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Palestine Path: Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after U.N. Security Counc

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Palestine Path

Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334

Mark Hage

Contents

Chapter 1

Palestine Path

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Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334

***

In late December, while cashing out at a local store, an elderly woman I didn’t know approached me. What drew her interest was a sweatshirt I was wearing that had “Palestine” emblazoned on the front.

“Interesting shirt,” she said. “Especially now.”

Her next utterance surprised me. “Well, it looks like Obama finally grew a pair at the United Nations.”

***

She was alluding to the administration’s decision on December 23, 2016, to abstain on a vote (14-0-1) at the Security Council on Resolution 2334, which, among other things, declared the establishment of Israel’s settlement regime in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to have no “legal validity.” The U.S. abstention assured the resolution’s passage and ignited a firestorm of protest from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his devoted Orcs within and outside Israel.

***

“Yes, it appears our departing president did grow a pair of sorts,” I responded, laughing. “It’s a terrible shame he didn’t grow them sooner.”

***

UNSC Resolution 2334

***

What’s all the fuss about over UNSC 2334? It’s not the first international declaration by any means to assert categorically that Israel’s settlements have no legal foundation and are an obstacle to peace, or to demand that activities related them cease immediately. The closets at the U.N. are full of Security Council resolutions critical of Israeli state actions perpetrated inside and outside occupied Palestine. Even Reagan refused to block a bundle of them.

***

As it pertains to Israel’s occupation, settlements, and a two-state solution, by adopting UNSC Resolution 2334, the Security Council…

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“1.   Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

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“2.   Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

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“3.   Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

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“4.   Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution;

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“5.   Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

“9.   Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;….”

***

The resolution further [_“Requests _]the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;….”

***

What UNSC Resolution 2334 might bring to fruition down the road is impossible to say. Norman Finkelstein, long-time scholar on Israel-Palestine and anti-occupation activist, makes the case that this resolution, textually speaking, is significant and should be considered a victory. But he also cautions that there have been many “paper victories” for the Palestinians in the international arena, “…many more documents enshrining Palestinian rights than there ever were with the Zionist movement.” But such documents amount to little or nothing unless something is done with them, unless they are used effectively to raise public awareness and mobilize popular resistance.

***

A betting person, weighing the odds in light of the Obama years, Netanyahu’s expansionist objectives, the weakness of the current Palestinian leadership, and Trump’s ideology, would be a fool to wager that UNSC 2334 will fundamentally alter the political landscape in occupied Palestine. Like so many resolutions and “peace proposals” before it, it may well be rendered moot.

***

The Obama Legacy on Palestine

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Anatomical metaphors aside, Barack Obama, our president of “hope and change,” brought neither to occupied Palestine. In fact, the historical record reveals that his administration actively and often aggressively blocked or failed to initiate efforts that would have made both possible.

***

There’s an excellent retrospective analysis of Obama’s actions and foreign policy on Palestine in the Autumn 2016 edition of the Journal of Palestine Studies by Josh Ruebner, policy director of the U.S Campaign for Palestinian Rights and author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Verso, 2013). The article is titled “Obama’s Legacy on Israel/Palestine.”

***

R uebner details how little -- good , lofty and occasionally empathetic rhetoric notwithstanding -- Obama did for the Palestinian people, and, more to the point, how much damage his administration inflicted on them, directly and indirectly, in collusion with Israel. Here’s a sampling of the Palestine wreckage from the Obama years:

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The Obama administration successfully marshalled its diplomatic resources and bully pulpit to block statehood recognition and UN membership for Palestine in 2011.

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That same year, the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlement expansion, even though the wording was mild and consistent with official US policy. Secretary of State John Kerry proudly made note of this in his remarks on December 28, which were also highly critical of Israel’s settlement expansion (more on that below). Kerry made reference to the 2011 veto to underscore the point that the Obama administration has steadfastly been Israel’s sword and shield at the U.N. He said, “Yet despite growing pressure, the Obama Administration held a strong line against UN action, any UN action, we were the only administration since 1967 that had not allowed any resolution to pass that Israel opposed.” [emphasis added]. 

