Palestine : Again and Always, Forever and Ever

On Sunday 29th of November, it was the United Nation International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and for this reason we thought it is important to remind everyone of the daily sufferings of the Palestinians, and of the Israeli criminal and colonial policy towards them. The Palestinian misfortune has now been going on for decades with no true and real efforts from the International Community to pressure Israel to grant the people of Palestine a State and a better life. The Palestinian has been left alone to struggle against the occupation and this has been the case for a while, western countries have shown hypocrisy towards the Palestinians since the beginning of the conflict; while Israel’s development was based on violence and the negation of the other, the Palestinians. These elements have lead us today to a catastrophic situation in Palestine, from a political to a humanitarian level. We would like to remind everyone some truths and realities which are the everyday life of people living under occupation.

Firstly, let us clearly state what some people seem to have forgotten: Zionism is a racist movement. Whether it could have had in the beginning of the movement a weak project for a national democratic state between Palestinians and the newly arrived Jews is not the issue, it is definitely Jabotinsky’s movement of thought which has influenced and inspired today’s Israeli politicians’ actions towards the Palestinians and more generally Israeli institutions. He will be one of the first to promote the idea of the “transfer of Palestinians”, that is to say their expulsion beyond the Jordan River, and for the establishment by any means of a Jewish State. Besides, the first political assassination committed by the Zionists in 1924 was against a Palestinian Jew, Jacob De Haan, who was going to London to ask the British to repeal the Balfour Declaration[1]. Since then the Zionist ideology has become the mainstream ideology in the Israeli society and particularly entered the education system, where it is taught that the Jewish people were exiled during 2000 years and thanks to Zionism, these latter were able to come back on the land of their ancestors. This theory of the exodus is now questioned by the the historian Schlomo Sand’s book (How was the Jewish people invented?). The Palestinians in the Israeli textbooks are not really one people but more or less a kind of diverse population’s mixture brought by the Ottomans and numerically insignificant. To be Zionist, is to therefore find legitimate the ownership of Palestine in 1948, Israel’s creation and the expulsions of the Palestinians. As a reminder, in 1948, the Jewish forces seized 78% of Palestine while destroying more than 500 Palestinians villages and pushing into exile 750 000 to 800 000 Palestinians.
Unfortunately, Zionism is far from being outdated; indeed the quasi totality of the Israeli political movements recognized themselves in this ideology. A small minority of Israelis, whom we want to encourage and welcome, is despite of all struggling against this racist ideology and against the occupation. They are intellectuals such as Michel Warschawski, Amira Hass, Gidéon Lévy, Nurit Peled, Ilan Pappé, Uri Avnéry, or small groups such as women in black, refuzniks, anarchist against the wall, and also three political parties represented in the Knesset[2].

Secondly, we would like to condemn the International Community’s hypocrisy in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its total support to Israel. They have pursued a policy that on the one side supports the modernization and the edification of the Palestinian Authority’s structure and facilities while on the other side they are not pressuring Israel to fulfill its International commitments towards the Palestinians and allow the foundation of a Palestinian State. The Palestinians therefore benefit from a customs service upscale but they do not have the control of their borders, they have launched an enormous program to register hundreds of thousands of parcels of land while Israel continues to expropriate them and Palestinian Policemen are allowed to follow training outside the country but they are not authorized to circulate from a city to another[3]. The Israeli army still refuses the deployment of the Palestinian police in 80% of the West bank[4]. Of course Gaza, controlled by the Hamas, is put aside from this “institution building” program.
The hypocrisy continues when we are the witnesses of the gathering of all the powerful countries in the world to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. These same countries which are so enthusiasts about this event and welcoming it as a page of freedom in history are surprisingly silent when it comes to the Wall of Separation in Palestine. The Western governments have besides completely ignored the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) confirming the illegality of the wall, and asking Israel to dismantle it. As a snub to history and as a reminder to the International Community, a group of young Palestinians destroyed part of the Wall near Qalandiya on November 10th, exactly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall[5]. The Wall of Separation is eight meters high, 750 kilometers long, three times longer than the Berlin Wall and twice as high, this “Apartheid Wall” encloses more than three million people in dozens of towns and villages in the West Bank and Jerusalem area[6].
Far from being the end, in Germany, which was still celebrating the fall of the Wall and freedom, the municipality of Munich has forbidden the Professor Ilan Pappe to use the room where his conference was organized, after receiving a letter from the “Israeli German association of Munich” stating that this conference would turned into an anti Israeli propangada if it were to happen[7]. The freedom of expression when it comes to make people aware of the suffering of the Palestinians has become Persona non grata.
The humanitarian situation of the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, has reached an unprecedented level and this with no reaction from the International Community to stop the blockade and ease the life of the population. As usual in time of war, the first victims are the children; according to the Health Mental Program for the Gaza Community, more than 60% of the Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disease (PTSD). In addition to this, the same program has shown that hundreds of children have been exposed to white phosphorus launched by the Israeli army during the war last January. I would just like to recall that 1400, including 300 children, were killed and 6000 Palestinians injured by the Israeli forces during the invasion. The conclusion of the Goldstone report stated that the Israeli military offensive on Gaza was prepared in all its phases deliberately disproportionate and aimed at punish, humiliate and terrorize the civilian population[8].

