It’s time to challenge the status quo in Palestine
In the name of “peace”, Israel continues to wage a daily war against the Palestinians.
The deafening silence in the international media as the toll of Palestinians injured and killed by the Israeli army is appalling. It seems there is an unwritten consensus that as long as Western governments, mainly the US, do not see a serious threat to “Israeli security” and to “Israeli Jewish lives”, it is just another “cycle of violence” that can be suppressed, if not crushed, by a well-equipped Israeli army.
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What we are witnessing across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is not another “cycle of violence” that needs to be de-escalated but a continued national liberation struggle that needs to be fulfilled.
The term “cycle of violence” itself, even though regretfully repeated by some Palestinian leaders, is meant to obfuscate the settler-colonial situation that keeps Palestinians under Israeli control by brutal force.
It is not about “extremists” from both sides exploiting the failure of a moribund “peace process”, but it is about the fact that futile negotiations have consolidated the Israeli occupation and expansion.
Equating Palestinian youth confronting their oppressors with the armed colonial settlers and soldiers is effectively criminalising resistance of the occupation – thus, legitimising Israeli killings.
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In the name of “peace”, Israel continues to wage a daily war against the Palestinians – restricting their movement, demolishing their homes, displacing families, assassinating Palestinians, and bombing towns and cities when it sees fit.
It is no coincidence that since the 1991 Oslo Accords, the number of illegal Israeli settlements has dramatically increased. From the very outset, Israel, with US backing, refused to abide by international laws and conventions that ban an occupying force from confiscating acquired land by force and the transfer of population to that land.
The Palestinians are not only rising again against the military apartheid colonial regime, but are also placing a mirror in the face of a disgraced Palestinian Authority and an apathetic world.
The removal of international law from the framework of all accords signed after Oslo made the outcome no more than diktats of the balance of military power, allowing Israeli to continue its colonial activities with impunity. Yet, at the same time, those very agreements created a dangerous appearance of false symmetry, putting both Israeli and Palestinian leaderships on “equal footing”.
The facts that even the Palestinian president can’t travel within or outside the occupied territories and that the Israeli army can routinely raid and kidnap Palestinians means that the power structure remained intact.
Israeli security requirements, constantly updated and defined by Israel itself, remain the key regulator of a lopsided relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. As a result, a leadership that once led the liberation struggle was reduced to an enforcer of Israeli security – expected to subdue Palestinian resistance with the illusion that “good behaviour” will lead to an end of the Israeli occupation.
What started as illusion became an entrenched belief advocated by many Palestinian leaders and elite as their privileges, including the freedom of movement, and interests have become reliant on their ability to “preserve calm” for Israel.
Preserving “Israeli security”, has effectively become the ultimate test of Palestinian humanity – and Palestinians are subjected to this daily test as “violating it”, which means punishment that ranges from denying movement to arrests, assassination, or all out invasion or war.
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It is exactly the right to pursue a simple ordinary life that young Palestinian men and women are demanding -but no ordinary life can be attained without freedom. Unless the West acknowledges this reality, it is doing no more than perpetuating injustice and acquiescing in Israeli crimes.
The young men and women who are challenging the armed Israeli soldiers are not relying on a sudden awakening of Western governments’ consciousness, but on shaking up the status quo.
Like the generations who fought the first and second Intifadas of 1987 and 2001, they are showing incredible courage and making sacrifices. What they are not relying on is a false hope of resumed negotiations while the noose of occupation is tightened.
Oslo worked, and for a long time, as a sedative that created a mirage of a just peace. Such sedatives no longer work: a fact that the Palestinians realised when, in 2001, they rose up in the second Intifada.
Sure enough, negotiations resumed after the second Intifada, but so did the building of the segregation wall that increased the pace of Israeli land grab, and strangulated and fragmented towns and villages.
The Palestinians are not only rising again against the military apartheid colonial regime, but are also placing a mirror in the face of a disgraced Palestinian Authority (PA) and an apathetic world.
While Israel bears the brunt of the responsibility, it is high time to for the PA to end the farce of the security coordination with Israel, as keeping it makes it an accomplice in Israeli crimes.
The West can choose to continue backing Israel and turn the other way, but a new generation, with tears and blood, is making sure that Palestinian rights will not disappear.
Lamis Andoni is an analyst and commentator on Middle Eastern and Palestinian affairs.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.