Excerpt from an article by Ramzy Baroud, based on talks he delivered at Israeli Apartheid Week conferences in Edmonton and Calgary on March 5 & 6, 2012.
“There is little point in counting on Barack Obama, Stephen Harper or David Cameron to exact justice for Palestinians. How could they, when their governments continue to facilitate and arm the occupation of Palestine, finance the illegal settlements, ensure the continuation of the siege on Gaza and block any attempt, even if symbolic, to indict the unlawful, violent and Apartheid-like practices of the Israeli government?
But to whom can the unnamed old man of Qusra, Suheil, Hana, Adnan and Bassam turn for justice? To whom can they appeal for rights? And from whom should they expect solidarity?
One thing is sure in all of this: Palestinians will continue to resist with or without an international awaking to the injustice underway. The old man will try to replant a new olive grove, Suheil, Hana and Adnan will continue their quest for freedom or will die trying. A whole new generation will carry the torch from the previous one, replant, rebuild and hunger for freedom.
But we, the silent multitudes must not accept this paradigm of supposed immoral certainty as a must. It is our silence that empowers Israel’s crimes, and our morally-challenged leaders who continue to speak of the ‘unbreakable bond’ between them and an Apartheid regime; it’s the lack of accountability that makes them shed their last shred of humanity in fear of lobby pressure, or in seeking lobby support.
It is time that we redefine our relationship to the Palestinian struggle. We are not helpless outsiders; we are enablers of this moral travesty that translates into untold daily suffering of millions of people. Our silence is a blank check to the groveling politicians to continue to plead at the feet of the ever-demanding pro-Israeli lobby.
Ordinary Palestinians need true solidarity, not preaching of violence and non-violence; they have utilized the latter for nearly a hundred years. They need us to morally divest from Israel, as opposed to standing half way between the oppressed and the oppressor. They need us to overcome our tendencies of intellectual elitism or any sense of moral ascendancy. They don’t need of us to play the role of the lecturer. They need us to truly listen. To genuinely comprehend. To earnestly act.
This is not a conflict concerning religion. It is not about politics. It’s about rights. About people with history so rooted in the land, their land – for, who else has planted the ancient olive groves of their ancestors? They need us to remember their names, their stories, and to constantly consider that behind the headlines there are people with faces, with untold courage and humanity, aching for justice and lasting peace: Suheil, Hana, Adnan and Bassam and millions others, some passed away and others are yet to be born.
Before we speak of ‘solutions’ to the ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict,’ I believe that we must first resolve our own dilemma by divesting, first, morally, then by every other mean, from an occupation that runs counter to any true conception of true humanism.
It was Desmond Tutu who once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Link
“Maybe someday even the US will no longer be able to swallow further humiliation at Israel’s hands and will choose not to exercise its veto in the UN and other international forums on Israel’s behalf.” - David Shulman
[I]n the right circumstances, mobilizing “armchair activists” can prove important. No one has suggested online action alone will achieve anything. And people in the West can’t join the men and women demonstrating and dying in the streets of Cairo. But they can push their own governments to take action, they can pressure the Western media to focus on what’s happening (rather than leaving all the heavy lifting to Al Jazeera English), they can support those demonstrating by developing ways to keep communications open so that dictators can’t act with impunity, and they can raise awareness about those companies and governments that support dictatorial regimes. – Bernard Keane
“It is the very balance between destruction and rebuilding, despair and hope, occupation and perseverance that makes the Palestinian people powerful. Their power cannot be demonstrated in numbers, but it can be felt, experienced, and understood.” – Ramzy Baroud
From The Electronic Intifada
“Beit Hanoun is an important place for such gardens. It’s near the border with Israel, and much agricultural land has been destroyed repeatedly by the Israeli army,” he says. The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee reports that up to 75,000 dunams (a dunam equals 1,000 square meters) of prime agricultural land has been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers and bombings.
“Also many farmers are unable to access their land because of the Israelis,” Shabat adds. The Israeli imposition of a “buffer zone” along Gaza’s borders swallows at least a third of Gaza’s farmland and renders lethal any border regions farmers try to access. This land formerly produced wheat, barley and a variety of fruits and nuts; it was Gaza’s food basket.
“Many people have left their homes and land near border areas, because they are afraid of the constant Israeli shooting and shelling attacks,” Shabat says. Beit Hanoun is now a waterless, treeless landscape.
On the flat, square, cement roof of another Beit Hanoun home, Ahed Shabat, 42, looks after the plants and vegetables growing in tubs and cement planters amidst hung laundry and water tanks.
“We grow things we can use year round, like garlic and onions,” he says. “But also seasonal plants like spinach, parsley, radishes, eggplant, corn, okra and chili peppers.
“We also grow flowers and herbs to use in tea, like mint, mirimiyya and zaatar,” he adds. The latter two herbs, that commonly grow wild in the hills of the occupied West Bank, are a staple for most Palestinians’ tea, and have medicinal uses. – MORE
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) has launched its boycott campaign.
“Life in the Occupied Territories is about to get even more difficult, I believe, but perhaps we are finally approaching the breaking point. If that is the case, we must be there for the Palestinians on all the fronts: to protect them, to play our role in pushing the Occupation into unsustainability, to resist re-occupation, to act as watchdogs over political “processes” that threaten to impose apartheid in the guise of a two-state solution and, ultimately, to ensure that a just and lasting peace emerges. As weak and failed attempts by governments head for collapse, we must pick up the slack. 2011 is upon us.” – Jeff Halper