Dropping Slowly

at

Bv-g2SGCIAAF6rq

Gaza on Tuesday morning following the Israel Gaza ceasefire agreement

 

Elaine Bradley is a human rights campaigner working in the West Bank.

Elaine writes:

Peace is a dirty word here in Palestine. Peace and the “Peace Process” have been used for years as a sleight of hand used to lock the Palestinian leadership into talks that have bamboozled the world into believing that good things were happening, progress being made in the painful, puzzling, protracted conflict with Israel.

Wye River, Camp David, Oslo, Hebron, Taba, Beirut – these geographical names each represent a separate peace process that together span decades. And all the while, the occupation has continued. Life has got harder for Palestinians, with Zion’s steady march towards a greater Israel trampling freedom and justice underfoot, their land and resources expropriated together with their means of livelihood.

It was this relentless march that that collapsed the latest US-brokered talks led by John Kerry who, like King Canute before the waves, tried to halt the tide of illegal settlements. As he found them metaphorically lapping around his ankles, he had to admit defeat.

Even Mahmoud Abbas, who has faithfully served the Oslo Agreement and its priority of Israel’s security to the extent that he has earned the reputation quisling, could not stand for this latest humiliating sham.

On June 2, 2014 the Unity Government was born, with Hamas, Fatah, and the various factions here in Palestine burying the hatchet and agreeing to work to their own agenda. This birth was greeted with cautious approbation by the US, UN, EU, China, Russia and Turkey, and with complete apoplexy by Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.

10 short days later, 3 Israeli teens went missing and an 18-day worldwide campaign was launched to publicise the tragedy, despite the fact that Israel knew they were dead within the first 24 hours. Netanyahu’s wife deceitfully led the cynical “Bring Back Our Boys” effort.

In the midst of the global media circus that followed, the finger of blame was firmly pointed at Hamas as the guilty party. Hamas, the bogeymen of the west, were the ones who had ruthlessly taken “our boys”.

This narrative was advanced by Israel, and not just entertained by Western politicians and media, but wined and dined and bedded -despite a firm denial from Hamas themselves.

The effect of this tragic spectacle was twofold –it created a distraction from the rampage Israel embarked on in the West Bank, and it helped to manufacture consent for attacks on Hamas in their Gaza base.

While the world’s eyes were turned to a settler mother going to the UN to pitifully plea for intervention to save the life of her already-dead son, Israel unleashed a maelstrom in the West Bank. They killed 9 Palestinians including 2 children and 1 woman; injured a further 77 people, amongst them 13 children and 5 journalists; arrested 592 – targeting Hamas members and political activists, but also 39 children; demolished 11Palestinian homes against the backdrop of an accelerated programme of settlement building.

The discovery of the bodies of the 3 Israelis on June 30 precipitated violent attacks on the Palestinian communities of the West Bank and East Jerusalem: random attacks on Palestinians in public places, gangs of Israelis chanting death to Arabs and beating people up.

There was a spate of hit and run incidents in which settlers injured Palestinians including a child left unconscious in a ditch. There were also a number of attempted kidnappings. Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted on his way to morning prayers, beaten and burned alive.

Civil unrest broke out amongst the Palestinian community. Rockets were fired from Gaza in response to Israel’s undeniable provocation and Israel dropped bombs. But it was not until after Israel commenced bombing Gaza that Hamas ended it’s ceasefire, which it has held since November 2012, unlike Israel.

Most of the above, told from the Palestinian perspective, went unacknowledged in the Western media who were too busy giving us mawkish coverage of the latest detail in the lives of the 3 kidnap victims and then, after Israel’s bombing of Gaza commenced, reciting their credo of “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

And now here we are.

In the 51 days since Israel embarked on Operation Protective Edge, the latest chapter in its genocidal campaign against Gaza, the score card stands at 2,168 Gazans killed of whom 519 are children; 10,895 people injured – two thirds of them seriously; 3,306 children injured over 1,000 will be left with a permanent disability; almost half of Gaza laid to waste; no sewage treatment; no clean water; no electricity or means to generate it; little food; and around 350,000 displaced or homeless.