***

In 2009, overtly and covertly – thank you, Wikileaks, for pulling back the curtain on this – the U.S. devised strategies, in tandem with Israel and other world leaders, on the “best means to deflect and contain the Goldstone Report.” That 575-page report, you will recall, was the product of a detailed investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel’s armed forces and Hamas’s fighters during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. During a three-week period of hostilities in Gaza, Israel killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used their clout to effectively bury the Goldstone Report and, thus, protect Israel from potential accountability against the charge of war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

***

In February, 2009, on the blockade of Gaza, a leaked cable from the US Consulate in Jerusalem, called attention to the fact that Israel “continues to reject many everyday items with limited, if any, dual use, e.g., toothpaste, shampoo, children’s toys, and clothing” from entering the Strip. Just the same, the Obama administration did virtually nothing to lift the hermetic siege of Gaza, then or afterwards. According to Ruebner, “…[a]fter Israel blocked a Mercy Corps delivery of macaroni to the Gaza Strip that same month, a State Department spokesperson refused to answer a question as to whether ‘pasta should fall into a specific category…of humanitarian assistance of not.’”

***

In 2010, Israeli commandos murdered 10 activists aboard the Mavi Marmara as it was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza. One of the slain was Furkan Dogan, a U.S. citizen. Once again, backed by diplomatic muscle from the U.S., Israel eluded international accountability, and the Obama administration, stonewalled repeatedly by Israeli officials, dropped efforts to seek justice for Dogan and his family.

***

Obama rallied to Israel’s side in November, 2012, when its military attacked Gaza for 8 days (codename: Operation Pillar of Defense), killing 168 Palestinians; 6 Israelis were killed, 4 of them civilians. Obama took no initiatives at the UN to stop the attacks. On this occasion, and not for the last time, the U.S. characterized Israel’s savage belligerency as “self-defense.”

***

Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza in July – August 2014 (Codename: Operation Protective Edge) killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children. 67 Israeli soldiers died in combat; six Israeli civilians were killed. Over 11,000 Palestinians were injured – 10% are living with permanent disabilities – 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed in whole or part, 73 medical facilities were damaged, and extensive harm was done (again) to Gaza’s crippled electrical, water and sewage systems. U.S. weapons played a major role in the killing and devastation, as did U.S.-made, Caterpillar D9 bulldozers, which levelled entire Palestinian neighborhoods. The administration also permitted Netanyahu’s military to draw down on stockpiles of U.S. tank shells and grenades stored in Israel, and Secretary of State John Kerry told the world that Israel’s attacks were “appropriate and legitimate efforts to defend itself.”

***

More recently, in 2016, as the Obama presidency was winding down, the U.S. and Israel inked a new military aid package. Over the next decade, Israel will receive $38 billion in U.S. military funding, the largest military aid package ever authorized by an American president on behalf of any state. American tax dollars in this vein will be directed to sustaining, arming and expanding the state institutions and military forces in Israel responsible for killing, terrorizing, and dispossessing Palestinians.

***

Calculated obstructionism and diplomatic cowardice, combined with an absolutely dismal and duplicitous record of so-called “peace negotiations,” which Ruebner deconstructs as well in his JPS article, will be the enduring legacy of the Obama administration where Palestine is concerned.

***

When John Kerry proclaims that “…the window for a two-state solution is shutting,” he neglects to point out that he and Hillary Clinton, their colleagues and subordinates in the foreign policy establishment, and, of course, their boss, Barack Obama, played their parts to the hilt, individually and collectively, in making sure Palestinians never got within shouting distance of freedom from military occupation and the attainment of a state.

***

One state or two, it didn’t matter. Palestinian statehood was never going to happen on Obama’s watch.

He and his lot bent their knees to Israel consistently and proudly when Palestinian life, human rights, and elemental justice were in the balance…when “growing a pair” might have stopped atrocities and derailed Israel’s colonial-apartheid machinations.

***

The Obama administration deceived and betrayed the Palestinians, profoundly and consequentially, but the American people as well, who, as noted, will continue to massively subsidize Israel’s occupation for the foreseeable future.

