بلا مداراة وبلا محاباة: اطردوا منتفعي النظام من صفوفكم

ابراهيم الأمين

الثلاثاء 12 تشرين الثاني 2019

لن تنفع المداراة في معالجة مشكلة، ولا تعالج المحاباة جروحاً عميقة، ولا المسايرة تبني وطناً أو علاقات وطيدة. وحدها الصراحة، مهما كانت قاسية، تفيد في اللحظات الحرجة، وتساعد الناس في لحظة تعقل كاملة، أو حتى في لحظة انفعال، على الاختيار بين الذل المغطّى بغيوم كثيفة من الكلام المعسول والأحلام، والحياة الحرة مهما كانت قصيرة.

الذين نزلوا الى الشارع غاضبين من هذا الحكم ليسوا هم الذين يرفعون الشعارات المنمّقة. من يحتاجون إلى دولة عادلة غير الذين يريدون الاستيلاء على الدولة كما يفعل الحاكمون اليوم. ومن يعانون الأمرّين من جرّاء الظلم المتنوّع غير الذين لا يعانون نقصاً في الأكل والطبابة والثياب والسكن. ولا يمكن أن يستوي تغيير جذري بهذه الآليات.

من لديه ذاكرة، فليراجع ما شهده لبنان خلال ربع قرن. احتجاجات سياسية وتحركات شعبية وانتفاضات أهلية ومواجهات وحروب باردة أو ساخنة. ومن لديه ذاكرة وعقل، وقلب حقيقي، فليعد الى أرشيف لم يندمل، وإلى مواقف وتصريحات وشعارات وتحركات غالبية من ينسبون الى أنفسهم النطق باسم آلام الناس، من سياسيين وإعلاميين وناشطين وأحزاب وتجار ورجال أعمال وأصحاب مهن حرة. ليرجع الجميع الى أرشيف طريّ، موجود حيث يريدون، وليعاودوا قراءة المواقف والمقالات والتصريحات، وليعاودوا مراجعة المفاوضات والتحالفات والتكتلات، وليعاودوا مراجعة التسويات والصفقات السياسية وغير السياسية، وليعاودوا قراءة لوائح المرشحين لتولي المناصب… ثم ليختموا بمراجعة أسماء المرشحين لتولي مناصب نيابية ووزارية، وكيف ترتفع أكثر أصوات من لم تشملهم الترشيحات.

من يفعل ذلك بصورة هادئة، سيكتشف أن هناك جيشاً من المنافقين الذين ينتشرون اليوم في الساحات والشوارع، ويحتلون الشاشات والمنابر على أنواعها، ويركضون ويهتفون ويصفقون ويغنون ويرقصون، بالطريقة نفسها واللغة نفسها والأسلوب نفسه، وإن خارت قوى بعضهم، أو احتال آخرون على أعمارهم وعلى الأجيال، لكن النتيجة هي ذاتها؛ من فشل الى فشل، ومن إحباط الى إحباط، ومن خيبة الى خيبة. وفي كل مرة نعود فيها الى لحظة الاختيار الهادئ، حيث يقف الإنسان الحر، بينه وبين نفسه، ولو لثوان أمام صندوقة اقتراع، ترى هذا المواطن الملدوغ يعود الى هواجس يعتقد أنها أصيلة، ويعود الى حسابات تبدو معبّرة عن حاله وتطلعاته وقدراته، ويختار من يختار.

في كل مرة، نكتشف أن التغيير بطيء للغاية. الأمر لا يتعلق بسلطة فاسدة وقاهرة ومحركة للعصبيات الطائفية والمذهبية فحسب، بل بنقص حاد في المحفزات عند الناس من أجل اختيار بديل غير واضح. ولأن الناس يشعرون بالخير وبالشر، كما يشعرون بالسكينة أو بالخطر، فهم لا يبالغون عندما يختارون هذا بدل ذاك، مهما كانت التعبئة قاسية، ومهما كانت اللحظات حساسة. ومن يفرح لغضب الناس وانتفاضتهم، يعرف أنهم هم أنفسهم من غضبوا وانتفضوا مرات ومرات، وهم أنفسهم الذين عبّروا عن سخطهم طوال السنوات الماضية، تارة باحتجاج على تلوّث، أو نقص في المياه، أو غياب لعدالة في الرتبة والراتب، أو بحثاً عن هوية وطنية وسيادة مغناة في القصائد فقط، أو نصرة لقائد أو شعار أو مظلوم، أو بحثا عن ملاذ بعيد عن الطائفية والذمية والقهر السياسي، أو رفضاً لسلطة أمنية أو سياسية أو اقتصادية. لقد خرج الناس مراراً وتكراراً خلال ربع قرن.

لكن، في كل مرة يعود فيها هؤلاء الى صندوقة الاقتراع اللعينة، تراهم يعيدون إنتاج البضاعة نفسها. ليس لأنهم يرغبون في هذا القدر المحتوم، بل لأنه لا بديل يجرّهم الى المكان الأفضل، ولا بديل يمنحهم الثقة الكافية لهدم الهيكل القائم. ولأن الناس على هذا المنوال، لا يمكن اليوم أن يخرج مجهول من بين الناس، يوزع شعارات ويضع خططاً ويقرر تحركات من هنا أو هناك. ولا يمكن لشاشات ملوثة، لا ملونة، أن تخترع قادة وصنّاع تاريخ. ولا يمكن لمرتزقة وسارقين أن يرفعوا لواء الدفاع عن مظلوم. ولا يمكن لثريّ لا يشرح لنا مصدر ثروته، أن يعدنا بالمنّ والسلوى إن فوّضنا إليه إدارة البلاد وخيراتها. ولا يمكن لمثقف يخفي جبنه خلف مؤسسات اخترعها الغرب المعادي، أن يعطي دروساً في الوطنية والاستقلالية والمدنية، وهو الذي لا يشرح سرّ الهبات الغربية التي تصله دون غيره. ولا يمكن لمناضلي الساعة العاشرة أن يخلعوا الثياب المنمّقة والياقات، وينزلوا الى الساحات كأنهم في فيلم هوليودي، ثم يعتقدون أننا سنفضّلهم على من بذل الدم من أجلنا ومن أجل مستقبل أولادنا…

لكل ذلك، لا مناص من قول ما لا يعجب كثيرين من الغاضبين، لكنه ما يغضب كثيرين من الكذابين، وهو قول واضح محدد:

إن ما يشهده لبنان اليوم لا يؤسّس لتغيير حقيقي وشامل، بل هو سيعيد ترميم النظام نفسه، من خلال استبدال وجوه بوجوه. وما نشهده اليوم لن يقود الى بلد جديد، بنظام حكم جديد، وبمؤسسات وسياسات جديدة، بل هو سيعيد إنتاج النظام نفسه، لكن بتعليب جديد وأسماء جديدة.

