Note under a rock: “We’re stealing your land”

It was only days after it had been placed that a farmer accidentally found a piece of paper that stated he was no longer the owner of his own land. The undated paper, in Hebrew and Arabic, had been hidden under a rock in the farmer’s fields in the village of Bruqin, occupied Palestine. It said that the farmer’s land was being taken for the expansion of the nearby illegal Israeli settler colony of Bruchin [also spelled as Brukhin].

This farmer was not the only one to be informed about a crime in such a way. More land owners, including the village’s mayor, received the same notifications. Additionally, this week the Jerusalem Post published an announcement that more than 500 new houses would be built on land stolen from Bruqin and its neighbouring villages Sarta and Kafr-ad-Dik (the article itself made no mention of the villages, implying they don’t exist). The exact number of dunums of land being stolen is not clear. Villagers have been given 60 days to file official complaints with the occupation authorities. New houses may be built any time now.

Area of land stolen from Bruqin, Sarta and Kafr-ad-Dik (Photo by Stop the Wall)

Area of land stolen from Bruqin, Sarta and Kafr-ad-Dik

The illegal settler colony of Bruchin started off as a military base in 1999. Not long after, the first houses were built on a hilltop; today, there are around 50 of them, with some still standing empty. According to residents of Palestinian villages, those and any newly built houses will be free for incoming illegal settlers. This is one of the tricks the Israeli Apartheid state uses to increase the number of illegal settler colonisers in occupied Palestine: to provide them with free houses built on land stolen from its Palestinian owners.

All settler colonies in Palestine are illegal under international law. In 2012, the illegal settler colony of Bruchin was “legalised” as an “authorised settlement” by that same power that does not respect human rights nor international – or even its own – laws. The latest announced land theft in Bruqin, Sarta, and Kafr-ad-Dik is just another logical step in this crime.

Bruqin is situated 13 km west of the city of Salfit; the industrial zone of the illegal settler colony Ariel can be seen from the village, as is Bruchin. In addition to land theft, constant military invasions, settler and wild pig attacks, the village is under severe stress from sewage and untreated wastewater that is released from the settlement and its factories. Pumped underground, chemical wastewater contaminates local water resources and causes immense damage to the natural environment; the settler sewage river that runs through the village is just one example of such behaviour. Residents say that cancer cases in Bruqin are much higher than Palestinian average; children in particular are suffering.

The location of Bruqin, Sarta, and Kafr-ad-Dik, as well as other neighbouring villages, is strategically important: the Salfit Governorate boasts some of the most productive water zones of the Western Aquifer, a key water resource in Palestine. They also fall in the way of the “Ariel finger”, the Zionist project that intends to annex Palestinian land by connecting the many illegal settler colonies in the area into one big entity. It would also cut the West Bank in two, putting even more pressure on the Palestinian people.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Palestinian prisoners begin landmark hunger strike

There are over 200 administrative prisoners in Israeli prisons, all of whom will be joining the hunger strike within days

There are over 200 administrative prisoners in Israeli prisons, all of whom will be joining the hunger strike within days

Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike on Monday in protest against their detention for extended periods of time without trial, Palestine’s Prisoners Centre said.

In a statement released by the prisoners centre, it was confirmed that four administrative prisoners have begun a hunger strike which will be expanded and extended if the Israeli prison services do not respond to their demands.

More administrative prisoners, including ten MPs, are planning to join the hunger strike day after day. There are over 200 administrative prisoners in Israeli prisons, all of whom will be joining the hunger strike within days.

The prisoners began discussions about this strike several months ago, and decided to start a collective protest because of Israel’s continuous detention of Palestinians without setting trials for them, and because of the Israeli prisons services’ repeated retraction of individual agreements to end administrative detention.