The institutions and houses were equally hit, numerous orchards of the Gaza Strip have now disappeared, and entire farms were razed. The remains of thousands of houses destroyed emit toxic asbestos, while infrastructures dilapidated dump untreated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. According to OCHA, 80% of the water furnished in Gaza does not meet WHO standards for drinking water. Restrictions on materials and goods have left 70% of Gaza farmland without irrigation, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization for (FAO)[9].
The 456 000 students of the Gaza strip are lacking of everything because of the blockade: papers, textbooks, ink cartridges and even school uniforms, school bags and computers. Classes are also completely overpopulated (many classes reach 55 students) and 18 schools have been destroyed while 280 were severely damaged.
The Gaza strip would need 25,000 tons of iron and 40,000 tons of cement to only repair the damages made during the last war against its population, but the blockade prevents any necessary materials convey[10].
The West Bank suffers from the Apartheid wall and the continuous expansion of the settlements. This region is now being heavily colonized by some 220 Israeli settlements and outposts with mass land grabbing and the construction of bypass roads for the settlers and the Apartheid Wall. The West Bank is separated by Israeli forces in numerous security zones separated by around 650 checkpoints which unable Palestinians to move from a city to another or with enormous difficulties.
Palestinians are living in a prison environment, where they are encircled and guarded by the Israeli forces that can repress anyone. An official report from the Minister of Prisoner Affairs revealed that the Israeli Occupation forces have imprisoned around 6200 underage Palestinians since the year 2000, while 42% of Palestinian men have been at least once in their life arrested[11].
What is therefore the outcome, sixteen years after the last Oslo Peace Agreement which promised the creation of a Palestinian State in 1999? We should firstly remind that the Palestinian authority was founded on the following problematic: since the 1967 invasion of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the State of Israel was facing a major challenge, revealed to the world by the 1987 Intifada: the “Jewish and democratic” State occupied territories inhabited by several million of non-Jews and would have to choose sooner or later between the dichotomy of a Democratic or a Jewish State. The Palestinian Authority therefore became through the Oslo agreement the so-called legal institution managing the Palestinian areas, but in reality it was never the forthcoming government of an independent State. The Palestinian authority was never able to control totally more than 18% of the West Bank and Gaza during the last sixteen years. It was actually a State apparatus without a State, built in accordance to the structures of the occupation and over funded by donor countries. His task was to relieve Israel of the powers devolved, under international law, by any occupying power towards sectors such as education, health, social services, etc… The Palestinian Authority played more the role of a subcontractor, via a daily security cooperation with Israeli intelligence, in areas under its control.
The consequences are catastrophic for Palestinians: settlers are around 50000, which is four times more than in 1993, the Judaizing of Jerusalem has accelerated, incursions are daily in so-called autonomous area, where as the Gaza blockade is still going on despite all the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Israeli army. In addition to this, Palestinians are currently left with only 12% of Historic Palestine.
In conclusion, we have seen and observed the daily suffering of the Palestinian people living under occupation. There is no neutrality towards such a situation, only condemnations against Israeli racist behavior, occupation and apartheid system. I am very often accused of being biased regarding this conflict, but is being objective means therefore no condemnation of occupation, of the apartheid system, of daily discrimination and not recalling International Law to solve the conflict? Sometimes when I read or watch news I feel like reminding everyone that Israel is the aggressor and Palestine the victim and that Israelis are the occupiers and Palestinians are occupied and Israel! There is no equality between the two.
Finally, Palestine is very often portrayed as an Arab or Muslim cause; it is far more than this according to me. The Palestinian struggle is in my opinion the cause of any man being discriminated because of its name, religion, color, of any men left out by the globalization, of any men whose lands have been stolen, and this all over the world. The Palestinian issue forces us to reflect on what is our role in this tragedy: are we going to watch an ethnic cleansing without saying anything? The Palestinian struggle is a humanist struggle where any man can feel connected to it because any Palestinian has lived once this same feeling under occupation. Palestine is our conscience and we should never forget our conscience!

