent, if not insidious, hardline-stance toward this small island nation reignited at the end of the 1960s, which included not only an economic strangle-hold, but full-blown underground sabotage operations. The 37th president of the United States, Richard M. “Nixon’s first acts in office in 1969 was to direct the CIA to intensify its covert [Hybrid War] operations against Cuba.”liv Nixon and his then National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, still believed, callously, that military aggression, violence, brutality and intimidation (coalesced by vicious economic sanctions) were the answers to America’s woes abroad. US policy toward Cuba for more than sixty-years is reminiscent of a famous quote often attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.” Hence, Castro’s Cuba (not only America’s nemesis, but also the model of an uncompromising US global order) was the consequence of an even longer and persistent imperial US foreign policy: If the United States had not impeded Cuba’s push for national sovereignty and self-determination in the initial part of the 20th century; if it had not sustained a sequence of tyrannical despots on the island; and, if it had not been complicit in the termination and manipulation of the 1952 election, an ineradicable character such as the young reformist, and socialist, Fidel Castro may never have materialized.lv Ultimately, the headstrong US stratagem of assassination and suffocation of Castro and his socialist revolution failed, not only by bolstering his image on the island, but abroad as well. Ironically, the US helped to create its own oppositional exemplar of resistance, in the image of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and the Cuban people, i.e., the revolution – two men and a small island nation that stood up defiantly to the US led global-capitalist-order and would not relent. The US feared the Revolution of 1959’s challenge to class-power, colonialization; and, its popularity with the multitudes – thus, it had to be forcefully restricted through malicious policies of trade-embargoes, threats of violence and ideological-isolation. In fact, the Cuban rebellion courageously and tenaciously stood up to, and resisted, specific contrivances (or designs) by which the US had customarily, boastfully and self-admiringly delineated its dominant status through the forceful protection of its exploitative-business-practices (aka, the “Yankee boot”) on the backs of the Cuban people, for which, Fidel Castro and his bottom-up-populist-crusade were held ominously, insidiously and interminably responsible….

Image credit: Left Voice

ENDNOTES

i ##Louis A. Pérez, “Between Meanings and Memories of 1898,” Orbis 42, no. 4 (September 1, 1998): 501.#

ii ##William R. Manning, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States: Inter-American Affairs, 1831-1860 (Washington, 1932), 70.#

iii ##Ibid.#

iv ##Albert J. Beveridge, “Cuba and Congress,” The North American Review 172, no. 533 (1901): 536.#

v ##The Platt Amendment, May 22, 1903.#

vi ##Pérez, “Meanings and Memories,” 513.#

vii ##Allen Dulles, Political Stability In Central America and The Caribbean Through 1958 (CIA: FOIA Reading Room, April 23, 1957), 4–5.#

viii ##Ibid., 4.#

ix ##Fidel Castro, “History Will Absolve Me,” 1953.#

x ##The Platt Amendment.#

xi ##Lars Schoultz, That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution (Chapel Hill, 2009), 58.#

xii ##Pérez, “Meanings and Memories,” 514.#

xiii ##Jeffrey J. Safford, “The Nixon-Castro Meeting of 19 April 1959,” Diplomatic History 4, no. 4 (1980): 425–431.#

xiv ##Noam Chomsky, Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (London, 2000), 89.#

xv ##“Cuba vs. U.S.,” New York Times (1923-), January 8, 1961, 1.#

xvi ##Ibid.#

xvii ##Aviva Chomsky, A History of the Cuban Revolution (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K. ; Malden, MA, 2011), 98.#

xviii ##“Official Inside Story Of the Cuba Invasion,” U.S. News & World Report, August 13, 1979.#

xix ##David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (New York, 2016), 338.#

xx ##“7. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Schlesinger) to President Kennedy,” in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963.#

xxi ##“15. Summary Guidelines Paper: United States Policy Toward Latin America,” in FRUS, 1961–1963.#

xxii ##“Cuba: The Breaking Point,” Time, January 13, 1961.#

xxiii ##Maria de los Angeles Torres, In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States (Ann Arbor, 2001), 75.#

xxiv ##Michael Parenti, “Aggression and Propaganda against Cuba,” in Superpower Principles U.S. Terrorism against Cuba, ed. Salim Lamrani (Monroe, Maine, 2005), 70.#

xxv ##Ibid.#

xxvi ##Philip Buchen, Castro (National Archives: JFK Assassination Collection, 1975), 4–5.#

xxvii ##Alan McPherson, “Cuba,” in A Companion to John F. Kennedy, ed. Marc J. Selverstone (Hoboken, 2014), 235.#