Palestine’s Prisoners Centre said that the hunger strikers have called for widespread Palestinian official and popular support for their action. They said that it would be a historical strike as they are planning to achieve landmark results regarding Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

Most administrative prisoners live in tents located in al-Naqab Prison where weather conditions are sweltering during the summer months and extremely cold during the winter.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Committee: Israel soldiers force Muslim to drink wine at gunpoint

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli intelligence officers forced a Palestinian man from Beit Ummar to drink wine at gunpoint on Tuesday evening, a local committee spokesman said.

An Israeli military patrol stopped Muhammad Khalil Abu Dayyah, 24, from the Safa neighborhood near Beit Ummar and forced him into a military tower at the entrance to Beit Ummar, said Muhammad Ayyad Awad, spokesman of Beit Ummar’s committee against Israel’s separation wall and settlements.

Abu Dayyah was being asked to give names of young men who participate in clashes against Israeli forces in the Hebron-district town, Awad said.

When Abu Dayyah refused to cooperate with the soldiers, they brought an intelligence officer who took out a list of names of young locals and asked him to identify them.

Abu Dayyah refused to give any information, and the intelligence officer pointed a rifle at the back of his head and ordered him to drink a bottle of wine.

Awad said that after Abu Dayyah drank the bottle, he passed out for an hour. He was awoken by Israeli soldiers who then threw him out of the military installation, he added.

Locals who witnessed Abu Dayyah being taken away by Israeli forces took him home after the incident, confirming that he appeared under the influence and smelling of alcohol.

The consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Video: Kuwaitis boycott Iran goods, protest against Hezbollah

Kuwaiti protesters set ablaze a picture of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah during a protest in front the Lebanese embassy against Hezbollah and Iran’s involvement in Syria, in Kuwait city on June 11,2013

Several Kuwaiti supermarket chains have begun boycotting products from Iran for its support of the Syrian regime, while activists staged a demonstration against the involvement of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in the conflict.

At least nine cooperative consumer societies out of 50 in the oil-rich Gulf state published announcements in the local media on Wednesday saying they have taken Iranian products off their shelves in protest at Tehran’s backing of President Bashar al-Assad.

Cooperative societies control a majority of the retail consumer market in Kuwait.

One of the announcements said that the next step in the campaign would be to dismiss Iranian labourers working at the societies and cancel their residency permits.

Around 50,000 Iranians work in Kuwait, mostly in low-paid jobs. Iranian exports to Kuwait are not huge and mainly comprise fish and food products.

Meanwhile, dozens of Islamist activists demonstrated outside the Lebanese embassy late Tuesday in protest at the military intervention of Shiite Hezbollah fighters on the side of Syrian regime forces against rebels.

Protesters burned posters of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Sunni Muslims, who form more than 70 percent of the 1.2 million Kuwaitis, have been angered by the Syrian government onslaught on fellow Sunni rebels and the support Assad has received from Iran and Hezbollah.

Sunni clerics have launched fund-raising campaigns on the Internet and through mosques to aid the Syrian people as well as the rebellion.

Around a dozen well-known Kuwaiti Sunni clerics have launched an online campaign to raise funds enough to arm 12,000 fighters and send them to Syria. Each fighter is estimated to cost $2,500.

The Gulf Cooperation Council states said on Monday they will take measures against members of Hezbollah.

The measures will affect their “residency permits, and financial and commercial transactions,” said a GCC statement, citing a ministerial council decision.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Israel Soldiers Breech Lebanon Border

Lebanese army sources reported Wednesday [June 12 2013] that a number of Israeli military vehicles advanced approximately 15 meters into Lebanese territory, and that Lebanon complained to the UNIFIL.

File - PNN
The Lebanese army said that two Israeli tanks and two armored vehicles breached the border, and that the Lebanese Border Guards lodged a complaint to the United Nations United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL), asking them to order the army to withdraw.

The UNIFIL contacted the Israeli side and managed to have the army withdraw in order to avoid tension or “be dragged into conflicts in the region”.

On Wednesday evening, the Israeli Air Force breached Lebanese airspace by flying over areas in central and southern Lebanon.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Abbas Rejects Calls to Fire Official Who Praised Settler’s Killer

The Palestinian Authority has rejected calls from a group of US congressmen to fire a Fatah official who praised the killer of an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank, an official said Wednesday.