لم يشهد التاريخ انتفاضة تبقى طوال الوقت من دون قيادة أو إطار تنسيق واضح وفعلي

كل انتفاضة لا تصيب مقتلاً في أهل النظام القائم، وكل انتفاضة لا تدمر هيكل النظام القائم، وكل انتفاضة لا تطرد اللصوص من الساحات ولو بقيت قلة صادقة، وكل انتفاضة لا تبدع في اختيار قادة مستعدين للتضحية بكل شيء، لا نفع منها، ولا رجاء… وكل ثورة لا تسأل عن مصدر هذا الدعم أو ذاك لا أمل منها، وكل انتفاضة لا تسأل عن سبب وجود هذا أو ذاك من مستثمري النظام القائم لا جدوى منها. ومع الأسف، لن يتأخر الوقت حتى يتعرّف الناس، من جديد، على وجوه ستنضمّ الى نادي المستوزرين والساعين الى احتلال مواقع السلطة بحجة التغيير. وستعود وسائل الإعلام التي تطارد المنتفضين اليوم، الى استضافة من تعوّدت فتح منابرها لهم، وعقد الصفقات معهم، أفراداً وجماعات، ثم تركض وسائل الإعلام ذاتها الى حصر برامجها عند أي انتخابات بأصحاب الأموال من دون سؤالهم عن مصدرها. وهل يحتاج الجمهور والحقيقيون من الناشطين إلى دليل إضافي على نفاق هؤلاء الإعلاميين والسياسيين الذين صاروا مثل حواريي الإقطاع يدورون من حولنا؟

صحيح أن أيّ انتفاضة تنطلق بعفوية، ثم تستقطب الناس بعفوية أيضاً، لكن لم يشهد التاريخ انتفاضة تبقى طوال الوقت من دون قيادة أو إطار تنسيق واضح وفعلي، إلا إذا كانت هناك «كلمة سر» تشجع الناشطين على عدم تنظيم صفوفهم، وعلى عدم خلق إطار قيادي فعلي. ومن يقف خلف هذه الكلمة، هو نفسه من يقرر جدول الأعمال. وهو نفسه، من يُعدّ اللوائح بأسماء المرشحين لتولّي المناصب، وهو من تواكبه السيارات السوداء الى مقار كبار أهل السلطة للتفاوض.

أكثر من ذلك، ثمة ميل عند بعض الذين انتفخت رؤوسهم لتولّي إدارة محكمة أخلاقية تقرر من هو الثائر ومن هو الفاسد. وبسذاجة سبق أن جُرّبت سابقاً، يُصِرُّ هؤلاء على لعبِ الدورِ نفسِه الذي تعودناه منذ عام 2005. وهؤلاء لا يشكون من تعرّضهم للقمع، بل يمارسون أقذر أنواع الكراهية والترهيب بحق الآخرين. والمشكلة ليست مع هؤلاء الذين نعرف أين مآلهم بعد وقت غير طويل. لكن السؤال هو للناس: فهل بين الذين نزلوا الى الساحات، ولو ظنوا أنهم يمثلون نصف لبنان، من يعتقد أن من حقّهم إرغام الآخرين، أي نصف لبنان الآخر، على السير خلفهم. وإذا رفض طلبهم، فهل يمنحون أنفسهم الحق في إدارة الحياة على ذوقهم؟

لم يعد المشهد هو نفسه كما كان قبل نحو شهر. الناس أنفسهم باتوا يعرفون الكثير من الحقائق، ويجيدون التمييز بين الحقيقي والمفتعل. ولن يتأخر الوقت حتى نجد أنفسنا بين خيارين لا ثالث لهما: الفوضى التي تثبت انقساماً صار واضحاً ولن تحجبه أصوات أو غيوم مصطنعة، أو الذهاب نحو مرحلة انتقالية، تستوجب بقاء الناس الحقيقيين في الشوارع والساحات، وستلزم المناضلين الحقيقيين بأجندات وبرامج، قد لا تجد إعلاماً يروِّج لها!

“The Lost Lesson from the Arab-Israeli Struggle” by Dr. Rizk Elias…

Source

Tuesday, 05 November 2019

==The October Liberation War confirmed the validity of the theory that the late President Hafez al-Assad adopted in preparing for the war…

==President Bashar al-Assad has placed the issue of the liberation of Golan at the forefront of the national priorities.

A 525 page long and eight chapter book titled “The Lost Lesson from the Arab-Israeli Struggle, written by Dr. Rizk Elias” has been recently published by the Syrian Ministry of Culture – the Syrian General Book Organization.

Through his field participation in the Arab-Israeli wars and his history as an army officer, the author tries to summarize the events of this struggle during the last century, using the wars that took place from 1948 to 1982 to explain lessons of both sides in each of these wars, as well as the reasons for the failure of the peace process which began in Madrid in 1991, stressing that the lesson of a just and comprehensive peace is still missing. For those reasons, Dr. Rizk Elias’ book could be considered as an important source to politicians and military men who are interested in the Arab-Israeli struggle from its inception to date. The writer dedicated his book to all those who have worked and still work to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and to find an end to the Arab-Israeli struggle, which has passed over a century.

Introduction:

Introducing his book which includes all about the Arab-Israeli wars and the negotiations between Syria and Israel, Dr. Rizk Elias said that he tries to show the influence of geography and politics in the decisions of wars and peace, the impact of the process of building power and the theory of its use, as well as the military balance between the two sides and the attempts of both  parties to evaluate the results of each round of  the conflict and to learn lessons from it in order to prepare for a coming war or to resort to a peaceful settlement. Therefore, “I resorted in the first chapter of the book to describe the  geographical and topographical characterizations of the theater of the war, while in the subsequent chapters, I tried to deal with  the successive wars which took place from 1948 to  1982” Dr. Elias added. In the last chapter, I talked about the peace process between Syria and Israel, which began at the Madrid conference in 1991 and the reasons for its failure, only to help the reader to form a comprehensive idea about the Arab-Israeli struggle which has not been ended yet, neither in war or peace. “My previous position as a staff officer in the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces, and then an adviser to the Minister of Defense as well as my participations in the Arab – Israeli wars from the 1967 war and my experience as a teacher of these subjects at the Higher Military Academy in Damascus, and my contribution as a member of the peace process between Syria and Syria have all helped me in the delicate job to write this book” he said.