xxviii ##Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard, 340.#

xxix ##Ibid.#

xxxPhilip Buchen, docid-32112987.pdf, JFK Assassination Records – 2018 Additional Documents Release, The National Archives Castro, 7.#

xxxi ##Wayne S. Smith, “Shackled to the Past: The United States and Cuba,” Current History 95 (1996).#

xxxii ##William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (London, 2014), 186.#

xxxiii ##Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. quoted in Noam Chomsky and Marv Waterstone, Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance (Chicago, 2021), 147.#

xxxiv ##Ibid.#

xxxv ##The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Efforts to Contain Castro, 1960-64, April 1981, 3, Learn.#

xxxvi ##Alan McPherson, “Caribbean Taliban: Cuban American Terrorism in the 1970s,” Terrorism and Political Violence 31, no. 2 (March 4, 2019): 393.#

xxxvii ##Daniel A. Sjursen, A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism, and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism (Lebanon, New Hampshire, 2021), 479.#

xxxviii ##Ibid.#

xxxix ##Hampshire College TV, 2015 • Eqbal Ahmad Lecture • Louis Perez • Wayne Smith • Hampshire College, 2016, accessed October 30, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuBdKB8jX3I.#

xl ##Philip Brenner, “Kennedy and Khrushchev on Cuba: Two Stages, Three Parties,” Problems of Communism 41, no. Special Issue (1992): 24–27.#

xli ##Philip Brenner, “Cuba and the Missile Crisis,” Journal of Latin American Studies 22, no. 1 (1990): 133.#

xlii ##James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (New York, 2010), 84.#

xliii ##Brenner, “Cuba and the Missile Crisis,” 133.#

xliv ##“332. Letter From Acting Director of Central Intelligence Carter to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy),” in FRUS, 1961–1963.#

xlv ##Jean Daniel, “Unofficial Envoy: An Historic Report from Two Capitals,” New Republic 149, no. 24 (December 14, 1963): 15–20.####

xlvi ##Ibid.#

xlvii Ibid.

xlviii ##Jean Daniel, “When Castro Heard the News,” New Republic 149, no. 23 (December 7, 1963): 7–9.#

xlix ##Ibid.#

l ##“378. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy),” in FRUS, 1961–1963.#

li ##Julian Borger, “Revealed: How Kennedy’s Assassination Thwarted Hopes of Cuba Reconciliation,” Guardian, November 26, 2003.#

lii ##Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counter-Insurgency, Counter-Terrorism, 1940-1990 (New York, 1992), 205.#

liii ##John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control (London, 1979), 198.#

liv ##Raymond Garthoff, Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC, 1985), 76n.#

lv ##Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (New York, 2007), 91.#

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Palestine’s Widening Geography of Resistance: Why Israel Cannot Defeat the Palestinians

There is a reason why Israel is insistent on linking the series of attacks carried out by Palestinians recently to a specific location, namely the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. By doing so, the embattled Naftali Bennett’s government can simply order another deadly military operation in Jenin to reassure its citizens that the situation is under control.

Indeed, on April 9, the Israeli army has stormed the Jenin refugee camp, killing a Palestinian and wounding ten others. However, Israel’s problem is much bigger than Jenin.

If we examine the events starting with the March 22 stabbing attack in the southern city of Beersheba (Bir Al Saba’) – which resulted in the death of four – and ending with the killing of three Israelis in Tel Aviv – including two army officers – we will reach an obvious conclusion: these attacks must have been, to some extent, coordinated.

Spontaneous Palestinian retaliation to the violence of the Israeli occupation rarely follows this pattern in terms of timing or style. All the attacks, with the exception of Beersheba, were carried out using firearms. The shooters, as indicated by the amateur videos of some of the events and statements by Israeli eyewitnesses, were well-trained and were acting with great composure.

An example was the March 27 Hadera event, carried out by two cousins, Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, inside Israel. Israeli media reported of the unmistakable skills of the attackers, armed with weapons that, according to the Israeli news agency, Tazpit Press Service, cost more than $30,000.

Unlike Palestinian attacks carried out during the Second Palestinian Intifada (2000-05) in response to Israeli violence in the occupied territories, the latest attacks are generally more pinpointed, seek police and military personnel and clearly aimed at shaking Israel’s false sense of security and undermining the country’s intelligence services. In the Bnei Brak attack, on March 29, for example, an Israeli woman who was at the scene told reporters that “the militant asked us to move away from the place because he did not want to target women or children.”

