[News] We Are in Palestine, Habibi, and Palestine Is Heaven

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 2 10:39:07 EDT 2020

 https://www.thetricontinental.org/newsletterissue/27-palestine/ We Are in
Palestine, Habibi, and Palestine Is Heaven: The Twenty-Seventh Newsletter
Vijay Prashad - July 2, 2020

[image: Sliman Mansour (Palestine), Revolution Was the Beginning, 2016.]

Sliman Mansour (Palestine), *Revolution Was the Beginning*, 2016.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

It is impossible to be calm about the fate of the Palestinian people. Since
1948, they have been denied their country and denied their right to exist.
One United Nations resolution upon another has said that their exile must
end, that they must be allowed to build lives of dignity. Between UN
Resolution 194 (1948) and 242 (1967) are a string of resolutions calling
for the right of Palestinians to have a homeland and for the right of
Palestinians to return to their homeland.

During the 1967 Israeli invasion of the West Bank, Defence Minister Moshe
Dayan told Lieutenant General Yitzhak Rabin that the aim of the war was to
remove all Palestinians out of the entire territory to the west of the
Jordan River. When Israel seized that land from Jordanian control, Israel’s
Prime Minister Levy Eshkol said
<https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300171945/bride-and-dowry> that the
new territory was a ‘dowry’, but that this ‘dowry’ came with a ‘bride’ –
namely, the Palestinian people. ‘The trouble is that the dowry is followed
by a bride’, he said, ‘whom we don’t want’. The Israeli plan has always
been to annex all of Jerusalem and the West Bank, either killing the
Palestinians who live there or pushing them out to Jordan and Syria.

[image: Vera Tamari (Palestine), Starry Night on Jericho Hills, 2017,-3]

Vera Tamari (Palestine), *Starry Night on Jericho Hills*, 2017.

On 1 July 2020, this is precisely what the Israeli government began: the
annexation of the West Bank. The Oslo Accords of 1994 provided
<https://peacemaker.un.org/israelopt-osloaccord93> the basis for a
‘two-state solution’ in which the Palestinian people would control the West
Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza in a future Palestinian state. But Israel
was never going to permit such a reality. The imposition of prison-like
conditions on Gaza and the punctual bombardment of that congested and
impoverished area has left its people bereft. The open annexation of East
Jerusalem through land grabs has changed the status quo of that city. The
Israeli state-backed policy that sent close to half a million Israeli
settlers to occupy Palestinian land in the West Bank – often with the best
water sources – has erased the possibility of any sovereign Palestinian

For years, Israeli settlers have encroached upon Palestinian land with the
full backing of the Israeli state. Now, Israel has begun to incorporate
these settlements – which the United Nations has called illegal – into
Israeli territory. Since UN Resolution 237 (1967), the United Nations has
Israel not to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), which sought to
ensure civilian protections in war zones, in the areas that Israel seized
from the Palestinian people in the 1967 war. UN Resolution 2334 in 2016 said
<https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm> that the Israeli
settlements were a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law and had ‘no
legal validity’. The current annexation by Israel shows disregard for
international law and for the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian

[image: Nabil Anani (Palestine), Demonstration #2, 2016.]

Nabil Anani (Palestine), *Demonstration #2*, 2016.

What does this annexation of the West Bank mean? It means that Israel has
grabbed the land that it had formally ceded to a future Palestinian state
and it means that Israel is willing to incorporate the Palestinian natives
of this land as non-citizen residents of Israel. The land grab violates
international law; the second-class status of Palestinians affirms Israel’s
status as an apartheid state. In 2017, the UN’s Economic and Social
Commission of West Asia published a report
called *Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question
of Apartheid*. The report showed that all Palestinians – regardless of
where they live – are impacted by the apartheid policies of the Israeli

Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship (*ezrahut*) do not have the right
to nationality (*le’um*), which means that they can only access inferior
social services, and that they face restrictive zoning laws and find
themselves unable freely to buy land. Palestinians in East Jerusalem are
reduced to the status of permanent residents who must constantly prove that
they live in the city. Palestinians in the West Bank live ‘in ways
consistent with apartheid’, write the authors of the UN report. And those
who are exiled to refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan have been
permanently denied their rights to their homeland. All Palestinians –
whether those who live in Haifa (Israel) or in Ain al-Hilweh (Lebanon) –
suffer the consequences of Israeli apartheid. This indignity is punctuated
with laws that humiliate Palestinians, each one meant to make life so
miserable that they are forced to emigrate.