Dr. Elias confirmed that the Zionist ideology which was based on immigration and settlement has begun to decline after the October war, the 1973 Lebanon war, the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the liberation of the Lebanese resistance to south Lebanon in 2000 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Israel was forced to dismantle its settlements in the Sinai and the Gaza Strip. It also was forced to withdraw its forces from Lebanon after its arrival to the outskirts of Beirut as well as that Its scheme to establish a Palestinian state in Jordan has finally fell. The Israelis have resorted during the past few years to the idea of strategic defense and to build fortified walls in Gaza, the West Bank, the Lebanese borders and the occupied Golan Heights.

According to the writer, «Israel» now believes that arming the forces of the resistance axis consisting of Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Palestinian organizations poses an existential danger to its existence, because such an armament can cause precise injuries in all vital targets in the depth of Israel as it has the powers and the means that enable them to break in through the barriers and walls built by Israel along the borders.

Chapters of the book:

The first chapter deals with some of the geographical characteristics of the theater of war in Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights including the boundaries of the Mandate and the armistice lines, and the topographical landmarks in Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights.

The second chapter talks about the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, while the third talks about the tripartite aggression «British, French and Israeli» on Egypt in 1956.  In the fourth chapter, the writer explained all about the Israeli aggression against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967. In the fifth chapter, the writer discussed the process that occurred in Syria to rebuild the Syrian armed forces before the liberation 1973 war and the first war of attrition (1968-1973).

In the sixth chapter, the writer talks about the October liberation war on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts, and the second war of attrition on the Syrian front (1973-1974), while Chapter seven deals with Syria’s approach to build a strategic balance with Israel and to confront the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The last chapter of the book deals with the peace process between Syria and Israel and the reasons for its failure.

The mission of liberation:

In the fifth chapter, the author talks about the features of the theory of the late President Hafez al-Assad to liberate the occupied Golan Heights and the rest of other occupied Arab territories.Image result for hafez assad

“Anyone who reads the speech of president Hafez al-Assad at the tenth extraordinary National Congress of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, which was held in early November 1970, touches the concern he had had to liberate the territories occupied by Israel in its aggression in 1967; a concern that remained his concern for a long time.” The writer said. People who were close to him knew that on the anniversary of the occupation of the Golan, which occurs on the tenth of June of each year, president Assad devoted all his day to evaluate what Syria had achieved on the road to liberate the Golan.

Also in his speech at the conference which was held several days before the establishment of the Corrective Movement in 1970, president Hafez al-Assad laid out his vision on how to liberate the Golan and the occupied Arab territories. He had worked according to this vision for thirty years until his death, that vision which is still valid to rationalize our steps in the struggle to liberate our territoriy.

The writer reviewed the clear and integrated vision of the late president Hafez al-Assad, explaining how it was interrelated in the domestic, Arab and international politics and also in the field of the battle for the accomplishment of the liberation mission.

The October War of Liberation

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After examining the details of the October liberation war, Dr. Rizk Elias listed in the sixth chapter the most important positive results of this war in 1973, including the moral victory not only of the fighters who participated in it, but also of the Arab Man who suffered frustration as a result of the June 1967 defeat. To liberate part of the occupied territories, this war showed the importance of Arab solidarity and its effectiveness and forced the enemy to treat the Palestinian issue as an issue of people rather than refugees. The October war also caused a major jolt in the psycho-political structure of the Israeli society, and strengthened the position of Arabs in the field of the international political action.

This war has also confirmed through practical experience the validity of the theory on which President Hafez al-Assad had based to prepare for the war and to conduct it.  It proved that Arab soldiers had appeared during the battle in their true image; brave and able to use modern war machines, love their nation and sacrifice for it, showing moral energy in the war. There was scientific evidence of unity of the Arab nation in the will, feelings, desires, hopes and goals, and its enormous military, human and economic energy capable of achieving victory if used correctly. There was great importance of incorporating the political and military battles. Late President Hafez al-Assad stressed that fact by saying: « we cannot, in any way, separate our political battle from our military battle, because the first came as a result of the second, and is associated with it. “We have achieved with our steadfastness in the military battle glorious results which shattered all the myths woven by the enemy around him” he concluded. “We are also able with steadfastness, self-confidence and strong cohesion at the home front, along with our solid cohesion with the Arab nation, to achieve success in the political battle either to achieve the goals for which we fought, or by saying a big “NO” if we were faced by manipulation or evasive or evasion of the implementation of the Security Council resolution as we understand. »

The Peace Process:

Image result for hafez assad

Dr. Rizk Elias revealed in Chapter eight which talks about the “peace process and the reasons for its failure”, the statement of late President Hafez al-Assad on 9 September 1992 in a meeting with a delegation of citizens of the Golan who came to visit Damascus: «In the past we have said that we want peace, and today we are saying that we want a comprehensive peace that preserves our dignity and is accepted by our people, and does not require any retreat from our national rights, and will in no way harm the dignity and pride of our nation. If others agree, this kind of peace can then be achieved.”

On August 1, 1993, on the occasion of the Syrian Arab Army Day, the late President al-Assad gave a clear indication of how serious Syria is in its attempts to achieve peace: “We are in the battle of peace and we are fighting it as seriously as we are in the military wars.

The book also reviewed President Bashar al-Assad’s position on the peace process. The president placed the question of the occupied land in the Golan Heights at the forefront of the national priorities. “Our main concern is to liberate our occupied land. “Land and sovereignty are an issue of dignity” he said. We have been clear in our positions since the beginning of the peace process in Madrid in 1991, contrary to the Israeli policy, which was characterized by fluctuation at times, and putting obstacles”, president Bashar al-Assad said in his Constitutional oath speech in front of the People’s Assembly (the parliament) on July, 17, 2000.

In the same speech, President al-Assad stressed that we must work as quickly as possible to liberate the Golan without compromising the land. “We are in a hurry for peace because it is our choice, and the Syrian Arab people a peace-loving people throughout history, but we are not ready, by any means, to abandon any part of our land, or to let our sovereignty to be touched » he said.

