As I write these words I am in Jerusalem and it is a cold, windy and rainy day. Yesterday at the protest in Nabi Saleh, facing the IDF terror squads and in full view of the villas of the settler terrorists, we were drenched in rain and then frozen by the cold wind. Some of the protesters, a group of young women who were gutsier than most, did not run like most of us but stood firm as the IDF terror squad operated its “Skunk” and sprayed them with a foul smelling substance that remains on the skin for days. Now, in this horrid weather, tweeting from the Mukata’a, young Palestinians are protesting against the useless, demeaning process of the PA negotiations with Israel.
The injustices all over Palestine are more obvious than ever. Israeli children in West Jerusalem get more of everything that Palestinian children in East Jerusalem, particularly if they live in Sho’afat refugee camp for example. Settlers in the West Bank can take the land of the people of Yanun in the West Bank at any time, and are not held back by any law while the people of Yanun have no law and no authority that protects their rights. People in Gaza are bombed and left to die as the world watches and here too there is no one to whom they can turn. Equal rights in a single democracy is the one demand that covers all the demands and deals with all the injustices.
The levels of injustice and despair here are only matched by the great possibilities that a single democratic state with equal rights offers to all people who live here. Equal rights means equal rights to land, water, immigration, education, work, and above all life. When the apartheid state of Israel is transformed into a single political entity with equal rights for all of its people, residents of Jenin and Deheishe will vote in the same elections as those in Tel Aviv. The results will then reflect the will of all people who live in Palestine/Israel, our shared homeland, not only the ruling class which happen to be Zionist Israeli Jews.
People often claim that it is an unrealistic, utopian dream and hope for a compromise, for a “moderate” Zionist government that will curb the settlers and reign back the army. However, it was a “moderate” Zionist government that allowed the settlers to terrorize Palestinians and take their land, it was a “moderate” Zionist government that attacked in and murdered innocents in Gaza, and “moderate” Zionists did nothing when less “moderate” Zionists continued to massacre in Gaza. The settler terrorists are the foot soldiers, they are the trail blazers of Zionism, they were created by “moderate” Zionist governments and are now being
rewarded with villas on choice Palestinian land in the West Bank.
There are those who hope that if elected to a second term, President Obama will turn his attentions to Israel/Palestine but this is quite naive. Had he or any other president been serious about this issue they would have to come down on Israeli human rights abuses, denial of civil rights, incarceration of political prisoners and massive assaults on civilians resulting in thousands of innocent deaths. It is naive to assume that the political climate in the US allows any of these issues to be brought up. So anyone out there that is banking on a solution coming from the US, will surely be disappointed.
The quest for equal rights is not a easy one and will not be easily won. Indeed, any fight against the brutal militant Zionist behemoth is not easy and calls for great sacrifice. But the people in Palestine and abroad who are engaged in the struggle are dedicated and determined and if they put their minds and efforts towards a single demand of complete equal rights within a single democracy, they are sure to succeed.