***

And, like past presidents, Obama stood resolutely against the will of most of the world’s nations, which annually in the General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority, endorse a two-state solution and reaffirm the illegality of Israel’s settlements. This comes by way of a resolution called “Peaceful settlement to the question of Palestine.” On November 30, 2016, less than a month before the U.S. abstained on UNSC 2334, Samantha Power, American ambassador to the U.N., voted against the annual GA Palestine resolution without fanfare. It passed nonetheless on a vote of 153 to 7 (United States, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau,), with 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tonga, Vanuatu).

***

Netanyahu didn’t throw a tantrum or promise retribution at this outcome because, as long as the U.N. is not imposing sanctions on Israel and the U.S. is dutifully voting as Israel would like, he couldn’t give a damn what happens in the General Assembly. Besides, the American press slept through this voting exercise, just as it has every other year. I mean, it’s just a vote that engages and unifies most of the planet’s countries, and who cares what they think.

***

Obama & the Israel Lobby

***

Obama’s refusal to do at the Security Council on December 23 what Israel considers an entitlement brings a measure of satisfaction to those of us who care about holding Israel accountable for its crimes. But it doesn’t excuse Obama’s shameful record of complicity with Israel, and it begs a number of questions, including: Why did he wait so long?

***

Philip Weiss, co-founder of the blog Mondoweiss, argues in a December 29th posting that Obama’s “last-minute gyrations” at the U.N. did not come sooner during his presidency, when they could have had a decisive and transformative influence, because of powerful domestic and electoral pressures, especially after Hillary Clinton decided to run for president.

***

Weiss is talking about the Israel lobby and its deep, pernicious influence, particularly in the Democratic Party. Here, in a nutshell, is his explanation of why Obama chose not to act against Netanyahu until late in 2016, and, then, only by way of an abstention at the Security Council:

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The Israel lobby was against any real action. Jewish Americans of my generation and older opposed any pressure on Israel. So there was no pressure (till now, and Trump).

***

Here is a fact that proves my point: John Kerry’s closing act as secretary of state is a 72-minute speech devoted to a problem that was removed from the Democratic Party platform just five months before. Remember – Clintonites insisted that the words settlements and occupation appear nowhere in the party platform.”

***

The Israel lobby in the United States has broad and unfettered access to those in power and to the shapers of mass public opinion, and its bank accounts are substantial. Money flows mostly to Democratic Party candidates each election season from pro-Israel donors. This is what nobody talks about in polite circles. There was an unusually frank discussion of this topic last April at a synagogue in Washington, D.C., featuring J.J. Goldberg of the Forward, the leading, Jewish media outlet in the United States.

***

According to Mr. Goldberg, of the top 50 donors to 527s and super-PACs, 14 are contributors to the Democratic Party…and only one was not Jewish. Of the 36 Republican big spenders, only eight were Jewish. His comments came in response to a question about funding and pro-Israel politics from Roger Cohen of The New York Times. The source of his data was the Center for Responsive Politics, which researches where big political money comes from and in whose pockets it ends up.

***

As Obama was preparing for his grand exit in late December, the American public was exposed for a brief interlude to a flurry of official statements about Israel and its settlements that the Israel lobby has attacked relentlessly and systematically for decades, and generally succeeded in suppressing or discrediting in the halls of Congress and in the TV studios and newsrooms of the corporate media.

***

The recent pronouncements by its BFF that Israel and its American lobby found so unforgiveable, on par with treason, can be described as controversial, outrageous, or bold only if one ignores the last half century of Israeli repression, war, torture, home demolitions, land and water theft, and colonization in the occupied territories, both Palestinian and Syrian; pretends that the Palestinian Nakba of 1948-49 never happened; and[_ refuses _]to take Netanyahu and his gang of coalition thugs at their word when they vow to prevent, now and forever, the creation of a viable Palestinian state, to block the “Right of Return” of Palestinian refugees, and to sabotage the achievement of full equality by the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, the greatest number of whom are Palestinian.

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Israel’s Outrage & the Shadow of the International Criminal Court

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Benjamin Netanyahu, in the wake of UNSC Resolution 2334, behaved like a man in the grip of hysteria. As reported in the New York Times, he described the resolution as “distorted,” “delusional,” and “absurd.” New Zealand’s sponsorship of and vote for the resolution, he spouted, was the equivalent of “a declaration of war.” While waiting for a propitious moment to implant his head securely up Donald Trump’s ass for the next four years, he also recalled Israeli ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal, two of the resolution’s four sponsors, cut off foreign aid to Senegal, and threatened to end nearly $8 million in Israeli pledges to U.N. institutions.

