Progressives need to be in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement

Progressives need to be in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement

by Susanne Kemp

As Zionist terror escalates in Jerusalem and on the West Bank, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has welcomed “the escalation of the mass uprising of youth with stones and Molotov cocktails in the streets of Jerusalem and across the West Bank”, describing this as “a brilliant symbol of the continuing struggle of our people despite the vast sacrifices they have given.” At the same time the PFLP sees events as confirming the centrality of armed resistance, stating “At this time it is particularly important to re-emphasize the armed resistance to inflict serious losses upon the soldiers, settlers and the infrastructure of occupation.”

PFLP leader Khalida Jarrar has been held under administrative detention since march this year

PFLP leader Khalida Jarrar has been held under administrative detention since April this year

In the past month, dozens of Palestinians have been killed “amid the escalation of Zionist terror,” the Palestinian liberation movement notes.

An important weapon of the Israeli state, and therefore one that needs a serious challenge, is ‘administrative detention’. Essentially this is internment. People are being held for long periods of time – even years – without charge and/or trial. This form of repression is used to undermine Palestinian political activity. A group of these detainees recently went on hunger strike and, after over a month, forced the Israeli state to grant some concessions, most particularly to agree to the release of a small number of detainees.

The Prison Branch of the PFLP issued a statement thanking everyone who had supported the hunger strikers and taken to the streets for them, especially in Europe. However, it also noted that this is just one small victory – administrative detention remains in place and much more effort is needed, in particular internationally, to put administrative detention under the spotlight and put intense pressure on the Israeli regime to end it.

Palestinian liberation forces are, of course, aware that the Israeli state is unlikely to abandon such a useful tool, so campaigning around administrative detention has to be seen not as an end in itself but as part of building solidarity with the overall liberation struggle. In New Zealand, people who sympathise with the Palestinians still tend to emphasise human rights over emancipation. But the whole reason for the denial of core human rights is because the Zionist regime is an occupation regime that needs to keep the Palestinians down. Human rights are not being ‘abused’ – they being denied and this is the result of the occupation – an occupation which doesn’t involve simply Jerusalem and the West Bank but the land that currently constitutes the state of Israel itself.

In New Zealand, we need a Palestinian solidarity movement – a movement in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian masses for their self-emancipation. See: here.

Occupiers and oppressors usually require local collaborators. The Israeli state has certainly found these. Most important are other regimes in the area which continually hinder the Palestinian struggle. For instance, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar provide miitary and financial assistance to the fascistic ISIS movement; ISIS is opposed to the Palestinian national movement and has attacked and murdered Palestinian refugees and members of Palestinian groups, including beheading several members of Hamas.

But within Palestine, the Israeli state has been able to house-train the leadership of Fatah, who comprised the dominant faction with the PLO and the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority. The PNA regularly uses its police to harass and arrest activists for Palestinian freedom and works with the repressive apparatus of the Zionist state against the liberation forces. The PNA leaders continuously give political ground to Israel and seek to lower the horizons of the Palestinian masses.

In an October 4 statement, therefore, the PFLP argues, It is time to abolish the Oslo accords and withdraw the mutual recognition signed by the PLO leadership with ‘Israel’. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine sees that Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations should have included a clear position to cancel the Oslo Accords and all subsequent outcomes and commitments, in light of the situation and Israeli policy of colonization, Judaization and refusal to acknowledge the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, particularly the right of return and self-determination, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

At a time when the United States claims to sponsor the so-called ‘peace-process’, the US president’s speech at the United Nations did not include a single word about the Palestinian people. The true goal of the false “peace process” is to undermine the Palestinian national movement and tear apart all of its infrastructure of support.”

Two PFLP leaders – Jamil Mizher and Maher al-Taher – were interviewed on Al-Mayadeen TV early this month, noting that whatever PNA head Mahmoud Abbas said at the UN, more and more Palestinians have had enough of the Oslo Accords and the fake peace process, the ‘security’ co-ordination between Abbas and the Zionist state and the Paris economic agreement.

The Palestinian people are fed up with the so-called pseudo-peace process,” said Taher. “They have reached a deep and comprehensive conviction that we have only the option of confronting this brutal occupation, and reject any reliance on ‘political solutions’ that have proven unsuccessful.

We are now facing an urgent need for a strategy of confrontation with this criminal enemy, rather than spinning in place and relying on regional or international interventions to gain an advantage in negotiations, or to accept the French initiative, which does not respect a minimum of our national rights and poses a threat of renewed absurd, harmful negotiations.