While Israeli intelligence reports have recently warned of a “wave of terrorism” ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, they clearly had little conception of what type of violence, or where and how Palestinians would strike.

Following the Beersheba attack, Israeli officials referred to Daesh’s responsibility, a convenient claim considering that Daesh had also claimed responsibility. This theory was quickly marginalized, as it became obvious that the other Palestinian attackers had other political affiliations or, as in the Bnei Brak case, no known affiliation at all.

The confusion and misinformation continued for days. Shortly after the Tel Aviv attack, Israeli media, citing official sources, spoke of two attackers, alleging that one was trapped in a nearby building. This was untrue as there was only one attacker and he was killed, though hours later in a different city.

A number of Palestinian workers were quickly rounded up in Tel Aviv on suspicion of being the attackers simply because they looked Arab, evidence of the chaotic Israeli approach. Indeed, following each event, total mayhem ensued, with large mobs of armed Israelis taking to the streets looking for anyone with Arab features to apprehend or to beat senseless.

Israeli officials contributed to the frenzy, with far-right politicians, such as the extremist Itamar Ben Gvir, leading hordes of other extremists in rampages in occupied Jerusalem.

Instead of urging calm and displaying confidence, the country’s own Prime Minister called, on March 30, on ordinary Israelis to arm themselves. “Whoever has a gun license, this is the time to carry it,” he said in a video statement. However, if Israel’s solution to any form of Palestinian resistance was more guns, Palestinians would have been pacified long ago.

To placate angry Israelis, the Israeli military raided the city and refugee camp of Jenin on many occasions, each time leaving several dead and wounded Palestinians behind, including many civilians. They include the child Imad Hashash, 15, killed on August 24 while filming the invasion on his mobile phone. The exact same scenario played out on April 9.

However, it was an exercise in futility, as it was Israeli violence in Jenin throughout the years that led to the armed resistance that continues to emanate from the camp. Palestinians, whether in Jenin or elsewhere, fight back because they are denied basic human rights, have no political horizon, live in extreme poverty, have no true leadership and feel abandoned by the so-called international community.

The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas seems to be entirely removed from the masses. Statements by Abbas reflect his detachment from the reality of Israeli violence, military occupation and apartheid throughout Palestine. True to form, Abbas quickly condemned the Tel Aviv attack, as he did the previous ones, making the same reference every time regarding the need to maintain “stability” and to prevent “further deterioration of the situation”,  according to the official Wafa news agency.

What stability is Abbas referring to, when Palestinian suffering has been compounded by growing settler violence, illegal settlement expansion, land theft, and, thanks to recent international events, food insecurity as well?

Israeli officials and media are, once again, conveniently placing the blame largely on Jenin, a tiny stretch of an overpopulated area. By doing so, Israel wants to give the impression that the new phenomenon of Palestinian retaliatory attacks is confined to a single place, one that is adjacent to the Israeli border and can be easily ‘dealt with’.

An Israeli military operation in the camp may serve Bennett’s political agenda, convey a sense of strength, and win back some in his disenchanted political constituency. But it is all a temporary fix. Attacking Jenin now will make no difference in the long run. After all, the camp rose from the ashes of its near-total destruction by the Israeli military in April 2002.

The renewed Palestinian attacks speak of a much wider geography: Naqab, Umm Al Fahm, the West Bank. The seeds of this territorial connectivity are linked to the Israeli war of last May and the subsequent Palestinian rebellion, which erupted in every part of Palestine, including Palestinian communities inside Israel.

Israel’s problem is its insistence on providing short-term military solutions to a long-term problem, itself resulting from these very ‘military solutions’. If Israel continues to subjugate the Palestinian people under the current system of military occupation and deepening apartheid, Palestinians will surely continue to respond until their oppressive reality is changed. No amount of Israeli violence can alter this truth.

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On Palestine’s Everyday Victories: Why Israel is No Longer the Exception 

Can Israel be pressured? Or is Tel Aviv the only exception to the global political order in which every country, big or small, is subjected to pressures and subsequent change in attitude and behavior?

Several events, in recent days, bring the question of Israel’s legal and moral accountability to the fore. On February 21, Israel’s Nature and Park Authority decided to withdraw a plan which aimed at illegally seizing church-owned lands in the Mount of Olives in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. The plan has sparked anger and resistance among Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike. Palestinian Christian leaders had denounced the proposed theft of the land as  a “premeditated attack on the Christians in the Holy Land.”

After the Isreali newspaper, The Times of Israel, reported that the project was set to receive approval from the Jerusalem municipality on March 2, Palestinian community and spiritual leaders began rallying support not only among Palestinians, but also internationally to mobilize against Israel’s latest colonizing scheme.

