Israel reported a record $7.2 billion weapons exports solidifying its position in the top four countries profiting from war and destruction. The other two main official sources of income for Israel (foreign aid and its pillaging of the Palestinian economy) are also at a record high. A fourth source of income that is less publicized but certainly is in the billions is money laundering and other criminal activities. Many make billions by illicit schemes in their own countries and then move to Israel or at least move their money there (there are many examples among Russian and American Zionists). Israel is indeed in a very strong position financially and militarily. Israel is also aided by a massive media campaign that vilifies Palestinians (and now Muslims and Arabs in general). On the ground, Jerusalem has largely been transformed and its multi-ethnic, multi-religious character meticulously eroded just like what happened to Jaffa and Haifa before and just like what is happening in Hebron and elsewhere today. But we are not entirely helpless in facing the last remaining bastion of fascism and racism that is protected by state power and a global network of hate peddlers.
Yes, it is true that our struggle is more difficult than what transpired against apartheid in South Africa. Yes, it is true that our ‘leadership’ has been reduced making weak declarations in fancy hotels and conference centers and to the media. This ‘leadership’ is paid handsomely for doing nothing useful to change the political discourse or even increase the cost of this colonial Zionist venture. Worse yet, a good segment of this ‘leadership’ actually aids and abets the occupiers. Salam Fayyad who worked at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), declares that he is fully in favor of the appointment of the head of the Central Bank in Israel as head of the IMF! He also worked hard to get funding to pave alternative roads that made it easier on the apartheid system isolating Palestinians in cantons than need not interfere with the plans to control the natural resources and best lands of the West Bank. And then there is Mahmoud Abbas who declared on more than one occasion and also even signed a provisional agreement with Israelis that also declared that refugees need not return to their homes and lands but only to the demilitarized denuded bantustan called a Palestinian state. Abbas also declared repeatedly that his options are negotiations, negotiations, negotiations. He and his associates (Saeb Erekat, Abu Ala’ etc) have been negotiating for 20 years with the only tangible accomplishment being giving Israel economic and diplomatic space to consolidate Zionist colonialism. But this era of Israeli colonial superiority must and is coming to an end.
While we in the civil society still hope for these ‘leaders’ to change their ways, we have not been waiting. We have been acting and must act more. The upcoming escalation in confrontation will not be between states nor will it be with ‘insurgency’ in its classic sense. What we see instead is a growth in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions and what transpired by freedom flotilla I, events of May 15, June 5th, the upcoming freedom flotilla II, and July 8-16 are so critical. We have individual and collective responsibility to change things by moral and determined ways. The other options have been proven catastrophically negative: relying on politicians (elected or self-appointed) or on the vagaries of shifting military capabilities (a dangerous development in the era of advanced science that makes development of weapons of mass destruction relatively easy even for small state and non-state actors). Let no one have any illusion: we are coming to a major confrontation. It can either be 1) a civil confrontation where civil society wins the struggle because it got engaged in these tactics of strong and determined popular resistance, or 2) it can happen via armed insurgency that uses modern technology to challenge conventional military forces. Hezbollah in Lebanon provides a model of mixing the two but with more reliance on the second. In challenging local dictatorship, we saw the power of civil resistance in Egypt and Tunisia. Challenging colonialism successfully happened with a mix of the two in Algeria (liberated in the 1960s) and South Africa (more recently). But the mix in South Africa was improved thanks to International civil participation. Each situation is unique and our local history here and the upcoming confrontation will also be unique to Palestine and different than in these other places. But it is clear that we have a responsibility as individuals in our society to try to shape the coming confrontation so that it is not catastrophically violent (i.e less ‘military might makes right’ and more ‘people power’). Our future as humans depends on us working together to change our circumstances. Those who think they can afford to sit and wait (and watch TV news) will miss the moving train of justice and will regret their apathy. We Palestinians must carry the bulk of the weight (I remember the image of the old man carrying Jerusalem and Palestine on his back). But we humans are all responsible. We cannot be lulled by ‘humanitarian aid’ or by ‘state’ and non-state structures that give the illusions of safety and security whether in the US, Europe, Australia, the apartheid state of Israel, or in the bantustans called a Palestinian state. Everyone knows that that old system merely makes the rich richer, the poor poorer, destroys our environment, and lets us have fake elections between waves of certain economic downturns and the occasional war or terror attack that aims to distract us.
For those of you in Palestine, you may want to join us for a workshop this Saturday, 18 June, at 11 Am in the Bethlehem area that will bring dozens of activists from throughout Palestine and some internationals to help organize us better for the week of activities in July and beyond. We also just updated our website with new answers to frequently asked questions on this (see http://palestinejn.org/section-blog ). For those of you abroad, you could intensify your efforts to challenge the status quo. We are one world and our struggles are one.
Freedom Flotilla 2
Calls for sanctions against Israel rise in EU
People Power By Erica Chenoweth
From Cairo, Egypt, to Madison, Wisconsin, civil society is fighting back through massive nonviolent resistance. But what makes for a successful campaign? The data is in.
Palestine Writing Workshop in Bethlehem, July 2011: additional information and registration at www.palestineworkshop.org
Action: 51,000 people signed asking TIAA-CREF to divest from apartheid. We must insist that they respond to investor demand for a vote on the issue. Their meeting is in Charlotte NC, USA July 19. There is a campaign where you can help from anywhere: http://wedivest.org/
[there are also other actions – email me for details]
Bienvenue en Palestine 2011 (French) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpVQIBpzsTI