The Colonial Condescension of Those Who Ask for a “Palestinian Gandhi”

[The people of Gaza have, in their determined resistance, brought many issues to the fore among its supporters and defenders.  Central to these is the right of resistance itself — “by any means necessary” i.e., with whatever force the defenders can bring to the battlefield.  The forces of self-defense and the struggle for self-determination include moral force, political force, and military force.  Those who claim to support the victims of imperialist and settler-colonial military aggression, but argue against popular military resistance and armed liberation strategies, are denying the very means by which defense is made and by which liberation is won.  In the essay below, Ramzy Baroud of Palestine Chronicle details the background and recent history and “debate” over this issue.  (And, an important, but here secondary, difference with Baroud’s concluding paragraphs which cite ‘Gandhi’s inspiring greatness in the struggle against colonialism’ — this is disputed in India and elsewhere, as, most recently, Arundhati Roy and many others have challenged the iconization of Gandhi as a false anti-colonialist who ushered in an “independent” India without breaking the colonialist cultures and structures and laws of caste, class, and repressive state violence, and without empowering the people who, in their overwhelming majority, live today in the same same oppressive conditions that characterized the period of direct British colonial rule.  But this is a side-point here, which will be further explored separately and soon). — Frontlines ed.]

Gaza’s resistance paradigm
By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle

“Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? In Israeli prison, of course!,” was the title of an article by Jo Ehrlich published in Mondoweiss.net on December 21, 2009. That was almost exactly one year after Israel’s concluded a major war against Gaza. The so-called Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009) was, till then, the deadliest Israeli attack against the impoverished strip for many years.

Ehrlich was not in the least being belittling by raising the question about the “Palestinian Gandhi” but responding to the patronization of others. Right from the onset, he remarked: “Not that I’m in any way playing into the Palestinian Gandhi dialogue, I think it’s actually pretty diversionary/racist. But sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry.”

Indeed, the question was and remains condescending, ignorant, patronizing and utterly racist. But the question was also pervasive, including among people who classify themselves as “pro-Palestinian activists”.

Now that Israel’s latest war – so-called Operation Protective Edge – has surpassed Cast Lead in terms of duration, causalities, level of destruction, but also the targeting of civilians – the Gandhi question seems more muted than usual. To understand why, one needs to first examine the reason of why Palestinians were demanded to produce a non-violent Gandhi alternative in their struggle for freedom in the first place. Continue reading

Israel/Palestine: Where “Peace Process” is Sham by Design

“Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream”
— Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore

[The ongoing repressive Israeli settler-colonial project on the Palestinian people, facing growing exposure and international opposition, has increasingly brought Zionist ideologues (an echo of American “manifest destiny” expansionists) as well as “soft Zionist” real-politicians to resort to ever-more arrogant and hyperbolic deceptions to prevent their imperial allies from thinking they’ve outlived their usefulness.  At the same time, the collaboration of the corrupt Palestinian “leadership” with the “realities” of imperial power and Israeli settler-colonialism, has spun a very thin theatrical disguise of Palestinian identity and loyalty.  Both the Israeli colonist-settlers and the Palestinian quislings (struggling to extend their credibility in their mutually-symbiotic weakened states) depend upon blasting the mutually-reinforcing lies and deceptions of each other.  The details of this slimy and shadowy faux “opposition” are revealed in this recent article by author Jeff Blankfort.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Palestinian Collaboration Overshadows Latest Talks

“Imagine for a moment, what the reaction would have been in Northern Ireland if the IRA had taken to guarding the streets of Belfast and Derry for Her Majesty’s occupation forces.”

by Jeff Blankfort, Dissident Voice, May 7th, 2014

Shortly after the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the Jerusalem Post ran a cartoon that depicted a critical aspect of those accords which has rarely been discussed much less acknowledged. In the cartoon, a smiling Yasser Arafat was sitting upright on a stretcher giving a “V” sign. The stretcher bearers were Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Its message was clear: the Oslo agreement had come to the rescue of the PLO chairman whose reputation among his fellow Palestinians had sunk to the bottom of the barrel. The price they were to pay was dear: the legitimizing of Israel’s presence in 62% of the West Bank, what is commonly known as Area C and which Israel is quite likely to annex. Arafat’s representative at Oslo who negotiated the accords that effectively signed away West Bank land to Israel and ended the first intifada was Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas  --  Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas — Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Now, let’s jump ahead 21 years to the present where the support of West Bank Palestinians for Abbas, Arafat’s successor, has been even lower than it was for the late PLO chair and with good reason: By any definition one chooses, Abbas is a traitor, a collaborator with the enemy. His Palestinian Authority “Preventive Security” police force closely coordinates its activities with Israel’s security forces with the goal of suppressing resistance to Israel’s ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing while leaving Palestinians without a semblance of protection against Israeli raids on West Bank towns and refugee camps. For all intents and purposes, that goal has been achieved.

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One dead in Jordan riots, more protests planned

Thu Nov 15, 2012

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters

AMMAN, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Rioting in Jordan after the government raised fuel prices left one protester dead, the first fatality of violence sweeping impoverished towns in the kingdom, and Islamists called for more protests on Friday.

