The annexation of over thirty percent of the West Bank by the occupation state, announced by the Netanyahu-Gantz government for next July, can best be described with the title of Garcia Marquez’s novel; “Chronicle of a death foretold”. Not the death of the two-state solution or the peace process, but rather the death of a lie that has been held on artificial breath system for twenty-nine years. At least since the first peace conference at Madrid in 1991.
It is the lie by which Palestinians could rely on international law and a supposed international community to obtain some kind of statehood, independence, freedom, a place under the sun. It was a death foretold by Yitzahac Shamir, then Prime Minister of the state of Israel, at the Madrid conference itself, when he said that Israel was going to negotiate for twenty years without any timeframe commitments. For some reason, the world back then including some Palestinian leaders decided to pretend it did not hear Shamir’s words, and proceeded. What happened next is history, now more than ever, useless to repeat.
Today, at the event of another Israeli mocking of International law that will be forgiven and rewarded by the international community the next morning, only one question is worth to be asked. At the sight of eviction orders being distributed to Palestinians across the Jordan valley, from North to South, of settlers running to grab as much hill-tops and water wells as they can, of Israeli bulldozers leveling any Four walls with a water tank on the top of them and Palestinians holding to whatever they have left with their teeth, only one question deserves to be thought of seriously: What should the world be doing to stop this crime? Not the governments of the world or the UN organization, No. The citizens of the world, each and everyone in their place and role, what should they be doing to stop this colonization machine that has been, for over a century now, smashing lives and dreams under its caterpillars?
Everybody is concerned
The question is worth asking because everybody is concerned. It touches you, me, personally, no matter where we live. To think otherwise is hiding behind one’s own finger. The reason is not that coronavirus proved how much of a “small town” the world has become, but because it has reaffirmed how much of a place it is where human life and dignity come at last. And unless genuine, global citizen solidarity is built, we would all be giving our consent.
The eviction of a Palestinian family from their land, after destroying their home and business, in order to install a settler who just arrived from Russia in their place is the result of that consent. Just like the murder of George Floyd by policemen in Minneapolis, in the middle of impunity because of his skin color, is also a result of that consent. Our collective, world-wide, repetitive consent.
Don’t give your consent
At the dawn of the end of World War II, a new international system was inaugurated, supposedly based on an international declaration of human rights, but at the same time tens of thousands of civilians were being burned alive at Hiroshima, and an entire generation gave its consent. Three years later, Cont Folk Bernadotte called out the injustice that was being committed against the Palestinian people and he was murdered for that, by those who a few months later proclaimed the state of Israel, and the world gave its consent.
But our generation has its part of responsibility too. Millions around the world watched on tv how Iraq was being bombed to the ground in 2003, based on a lie. Many did not give their consent. They protested and said No, but most of us did. And every time that any life from Hiroshima, from Iraq, from Chile or from Palestine did not matter, it was a black life, a white life, a human life anywhere, and at any time that did not matter.
More Palestinians than it was thought
The Palestinian people have today, more reasons than ever to feel that they have been let down by the international community. As they watch what remains of their land being annexed away, they have all reasons to believe that they are alone. However, when Afro-Americans protest against the murder of black people by policemen, when a Colombian student is beaten to death for protesting against cuts on education when Algerians demonstrate against dictatorship and French against the stealing of their retirements, one can only conclude that there are more Palestinians in the world than is has been thought.
It is not surprising, therefore, to see how the Palestine solidarity movement has been systematically criminalized in several European countries in the recent years. Any solidarity is a chance for a different kind of world. A more humane and just world. A world that is worth struggling for. And the forefront of that struggle, right now, is in the hills and valleys of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.