This week in Communiqué: Palestine #4, Maath Musleh, a Palestinian journalist in Jerusalem, argues the international solidarity movement must understand that they are supporting a liberation struggle and everything that entails.

Maath Musleh is a Palestinian youth activist, blogger and journalist based in Jerusalem whose work appears regularly in Al Jazeera, Ma’an News Agency and Al Akhbar English. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian youth activist blog Beyond Compromise




Amidst the growing solidarity movement with the Palestinian cause, a lot of aspects of the struggle are lost. Many people get caught up in the present events and forget about the core of the struggle. A lot do not have a clear idea of the essence of this cause. To explain the history of the cause, I will need hours of writing. But for now, I would like to share some brief thoughts that I believe are essential. It is great to see all the solidarity around the world, but for any of it to be meaningful, it is important that you know what the cause is all about.

It is important to keep in mind that we are not a charity case.

We are people with a just cause and a long struggle.

To start with, our fight is not for a state in the West Bank and Gaza called Palestine, because simply this is not Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied by the Zionists in 1967. Our struggle against the Zionists has started long before that.

The essence of our struggle is the right of the return for the refugees (+70% of the Palestinian people). They demand their right to return to their homes and they do have the right to do so. If you think that it is not possible then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

It is also important to keep in mind that you cannot be selective about your solidarity or make concessions on behalf of the Palestinians. You are either with us or you are not. You cannot stand mid-way between the victims and the perpetrators. If you do, it means you decided not to stand for justice. You are already taking a position and you are not being neutral as you assume.

There is no shame in recognizing wrong-doings within a struggle. No struggle in the world is perfect. Someone who discusses those wrong-doings in efforts to improve the struggle is a noble person. And any wrong-doings does not change the facts of the struggle. The perpetrators who caused all the sufferings – for both sides – are the Zionists.

Some people try to delegitimize the Palestinian cause by referencing the use of “violence”. Let me start by stating what I have previously and constantly stated: the use of armed resistance is our legitimate right. And I have made it clear in many of my writings that the armed resistance refers strictly to targeting military targets.

Some Palestinians are shy or apologetic when they discuss our history of armed resistance. I am not. They think that “peaceful” resistance makes them more acceptable by the West. Let me tell you something, we are not in the public relations business. We are in the business of liberating our land and our people.

We do not have a just cause because the world stands with us. The world stands with us because we have a just cause.

But let us cut the discussion of the use of armed resistance short. If you believe it is legitimate but you have trouble making an argument for it, simply, refer them to UN resolution 3070: “The General Assembly also reaffirms the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” If they do not like it, they can take it up with the UN.

If they say they support justice for the Palestinians but they do not like our ways of resistance, then – if they are that passionate about opposing our way of struggle – they can make it stop by ending the injustice in their own way.

No one is tying up their hands.

( / 08.09.2012)

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