The Israeli decision to withdraw its plan proves that, once more, Palestinian resistance works. This event is reminiscent of the massive Palestinian mobilization in and around Haram Sharif compound in 2017, when mass mobilization in Jerusalem forced Israel to remove metal detectors and other ‘security measures’ from the holy Muslim site

One day following the Israeli decision to scrap the Mount of Olives plan, the Israeli Jerusalem Magistrate Court agreed to temporarily freeze the eviction order targeting the Salem family in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The Palestinian family, three generations of whom live in the targeted home, have mobilized, along with many other families and activists, Palestinians and international activists to protest Israel’s illegal seizure of Palestinian homes in the occupied city.

While the Israeli court’s decision is only temporary and must not conceal the massive and systematic ethnic cleansing campaign under way in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the rest of East Jerusalem, it must also be viewed in a positive light, as it gives a boost to popular resistance in occupied Jerusalem and throughout the Palestinian homeland.

More still. On February 25, two Palestinian detainees, Hisham Abu Hawash and Miqdad Al-Qawasmi, returned to their families after spending many months in unlawful detention and following 141 and 113 days of hunger strikes, respectively. The immense suffering of these two men, along with numerous amounts of footage and photos of their gaunt, emaciated bodies, have been used for months by Palestinians to demonstrate Israel’s brutality and the legendary sumoud, steadfastness, of ordinary Palestinians.

Expectedly, the two freed prisoners were received with jubilation by their families, friends and thousands of Palestinians. Throughout the celebrations, the word ‘victory’ was highlighted over and over again, whether in the streets, in Palestinian media or on social media.

These are but a few examples of daily Palestinian victories that are rarely highlighted, or even recognized as such. These achievements, however seemingly humble, are crucial to understanding the nature of everyday Palestinian resistance; but are also equally important in realizing that even Israel, which likes to see itself as an exceptional state in every respect, is subject to pressure.

When Palestinians, along with many nations around the world, called on Israel to end the forced evictions of Jerusalemites in Sheikh Jarrah last May, then Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted that Israel “firmly rejects” pressure, carrying on with his coercive measures unhindered.

When Palestinians rebelled, rising in collective solidarity with Jerusalem and Gaza, the likes of US President Joe Biden called on all parties to ‘de-escalate’. Yet, Netanyahu continued to behave as if his country was above the law, political protocol and even common sense. “I am determined to continue with this operation until its goal is achieved,” Netanyahu insisted. The Israeli Prime Minister even considered the war on Gaza – in fact, on all Palestinians – to be “Israel’s natural right”. But when Palestinians carried on with their resistance, joined this time by a growing and vast global solidarity movement, Israel was forced to accept a ceasefire, achieving little, if any, of its supposed objectives.

Currently, Israel is seeking the help of various mediators to free several Israeli soldiers – or their remains – who are currently held in Gaza. Palestinians are open to a prisoner exchange and are demanding the freedom of hundreds of prisoners, including leading Palestinian figures, who have been held in Israel for years.

Moreover, the Palestinians are also seeking real guarantees to avoid the repeat of a similar prisoner exchange of October 2011, where over 1,000 Palestinians were released but some of whom were rearrested by Israel shortly after. In this case, too, Israel has pledged that it will relent in the face of Palestinian conditions, and it most likely will.

Israel is not the only country in the world that claims to be above pressure and accountability. Many colonial regimes in the past refused to acknowledge popular resistance in their respective colonies yet, somehow, traditional colonialism has ended with the inglorious defeat of the colonizers.

This is not to argue that Israeli exceptionalism is not a real thing. It is, and can be observed in full view at the US Congress and in the behavior of many pro-Israel Western governments. True, exceptionalism often yields hypocrisy and double standards but also the illusion that a particular state is above the natural order, which has governed state relations, politics and geopolitical realignments since the start of human civilization.

While Israel continues to delude itself that it is above pressure, Palestinians must realize that their resistance, in all of its manifestations, is capable of delivering the intended outcome, this being freedom. The rise of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its ability to challenge Israel at numerous platforms worldwide, is a perfect example of how Palestinians managed to take their fight for freedom to the rest of the world. If Israel is, indeed, not susceptible to pressure, why would it then fight the BDS movement with much ferocity and, at times, desperation?

Israel is not the exception, and like other colonial, apartheid regimes, it will eventually collapse, paving the way for a possible future where Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews can coexist as equals.

The post On Palestine’s Everyday Victories: Why Israel is No Longer the Exception  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.)

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