President al-Assad called on the United States of America to play a neutral, impartial and effective role to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy. In a later speech, President Bashar al-Assad called on Russia and the European Union to play a more active role.

In another speech, President al-Assad referred to the peace-loving nature of the Syrian people by saying: Peace is an ideology for the Syrian people and not just a political act. If you go back to the history of Syria for hundreds and thousands of years, you will find that it has no history of aggression. The real struggle between us and the Israelis is between those who start wars and those who prevent it ».

President al-Assad also explained the contrast between the terms “Syria’s conditions” and “Syria’s rights” by saying: “There is no such a thing as” Syria’s conditions” but there is something called” “Syria’s rights”. “There are international conditions that correspond to the Syrian and Arab rights in general. Israel stands in the face of restoration of the Syrian rights and, at the same time, in the face of the international conditions ».

Referring to Syria’s strategy of steadfastness and liberation and its ability to confront the Israeli aggression, President al-Assad said: «Syria does not seek to ignite the war, but if imposed a war on Syria, will defend itself, and is able to do so. It may be able for anyone to control the beginning of the war, but he will never be able to control its end or its results. The Arab side, and we are at the forefront of it, who possess the decision to end the war; how, where and what how it ends ».

The decisions of the tenth regional conference of the Arab Socialist Baath Party which was held between June 6 and 9, 2005, underlined the peaceful approach taken by the President in his official statements and positions. The first recommendation taken by that conference stressed the need of liberating the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of the fourth of June 1967».

Also, The Charter of the National Progressive Front issued on 12 October 2004 affirmed the commitment of the Front to a peaceful approach in its international policy according to the principles of the international legitimacy and the UN decisions relating to the Arab – Israeli struggle on the basis of justice, rights, international law and finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts.»

 

Adapted by Haifaa Mafalani

On Criticism of Palestinian Resistance

 

Palestinian Ghandi.jpg

by Eve Mykytyn*

The Oxford definition of ‘terrorism’  is: “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”    Although the term could apply to the belligerents in many wars, the term ‘terrorism’ takes on its everyday meaning when violence is perpetuated by the weak in resistance to the powerful.

What other form of resistance is available to an oppressed people?  One does not have to search hard to find a Jewish source begging for the peaceful resistance of a Palestinian Gandhi or King.

The request itself is odd, it invites a comparison to the conditions Gandhi and King fought, and is an implicit, although perhaps unintended,  admission that Israel represents another oppressive racist regime.

It takes chutzpah to complain about the form of resistance employed by the people you are oppressing. Why are the Palestinians obliged to meet violence with nonviolence? Certainly  you have to take your victims as they are.

Gandhi wrote about the uses of nonviolent resistance and King referred to Gandhi’s writings. For Gandhi and King nonviolence was not an end in itself, it was a strategy, a means to achieve a goal. Despite later deifications, neither Gandhi nor King was a saint,  they were leaders who employed non violent resistance because it was effective under their circumstances.

Both men were vastly outpowered by the brutal regimes they opposed. Nonviolence did not allow them or their followers  to escape injury or death, their battles required at least as much physical bravery as for any soldiers.

Both Gandhi and King deliberately provoked their enemies and then refused either to back down or to physically fight back. The decision to meet violence with nonviolent resistance was a powerful tool used to expose the brutality of the regime. The march to Selma would have amounted to little without the press. What they ‘achieved’ was  an unforgettably painful display of violence. To the extent nonviolence succeeded for King, it was because the ‘soldiers’ on the other side gave Americans a clear picture of the savagery to which blacks were subjected. It became increasingly difficult for those who had long averted their eyes to claim ignorance.

One reason the Palestinians are portrayed as ‘failing’ to meet the standard set  by Gandhi or King is that their use of the tactic of nonviolence has not attracted sympathetic coverage, it has not been effective enough in exposing Israel’s brutality. There are, of course, numerous examples of peaceful Palestinian resistance. One example is commemorated on ‘Land Day’ remembering the day in 1976 that Israel killed peaceful Palestinian protesters. Another occurred during the first intifada, as Neve Gordon writes in 972, when the “Palestinians adopted massive civil disobedience strategies, including daily protests” against Israel’s occupation. Israel responded with violence and  mass incarcerations. While they could easily provoke violence through peaceful protest, the Palestinians could not win the media nor shame the Israelis into change.

This, of course, begs the question of control of the media. King  was extensively covered in the media.  Do the Palestinians have access to the same?  At best, Haaretz might decry the proportionality of Israel’s violence, but will it explore the true meaning of Palestinian protest, both the original and the ongoing taking of their property and destruction of their society? Would  the international press do any better?

As I was writing this I realized that Palestinian nonviolent protests in Gaza have had perhaps a small effect on public opinion. The mainstream media in the US is universally favorable to Israel, but although they tried, the media was not entirely successful in creating sympathy for the  Israeli snipers. For example, The Guardian, in reporting that one year into the protest, the Israelis had killed 190 and wounded 28,000, noted that, “Children, journalists and medics have been killed, even when they were standing far back from the fence.”  Spin that one. Here’s an attempt by Eric Yoffe,  a self-described ‘liberal’ American Jew,  to justify killing protestors who had not killed a single Israeli.  “If 100 Jewish bodies were strewn across southern Israel, would the American left more readily forgive Israel’s defensive actions against an angry mob of tens of thousands propelled by the murderous, anti-Semitic terrorists of Hamas?”  This is simply a variation on the “I thought he was going to hit me so I hit him back first” defense. Perhaps the need to resort to such a  feeble rationale helps explain why we finally have a tiny Congressional support group for the Palestinians. Seventeen were so daring as to vote against an anti BDS bill.

Further, Israel has shown little sign that it is willing to change its basic  oppressive policies in response to any actions or restraint by the Palestinians. This is an interesting video in which Israeli ‘settlers’ are asked if they would move if told to do so by their government and knowing the move would mean peace in the region.  Their responses are variations on “No, I would not, it is my land.” Perhaps they are merely following the lessons of their religion.

In the story of Exodus, recounted annually even by many secular Jews at Passover, Moses unsuccessfully begs the Pharaoh for his peoples’ freedom. The lesson to be learned: Jewish liberation comes only after Egyptian civilians are subjected to terrible brutality.

