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Volume No. 56

January, 2009

               WHY PALESTINIANS NEED OUR SOLIDARITY

by
Roland G. Simbulan

2009 opened with the salvo of horrific bombings by the Israeli Army against Palestinian refugees in a concentrated settlement referred to as the GAZA STRIP. These murderous attacks, though they have been condemned  universally by almost all mainstream peoples,  governments and international humanitarian organizations worldwide, still do not reflect the wider context of why Palestinians have become refugees in their own lands in such settlements like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. As U.S.-supplied Israeli rocket shells, missiles and bombs wreak havoc on Gaza and its Palestinian inhabitants in a one-sided war, we would do well to reflect on what this conflict is all about.

The humanitarian and human rights aspect of the conflict has been emphasized in the media, including the blockade of vital medical supplies, food, water and fuel going to Gaza. But why are Palestinians in Gaza (Strip) as well as in the West Bank, and why are they segregated from what is now Israel? This was exactly the way the Black African majority were segregated from the white minority in Apartheid South Africa before 1992.

According to Robert Fisk, a British correspondent for the paper, The Independent and who has covered the Middle East for the past thirty years, 80 per cent of the residents of Gaza were the original owners of the lands which are now occupied by the State of Israel. Palestinians were forcibly relocated to the Gaza settlements as their lands were occupied and annexed by the powerful militarist-capitalist Jewish Zionists which created Israel.

This was after World War II, when the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Europe where 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis before and during  the reign of Hitler. Wealthy Jewish bankers, businessmen and militarists  sought to lay claim to their Biblical homeland that Abraham and Moses promised.  The problem was that this land was already occupied by Palestinian Arabs.

The 1948 creation of the State of Israel was founded on the land grab of Palestinian land where the Israeli Zionists drove 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and relocated them to Gaza and the West Bank. Under the aegis of the Zionists’ “Plan D”, a systematic program of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs from their villages to drive them out, Israel was created. All of this was backed up by the United States, the British and other Western powers.  Many more Palestinians who lost their lands and survived the massacres of genocidal proportions against them, fled and became refugees and exiles in neighboring Arab countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, etc..This is the historical basis of the Palestinian people’s struggles against Israeli occupation, which Zionism has attempted to erase from the public mind and memory.

As if all this was not enough, Israel has  continued the expulsion, assassinations, and  dispossession of all Palestinians from  their lands, uprooting them from their own remaining land in shrinking Palestinian territories, and bulldozing  Palestinian homes. This is in the pretext that there are hidden tunnels. Israel recently engaged in the construction of an “Apartheid Wall” to segregate Palestinians and keep them caged in from Jews “as a military precaution versus future terrorism by the Palestinians.”

The Palestinian people, –unlike Israel occupiers — having no army, no navy , no tanks, no helicopter gunships, no F-16 Fighter planes, no naval vessels, in their struggle for social justice, have resorted to political, diplomatic, initiatives and desperate measures such as guerrilla warfare, the Intifada Uprising, and suicide attacks.  Overall, Palestinian outrage against the annexation and cantonization of their valuable land and resources like water, have generally been in the form of civil disobedience, or “human shields” by the general Palestinian population.

In the past decades, the Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO under Yasser Arafat, led the Palestinian people’s struggle for their occupied lands. Lately, the Palestinian people democratically elected an Islamic political party, HAMAS to lead them in the struggle to defend their rights and advance their struggle for social justice.

Operating against any form of Palestinian resistance to occupation is the  Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), one of the most modern armies of the world, which does not only produce and export its weapons; MOSSAD, Israel’s intelligence and security agency, is considered one of the most ruthless intelligence organizations in the world, having assassinated many Palestinian resistance fighters in many parts of the world. All forms of  resistance by Palestinians to occupation inside and outside of Israel have been branded as “terrorism” by both Israel and the United States.

Israel is even supported and armed to the teeth by the United States which has provided it with vital tanks, missiles and logistics, including intelligence.  All of Israel’s political and diplomatic initiatives in the United Nations have been supported almost automatically by the United States. The U.S. and Israel  have always voted together trying to block United Nations Resolutions related to the welfare of the Palestinian peoples. Some of these examples of the U.S.and Israel voting together in isolation are the following:

In Dec. 18, 1978, the United Nation General Assembly passed Resolution 33/75, ON THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, with 110 YES VOTES. There were only 2 NO VOTES, by Israel and the United States;

In Dec. 14, 1979, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 34/100, AGAINST SUPPORT FOR INTERVENTION IN THE INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF STATES, with 104 YES VOTES; There were only 2 votes by Israel and the United States.

In Dec. 17, 1979, the United Nations General Assembly pased Resolution 34/158 , PREPARATIONS AND CARRYING OUT OF THE UN CONFERENCE ON WOMEN, with 121 YES VOTES; only two voted NO, the United States and Israel, because they did not want the Palestinian people to be represented in the UN Conference.