Five congressmen signed a letter condemning remarks by Fatah central committee member Sultan Abu al-Einein, who also serves as President Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser on civil society organizations.

The letter, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, denounced al-Einein’s “open support for the murderer of Eviatar Borovsky.” It quoted al-Einein as saying shortly after the killing: “We salute the heroic fighter, the self-sacrificing Salam Al-Zaghal.”

The congressmen urged Abbas to dismiss Abu al-Einein from the government.

The director of al-Einein’s office, Raafat Ulayyan, said that Abbas rejected the calls from the congressmen.

In his letter of reply, Abbas confirmed that Abu al-Einein is an elected leader of the Fatah movement and a Palestinian Authority official, Ulayyan told Ma’an.

He also wrote that “It would have been more appropriate for the Congress to document settler attacks on the Palestinian people, schools and mosques in the West Bank,” Ulayyan said.

The letter added that the Fatah official paid a visit to a Palestinian family and highlighted that Fatah’s political agenda considers resistance within the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 a legitimate right of the Palestinian people. The congressmen had also criticized the visit to the family of the suspected killer.

The congressmen were identified by the JTA as Democrats Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, Brad Sherman, and Ted Deutch and Republican Ed Royce.

Their letter said that “allowing this type of incitement and hatemongering to take place within your ranks is intolerable if you are truly dedicated to non-violence. We ask that you publicly and officially denounce and condemn Mr. Al-Einein’s remarks at once and remove him from his position in your government.”

(Source / 12.06.2013)

Netanyahu Not Really Considering Two-State Solution, Says Danon

Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon (L), then a deputy parliament speaker, stands near an Israeli police officer in front of the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 20, 2010.
“The Emperor has no clothes!” the little boy shouted in the classic Danish fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. Lucky for us, we have a little boy just like that to shout the news from the rooftops and to expose a reality that we all tend to deny. We have a little boy to point out all the lies and false promises made by kings, presidents and prime ministers. That boy’s name is Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.

True, Danon isn’t really a little boy anymore. He is actually the deputy minister of defense. Nevertheless, this week he said something that most of us don’t like to hear: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of his party, keeps calling for talks with the Palestinians because he knows that Israel will never reach an agreement with them.

In an interview with the Times of Israel on June 8, the deputy minister of defense told the truth that we all deny. He said that the ruling coalition is “staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote.”

Jaws must have dropped in the prime minister’s office. How is it possible that this boy, Danon, who even received a special treat in being appointed deputy minister of defense, is shouting the truth from the rooftops? Danon wasn’t embarrassed about it, either. He certainly didn’t mince his words:

“Look at the government. There was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution. If you will bring it to a vote in the government — nobody will bring it to a vote, it’s not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see that the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.”

The cat is out of the bag.

On the other hand, it isn’t really that surprising. Everyone could see it. Netanyahu and his government say one thing, but in practice they do everything they can to avoid implementing the one idea that can ensure peace with the Palestinians. What I mean, of course, is a two-state solution, an end to the conflict and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

The fact is that the tactic of saying one thing while doing the opposite was not the brainchild of Netanyahu and his government. Several other prime ministers did the same thing before him. The most sophisticated of them all was former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This is what he did exactly 11 years ago on June 24, 2002, when then-US president George W. Bush presented him with his “Roadmap to Peace.” The plan called for an immediate cease-fire as a first stage. The second stage, to be completed by late 2003, called for a freeze on settlement construction and the creation of a Palestinian state with temporary borders. The third stage, to be completed by the end of 2005, was a final status agreement with international associates and supervisors.

So why was Sharon the most sophisticated of the lot? Because the first thing he did was to say “yes.” After consulting with his closest advisers, he immediately announced that he accepted the plan, even praising it. However, he also asked for 11 specific reservations to the Statement of Principles — just for protocol, of course.