Bassam Shakaa: The Making of a Palestinian ‘Organic Intellectual’

Bassam Al Shakaa

Between his birth in Nablus in 1930 and his death, Bassam Shakaa fought a relentless struggle for Palestinian rights. He challenged Israel, the PA, US imperialism and reactionary Arab governments. Throughout this arduous journey, he survived exile, prison and an assassination attempt.

July 29th, 2019

t would be unfair to claim that Palestine has not produced great leaders. It has, and Bassam Shakaa, the former Mayor of Nablus, who passed away on July 22 at the age of 89, was living proof of this.

The supposed deficit in good Palestinian leadership can be attributed to the fact that many great leaders have been either assassinated, languish in prison or are politically marginalized by Palestinian factions.

What was unique about Shakaa is that he was a true nationalist leader who struggled on behalf of all Palestinians without harboring any ideological, factionalist or religious prejudice. Shakaa was an inclusive Palestinian leader, with profound affinity to pan-Arabism and constant awareness of the global class struggle.





In a way, Shakaa exemplified the ‘organic intellectual’ as described by Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci. Indeed, Shakaa was not a mere “mover of feelings and passions” but an “active participant in practical life, as constructor and organizer – a permanent persuader, not just a simple orator”.

Shakaa’s base of support was, and remained, the people – ordinary Palestinians from Nablus and throughout Palestine who always stood by his side, most memorably when the Israeli government attempted to exile him in 1975; when the Palestinian Authority (PA) placed him under house arrest in 1999 and when he was finally laid to rest in his beloved home town of Nablus, a few days ago.

Between his birth in Nablus in 1930 and his death, Shakaa fought a relentless struggle for Palestinian rights. He challenged Israel, the PA, US imperialism and reactionary Arab governments. Throughout this arduous journey, he survived exile, prison and an assassination attempt.

But there is more to Shakaa than his intellect, eloquence, and morally-guided positions. The man represented the rise of a true democratic Palestinian leadership, one that sprang from, spoke and fought for the people.

It was in the mid-1970s that Shakaa rose to prominence as a Palestinian nationalist leader, an event that changed the face of Palestinian politics to this day.

Following its occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in June 1967, the Israeli government moved quickly to fashion a new status quo, where the Occupation became permanent and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was denied any political base in the newly occupied territories.

Among other things, the Israeli government aimed at creating an ‘alternative’ Palestinian leadership that would engage with Israel with trivial, non-political matters, therefore marginalizing the PLO and its inclusive political program.

In April 1976, the Israeli government, then led by Yitzhak Rabin, conducted local elections in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel had, by then, assembled another group of Palestinian ‘leaders’, which consisted mostly of traditional heads of clans – a small, self-seeking oligarchy that historically accommodated whatever foreign power happened to be ruling over Palestinians.

Israel was almost certain that its hand-picked allies were ready to sweep the local elections. But the Occupation had its unintended consequences, which surprised the Israelis themselves. For the first time since Israel’s creation, all of historic Palestine was now under Israeli control. This also meant that the Palestinian people were, once again, part of the same demographic unit, which allowed for coordinated political mobilization and popular resistance.

These efforts were largely facilitated by the Palestinian National Front (PNF) which was founded in 1973 and comprised all Palestinian groups throughout Occupied Palestine. What irked Israel most is that the PNF had developed a political line that was largely parallel to that of the PLO.

To Israel’s dismay, the PNF decided to take part in the local elections, hoping that its victory could defeat the Israeli stratagem entirely. To thwart the PNF’s initiative, the Israeli army carried out a massive campaign of arrests and deportation of the group’s members, which included intellectuals, academics and local leaders.

But all had failed as Palestine’s new leaders won decisive victories, claiming most mayoral offices and bravely articulating an anti-occupation, pro-PLO agenda.

“We are for the PLO, and we say this in our electoral speeches,” the elected Mayor of Ramallah, Karim Khalaf, said at the time. “The people who come along to our meetings do not ask about road improvements and new factories; we want an end to the Occupation.”

Bassam Shakaa was at the forefront of that nascent movement, whose ideals and slogans spread out to all Palestinian communities, including those inside Israel.

Bassam Al Shakaa

Bassam Al Shakaa following an assassination attempt

Despite decades of exile, fragmentation and Occupation, the Palestinian national identity was now at its zenith, an outcome the Israeli government could never have anticipated.

In October 1978, Shakaa, Khalaf and the other empowered mayors were joined by city councilors and leaders of various nationalist institutions to form the National Leadership Committee, the main objective of which was to challenge the disastrous Camp David agreement and the resulting marginalization of the Palestinian people and their leadership.

On July 2, 1980, a bomb planted by a Jewish terrorist group, blew up Shakaa’s car, costing him both of his legs. Another targeted Khalaf, who had one of his legs amputated. The leaders emerged even stronger following the assassination attempts.

“They ripped off both my legs, but this only means that I am closer to my land,” said Shakaa from his hospital bed.

“I have my heart, my intellect and a just aim to fight for, I don’t need my legs.”

In November 1981, the Israeli government dismissed the nationalist mayors, including Shakaa. But that was not the end of his struggle which, following the formation of the PA in Ramallah in 1994, acquired a new impetus.

Shakaa challenged the PA’s corruption and subservience to Israel. His frustration with the PA led him to help draft and to sign, in 1999, a “Cry from the Homeland”, which denounced the PA for its “systematic methodology of corruption, humiliation and abuse against the people.” As a result, the PA placed Shakaa, then 70, under house arrest. 

However, it was that very movement created by Shakaa, Khalaf and their peers that sowed the seeds for the popular Palestinian uprising in 1987. In fact, the ‘First Intifada’ remains the most powerful popular movement in modern Palestinian history.

May Shakaa rest in peace and power, now that he has fulfilled his historic mission as one of Palestine’s most beloved leaders and true organic intellectuals of all times.

