Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Intifada or Not: Occupation Remains Intact?



Dr. Hatem Bazian -- October 21st, 2015

News outlets are on an overdrive asking the question whether this is the 3rd Intifada we are witnessing in Palestine or something else.  Immediately, the comparisons with the 1st or 2nd Intifada took center stage with a heavy focus on fear, and the psychological condition of the Israeli society that is facing again “random” acts of Palestinian violence.  Commentators spent the time on how intense the fear experienced by individual Israelis having to face the possibility of a Palestinian knife or the anxiety of being run over by a car.  The fear is real and would not pretend that it is not the case for any individual or group, but what was erased and structurally absent from the coverage, are the feelings and the daily horror Palestinians face before, during, and will continue, after this new violent filled period passes.  Palestinians are an occupied population for anyone who has missed the news in the past 67 years.

Let us break it down simply to Israelis and their supporters:  you cannot expect to occupy and dehumanize a whole people for over 67 years by dispossessing and expelling a whole population without consequences or response.   Have you thought of the response when building and expanding settlements, demolishing homes, cutting trees, stealing water, and building walls?  

Occupation is the highest form of violence, for it is committed against each and every individual, 24/7, year-round.  Occupation eats up the insides of each and every Palestinian and acts like the alien that is seeping into the bloodstream and working to destroy hope and aspiration of the young, the old, the sick, and the well alike.

The 3rd Intifada dates back to the first one back in 1876, when Palestinians understood the meaning of Zionist colonization effort, and the western powers that incubated it from the beginning.   The treacheries committed against the Palestinian people are legendary and have made for careers and diplomatic posts in far and near places.   But the people continue to resist and aspire for freedom, dignity, and justice, which will come sooner or later no matter the walls or impediments. 

You see, Palestinians have the misfortune of knowing the name of every US Secretary of State all the way back to President Wilson’s administration, and up to the current one serving under Obama.  All without exception are sent to Palestine to try to work on a “peace process”.  However, one must understand that the proposals are intended to bestow upon Israel an “Iron Wall” security structure at the expense of the occupied and dispossessed Palestinians.  Whenever one of these otherwise intelligent secretaries of state arrives in the region, it is a sure sign that Palestinians will end up losing something, either directly or indirectly.  

Lo and behold, US Secretary of State John Kerry will be arriving to the region and my recommendations for the Palestinians is to immediately head toward the exits.  Let us be assured that Kerry has no power or leverage to make Israel do anything different than what Netanyahu wants and has decided with his cabinet.  For anyone with an ounce of intelligence would have to know that Kerry could not even persuade Israel to freeze settlement expansion for a few months despite the US being the sugar daddy for the spoiled Zionist State.  Netanyahu has more influence and power in DC than President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for he could count of a solid majority in both the Senate and House. What will Kerry do when he visits Palestine?  

I am sure that Kerry will pressure Abbas to crack down and stop the Palestinian violence.  I am sure that he will inform Abbas of his responsibilities and obligations under Oslo and the need to protect the settlers and the occupying power.  I am sure that he will share with Abbas some Israeli and American intelligence of conversations by some PA members, or even Abu Mazen himself, that implicates them for looking the other way during the protests: thus, are to be held responsible by their employer and funders, the US and Israel.  I am sure that Abbas and PA will go through high-level security briefing about the threats and loss of power if this resistance persists.  I am sure that Abbas and PA will be threatened (assuming it is still needed) of a loss of privileges and pending lucrative contracts.

What John Kerry will carry will be the long and torturous American diplomatic stick, and it will be used once again to put the Palestinians back in their place: an occupied population assigned the humiliation of remaining responsible to protect and defend their occupier while being tormented daily by its power.  Kerry will arrive to rescue Israel once more by preventing any alternatives to the existing framework of the occupier, determining the methods by which the occupied is to be punished for refusing to cooperate in its own erasure.  Intifada or not, Israel’s occupation remains intact and John Kerry is coming to rescue the occupier and blame the occupied for resisting.  The sooner the Palestinians understand this reality about American diplomacy, the better it will be for bringing change to Palestine. 

Hatem Bazian, PhD is co-editor and founder of the Islamophobia Studies Journal and director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, and a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at University of California, Berkeley.