The ceasefire of Tuesday evening comes a great relief. Now comes the business of a negotiated settlement leading to a negotiated peace. And therein lies the problem.

Israel is where it like to be – back at the table, back in negotiations which, without drastic intervention will likely be another process in which the pertinent issues are never addressed – the fundamental rights of Palestinians ignored, not just by Israel but by the sponsors of these negotiations and by the international community who reiterate Israel’s media friendly talking points but which evade the core issues.

Human rights and rights under international law are inalienable. This means they cannot be taken away from or given up, and yet this is what Palestinians are consistently asked to do in peace negotiations.

For example, successive Israeli negotiation teams have asked for the Right of Return to be given up in exchange for some concession or other. The State of Israel was created through the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians from their land. Those who are still alive and their descendants, estimated to number about 4.5 million languish in refugee camps in the region or as internally displaced people in Palestine – 80% of the population of Gaza are refugees. Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homeland under international law. A right denied to them for 66 years now.

A little talked about right is the right of a colonized people to fight for liberation from colonization and foreign domination. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of November 29, 1978 “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”

So if armed struggle against occupation is a right, why is the international community supporting Israel’s insistence that the Palestinian resistance in Gaza disarm? Why are they not insisting instead that the occupation ends as, to quote the legendary Dr Mads Gilbert, “If no occupation, no rockets.”

Peace is not merely the absence of hostility; it is an enduring state – the precondition of which is justice. Peace cannot be secured through criminality and oppression. Without justice for Palestinians there can be no peace.

Very few people are aware of the demands of the resistance in Gaza, demands that Israel would not concede to. What was sought were a combination of fundamental human rights- the ending of the illegal blockade that keeps the majority of Gazans impoverished and many near starved; and rights under previous agreements never fulfilled- the building of a seaport, rebuilding of the airport and release of prisoners.

If we, as part of the international community, are serious about peace then we have to stop allowing ourselves to be played for fools by Israel. Our leaders must stop parroting the line about “Israel’s right to defend itself” since, as the occupying power, Israel has no such right. But rather has a responsibility for the protection, health and well-being of the occupied people.

If we truly want peace, then we have to ensure that justice is served.

The demands of the Palestinians in Gaza must be met as a matter of urgency. Israel must be made to account for its war crimes in Gaza and face charges in the International Criminal Court (although Palestine has been put under pressure to trade away that right too). Israel must end the occupation, stop building settlements immediately and give back Palestinian land to its rightful owners. The right to return must be addressed. If this means that there can be no “Democratic Jewish State” as with a majority of Palestinian citizens it cannot be democratic and Jewish in character, then so be it.

We are all lessened by the terrible suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people. Without justice there can be no peace.

Elaine Bradley

Previously: Strange Fruit Among Gaza’s Harvest

Dear Israelis

We Walked In Solidarity

The Mask Is Off And People Know

Pic: Dan Cohen

Sponsored Link

40 thoughts on “Dropping Slowly

  1. edalicious

    “The United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of November 29, 1978 “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;””

    This seems like a hugely important point to the whole conflict. Does it stand up in this situation?

    1. Raymond Deane

      “Using words like ‘score card’ in relation to deaths is disgusting.” But the deaths themselves don’t disgust you?

  2. Yann

    … ” 2,168 Gazans killed of whom 519 are children; 10,895 people injured – two thirds of them seriously; 3,306 children injured over 1,000 will be left with a permanent disability; almost half of Gaza laid to waste; no sewage treatment; no clean water; no electricity or means to generate it; little food; and around 350,000 displaced or homeless.”

    It is inhumain, think these events happened in an area about a 2/3 the size of Dublin!

    How any army expect to successfully fight a so called terrorists army using missiles, bombs, tank shells in a small area like Gaza where live 4.5 million people. It is as ineffectif an indiscrimate as the “carpet bombing tactics” used in Vietnam.

    Just imagine Dublin with 350 000 homeless people on the street and no possibility to have any food, water and medical supplies. Imagine Vincent, the Matter and St James hospital having to deal with such an influx of injured people without half of the current staffing with virtualy no medication and electricity. Imagine Dublin having 1/2 of the city centre wiped out and most the city polluted by dangerous unexploded pieces of weaponery of all sorts.