Hundreds took to the streets this week after the government decided to raise gasoline, cooking gas and heating fuel prices. They blocked roads, set government buildings alight and trashed shops in the towns of Maan, Tafila, Salt and Karak.

The protester was killed and scores were injured during an attack on a police station overnight in Jordan’s second-largest city of Irbid, witnesses said. Police said they used tear gas to disperse masked youths who attacked government property.

Some protesters torched part of Irbid’s municipal headquarters later on Thursday to vent their anger at officials who said the dead young man had been armed, the witnesses said.

“The country has risen up from north to south and this state of popular tension is unprecedented,” said Murad Adailah, a senior member of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Front called for more protests after Friday prayers in the centre of the capital Amman and in mosques across the country. Continue reading

Abbas, Zionist’s comprador Palestinian, renounces refugees’ right to return to historic lands

Palestinians march during a protest against president Mahmoud Abbas in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, northern Gaza Strip Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Gazans protested against Abbas’ remarks at an Israeli television that suggested millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants would not be able to return to the places they fled, or were forced to flee, during the fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. The posters read: “traitor – you represent nobody but yourself.”(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Israel President Welcomes Abbas’ Refugee Remarks

JERUSALEM November 3, 2012
By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press

Israel’s president on Saturday welcomed as “courageous” a strong public show of willingness by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make concessions on a core issue in peace talks — that of Palestinian refugees.

Abbas told Israeli channel 2 TV on Friday that he does not want to live in his birthplace Safed, a city in northern Israel.

His words drew anger from some Palestinians because they were viewed as relinquishing a long held Palestinian aspiration for the return of those who fled their homes during the fighting between Arab countries and Israel in the wake of the Jewish state’s 1948 independence.

Abbas’ remarks reflect a decades-old understanding among Palestinian officials that only a limited number of the refugees would ever be able to return to their original homes in Israel as part of a peace agreement. It was however the first time he has said so in public to an Israeli audience. Continue reading

The Israeli tactic of arresting and detaining Palestinian children is aimed to deter resistance.

Jillian Kestler-DAmours

Al Jazeera

8 Jul 2011

Dozens of Palestinian children clamoured excitedly in the East Jerusalem village of Silwan on June 26, each clutching the strings to as many helium-filled balloons as they could. Moments later, the children watched as the sky above this flashpoint Palestinian neighbourhood filled with red, green, black and white – the colours of the Palestinian flag – and the hundreds of balloons were taken away by the wind.

“This event is to make the children happier, as they’re letting go of these little balloons, and so they see that we’re taking care of them and support them and will always be here with them,” explained Murad Shafa, a Silwan resident and member of the Popular Committee of al-Bustan, which organised the event to commemorate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

“These balloons represent every small child that has been arrested and beaten at the hands of police,” Shafa said. “The duty of the police is to protect children and not to try to arrest them. [We and] our children suffer greatly from the municipality and the occupation police.”

Nestled just south of Jerusalem’s Old City walls and the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, in what is known as the Holy Basin area, Silwan is the scene of weekly confrontations between some of the village’s 40,000 Palestinian residents, more than 400 Israeli settlers, and Israeli soldiers, police officers and private settler security guards who maintain a constant presence in the neighbourhood.

An average day in Silwan normally involves a sky filled with a mixture of suffocating Israeli tear gas and thick, black smoke curling up from burning tires in the road, regularly used to block Israeli army vehicles from entering the area. Israeli security forces regularly clash with Palestinian youth in the densely populated neighbourhood, and night raids, arrests, and the use of live ammunition, among other weapons, against residents is commonplace. Continue reading

Egypt: Hundreds head to Sinai for Nakba rally

The Egyptian Gazette Online
Thursday, May 12, 2011 04:11:52 PM

Apprehensive that Egyptian authorities will block roads to Sinai hundreds of Egyptian youth arrived in the peninsula on Thursday to take part in a rally marking the Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the creation of Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians on May 15.

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Israel’s Army Gears up to Suppress Nakba Events

 [In the  following article, the Palestine News Network reports the Israeli threat to attack this weekend Nakba commemoration in these terms:  “According to the Israeli army site several regiments will be joining units already in place, in case Palestinian rallies needed to be suppressed“! (our emphasis)— Frontlines ed.]
Thursday May 12, 2011
by Palestine News Network & AgenciesReport post

Israeli media sources reported on Wednesday that the Israeli Army are set to increase West Bank deployment as Palestinians prepare to commemorate the Nakba, or in English ‘catastrophe’ from the period of 1948 which saw the establishment of the state of Israel after an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes.

palmsunday_4.jpg

The annual ‘Nakba Day’ will be marked on May 15. Israeli Security chiefs have been closely monitoring the situation in advance, and as of Wednesday the Israeli troop deployment throughout many areas in the West Bank and close to the Gaza strip will increase significantly, the army announced. Despite considerations that the Palestinian security forces will be aiming to keep tensions low, the Israeli army is preparing for various scenarios, including cases of extreme violence envisaged, sources reported on Wednesday.

According to the Israeli army site several regiments will be joining units already in place, in case Palestinian rallies needed to be suppressed or clashes take place Israeli forces and settlers. Continue reading