***

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., the lamentable Danny Danon, added his voice to Israel’s mad chorus. Danon, who has called on Israel to annex all of its settlements in the West Bank, made it abundantly clear that Israel would continue to build “homes in the Jewish people’s historic homeland.” Translation: Fuck the United Nations. Israel will keep confiscating and colonizing occupied Palestinian land as it sees fit, killing, impoverishing, and rendering homeless Palestinians until they show themselves to be more pliant to the dictates of military occupation and Jewish colonial imperatives.

***

Vijay Prashad, journalist, historian, and professor of International Studies at Trinity College, has an compelling perspective on what is chiefly motivating the hyperbolic and aggressive Israeli response. It is not the resolution per se, but Israel’s fear of facing legal action at the International Criminal Court.

***

Prashad wrote in Counterpunch.org:

The UN resolution — important as it is in itself — is not what Israel fears. What troubles Tel Aviv are the steps that would come after this resolution, particularly from the International Criminal Court (ICC). In January 2015, the ICC’s Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation into Israel’s actions during the 2014 bombing of Gaza and into the illegal settlements. Ms. Bensouda has since made it clear that she would not move forward to a full criminal investigation without substantial political clarity from the UN Security Council.

***

Resolution 2334 produces the political will for such a move by the ICC. With Palestine as a recognized state in the UN as of 2012, and as a member of the ICC since 2014, and with this resolution now in force, the ICC could move in the next few months to a rigorous investigation of Israeli criminality. This would threaten the settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but it would also pressure Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in any future criminal bombardment of Gaza. Whether the Palestinian leadership has the courage to insist on this remains to be seen.

***

Prashad also reminds us, as have other commentators, that the U.S. has abstained on major U.N. resolutions critical of Israel over the decades. But American vetoes to protect Israel increased, he says, after the establishment of the ICC in the post-Oslo period:

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Four years after Oslo, the international community passed the Rome Statute for the establishment of the ICC. It was this new development — the ICC — rather than the Oslo Accords that increased the vetoes exercised by the U.S. in the UN Security Council to protect Israel. The Israeli establishment worried that the ICC would legitimately turn its gaze on issues such as population transfer and war crimes. The ICC — under pressure to investigate crimes outside the African continent — could find that Israeli actions provide a legitimate site of inquiry. The vetoes from Washington prevented any legal foundation for ICC action against Israel.

***

Prosecutor Bensouda’s investigators visited the West Bank and East Jerusalem in October this year. The ICC said that this was not part of its preliminary investigation, but it is hard to imagine that this is true. The new UN Security Council resolution harkens back to more radical postures from it in 1979 and 1980 as well as to the International Court of Justice’s 2014 finding that the ‘apartheid’ wall that entraps the West Bank is illegal. Pressure will mount on her to take her investigation forward.

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The Obama/Kerry Parameters for a Negotiated Settlement

***

Then there’s John Kerry. In his “closing act” on Palestine – his prepared remarks of December 28 – he makes the case that Israel’s settlements are the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East. He even used the word “Nakba” to describe the historic tribulations of the Palestinians (Weiss speculates this may be the first time the word has passed the lips of a State Department official publicly). This earned him praise from several quarters.

***

But Kerry also took the opportunity to delineate and defend “parameters” he and Obama believe must be the foundation for peace talks. Here Kerry’s political-historical myopia on Palestine and pro-Israel bias are most evident, and must not be given a pass simply because he bluntly criticized Israel’s settlements.

***

While deciphering the meaning and consequences of Kerry’s words in the present, we should illuminate what wasn’t said that should have been, both for the sake of the future and to assess and assign appropriate blame for the failures of the past.

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At a minimum, Kerry’s last words on Israel-Palestine should have exposed and condemned the unmitigated horror, criminality, and violence of Israel’s occupation and colonial-apartheid project.

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They should have revealed the Jewish state’s deliberate and sustained subversion, in collaboration with the United States, of every “peace process” to date.