The occupation has clearly announced that it rejects the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as uttered by the criminal Netanyahu publicly. . . who was elected by voters on this basis. Why then bet on the path of negotiations and continue them in light of the declared Israeli policy: no state, no withdrawal to ’67 borders, no right of return, no Jerusalem, forced recognition of the ‘Jewishness’ of the state. . . The occupation policies are clear: they do not want a Palestinian militant, or moderate, or ‘extremist’; for them, the only good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian. . . They want to control the West Bank and Jerusalem and liquidate the right of return. This is evident to all.”

Mizher told the TV channel, “Our people in the West Bank are moving, as is reflected in the heroic resistance action carried out on Thursday evening. This is the mood of the Palestinian people. We in the Popular Front salute all forces and factions that raise up the gun to confront the occupier and uphold the resistance as a legitimate right of the Palestinian people.”

For the factions to truly play their role in resisting the occupation, it is necessary for the Palestinian Authority to immediately end security coordination and free the hands of the resistance from the constant pursuits and daily harassment and arrests of the security forces.”

He also noted that the PA’s security forces were suppressing demonstrations in Tulkarem and elsewhere in support of Jerusalem under Zionist attack.

There is a popular mood for the adoption of the armed struggle, and not only so-called ‘peaceful resistance,’ correcting the framework of popular resistance,” said Mizher. “Both are part of the framework of the Palestinian national liberation movement, which includes various forms of resistance: direct engagement with occupation checkpoints and soldiers, demonstrations, boycott and international action, as well as armed struggle.

It is important to note here the role played by the New Zealand government. The Key government has appointed a career diplomat as ambassador to Israel but a more senior figure, former National Party prime minister Sir Jim McLay, as ambassador to the PNA. Moreover, foreign affairs minister has said NZ has two chief goals for its current term on the UN Security Council: reforming the Council and getting the Middle East ‘peace process’ moving. NZ imperialism’s aim is a two-state ‘solution’ – ie a solution which would leave Israel intact, complete with all its discrimination against Palestinians within its borders, while an impoverished neo-colony would be created for the Palestinians consisting of the West Bank and Gaza, and possibly a shared Jerusalem.

In the post-Cold War world, NZ imperialism seeks to carve out its place somewhere near the top table by posing as an ‘even-handed’ and ‘peace-making’ player. This serves the interests of NZ capital by being onside with important export markets in the region and countries in the world outside the circle of the United States and its friends, while not antagonising the US and its pals. (NZ imperialism is also on very good terms with US imperialism, but in the post-Cold War world wants to play a bigger role and leave its options open.)

So a Palestinian solidarity movement in New Zealand has to be oriented to educating the mass of the people here and mobilising them in support of the Palestinians rather than lobbying the NZ government to get more engaged in the Middle East. The NZ government is not the friend of the oppressed; it is an institution of NZ capital and it always acts in pursuit of those interests. The NZ government, moreover, wants to get negotiations moving; but, as the PFLP notes, negotiations are a core part of the problem. They are a dead-end, in fact a graveyard, for the Palestinian liberation struggle and the birthplace for an impoverished Palestinian neo-colony based in Gaza and the West Bank.

As against the debilitating path of negotiating for the crumb of ‘winning’ a neo-colony, the PFLP points to the daily resistance of Palestinians, especially Palestinian youth. A current flashpoint is Jerusalem, as the Zionists engage in ethnic cleansing with the aim of making it a Jewish city, clearing out the substantial Palestinian population. On October 4, the PFLP declared it “views this upsurge in Palestinian resistance operations against the occupation and the settlers, whether organizational or individual, as a confirmation that our people are determined to confront and respond to crimes of the occupation and will not back down from the right to resist and will continue to struggle until the achievement of their objectives.

The Front emphasises that the uprising of youth who are struggling for the sake of the homeland and to defend the Arab identity of Jerusalem, are imposing significant losses on the Zionist enemy and planting fear in the hearts of the occupying soldiers and settlers who are unable to cope with the high courage and spirit of these young people, armed with determination, persistence and the justice of their cause.

The Front called for the youth uprising to continue its strikes on Israeli soldiers and settlers with stones and Molotov cocktails, knives and all within reach of your hands. The enemy is cowardly and cannot bear losses and fears the language of the force of the oppressed.

The Front also salutes the night watch committees that confront the settlers attempting to invade villages and burn trees, calling for more of them to be formed throughout the occupied West Bank to confront the crimes of the occupation and settler terror.”

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