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Joining the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Updated: Oct 13

Palestine and Israel since 1948

The Diaspora

Apartheid


As a consequence of the Nakba

The ‘catastrophe’ of 1948,

Over seven million Palestinians

Are currently displaced; many are exiled

In refugee camps in Lebanon,

Syria and Jordan;

Their right to return to their homes

Is enshrined in international law;

But such law is ignored by Israeli governments.


Nearly two million Palestinians

Currently reside in Israel:

This one fifth of the country’s population

Live subject to an apparatus

Of discriminatory

And oppressive laws.


Over two million Palestinians

Live under Israeli army occupation

In the West Bank.


Some two million Palestinians

Reside in East Jerusalem

With second-class status.


Nearly two million Palestinians

Live in a state of siege in Gaza;


Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem

Comprise the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

And UN Resolution 242

Calls for Israeli withdrawal from these lands;

Israel has ignored the UN for nearly sixty years;

In consequence, Palestinian land today

Amounts to one tenth of that of 1948.


Underpinning these facts lies this narrative:

1. Illegal Israel settlements

(Despite US attempts to broker steps

Towards some Palestinian self-rule);

2. Intifada (uprisings) occur periodically

As a response to this, together with

Non-violent action such as

Boycotts, disinvestment etc;


The narrative continues thus:

3. Israel cites national security

As a justification and ignores

The International Court of Justice,

With, inter alia, the building of an apartheid wall

(And the annexation of Jerusalem),

And imposition, instead, of the following:

Checkpoints, ID control, road blocks,

Demolition, detention and then …

4. Hamas wins elections and this follows:

5. Israel blockades and bombs and 6. Hamas responds.


The narrative was both broken

and yet accentuated by Donald Trump,

When the USA transferred its embassy

To Jerusalem, which, de facto,

Recognised the illegal annexation of the city;

The President of the United States,

Also stopped humanitarian Palestinian aid;

De facto apartheid then became de jure

With the passing of the Jewish Nation State Law;

I conclude this overview of the diaspora

And this overview of apartheid

With these criteria of apartheid:

Ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism

and systematic discrimination:

All of these have been present since 1948

And are present today.


Apartheid


The word ‘apartheid’ is not grounded in time and space;

Even though it is associated with South Africa,

Between 1948 and 1994,

Apartheid is a system of course,

It is not confined to one historic example,

It is a system, a structure, a totality,

Defined by criteria, conditions and attributes:

Systematic dispossession,

Racist discrimination,

And physical separation,

So as to ensure the dominance

Of one (racial) group over another.


It is defined in International Law:

As ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose

of establishing and maintaining

domination of one racial group

of persons over any other

racial group of persons

and systematically

oppressing them’;

Such a system is viewed as a crime

Against humanity and consequently,

A case for the purview of the International Criminal Court.


Israeli examples that could be examined:

The laws passed in 1948

To prevent the dispossessed

from returning to their lands and homes,

while giving Jewish people the right

To migrate to Israel with citizenship;

And further laws to allow confiscation

Of Palestinian land;

In addition, in Israel,

Palestinian citizens

are second-class citizens, at best,

Compared with Israeli citizens

Defined as ‘Jewish’;

Thus, an ethnic distinction determines rights;

And determines rights to inclusion and consequent exclusion;

Access; ownership; leasing-rights are again determined,

As is, in consequence, demolition of homes,

And insanitary overcrowding;

The Basic (Constitutional) Law,

The Nation-State Law,

Explicitly defines Israel as a state

For Jewish citizens and

‘further codifies the exclusion of Palestinian citizens of Israel’.


This ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination

Is, of course, also practised in the

Occupied Palestinian Territories

Of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem,

With a similar pattern of dispossession,

Demolition, segregation,

And the application of military law.


Gaza


On to Gaza.

Gaza has been described as

‘the world’s largest open-air prison’;

The prisoner is Israel.

The prison is formed by an illegal

Blockade to prevent the free movement

Of goods and services and people;

This is by land and air and sea;

Nearly two million people inhabit this coastal strip,

The majority of whom are refugees,

Pre-1948 inhabitants,

And their descendants;

Palestinian industry,

Farming, fishing, health, power, fuel,

Construction, building, water, employment,

Electricity, hospitals, medicine

Are all at or near crisis points,

Because of the siege;

Israel ignores international opinion

As expressed by the United Nations,

Instead it presides over

‘the world’s largest open-air prison’.

This is Gaza.


And this is the United Kingdom,

Whose Minister for the Union, Michael Gove,

Appears to be a keen supporter of Israel,

As does the Home Secretary, Priti Patel,

And this is the United Kingdom,

Exporting arms to this country

that breaks international law;

And where UK companies buy arms from Israel,

Arms that have been and are, as it were,

Tested in the field and, as it were,

Tested in combat too,

In illegally occupied lands,

Where human rights are systematically violated.

More than one hundred companies

Are involved in this duality,

Here is a brief alphabet of signifiers:

BAE Systems, Babcock, Boeing, Caterpillar,

Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce …

Banks such as Barclays and HSBC …

But I conclude with some words

From Adam Shatz’s essay

‘Ghosts in the Land’ in the LRB:

‘Jewish structural supremacy over the state and its resources, which has always existed, is now enshrined by the 2018 Basic Law. In the words of the law, “the right to exercise national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” (Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, put it more bluntly in 2012: “This land is Jewish, it is not for the Arabs. There is no place here for the Arabs, and there will be no place for them.”) The presence of Palestinians is merely tolerated and generally ignored, as though they were ghosts in the land …’

(May 2021)


I wrote all of the after joining the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their information leaflets are so helpful. I wrote the above as a personal aide memoire.

www.palestinecampaign.org


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