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They should have outlined a radically equitable framework, girded to international law, for prospective negotiations, and exposed the toxic, pro-Israel bias in our media and political culture that grossly distorts how Americans perceive the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

***

But Kerry punted on these issues, and others, while still managing to sound like a long-suffering pilgrim for peace. No doubt, the man was frustrated from having to deal with the obstinate, arrogant, and dishonest Netanyahu. Just the same, most of what Kerry said was grounded to an Israeli-centric discourse. He gave expression to a lot of stock rock gut about the Jewish state, and layered that onto a false or distorted history of Palestine and its liberation struggle. Thus, the Kerry-Obama parameters for peace are incomplete and inherently favorable toward Israel, as Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University took pains to point out in a December 31 opinion piece for “The Guardian.”

***

Khalidi argues persuasively that Kerry’s near-exclusive focus on “Israel’s metastasizing colonial settlement,” important as that problem is, is nonetheless inadequate to the objective of achieving a just and lasting peace. This, simply put, is because “This [Palestine] problem did not start in 1967, and it will not disappear simply by resolving the settlement issue, which in any case neither parameters nor [UNSC 2334] resolution will do.”

***

Khalidi’s additional criticisms of the Obama/Kerry parameters are worth quoting at length:

…[t]hese [Obama/Kerry] parameters were in fact tailored point by point to Zionist desires. Thus they cite UN general assembly resolution 181 in support of the recent Israeli demand for recognition of Israel  as a Jewish state. But instead of that state being confined to the generous frontiers laid down in 1947 in UNGA 181 (which promised more than half of a country with a large Arab majority to its Jewish minority), the Palestinian state is to be restricted to 22% of mandatory Palestine. Moreover, it is to be demilitarized, and will only come into being, if ever, after yet another “transitional period”. Israelis have had independence and sovereignty for 70 years. The Palestinians will have to wait, yet again, for theirs.

***

The parameters enshrine the “land swaps” beloved of peace processors. This innocuous term is in fact designed to allow Israel to snatch even more than 78% of Palestine, exchanging worthless desert for prime real estate.

***

The Kerry/Obama parameters refer to a “just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue”. But how can such a solution be just if descendants of the majority of Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 are explicitly denied return to their homeland? The parameters note that refugees’ “suffering must be acknowledged”. Where is the vital acknowledgment that carving a Jewish state out of a majority Arab country necessarily and inevitably caused that suffering?

***

These parameters call for “freedom of access to the holy sites consistent with the established status quo”, without recognizing that for 50 years Israeli governments have shredded that status quo, desecrating Muslim cemeteries like Mamilla and Bab al-Rahmeh, demolishing ancient Ummayad buildings discovered south of the Haram, and much else, in the race to dig down to the only strata that matter to nationalist Israeli archaeologists. They add that “Jerusalem should not be divided again like it was in 1967,” without addressing the fact that the “unification of Jerusalem” has been a cover for 50 years of land theft and subjugation of more than 400,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites.

***

Then the parameters address the holy of holies: Israel’s “legitimate security needs”. These are treated as unconditional and absolute. In practice they are so elastic that they have been used to deny pasta to besieged Gazans. Typically, the focus is on security for the Israeli occupier, not for the occupied Palestinians, who are in fact utterly insecure. Security for Israel is paired with the “end of occupation”. The latter is conditional: it comes only “after an agreed transitional process” and with the involvement of Egypt and Jordan, which for decades have closely collaborated with the Israeli security services, often against the interests of the Palestinians.

***

Finally, the parameters call for an “end [to] the conflict and all outstanding claims” as part of a normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states. How is that to take place if basic Palestinian claims are ignored, while all serious (and some outrageous) Israeli claims are addressed?

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The Ghost of Lord Balfour

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2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s conquest and occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The former committed the British Empire to the creation of a “Jewish homeland” (read: “nation-state”) in Mandate Palestine, laying the foundation for the eventual establishment in 1948 of Israel and the ensuing ethnic cleansing (the Nakba – “Catastrophe”) of 750,000 Palestinians.