Feature photo | Bassam Al Shakaa poses in front of an Israeli police vehicle just one week after being released from an Israeli jail.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website iswww.ramzybaroud.net

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

عملية دهس جنود صهاينة في القدس.. التوقيت والرسائل

يوليو 9, 2019

حسن حردان

ان العملية الجديدة التي نفذها، مقاوم فلسطيني، اول امس في القدس المحتلة، بدهس مجموعة من جنود الاحتلال، بسيارته، لحظة نزولهم من حافلتهم العسكرية، وأدت إلى إصابة أربعة جنود بينهم ضابط، تشكل استمراراً لعمليات شبان الانتفاضة الفلسطينية المتواصلة على نحو متقطع، نظراً للظروف الموضوعية التي تواجه الشعب العربي الفلسطيني تحت الاحتلال والمتمثلة في تقطيع أوصال المناطق الفلسطينية، وإقامة جدار الفصل العنصري، وانتشار مئات الحواجز العسكرية الصهيونية.. الخ وهذا يؤكد مجدداً فشل كل الإجراءات الأمنية الصهيونية المتخذة والمتجددة في أعقاب كل عملية فدائية، في وقف مثل هذه العمليات لعدم القدرة على امتلاك معلومات مسبقة عنها.. غير أن ما يميز العملية الجديدة إلى جانب كونها تأتي في سياق المقاومة الشعبية ضد الاحتلال ومستوطنيه، التوقيت، واختيار المكان، والرسائل التي تبعث بها في هذا الظرف بالذات التي تواجه فيها قضية فلسطين مخططاً خطيراً يستهدف تصفيتها..

على صعيد التوقيت، تأتي العملية لتشكل ردا مباشرا على صفقة القرن الأميركية الصهيونية الهادفة الى مقايضة الحقوق الوطنية للشعب الفلسطيني بحفنة من الدولارات، والقول بأن المقاومة الشعبية بكل أشكالها هي السبيل لمواجهة مثل هذه الصفقات الاستسلامية، وان شعب فلسطين وفي المقدمة الجيل الذي نشأ في ظل اتفاق أوسلو، لم تتراجع عزيمته أو يقبل التعايش مع الأمر الواقع ويسلم بالتخلي عن قضيته وحقوقه في وطنه..

وعلى صعيد المكان، فإن حصول العملية في القدس المحتلة يأتي في سياق ازدياد المقاومة في مواجهة اشتداد الهجوم الصهيوني الاستيطاني على الأرض والمقدسات في المدينة في محاولة لإحداث تغيير في هويتها العربية والوضع الديمغرافي فيها..

أما لناحية الرسائل التي أريد توجيهها من خلال هذه العملية فهي:

الرسالة الاولى: التأكيد بأن المقاومة والانتفاضة الفلسطينية متواصلة ولن تتوقف كما يراهن الاحتلال من خلال تشديد عملياته القمعية والإرهابية، وان أمن جنود الاحتلال والمستوطنين لن يتحقق ولن ينعم الكيان الصهيوني بالاستقرار طالما أن الشعب العربي الفلسطيني مسلوبة حقوقه ويفتقد للأمن ويحرم من حقه في تقرير مصيره على أرضه..

الرسالة الثانية: موجهة ضد الأنظمة الرجعية العربية المنخرطة في مخطط التآمر على قضية فلسطين، والقيام بمساعدة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ورئيس حكومة العدو بنيامين نتنياهو على محاولة تمرير صفقة القرن وتمكن الكيان الصهيوني من حسم الصراع لمصلحة روايته المزيفة، وتشريع وجوده كدولة يهودية عنصرية على أرض فلسطين المحتلة ونفي وجود الشعب الفلسطيني وحقوقه فيها، وبالتالي إقامة العلاقات الطبيعية مع هذا الكيان الاحتلالي وتمكينه من التسيّد على المنطقة وإلغاء هوية وعروبة الأمة العربية.. فالعملية تسقط محاولات هذه الأنظمة بث ثقافة الاستسلام والتسليم بالأمر الواقع وعدم الجدوى من مقاومته، وهي توجه صفعة قوية لهذه الأنظمة الخائنة لقضية الأمة المركزية، مؤكدة بأن شباب فلسطين متمسكون بالمقاومة الشعبية بكل أشكالها في مواجهة المحتل، وان ثقافة المقاومة ستبقى هي السائدة لتحرير فلسطين لا سيما أن التجارب أثبتت أن هذه المقاومة هي الوحيدة القادرة على تحرير الأرض واستعادة الحقوق وحماية عروبة فلسطين، من جنوب لبنان إلى قطاع غزة، فيما الدخول في مسار التفاوض وتوقيع الاتفاقيات مع المحتل لم يعد أرضاً محتلة ولا حقوق سليبة، بل على العكس فإن الاحتلال ازداد غطرسة وسرقة للحقوق والأرض في ظل اتفاقيات أوسلو ووادي عربة وكامب ديفيد.. التي شجعته على التمادي في استيطان وتهديد الأرض الفلسطينية وتنفيذ مخططاته لاغتصاب الحقوق الوطنية للشعب العربي الفلسطيني..

الرسالة الثالثة: فهي موجهة إلى ترامب ونتنياهو، بأن شباب فلسطين يرفضون الاستسلام والتخلي عن حقوقهم مقابل حفنة من الدولارات، وهم مستعدون لمواصلة المقاومة وتقديم التضحيات في سبيل الحفاظ على الحقوق ورفض التخلي عنها..

الرسالة الرابعة: الرد القوي على الممارسات الإرهابية التعسفية للاحتلال وسياساته القائمة على التنكيل والعقاب الجماعي والتي كان آخر فصولها ضد سكان بلدة العيسوية في القدس المحتلة حيث اقدم الاحتلال على محاصرة البلدة ونشر الحواجز على مداخلها والقيام بعمليات قمع واعتداء وإعدام أحد شباب البلدة إثر مواجهات اندلعت بين شبان العيسوية وجنود الاحتلال.. كما جاءت العملية الفدائية رداً مباشراً على مشاركة السفير الأميركي الصهيوني الانتماء فريدمان، في افتتاح طريق تحت بلدة سلوان في القدس المحتلة بما يمكن المستوطنين الصهاينة من الوصول إلى المسجد الأقصى، نظمته جمعية ايعاد الاستيطانية والتي حمل خلالها فريدمان مطرقة بيده للمشاركة مع قادة الاستيطان في هدم الجدار لفتح طريق العبور للمستوطنين.. بما يؤكد تماهي إدارة ترامب مع اليمين الصهيوني المتطرف.. الأمر الذي دفع صحيفة هآرتس الصهيونية إلى وصف هذا التصرف للسفير الأميركي بانه «انفصال مقلق عن الواقع»…

خلاصة القول، إن عملية الدهس في القدس جاءت لتؤكد من جديد بأن مقاومة شبان الانتفاضة لم تتوقف وهي تتكامل مع مسيرات العودة المتواصلة على حدود قطاع غزة مع الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948.. وترسم المشهد الفلسطيني في مواجهة الاحتلال واستهداف قدراته.. وإفهامه بأن المقاومة الفلسطينية لم ولن تستكين وهي مستمرة دفاعاً عن الحقوق وعروبة فلسطين والمقدسات، وأن الاحتلال مهما تجبّر وارتكب الجرائم ضد الفلسطينيين لإخماد مقاومتهم وإخضاعهم، لن ينجح في تحقيق اهدافه، لأن إرادة المقاومة لدى أبناء فلسطين أقوى من جبروت وإرهاب المحتل..