Anyone who knew Sharon and his opinions was well aware that he would never be willing to accept Bush’s Roadmap. He would never agree to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state headed by the one man he detested more than anyone, then-Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat.

We should remember that Arafat was then the head of the Palestinian Authority, and 2002 was a tough year for the intifada. Back then, Sharon used to take every visiting congressman and every European diplomat to the summit of Jabal Harasa in Samaria to show them Israel’s “narrow waistline” and the looming dangers if — God forbid — the territory is handed over to Arafat. On a clear day, they could see the ships docked in the port of Ashdod, the entire city of Tel Aviv and airplanes taking off and landing at Ben Gurion Airport. On the other hand, offering real resistance to such an important component of Bush’s foreign policy would be imprudent and lead to significant pressure on Israel. He knew that he could never say no to the US president, who was Israel’s closest friend on Capitol Hill at that time.

That is why Sharon decided to say “yes” but at the same time pulled a rabbit out of his hat that would kill Bush’s vision softly: unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. In other words, his idea was to sacrifice Gaza, dismantle the Jewish settlements there and evacuate the settlers in order to save the West Bank.

In hindsight, it is safe to say that his plan succeeded. The disengagement is remembered negatively due to the firing of Qassam rockets and mortars at the settlements of southern Israel and an incessant series of clashes between Israel and the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Jewish settlements in the West Bank expanded and multiplied, and the Roadmap became obsolete.

Four years after the disengagement, in June 2009, Netanyahu gave a speech at Bar Ilan University that stunned everyone who knew him.

“I told President [Barack] Obama in Washington: If we agree on the essence, the terminology will not pose a problem. I am stating the essence here clearly: If we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state.”

Another four years of stalemate have passed, and we needed Netanyahu’s protégé Danon to reveal the big secret, even if he did so without the prior approval of the head of his party. Netanyahu is only saying “yes” so as not to upset Obama, just like Sharon tried not to upset Bush. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between the two of them. Sharon actually evacuated settlements, while Netanyahu only expands them.

So it is worth paying attention to Danny Danon, who naively told the truth, even if he’s not a little boy.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

De steenhouwer

By Marianna Laarif

In China leefde eens een steenhouwer die ontevreden was. Op een dag kwam de steenhouwer langs het prachtige huis van een rijk man.
“Deze man moet enorm machtig zijn. Ik zou wensen dat ik kon zijn als hem”, dacht de steenhouwer.

De steenhouwer werd de rijke man. Hij bezat meer rijkdom dan hij ooit had kunnen dromen. Maar al snel kwam er een hoge regeringsbeambte op bezoek, vergezeld door bedienden en geëscorteerd door soldaten. Iedereen, rijk of arm, moest een diepe buiging maken voor de stoet.
“Wat is die man machtig”, dacht de steenhouwer. “Ik zou willen dat ik die beambte kon zijn.”

De steenhouwer werd de beambte. Hij werd rondgedragen in zijn draagstoel, gehaat door de mensen die voor hem moesten buigen en gevreesd vanwege zijn macht.
Het was een hete zomerdag en de steenhouwer voelde zich benauwd in zijn draagstoel. Hij keek op naar de brandende zon en dacht:
“Wat is de zon toch machtig. Ik zou willen dat ik de zon was.”

De steenhouwer werd de zon. Hij scheen onbarmhartig over het land, verschroeide akkers en scheen neer op alle mensen. Maar een enorme wolk schoof tussen de zon en de aarde zodat zijn licht het land en de mensen niet meer raakte.
“Wat is die regenwolk machtig”, dacht de steenhouwer. “Ik wilde maar dat ik die wolk was.”

De steenhouwer werd de regenwolk. Hij overstroomde de akkers en de dorpen. Al snel merkte hij echter dat hij werd weggeduwd door de wind.
“Wat is die machtig. Ik wou dat ik de wind kon zijn”, dacht de steenhouwer.

