I figured if I am going to be branded politically, I may as well brand myself literally: “Palestine ‘48”.
I figured if I am going to be branded politically, I may as well brand myself literally: “Palestine ‘48”.
There was once a time, not very long ago, when prioritizing the Palestinian cause above all else was a socially and politically constructed self-evident truth in the Arab world. Explaining to outsiders who asked why we loved Palestine was as impossible as explaining why we loved someone. Because it’s Palestine, would have been the natural answer. Regrettably, we have now entered a new phase whereby we need to respond to this question—asked from within our own ranks no less— with more compelling reasons. We now need to persuade supporters of the Syrian opposition who have always supported Palestine in the past, that liberating Palestine takes precedence over overthrowing the Syrian “regime”, or why imperialism and settler colonialism is a graver threat than internal repression.
But the imperialism versus authoritarianism debate is itself rooted in a deeper divide over the meaning of Palestine for Arab activists and intellectuals. As I wrote previously, Syrian oppositionists and some Third Wayers (assuming they still exist) “misunderstand the extent of Israel’s iniquity by locating it solely in Zionist aggression, human rights violations or in the circumstances of the occupation. The resistance camp conceives of Israel as the greatest injustice because of its very existence and the unprecedented nature of its oppression, which renders it not merely a human rights cause, but humanity’s cause.”
The difference in outlook became all the more stark to me when I read this description of the BDS movement and its priorities, by Ali Abunimah founder of the highly commendable website, Electronic Intifada:
Rather than fetishising “statehood”, the BDS campaign focuses on rights and realities: it calls for an end to Israel’s occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands conquered in 1967; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and respect for and implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees.
Although I am a huge supporter of the BDS movement and see it as a necessary complement to the armed struggle, and although I agree with the movement’s refusal to “fetishize” statehood, I take issue with its priorities as well as its willingness to settle for a truncated state with 1967 borders . Yes, Palestinian rights are of utmost importance and the Palestinian people are indeed subject to the grossest form of oppression and injustice which requires our collective efforts, but my unit of analysis is Palestine, not only the Palestinians.
When I think of Palestine, the people are of course a leading component but not the only component of this concept. Palestine is, as Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah alludes to it, “not just the blood of a man, the fate of a woman, the crushed bones of a child, or a piece of bread stolen from the mouth of a poor or hungry person. It is the issue of a people, a nation, a fate, holy places, history, and the future.” Palestine is the land and the people, past, present and future generations. If we are to limit our understanding of Palestine to Palestinians then we would be forced to relinquish the Palestinian cause and to betray future generations of Palestinians, if the their elected representatives chose to abandon armed struggle and satisfy themselves with a Bantustan comprised of 22% of historic Palestine.
More than this, Palestine not only needs us, but we need Palestine: it is the identity that once united us, the direction that guides our moral compass, the cornerstone of our political principles, the lens required for our awareness and understanding of imperialism, and a strategic necessity for the freedom and self-determination not only of Palestine, but of the entire region.
When I confine my understanding of Palestine to Palestinian individuals, I am effectively renouncing my need for Palestine. When Palestine is relegated to a human rights’ cause I open myself to the argument made by the Syrian opposition camp, that Palestinian blood is no worthier than any other Arab blood (itself a flawed argument). When individual Palestinians are my unit of analysis rather than the trans-historical concept of Palestine, I also open myself to the charge—made by some supporters of the Syrian government who withheld support from Hamas in the recent Gaza war — that Palestine is no longer a priority given Syria’s higher death toll and Hamas’ abandonment of Assad.
The only way we can ensure the Arab and Islamic world’s ongoing commitment to the Palestinian people is by making Palestine our unit of analysis and point of departure. And while we should never fetishize a truncated statehood, we should fetishize resistance and liberation for there is no other way to free the Palestinian people or the people of the region from the plague of Zionism.
That’s right, it won’t work when a people have chosen to resist and persevere. From the Never Before Campaign for Palestine.
Ok, lets not call it the destruction of Israel. Lets just say this is another chapter of the Arab Spring whereby an oppressed people are seeking their freedom from tyranny and pursuing their rights, and as such, demand regime change, change of the Zionist regime. Is it our fault that the Zionist regime is inextricably tied to its army and settler colonies and that its entire society is militarized, and will hence have to go too? I think not.
Even though this is simply one battle of many to come, you know it’s the beginning of the end for Israel when you are no longer only scouring the news for Palestinian targets hit by the cowardly Zionist army, or simply keeping an eye on the ever-growing number of reservists it keeps threatening to deploy for an ultimately suicidal ground invasion, but scouring for news on ISRAELI targets.
You know it’s the beginning of the end for Israel when you just can’t keep up any more with news about the Palestinian resistance’s military achievements. The qualitative change now is that although the Palestinian strategy is defensive, it is employing both defensive and offensive tactics . As in 2006, the battle is now being fought on the enemy’s turf and is therefore achieving real deterrence. We are moving ever closer to our goal of overthrowing the Zionist regime and liberating Palestine. No matter what Hamas did or does in future vis-a-vis the Resistance Axis, this should not derail us from our objective of liberating Palestine; it should not dilute our resistance identity; it should not cloud our awareness that the sovereignty of Syria is inextricably linked to the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon. As Nasrallah said yesterday, it is all part of one shared resistance project.