كاتب وإعلامي

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واشنطن تواصل دفع المنطقة نحو الانفجار

أبريل 9, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يفضي أي تدقيق بالقرارات التي أصدرتها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب خلال الشهور الأخيرة بأن ما يجمعها هو أنها لا تغير في الواقع الميداني أو القانوني أو السياسي، لكنها ترفع منسوب التوتر والاستفزاز، فالإعلان عن الاعتراف بالقدس عاصمة لكيان الاحتلال يتم فيما القدس تحت الاحتلال، وفيما الاعتراف الأميركي أعجز من التحول إلى قرار أممي وكيان الاحتلال أشد عجزاً عن ترجمة القرار تهجيراً للمقدسيين، وكذلك الحال بالنسبة للجولان المحتل. ويأتي تصنيف الحرس الثوري الإيراني على لوائح الإرهاب الأميركية تحصيل حاصل. فالعقوبات تطال كل شيء في إيران، وقادة الحرس والمؤسسات التابعة له وفيلق القدس الذي يشكل ذراعه العسكرية الفاعلة، كلهم على لوائح الإرهاب الأميركية، لكن هذه القرارات تشترك بكونها ترفع منسوب التصعيد وتشكل استفزازاً سيستدرج ردود أفعال، تشكل سبباً للانزلاق نحو مواجهات قد تخرج عن السيطرة بغياب السقوف السياسية التي كانت تتلقى المخاطر وتخفّف من وطأتها، ومشاريع التسويات التي تشكل آمالاً تحتوي مناخات التصعيد، ويتم إغلاق أبوابها بهذه القرارات.

– سيوصل التدقيق أيضاً إلى أن القرارات الأميركية محكومة بعنوان واحد بدأت طلائعه مع الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم النووي مع إيران، وهو إرضاء القيادة الإسرائيلية، وإنعاشها شعبياً، ومنحها مناخاً وهمياً بالقوة، يعوّض الإحباط السائد في كيان الاحتلال بفعل تآكل قدرة الردع والعجز عن خوض الحروب كما العجز عن الخوض في التسويات. وهذا الإفراط الأميركي بالدعم المعنوي لقيادة كيان الاحتلال تعويضاً عنا لعجز عن تقديم الدعم الذي يغيّر في موازين القوى، يصنع مناخاً من التوتر، ويستدرج موجات من العنف، فد لا تستطيع واشنطن احتواءها، فقد تنفع جرعات الدعم هذه بصناعة فرصة فوز لبنيامين نتنياهو انتخابياً وقد تساعده على الإفلات من الملاحقة القضائية، وتستجلب دعمه لدونالد ترامب في معركته الانتخابيّة المقبلة، كما تبدو الحسابات الساذجة التي تقود الرئيس الأميركي وفقاً للكثير من التحليلات التي تحفل بها الصحف الأميركية، لكن واشنطن وتل أبيب ستكونان أمام برميل بارود بلا وجود للمطافئ، وخطر الاشتعال والانفجار سيكون قائماً في كل وقت.

– الأوضاع في أفغانستان والعراق مرشحة للتصعيد، والوضع على جبهة الجولان كذلك، والوضع الداخلي في فلسطين سواء في الضفة الغربية أو القدس أو قطاع غزة، خصوصاً في الأراضي المحتلة العام 1948 في حال غليان، ووحدة مصير الأراضي المحتلة في عيون واشنطن وتل أبيب سيوحّد النضال ويزجّ قوى واسعة في معركة واحدة على جبهات مختلفة، ومثلها التصعيد الأميركي بوجه إيران، يشكل بمعزل عن نتائجه العملية مساساً بالكرامة الوطنية لن يكون سهلاً تمريرها من دون ردود أفعال، وحتى موعد الانتخابات الأميركية نهاية العام المقبل سنكون مع حرب ساخنة، على مساحة المنطقة الممتدة من أفغانستان إلى غرب أفريقيا، والحروب الصغيرة بغياب السقوف السياسية سرعان ما تهدد بالتحول إلى إحدى الحروب الكبرى في ظل فقدان القدرة على التقدير، والوقوع بسبب العنجهية والاستهتار، والاهتمام بالمعنويات الفارغة على حساب المصائر الحقيقية.

– يقول توماس فريدمان أحد أبرز كتاب النيويورك تايمز، في مقالته الأخيرة كلاماً يشاركه فيه السفير الأميركي الأسبق لدى كيان الاحتلال وأحد مهندسي السياسات الأميركية الداعمة لـ«إسرائيل»، ومضمون الكلام أن الحب الأميركي لـ«إسرائيل» الذي يتنافس عليه الجمهوريون والديمقراطيون حب قاتل، سرعان ما سيضع «إسرائيل» أمام خيارات صعبة، خيار دولة واحدة على الأراضي المحتلة العام 1948 والعام 1967 يشكل اليهود فيها أقلية، وبالتالي سقوط الدولة اليهودية واقعياً، أو انتفاضة فلسطينية عارمة تشارك فيها أعمال مقاومة تهدّد أمن «إسرائيل» جدياً كما أظهرت صواريخ تل ابيب، أو حرب تبدو مستحيلة مع جبهة الشمال، حيث تحتشد مصادر قوة إيران وسورية وحزب الله. ويكتفي الكاتبان بالحديث عن مجهول تذهب نحوه المنطقة، يمكن القول إنه بالغ الخطورة، بلا خارطة طريق وبلا خطة، ونضيف، سيكون هذا المجهول البالغ الخطورة عبثاً مجنوناً، خلافاً لما يعتقده المعجبون بالذكاء والقوة الأميركيين، الذين سيكتشفون أنهما ضعف وغباء فريدان.

 

‘They have punished the victims’: Hebron struggles 25 years after Ibrahimi mosque massacre

zzat Karaki, centre, demonstrating with Youth Against Settlements for the reopening of Shuhada Street on 22 February 2019 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

The repercussions of the attack are still felt keenly by Palestinians in Hebron, who have seen their rights eroded and their formerly bustling city centre turn into a ghost town

By 

in

Hebron, occupied West Bank

“Since the massacre, everything changed.”

