Zionist righteous indignation would be a lot more convincing if it wasn’t covered with so much crap. In response to an upcoming lecture planned in London where Dr. Azzam Tamimi and I are to speak at University College of London, UCL, the Jewish Chronicle came out with an article titled: “Jewish UCL students ‘horrified by anti-israeli event.” They never seem to be horrified by the reality Israel imposes on Palestinians. They are not horrified by the racist laws, the slow death by lack of water and medical care imposed on people in Gaza, they are not horrified by the bombing and killing of innocents, nor are they horrified by thousands of political prisoners tortured by Israeli secret police. What horrifies them is, apparently Dr. Tamimi and I pointing these things out. Well, they ought to brace themselves because the truth can be horrifying.
I recently returned from Palestine where as always I left my Palestinians friends behind and personally I cannot help but feel a combination of anger, sadness a sense of disgust by a world that seems to care very little for Palestinian lives. Palestinian mothers and fathers may at any moment be arrested or shot, may at any day and any moment see their children arrested or shot, may at any moment have their home demolished; Palestinian kids are being pulled over, beaten and harassed by police and soldiers who are motivated by racism and hate and armed to the teeth with the finest weapons. Being in Palestine one is never more than an hour or two drive from the concentration camp which is the Gaza Strip where two million people are caged in and dying a slow death. This is horrifying to people of conscience but apparently not to the writers and editors of the the Jewish Chronicle.
What is even more horrifying is the often cold, measured and academic attitude people take toward Palestine. It is like seeing people trapped under the rubble of a demolished building, unable to get out while the rest of us debate their fate. We are free to walk away while they must take very shallow breaths, trying not to inhale the dust and the fumes and the smell of death all around; they have to negotiate with the large pieces of concrete and stone that threaten to squeeze them and their children, and with pieces of metal that threaten to impale them if they make a wrong move and we are free to leave them there without access to food or water, and what makes it worse is that we engage in academic debates and walk freely in the country that was once theirs.
The dignity with which Palestinians cary themselves and their burden should not give way to thinking it is a bearable burden. Palestinian resolve to exist and to live and to raise children who have faith in the future should be seen in the context of a horrible impending holocaust. Palestinians face a powerful enemy, the State of Israel, which is determined to destroy them to the point of extinction. It is not merely oppression, it is attempted genocide. Israel does this by using bombs, denying Palestinians water and medical care, destroying crops and demolishing homes; Israeli authorities use deportation and denial of the right to return home, denying Palestinians to marry other Palestinians because of where in Palestine they reside, limiting or denying the the right to travel, and the list goes on and on. It is a well planned and well thought out campaign of genocide that must not be taken lightly.
Palestine stands, and Palestinians survive but only by the grace of their resolve to exist, and not through any help. We on the outside must follow the Palestinian call to impose boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel. It is a campaign which merely demands the end of the military occupation of 1967, equal rights and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and lands. But we must go further – Israel must unconditionally end the siege on Gaza, release all Palestinian prisoners and give Palestinians unlimited access to water and medical care.
Israel and its supporters will pretend to be horrified and blame the entire world for being anti-Semitic. But we who are not under the rubble are duty bound to do all that is humanly possible to expose Israeli crimes and to pull Palestinians out of this impending death. We must speak up and expose the reality in which Palestinians live and whic Israel and its cronies try to hide. We must insist on the truth, interrupt any debate the legitimizes Israel, boycott, isolate and fight relentlessly until Palestine is free and its children are free.