Am watching Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s long interview on Mayadeen Tv. They ran an old (not sure from which year) and very moving clip of the Resistance leader promising the Palestinians “We are with you, and will not leave you, and in times of adversity you can count on us.” How those words ring true today when the Arab world is experiencing great adversity that threatens to destroy the Syrian nation, engulf the region in a sectarian war that will distract it from liberating Palestine, and deal a severe blow to the resistance front. The Palestinian cause has been relegated to a secondary matter for the Palestinians to solve themselves; Practically everyone has sold out Palestine today—the Syrian opposition, the Arabs, even Hamas has abandoned its course for now at least . But not Hizbullah. In standing by the Syrian government and army Hizbullah has sacrificed its hard earned popular Arab support and incurred the wrath of many, for the sake of Syria’s future and Palestine’s liberation. Today, more than ever before, Nasrallah can tell Palestine “We are with you, and will not leave you, and in times of adversity you can count on us.” Even if all of Lebanon were liberated from Israeli occupation, so long as Israel exists Hizbullah will continue resist because it will never leave Palestine alone.
So apparently, the Palestinian refugees in Syria are overwhelmingly anti-regime. I have actually been hearing this from quite a few pro-regime friends. Here are excerpts from the AP report:
“On July 11, the bodies of 15 soldiers from the Palestinian Liberation Army, a branch of the Syrian armed forces, were found outside of Aleppo, the country’s largest city. There were conflicting accusations about who killed the soldiers, but many Palestinians blamed Assad’s regime.”
This is an outright lie by the way, AFP reported PLA chief of staff Major General Mohammad Tareq al-Khadraa as telling SANA: “The fact that the armed terrorist groups kidnapped and killed 17 troops from the Palestinian Liberation Army in Syria proves the criminal, dirty role that these groups play and their links to Western and Zionist agendas.”
The AP article later acknowledges:
“While not citizens, Palestinians in Syria have greater rights than their brethren in other Arab countries. They can hold government jobs, attend state universities for free and serve in the military. Assad’s regime has long billed itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause.
Ironically, Palestinian activists say it was their integration into Syrian society - facilitated by Assad’s regime - that pushed them into the uprising.
“We have never felt that there was a big difference between the Palestinians and the Syrians,” said Abu Omar, the Yarmouk activist. He is 22, has spent his whole life in Syria and was getting a free university education when the uprising broke out. He dismissed the idea that Assad’s regime has been a leader in the Palestinian struggle, pointing out that Syria’s border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights has been largely quiet since 1974. In fact, he said he hoped a regime change would help the Palestinians achieve their ultimate goal: the return to their ancestral villages in what is now Israel. “We have to work together with the free people to liberate Syria, then we’ll go to the Golan and liberate Palestine,” he said. “We’ll work hand in hand.”
Many Third Wayers and oppositionists will use articles like this to argue that because the Palestinians view the Syrian government as being a liability rather than a requirement for the liberation of Palestine, First Wayers and mumana’ists must respect their views and withdraw support from such a regime This is ideological nonsense of course because the Palestinian people are just as susceptible as all other Arabs are to intellectual imperialism and sectarian agitation. By that same line of reasoning, we should give up on the Palestinian cause and recognize Israel’s existence, as well as tolerate the strategic threat it poses to neighbouring Arab states, should the majority of Palestinians ever decide that in the future.
“It’s not only about occupation, or human rights…it’s about humanity.” That’s right, Palestine isn’t a human rights cause, its HUMANITY’S cause.
This video explains it to all those who have don’t know or have forgotten:
I urge all those who pursue Palestine’s liberation to check the Never Before Campign for Palestine’s Youtube Channel here to see their incredibly powerful and moving videos.
This is their mission statement:
Palestine: Never Before has a people suffered such an injustice, yet displayed resilience and resistance - like Never Before.
Discussions on Palestine and the Palestinian cause have included attempts to link it to the struggle of South Africans under the apartheid regime, the struggle of the Vietnamese people, the Algerian revolution or other just causes throughout history. The conclusion, however, was that it cannot be compared to any.
What happened in Palestine since 1947 has never happened before, in terms of the combination of the elements: brutality and racism of the occupier, the injustice of granting one peoples land to others, duration of this injustice, complicity and apathy of the civilized world as well as Palestinian people’s will to resist all that against all odds.
Hence the term the Never-Before Campaign: Injustice that is unfolding like never before met with resistance and resilience, also like never before.
The Never-Before-Campaign for Palestine is a Beirut-based campaign launched by individuals of different professional backgrounds, including sociologists, political scientists and communications experts.
The Never-Before-Campaign calls for a new approach to support Palestine, and its people, their cause and their resistance movements. This new approach veers away from the traditional competitions for victim-hood which usually seek to elicit the worlds pity. Pity only yields sympathy.