En hij werd de wind. Hij ontwortelde bomen, blies de pannen van het dak en werd gevreesd door iedereen. Maar na een tijdje stuitte hij op iets dat niet meegaf: het was een grote steen, die boven alles uittorende.
“Wat is die steen machtig”, dacht hij. “Ik wilde maar dat ik die steen was.”

En toen werd hij de steen. Machtiger dan al het andere op de wereld. Tot hij het geluid hoorde van een hamer en een beitel die in de massieve steen stond te hakken.

“Wat zou er nou machtiger kunnen zijn dan ik?”, dacht hij.
Hij keek omlaag en zag daar de gedaante van een steenhouwer.

Taksim Square is not Tahrir Square

The main actors in Turkey’s ongoing protests are motivated by reactionary ideology, not environmental concerns.

Erdogan’s AK Party has paved the way for once-marginalised groups to enjoy democracy, say authors [EPA]
The unrest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Gezi Park has been underway for almost two weeks now. Initially an environmentalist protest against the Istanbul municipality’s Taksim Project, which would have removed some trees from the corner of Gezi Park, the reaction has spread to various other cities around the country and turned into organised unrest against the AK Party’s government, which has been in power since 2002.

A decisive factor in the spreading unrest was the police’s excessive use of pepper spray and tear gas to evacuate the Gezi Park protesters on May 31, behaviour that government officials have acknowledged and harshly criticised.

The Taksim Project was announced by the AK Party during the 2011 elections. In addition to expanding pedestrian roads and re-building an old military barracks, the project would also, contrary to popular belief, not decrease but increase the amount of green area in Taksim. Automobile traffic would be diverted underground and the entire Taksim Square, one of the largest squares in Istanbul, would be reserved for pedestrians only.


It is ironic to observe that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has taken democratic steps to end Turkey’s 30-year-old problem with terrorism and the Kurdish group PKK, and who has been praised universally for his fight against corruption, military tutelage and judicial oligarchy, is now accused of being a “fascist dictator” by the main actors of the unrest, who are motivated by ideological reactionarism rather than mere environmental anxieties.

Known for its stance as a far-right extremist group with totalitarian and militarist tendencies, members of the Turkish Youth Association (TGB) have been filling Gezi Park and Taksim Square with their chanting and slogans, such as: “We are the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.” Devotees of Turkey’s first president Ataturk, who have been some of the fiercest opponents of Erdogan for his decisive struggle against groups trying to overthrow the government during the 2000s, currently constitute the majority of the protesters. They attempt to legitimise their militarist reactionarism by tying themselves to the environmentalist and democratic protesters at Gezi Park.

Following the acclaimed Turkish sociologist Serif Mardin’s analysis, Turkey has witnessed conflict between the “centre” and the “periphery” since the foundation of the republic in 1923. In the course of “modernising” the country with a Western outlook, the Kemalist “centre” constituted the Muslim majority, with the Kurds and non-secular Turks as its “other”.

The AK Party’s rise to power in the 2002 elections, its continuing success in subsequent polls, and its recognition of Turkish Kurds’ demands for equal rights has revolutionised the centre-periphery relations. For the first time in republican history, the periphery has been the decisive actor in the shaping of politics and culture, and not the country’s republican elite.

The AK Party has paved the way for Muslims, Kurds, the lower-class suburban poor and non-Muslims to enjoy a democratic society.

It is no surprise that Selahattin Demirtas, the co-president of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and a Kurdish representative in parliament, openly declared that they do not support far-right nationalist and fascist groups in their attempts to overthrow the government, by turning the environmentalist response at Gezi Park into a plot against the AK Party.

While several Kurdish activists are involved in the communal life at Gezi Park, it is significant that Turkey’s heavily Kurdish regions did not organise any demonstrations against the government. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan also declared his support for the environmentalist and democratic demands of the Gezi Park activists, but warned against the possibility of a plot against the AK Party government by far-right nationalists and the “Ergenekon” terrorist organisation, members of which were tried and punished for their coup attempts against the AK Party government since 2002.