[image: Khaled Hourani (Palestine), Suspicion, 2019.-2]

Khaled Hourani (Palestine), *Suspicion*, 2019.

The annexation of the West Bank will only deepen Israel’s apartheid
policies. The Zionist state will not permit Palestinians full citizenship
rights. There is no intention to incorporate the Palestinian people into
Israel with full citizenship nor to cede even a threadbare Palestine. This
is barefaced colonialism of the old type. Inside this kind of colonial
aggression comes the demolition of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East
Jerusalem (such as Wadi Yasul
<https://www.btselem.org/jerusalem/20190613_wadi_yasul>) and the
destruction of olive groves (such as in Burin Village
In the few months of 2020, the Israeli state has arrested
210 Palestinian children and 250 students, as well as 13 Palestinian
journalists. These moves are reported by human rights groups and condemned
by Palestinian civil society organisations but are otherwise ignored. This
is the attrition of dignity.

All of this is illegal: the demolitions, the settlements, the apartheid
wall that encircles the West Bank. UN resolutions, International Court of
Justice rulings, civil society condemnations: none of it seems to make an
impact. Since 1948, Israel has acted with impunity as it has sought to
annihilate Palestine and Palestinians, to steal the ‘dowry’ and dispose of
the ‘bride’. Not far from the wall that Israel built surrounding the West
Bank to humiliate the Palestinians are the traces of walls that Israel has
knocked down to turn homes into dust. Those walls, which once held up
roofs, were shelters for a people who have been thrown off their axis, made
to walk at a tilt, always afraid of the settler’s bullet or the soldier’s
handcuffs. Prison walls are made of stone. Settlement walls are made of
stone. But the walls of the homes of a Palestinian are made of that odd
combination of fear and resistance. There is fear that the cannons of the
coloniser will blast through them, but there is resistance that
acknowledges that the walls of the home are not the real walls. The real
walls are the walls of fortitude and perseverance.

*Palestine*, inspired by the original poster of Ronaldo Cordova (OSPAAAL,
Cuba),* Solidarity with Palestine*, 1968.

Wretched states are hollowed out by their insensitivity and by their
injustice. In the absence of moral conviction, it is impossible for the
Israeli state to make its case except by the arrogance of guns. When a
bulldozer comes before a home, it is the bulldozer that will prevail, but
it is the home that remains alive in the hearts and dreams of the people.
Bulldozers produce fear, but not humanity. A humane society cannot be built
by fear. It must be built by the enthusiasm of love. Wretched states – such
as Israel – cannot build a utopia of love on land that has been scarred by
brutal theft. Even after olive trees have been uprooted, their groves still
smell of olives.

Yalalan Band (Palestine), *Dingi Dingi*, 2016

After the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza, the Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon wrote
‘Afterwords’. The poem imagines a child walking with a grandfather (*sidu*).

Are we going back to Jaffa, *sidu*?
We can’t
We are dead
So are we in heaven, *sidu*?
We are in Palestine, *habibi*
and Palestine is heaven
and hell.
What will we do now?
We will wait
Wait for what?
For the others
to return

There is no time to wait. It is time for the world to deny Israel its
impunity, which is provided by the full-throated backing by the United
States of America.

Warmly, Vijay.

PS: please read the statement
made by the International Peoples’ Assembly in solidarity with the
Palestinian people.
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