For decades, Palestinians have been treated, at best, as poor unfortunate beings who might deserve charity and maybe some humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Israel decides, at its own leisure, which bits of the usurped rights to give back.
The Campaign aims at commanding respect. The world does not respect the meek, rather the powerful and the confident. The Palestinian people are victims here, but they are also resilient and determined. The Campaign seeks to communicate this image to the world.
In addition, the image of resistance, that has been suppressed for fear of being confused with terror, is also and integral part of the campaign. No cosmetics, no facades. A masked gunman is the current image of the Palestinian resistance, whether we like it or not. It is this masked freedom fighter facing the might of the Israeli army that makes us proud. The campaign does not succumb to Western sensitivities of the post 9-11 era.
The West and the whole world are at fault here, not the Palestinian people or the resistance movements. The Campaign addresses that issue: Palestine will not wait for Western remorse that always comes too late, such as for the Holocaust, Rwanda and South Africa.
The Campaign recognizes growing awareness about the Palestinian cause all over the world and builds on it. It targets different sets of audiences at the same time.
The Never Before Campaign has no political or religious affiliation, it only has one enemy. All those fighting for the same cause are allies to the Campaign. Our purpose is to make those allies as numerous as possible and to share the credit with them once our cause is victorious.
Israel is not just a social or political fact that requires scientific analysis and explanation; from its very inception until today, its longstanding and consistent record of aggression, murder and displacement— to name but a few ways in which it is an existential threat— have consecrated its status as a value judgement in much the same way that moral concepts like evil and injustice are. We should soon reach the stage whereby we don’t have to explain why Israel should cease to exist, just as we are not required to explain why evil should cease to exist , other than to say “because it’s Israel, stupid”.
A must read and must watch, not because there is anything particularly novel here but so that it serves as a reminder that although all societies contain evil sadists who hurt children, only in Israel do we find an entire culture which has been socialized to celebrate the killing and torture of children.
I really don’t understand how some Arabs still entertain the possibility of a two state solution, or even a one-state solution where Palestinians are supposed to “coexist” with Zionists who have been acculturated this way.
EI link here
Inshallah Palestinians will soon return to a liberated homeland and will no longer have to put up with Arabs’ disgusting racism any more.
“That was the case after the army launched its campaign against them in the Saida region after the exile of General Michel Aoun – those in charge at the time thought that would appease the dejected Christians. It was also the case in the insane campaign against Nahr al-Bared a few years ago, an abominable military assault launched under the banner of going after terrorists and criminals.”
“Some have raised the question recently, if we should still fight for Palestine if the Palestinians themselves (i.e. Hamas) turn to non violent resistance. It got me thinking about how these Arab uprisings have introduced a new liberal democratic political discourse which has effectively removed Palestine from the forefront of Arabs’ concerns given that they are too engrossed in their own domestic problems. Palestine is increasingly perceived nowadays as just another Arab nation which is alone responsible for freeing itself from its internal (read, Palestinian) oppressors, over and above its Israeli ones. In effect, it has now become something of a taboo to speak for the Palestinian cause if one is not Palestinian.
This is a very dangerous development and trend. There is no surer way to kill the Palestinian cause, and diminish its moral, intellectual and political significance, than to reduce it to a national cause that belongs exclusively to the Palestinians. Yes, it is first and foremost a national cause, but as the cornerstone of our political identity and culture, it is also an Arab cause, as well as an Islamic cause on account of the sanctity of al-Quds.
Of course, the Palestinian people are ultimately responsible for liberating their homeland and nobody can replace their role as the standard-bearers of this cause, nor does anyone have the right to speak on their behalf, but that doesn’t exempt any of us from our duty to contribute to this liberation. If Hamas and other groups momentarily relinquish their historic duty, that does not absolve the rest of us from our responsibility to keep this cause alive and to continue working for Palestine’s liberation. Even if we cannot lead this struggle in the absence of a Palestinian leadership willing to do so, we still have to wage this struggle from the sidelines until these groups reclaim their role.
Palestine is what makes us Arabs in the political sense, it is what makes us Arabs in the moral sense— this is how generations of us have been socialized. To conceive of our role in any other way is to unlearn what we have been socialized into; it is to unlearn Palestine.”
Forget the regular ad hominem attacks by colonized Arab tweeps who support the Syrian pseudo-“revolution” and western liberal hipsters, when you have correspondents, editors and representatives from Newsweek, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, the New York Times, and Human Rights Watch expressing their “disgust” at your refusal to submit to their reality enforcement and at the fact that you dared challenge the consensus reality they have so successfully manufactured, you know you are on the right track. So long as I never find myself standing on the same side of the political divide as these liberal imperialists, I know I am on the side of justice, on the path to al-Quds. As for my Arab “revolutionary” and fence-sitting peers, what can I say? The day will come when events will make you cringe with embarrassment at the stand you assumed today and you will try to brush it under the carpet. And we will indulge you because our unity will always be paramount.