During the 11 years in which the AK Party has democratically held power, the party has paved the way for Muslims, Kurds, the lower-class suburban poor and non-Muslims to enjoy a democratic society. With the new constitutional law and the necessary democratic steps to be taken for the Kurdish democratic opening, we believe that the AK Party has a lot to offer to the democratising process of Turkey, and has the chance to turn the passive revolution into a radical transformation of the society in terms of democracy, welfare, the demands of the subaltern and human rights.

In sum, “Taksim Square” is not “Tahrir Square” and this is not a “Turkish Spring”. The Turkish Spring occurred long ago, when the AK Party revolutionised the country after winning a majority of seats in parliament in 2002. As anthropologists and Marxist academics constantly observing the field, we observe that the AK Party still holds the support of the subaltern, the real subjects of a possible revolution. Since 2002, the people on Turkey’s periphery have become the centre. Today’s chaos threatens to reverse this.

(Source / 12.06.2013)

The Palestinian struggle is a black struggle

Portrait of girl with flag of Palestine painted on her face

Who are the Palestinians’ natural allies?

One of the pillars of my trip to Gaza with the Palestine Literature Festival turned out to be an ongoing discussion regarding the essential blackness of the Palestinian struggle and the need to form greater ties with our “natural allies” from Africa and South America in particular.

At one event, a man in the audience questioned the usefulness of seeking alliances or help from Africa, where, he said, people are “hungry and poor and in need of help themselves.”

I pointed out that the image he holds of African peoples was planted in his mind by those who also plant the same image of us around the world. We, too, are viewed as helpless, hungry and needy. We, too, are seen as less human somehow, as savages, terrorists. The various layers and tempers of our and their intellectual, cultural, social and historical lives are ignored, or worse, intentionally obscured. Instead, the challenges of our societies are highlighted as all-encompassing truths.

But a better answer came from Ayman, a gentle soul who is trying to start up a film program in Gaza to help children cope with the violent realities of their lives. He said, simply, “So what? What does hunger and poverty have to do with dignity, anyway?”

Sameeha, a brilliant Palestinian writer in Gaza, noted that such reductive stereotypes are precisely the things that hinder badly-needed alliances among oppressed peoples. She, along with Rana, the indefatigable, ever-smiling and warm organizer of PalFest in Gaza, also pointed out that too often, when we speak of engaging “the world,” what we mean is Europe and the US, because someone convinced us somewhere along the line that these were the only places that mattered. That somehow our freedom can only come from the same nations that facilitated and cheered on the destruction of our society.

That, of course, is far from the truth. But understanding this requires that we reorient the Palestinian struggle to align with indigenous struggles — struggles of the marginalized and voiceless — which I consider to be spiritually and politically black because there is no equivalent to the savagery inflicted on the black body over centuries by white supremacy.

To me, blackness is what has been and is the recipient of colonialism and supremacy, with all that this entails in clashing forces of internalization of inferiority, resistance, black power and black empowerment.

Natural allies

In Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon describes the narcissism of inferiority that results from white colonization and enslavement of blacks. He said: “Black men want to prove to white men, at all costs, the richness of their thought, the equal value of their intellect.” This single sentence describes the Anglocentric nature of Palestinian discourse with “the world.”

The conversation we have with Europe and white America is one in which we are always trying to prove our humanity. One in which we beg for acceptance and solidarity, and one from which we accept the various sympathies of a white man’s burden as if it were true solidarity, or something of a slice of bread that comes with an admonition that we have not behaved well.

This is not to say that true solidarity has not come from white individuals. I would not deny the love and sacrifices of men and women like Rachel CorrieTom HurndallVittorio Arrigoni and many more. I do not deny the kind of solidarity that transcends ethnicity. But there is an undeniable difference in the way peoples of different ethnicities relate to us.

With Africans, including American descendants of those who were enslaved, there is no need to preface our words. There is never a sense that we need to prove our worth or the righteousness of our struggle for liberation. This is what I mean by “natural allies.” They are people who know, viscerally, what it means to be regarded as vermin by most of the world. Those who know what it is to be the “wretched of the earth.”