[1] Stambul P ; L’opinion israélienne et le complexe de Massada ; 23 novembre 2009,
[2] Stambul P ; L’opinion israélienne et le complexe de Massada ; 23 novembre 2009,
[3]Barthe B. ; Les projets contrariés de l’Autorité palestinienne‏ ; lundi 23 novembre 2009, envoyé spécial à RamallahLe Monde
[4] Barthe B. ; Les projets contrariés de l’Autorité palestinienne‏ ; lundi 23 novembre 2009, envoyé spécial à RamallahLe Monde
[5] Orient le Jour, 10/11/2009
[6]Naba R., Le doyen des prisonniers politiques dans le monde ; 24 novembre 2009
[7] Sarah Stricker ; Le mur a peut-être disparu en Allemagne … mais la liberté d’expression également ; mercredi 18 novembre 2009

[8] Orient le Jour ; Gaza : les États arabes insistent à l’ONU pour obtenir des enquêtes ; 05/11/2009
[9] Erin Cunningham ; Gaza : la situation environnementale est d’une urgence majeure ; 11 mai 2009; The Electronic Intifada
[10] Erin Cunningham ; Gaza : la situation environnementale est d’une urgence majeure ; 11 mai 2009; The Electronic Intifada
[11] Naba R., Le doyen des prisonniers politiques dans le monde ; 24 novembre 2009

Comments
3 Responses to “Palestine : Again and Always, Forever and Ever”
  1. angie nader says:

    thanks for posting on such a topic! its always good reading the truth, when it seems so many people are blind to it

  2. Thanks for your comments and support :-)!

  3. Mouniah says:

    Intéressant! C'est un peuple qu'il ne faut pas oublier et qui fait preuve de courage pour continuer a faire face aux difficultés du quotidien, quand nous nous aurions baissé les bras depuis longtemps.Ce qui me donne le plus d'espoir c'est de voir que malgré la farouche aversion qu'éprouvent bcp d'Israeliens pour toute paix entre Israel et les Palestiniens, il y a un élan timide mais croissant de désolidarisation avec Israel comme vous l'avez dit dans l'article, dans le monde et au sein même du territoire israelien. Rejet de la part d'une minorité de citoyens qui s'est entre autres illustré dans le refus de la conscrition obligatoire dans l'armée, avec pour conséquence la mise sur liste noire de ces citoyens, de perpétration d'actes de violence à leur encontre, de privation d'emploi et d'autres sanctions économiques.J'entend parler de recherches actuellement conduites par des médecins et psychologues sur les effets pervers de cette implantation par la violence maximale sur une frange de la population israelienne, comme troubles psychologiques, angoisse et agressivité, dépression collective et malaise. Mais difficile de trouver des articles dessus.A bientot ^^

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