    I am asking this question : what would you do?

  3. Baz

    Elaine, Human rights campaigner?

    That scrawl reads more like the work of a partisan political agitant

    Perhaps Elaine needs to redifine her self ascription ?

  4. Odis

    that’s an interesting point, I hadn’t considered, or viewed from that perspective.
    If you can spin the war process, then why not spin the peace process.

  5. Smashmouth

    Is there any information to back up her point Israel knew the 3 teenagers were dead within the first 24 hours?

  6. postmanpat

    Well written article. but.. So now what? Wouldn’t now be the best time for a worldwide protest against the Zionist heel dragging? I’d show up . I didn’t feel comfortable showing up to the last protests because of the Sinn Fein vibe,( if that makes any sense?) Isn’t now the best time to apply constant pressure and awareness of the fascist nature of Zionism when applied to the real world. I’ll happily support the death of Zionism. . It is no different than apartheid or radical Islam. Zion isn’t a landing pad for the messiah . its not real .messiahs aren’t real its a fictional story.

  7. Zubeneschamali

    In the midst of the global media circus that followed, the finger of blame was firmly pointed at Hamas as the guilty party. Hamas, the bogeymen of the west, were the ones who had ruthlessly taken “our boys”.

    And a senior Hamas official confirmed it in August.

    1. ollie

      and so the zionist propaganda machine swings into action, baz, zuben soon to be followed by many others.

  8. wishywashy64

    Terrorism biased drivel.

    Where is the proof to your claim that Israel knew the 3 missing teenagers were already dead?

    Hamas are terrorists. Any right thinking person would be horrified that they are ‘in power’. Israel are justified in demolishing their personnel, sympathisers and infrastructure.

    Hamas sent rockets first. Yet you claim they didn’t break ceasefire until Israel’s bombs landed. The bombs are a rational defence by a modern sovereign state against any attacker.

    Regarding the high death toll, Hamas are fully aware of the intense population density on the Gaza strip. Yet they attacked Israel non-stop knowing that defence missiles would be fired back at them. Even when they saw the high fatalities they continued to attack Israel!
    How reckless is that!
    Such strategy shows that Hamas are more blinkered terrorists than responsible leaders.

    In any case, past Palestinian governments should never have allowed this density of population to prevail.
    It’s about time the vast majority emigrated or were taken in permanently by neighbouring Arab states, who can accommodate them. They never had to live in such squalor, except to draw sympathy from naive weak-minded liberals.

    I believe that to prevent future violent outbreaks, it would be better if Israel took over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
    Excess or disruptive Palestinians could be settled in neighbouring Arab states with compensation.

    The situation would then be much more manageable and peaceful for all.

    1. postmanpat

      wishywashy64 .maybe if you read up or youtubed what Palestine looked like before the Zionists moved in you wouldn’t be so hard on the Palestinians. It was a nice place with Arabs and Jew living in peace. Your solution would result in peace but do you seriously think that it is right or even plausible? You sound like Gandhi when he gave his stance on the Jewish Holocaust. Where he basically said that the Jews should just accept their faith at he hands of the Nazis, without resistance. If your crazy idea of Palestinians just walking away did actually happen , what will that do? The prophesized “land “without people” (Palestine) for a people without land (Zionist)”, now a fully cleansed 100% Jewish non Arab state will be realized. And the world of the 21st century will have witnessed the rise of an artificial country created from the pages of a dusty 3300 year old book. does a whole ethnic group have to be exterminated and /or expelled for the world to finally come to its senses with this whole radical religious based insanity? When the Prophesy doesn’t happen? And that is a best case scenario . What if WHEN the messiah doesn’t come (which he wont boys and girls). Will the Zionist movement start to expand because they were wrong. maybe Egypt was the spot .or Iran? lets expand in all directions.

    1. realPolithicks

      You casually use the phrase “final solution” in relation to Israel, and yet I am sure you will claim your not anti-semetic.