In Dec. 18, 1983, the General Assembly approved Resolution 39/232 , Support for the UN Industrial Development Organization, with 118 YES VOTES, and 2 NO VOTES by the United States and Israel.

In Dec. 13, 1985, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 40/48 MEASURES TO BE TAKEN AGAINST NAZI, FASCIST AND NEO FASCIST ACTIVITIES, with 121 YES VOTES, as against 2 NO VOTES by Israel and the United States;

In Oct. 15, 1987, the UN General Assembly pased Res. 42/5 ON COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES. This was approved with 153 YES VOTES as against 2 NO VOTES by Israel and the United States.

In Nov. 12, 1987, the UN General Assembly approved Resolution 42/18 ON THE NEED FOR COMPLIANCE IN THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE CONCERNING MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES AGAINST NICARAGUA, which was approved by 94 YES VOTES, as against 2 NO VOTES by Israel and the United States;

Finally, in Dec. 17, 1987, the UN General Assembly approved Resolution 42/159 MEASURES TO PREVENT INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, STUDY THE UNDERLYING POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CAUSES OF TERRORISM, CONVENE A CONFERENCE TO DEFINE TERRORISM AND TO DIFFERENTIATE IT FROM THE STRUGGLE OF PEOPLE FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION, which was approved with 153 YES VOTES as against 2 NO VOTES by Israel and the United States.

As if the U.S. and Israel tandem in diplomacy was not enough, the United States also provides most of the vital military logistics and intelligence, especially technical,  to Israel.

Let me highlight the context of the Palestinian question with the following important points:

1. Since World War II, U.S. priorities in the Middle East focused on assuring access of U.S. and Western oil companies to oil in the Middle East.  This was why the creation of Israel by Zionists in 1948 was backed up to the hilt by British and U.S. armaments and diplomacy. Palestinians lost their entire homeland in the process and were placed in containment areas like the GAZA STRIP and WEST BANK.

2. The 1958 Eisenhower Doctrine allowed U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean to defend U.S. and western interests. This was a go-signal for the CIA-initiated military coup detat in Iran against the Iranian head of state and nationalist Mossadegh after he tried to nationalize Western oil companies in Iran; the pro-US Shah of Iran was installed as gate keeper of Western interests in Iran.

3. After 1958, U.S. Middle East policy expanded to include the objective of defending Israel, where US took over British to defend Zionism.

4. Israel today depends on continuing vital U.S. military and economic aid and unswerving political and diplomatic support.  In turn, the U.S. counts on Israel to act as a reliable collaborator in strategic political, military, economic goals. Israel is the NO. 1 recipient of U.S. military assistance to the Middle East, with Egypt, Turkey and Jordan following behind.

5. The United States has been accused of double standards in its Middle East Policy and with Israel along the following lines, and this is why it has lost credibility among many people of the Middle East. Examples are the following:

A. U.S. ignores and even supports human rights violations by its allies like Israel(against Palestinians), Saudi Arabia, etc.but viciously criticizes human rights violations against countries which are not friendly to it as it did against Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

B. The U.S. allows the nuclear arsenal buildup of allies like Israel, but raises hell on the same issue about other countries not friendly to it. The US and Israel cooperated on military research and development and shared advanced technology for the development of the 200+ nuclear bombs at Israel’s DIMONA plant , which neither the U.S. nor Israel has acknowledged.

C. The U.S. ignores fundamental justice of the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, continued settlement expansion, closing Palestinian territories, and liquidation of Palestinian rights to due process. But it raises the same issues against its enemies in the Middle East.

The fundamental question is, can there be peace and justice under Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and the inhuman treatment of Palestinians whose liberties are systematically corroded?  This is not anti-Semitism, but social justice. The real source of strife in the Middle East has always revolved around the Palestinian question since 1948. The abduction, murder and systematic torture of Palestinians in their own lands, make it an imperative for the Palestinians to defend themselves. A 2-state one system settlement has been proposed in the past, but this has been overshadowed by Israel’s continued cantonization( or even racial and religious apartheid) and maltreatment of Palestinians in their remaining but shrinking territories.

Israel has been carved out like a U.S. military base in the Middle East. The United States uses Israel to lay its claim over vital oilfields for U.S. and other Western companies.  In other words, Israel’s role as an imperial base of the United States must provide the context of any discussion of the Gaza and Palestinian question.  The Gaza carnage and attacks, Palestinian Arab and Middle East attitudes towards Israel and th United States can never be understood from a colonialist perspective.

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Note on sources: British journalist Robert Fisk is probably the best source on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and probably on the Middle East. He is the author of the book, The Great War for Civilization (The Conquest of the Middle East), and Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon. He has covered and lived in  the Middle East for the past 30 years as a correspondent for the British newspaper, THE INDEPENDENT.

 

* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)

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