There are still some Jews who remember that, perhaps. They too are our natural allies. But to continue to knock on European and white American doors, including Israeli doors, begging, “Please help me, please look at me, I am human as you,” is not helpful. It is not helpful to continue to accept conditional handouts that are turning our once proud people into a nation of beggars, willing to dance for butter. It is humiliating, weakening and, more importantly, unnecessary.

That any Palestinian should entertain the notion of “negotiations” with Israel for the basic dignity of freedom and home is a screaming example of the narcissism of learned inferiority. This is the essential blackness of our fight. In this way, our struggle for liberation is spiritually and politically black in nature.

One of the features of this negative narcissism is the aspiration to all that the oppressor entails, while simultaneously hating him. Fanon describes this aspiration to whiteness more eloquently than I ever could. In the Palestinian case, I will add that there is another layer to our condition, which can be described as the narcissism of victimhood.

I remember the first time I heard Edward Said speak in person. It was at an Al-Awda Right to Return rally, I think the first one we held, in 2000. He said that “we [Palestinians] should remember the solidarity shown to us here and everywhere.”

I think of those words often because I don’t think we do enough to honor the spirit of what he said. We don’t recognize the origin of the solidarity shown to us. We are so immersed in our own pain and suffering — however understandably so — that we regard our victimhood to the exclusion of other suffering, much as (although not quite with the same worship) our oppressors have done.

Black solidarity with Palestine

The fact is that there is a tremendous amount of unsolicited solidarity coming from peoples who are themselves victims of colonization, exploitation, rapacious capitalism and institutional racism.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of being invited to the Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres (Women’s International Democratic Federation) in Caracas,Venezuela. This was a gathering of women from all over Latin America, from Mexico to Chile and Argentina and everywhere in between. It was a forum to address the ills facing their societies: sexism, capitalism, ageism, homophobia, racism, land theft, exploitation, environmental destruction, indigenous rights, patriarchy, classism and so on.

They invited only two delegations outside of Latin America. One was a delegation of Palestinian women from Palestine and the other was a delegation of North American women, mostly women of color, including myself, a Palestinian.

Two weeks ago, the Organization of Women Writers of Africa held their a conference in Ghana. With all the ills that Africa — this continent that still reels from the legacies of centuries of white supremacy, exploitation, enslavement and so much more — faces, the conference still thought it important to feature discussions of Palestine.

In South Africa, at Time of the Writer, a literature festival sponsored by the University ofKwazulu-Natal, the only invited non-African writer was Palestinian. It was a profound expression of solidarity with Palestine, born of an inherent comprehension that we and they are of the same fabric. The same pain and the same struggle.

Our most vocal and vociferous champions have been Africans and African Americans, from Desmond Tutu to Angela DavisAlice Walker and Cynthia McKinney. No one would blame Tutu if he focused his fight for justice solely on the economic apartheid that still festers in his country. No one could blame Davis or Walker if they spent their energies combating the great social and economic injustices that are the enduring and bitter legacy of centuries of enslavement in the US.

I could fill pages with examples of solidarity coming to us from communities and individuals who could so easily ignore us and immerse themselves in their own difficult struggles. Rarely will any of these examples be from our Arab brethren, particularly those in oil-rich nations, who have within their power the ability to affect real and significant change.

I know that we, too, do emerge from the yoke of Israeli oppression and ethnic cleansing to show solidarity, whether with tsunami victims, the Rohingyas in Burma, or exploited factory workers in Bangladesh. But I think we can and should do more to give solidarity where it is needed, even if we have nothing to offer but heartfelt words written and broadcast from the ghettos of Bantustans and refugee camps. Because such is an essential beauty of being human.

Because there is a kind of liberation that can only come from being a part of the liberation of others. And because fostering reciprocal human solidarity, is how we break an oppressors imposed isolation, such as the siege of Gaza.

Because the United States and the European Union are not our friends. They have never been our friends.

(Source / 12.06.2013)