Jamal Fakhoury, 40, struggles to find the right words to describe his hometown.

With a furrowed brow and damp eyes, he utters: “Every day it’s a difficult life for Hebron.”

Fakhoury is reflecting on the Ibrahimi mosque massacre – the 25th anniversary is on Monday – and its impact on the southern occupied West Bank city.

On 25 February 1994, a Jewish-American settler named Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque – also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs – in the centre of the Old City of Hebron.

We are not humans at all. We are numbers

– Izzat Karaki, activist with Youth Against Settlements

Goldstein killed 29 men in an instant, and injured well over 100 more. Six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the ensuing chaos.

Although it is the biggest city in the West Bank, Hebron’s residents are interconnected in almost every way through its cultural and family structures. Nearly every citizen has ties to the Ibrahimi mosque massacre through some relative, friend or neighbour.

“A settler from the US came and killed Palestinians,” Izzat Karaki, a 29-year-old activist with the Palestinian-led group Youth Against Settlements (YAS), said exasperatedly. “And after that they punish us, the victims.”

Beyond mourning for the lives lost, the attack has also affected the people of Hebron – and its generations to come – in a profound and structural way.

Full of life

“Before the massacre, I felt something like peace in the old city,” Fakhoury recalls.

He is from the Old City and still resides there, just around the corner from Shuhada Street and the mosque.

Along some two kilometres, Shuhada Street is tightly packed with shops sitting below several-storey high homes. The road leads directly to the Ibrahimi mosque and once stood as the heart of the Old City.

Munir, 65, owns a shop directly across from the mosque that remains open to this day. He likes to show laminated pictures to passing tourists of the bustling Shuhada Street back in its heyday, brimming with cars and people.

Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

He does point out that the First Intifada, which started in 1988, only ended in 1993, five months before the massacre. “The six years of the Intifada were really not a normal time,” he said, pointing out that the area around the mosque “was part of the ‘playground’ where the Intifada took place”.

But, he explains, “before, this area was full of life”.

“We used to have four people working in this place,” Munir continues, showing the shop where he is standing. “Today, it is me alone and I am also taking care of two stores which belong to my neighbours.”

Collective punishment

“After the massacre, the mosque was closed for six months, and they [Israeli forces] closed Shuhada Street,” Karaki tells MEE.

For nearly three months, Karaki said, Palestinian residents of Hebron lived under an Israeli-imposed curfew while military checkpoints were built in the Old City – checkpoints that are still present today.

The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)
The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)

When the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the surrounding area was reopened to the public, the religious site had now been divided into two – a synagogue on one side, a mosque on the other.

Palestinians were no longer allowed to drive cars in the area, Munir says, and the number of Israeli soldiers and cameras around the Ibrahimi mosque dramatically increased.

The post-massacre changes made to the city were in a lot of ways a preface to the dramatic transformation that the Hebron Protocol was to create three years later.

The 1997 agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation divided the city into two areas: Palestinian Authority-controlled H1 and Israeli military-controlled H2.

In H2, making up nearly 20 percent of Hebron, some 40,000 Palestinians currently live under Israeli military law, while the 800 Israeli settlers in H2 are ruled by Israeli civil law.

“Animals here have rights more than us,” Karaki exclaims. “Any cat, any dog can go to Shuhada Street. But me? I cannot.”

“Why? What did I do? We are not human at all.”

In the wake of the Hebron Protocol, shops were permanently closed in H2, and many Palestinians were driven out of their homes, many of whom “by military order”, Karaki explains.

The harsh living conditions and restricted freedom of living and movement in H2 drove many Palestinians out – turning the bustling city centre into a ghost town.

“We are talking about 1,827 shops closed and 140 apartments empty,” Karaki adds.

There are currently 20 permanent checkpoints inside the city of Hebron, dominating Palestinians’ lives with curfews and indiscriminate closures.

It is now necessary to go through two separate checkpoints just to enter the Ibrahimi mosque.

“When I go to my home every day they check my ID,” Fakhoury says, “I wait 20 minutes behind the checkpoint near the mosque.”

“If you don’t have your ID you are not allowed to get in or to pass through the checkpoint,” Karaki concurs. “We are not humans at all. We are numbers.”

Monitoring group expelled

The massacre led to the creation of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), an international organisation meant to monitor the situation in the city and document violations of international law and human rights.

In its 22-year-long presence, TIPH filed more than 40,000 incident reports – many of which Karaki says the Palestinians Authority can take to the International Criminal Court.

Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

But last month, the Israeli administration refused to renew TIPH’s mandate, forcing it out of the city.

Fakhoury, like many Palestinians in the Old City, enjoyed TIPH and felt safe with its monitors’ presence.

“I think it will be difficult now with no one watching the problems,” Fakhoury says. He fears things “will get worse, because the Israeli government doesn’t like to tell people what is happening here”.

There are currently four Israeli settlements inside the city of Hebron – Avraham Avino, Beit Romano, Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassah – all established well before the 1994 massacre.

But since the expulsion of Palestinian from H2, it has become easier for Israelis to occupy Palestinians homes.

“Usually settlers focus on the empty houses,” Karaki explains. “Where there is an empty house, they occupy it and change it from a Palestinian (home) to a settlement.”

With TIPH gone, Palestinians fear that they will witness an increase in both settlement expansion and settler violence.

“When I go to my home I need to protect myself, protect my home,” Karaki says.

Citing the Fourth Geneva Convention as an example, he says: “On paper, soldiers are here to protect me like they protect settlers. But unfortunately, we see something different.”

Hope for the future?

YAS has stepped in recently to fill in the void left by TIPH. Its activists walk around the Old City most mornings, monitoring settler activity and protecting Palestinian children on their walk to school.

On Friday, YAS organised its 10th annual “Open Shuhada Street” demonstration to denounce the ongoing situation in Hebron – just like every year in the past quarter century. Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, injuring at least two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy.

“Here, nothing changes,” Munir says. “It’s the same year after year after year.”

But despite the grim circumstances, Karaki says it is important for him as an activist to keep fighting with a purpose.

“Often people are shocked when I say if there is a tomorrow, there is hope,” he says.

But his optimism is dampened by what he and all Palestinians in Hebron have witnessed for years.

“Usually when tomorrow comes, it only gets worse.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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