***

Kerry’s selective swan song on Palestine, his proclivity for framing the struggles and suffering of the Palestinian people chiefly through the lens of Zionist ideology and propaganda, brought to mind what his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, revealed in a secret memorandum in 1919 after the issuance of the declaration that bears his name. In the pursuit of establishing a settler-colonial, Jewish state in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, with loyalties to the Crown and British imperialism, Lord Balfour made plain that Palestinians had no needs or aspirations of any import that Britain need trouble itself over:

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…in Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country… The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.

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A century later, Zionist Israel and its illegal, Jewish-only colonies – their “present needs” and “future hopes” – are of “far profounder import” than the lives and rights of 4.5 million Palestinian Arabs under military occupation.

***

Look, Ma, Palestine is Disappearing!

***

No matter how you cut the cake after UNSC 2334 and Kerry’s statements, Benjamin Netanyahu is still in power, presiding over the most right-wing, explicitly racist government in Israel’s history, driving a brutal occupation and rapacious colonial project, and sharpening Israel’s long knives in preparation for the next round of “mowing the grass” in Gaza and his government’s pacification and expulsion program in the West Bank.

***

Netanyahu’s prisons are full of Palestinians, his settlers are fat and happy (gobbling up Palestinian land between spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry’s)…his generals, soldiers, and police are infected by propensities to torture, terror, and violence that have their genesis in the oppression and killing of the innocent with impunity over many years…his bulldozers are razing Palestinian homes, farmlands and orchards every day to make room for more Jewish colonies. Palestine, like an evil conjurer’s trick, continues to disappear from the map.

***

And the weapons Netanyahu and his military deploy liberally – the most sophisticated and deadly in the world – to affect this disappearance and crush popular resistance to it keep flowing from Washington.

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Israel has no Plan B when it comes to Palestine

***

The penultimate objective of the Zionist movement, from its inception in the late 19th century until today, remains fundamentally unchanged: the creation of a racially exclusive Jewish state, with an insurmountable Jewish demographic majority, on all or most of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.

A nation-state, in other words, for, of and by Jews, with as few Arabs on the land as possible.

***

What does this mean for Palestine solidarity activists and people of conscience? First, and most obviously, the Trump years must be a period of unrelenting international resistance to Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

***

Those who stand opposed to Israel’s racist, settler-colonial policies must be committed, no matter the cost, to seeking the fullest measure of justice for the Palestinian people. On this point, there can be no compromise, no retreat, no pessimism.

***

This means, among other things, intensifying our organizing and protests to end the barbaric siege of Gaza. This must be a major priority. According to the World Bank, the Strip is decimated economically and had the highest unemployment rate in the world in 2014 (43%). The U.N. predicted in 2015 that[+ Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020+] unless “herculean efforts” are undertaken.

***

Our efforts must also expand the reach and success of the inspiring, resilient, and growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel’s occupation-settlement regime. (I will devote more time to this in future articles.)

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We must prepare ourselves for an even more devastating onslaught on Palestine and its people. Netanyahu and Trump will easily find common ground in the days of fury to come; they will have much to conspire and lie about.

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Netanyahu, if not stopped, will pursue a scorched-earth agenda. The diplomatic-military partnership between his government and the Trump administration will assuredly and dramatically escalate suffering and death in occupied Palestine.

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So we must resist them fiercely, creatively, and intelligently, giving no quarter, until Israel’s occupation ends, the settlements are dismantled, Palestine is free, and Palestinian refugees are permitted to exercise their rights under international law.

We must build an impenetrable wall of solidarity between Netanyahu-Trump and our brothers and sisters in occupied Palestine.

***

For Palestine, let us be resolved: No justice, no peace.

***

[Mark Hage has long been active in support of the Palestine liberation movement and is a member of Vermonters for Justice in Palestine (www.vtjp.org). He hosts and co-produces _]Salaam Shalom[: Report on Palestine/Israel (https://vimeo.com/salaamshalomvtjp), a bi-weekly television program that airs on Vermont public access television stations._]


Palestine Path: Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after U.N. Security Counc

  • Author: Fomite
  • Published: 2017-01-20 12:55:16
  • Words: 5133
Palestine Path: Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after  U.N. Security Counc Palestine Path: Palestine’s Struggle for Liberation after  U.N. Security Counc