          1. Spartacus

            Your opinion of my opinion is of exactly zero interest to me. Time for you to go bait someone else.

          2. realPolithicks

            “Your opinion of my opinion is of exactly zero interest to me. ”

            And yet you have twice replied to my comments. Sometimes the truth hurts eh!

  9. shitferbrains

    So the figure for Palestinian refugees is now 4.5 million, down from a previous figure of 7.5 million ? Doesn’t sound quite so scary I suppose. And they’ll just walk in and live and work where ? Elaine makes it sound all very simple, and ignores the constant noise from Hamas preachers about ” no Jews ” as if Hamas wasn’t an Islamist organisation. She also ignores the fact that the majority of the surrounding Arab countries fear and despise Hamas. Apart from that………

  10. Mr. T.

    Fatah and Hamas working together (even in total peace) is Israel’s greatest fear because it means a united political force for Palestine which can present a well formed, valid representative government which the UN will accept as legitimate. It will eliminate any excuse for Israel to embargo or attack Palestine.

    Israel uses the divide and conquer tactic to keep Palestine weak and in disarray, which in turn breeds ‘terrorism’ and violence towards Israel. And that’s what Israel wants as an excuse to carry out a slow genocide on Palestinians with a view to eliminating any chance of them having their own state.

    It’s very simple. Israel is doing to Palestine, what they claim Hamas wants to do to them. But the difference is Israel has taken land which is not theirs and forced the former residents into the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

    Israel has always been the primary aggressor.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    Israel does not want peace, history tells me that.

    Israel wants all the Palestinian land, ALL OF IT, and no Palestinians on it.

    Israelis are TAUGHT to hate and look upon Palestinians as less than human when it is the Israelis who act so. And, any dickhead that says Hamas are worse is a tool. I don’t defend Hamas but I know for a fact that Hamas wouldn’t exist if Israel didnt create it

    1. Clampers Outside!

      …the conditions for it to exist.

      Israel will not stop and no bullsh*t notions of a peace process will ever stop Israel from their continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the cleansing they started in 1948 when they cleansed their first Palestinian village.

      They are fascistic far-right religious fundamentalist nut jobs who created a mirror image in Hamas. Fupp the murderous regime that is Israel, and fupp the Israeli people who keep the regime going, fupp them all to hell.

  12. shitferbrains

    “I don’t defend Hamas but I know for a fact that Hamas wouldn’t exist if Israel didnt create it ”

    Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which pre-dates Israel.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Hamas came about because of Israeli apartheid, whether connected to the Brotherhood or not is neither here nor there. It would have happened anyway due to the ill trewatment by Israel’s apartheid regime. ‘It’ being the fact that they militarised.

      When the different groups of the Brotherhood in Palestine came together and militarised in 1987, it was as a result and consequence of the treatment of people in Palestine by Israel. That militarisation was the creation of Hamas.

      There’s no denying that, connections to the Brotherhood or not…. or maybe you can tell me why the Muslim Brotherhood is not militarised in all of the other countries it is active in? Why is it classed as ‘terrorist’ in one country and not in another and so on… because it is not one unified group. Hamas is Hamas, wherever its roots came from the MB is second to the fact that the Hamas we see today was created by the Israeli apartheid regime.

      Nothing will ever hide that fact.

  13. Gee Bague

    tl;dr

    @Elaine Bradley – have you asked Hamas about their position on Miss Panti? You’re really stuck for an outlet for your propaganda if all you have is BS…

    1. Elaine B

      Asking about Hamas’ position on gays, women etc. is another way of distracting from the issues being discussed, which I note you do not engage with. I am pretty sure you don’t want to hear the views of a Palestinian queer talking about the issues faced by his community but I am posting this important piece for people who may have concerns in relation to the questions you raise. Thanks for the opportunity. http://electronicintifada.net/content/eight-questions-palestinian-queers-are-tired-hearing/12951

  14. brianharvey4life

    just wondering what does the word ”campaigner” mean on a practical level?.
    This one seems to spend half her time writing prolix one sided sermons and presuming to tell elected politicians howthey should conduct foreign policy

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link