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November 18, 2019

Justice before peace


November 18, 2019

The attempts to bring 'peace' to Palestine often focus on offering Palestinians 'economic opportunities' to convince them to give up their struggle for a free and dignified existence in their homeland and to accept the conditions imposed on them by Israel.

Trump already showed he is not going to break away from the fold in this regard when his team revealed the "economic part" of their "peace plan" – a proposal to give the Palestinians $50bn to help their economy – without addressing the Israeli military occupation, which is at the core of Palestine's myriad economic, political and humanitarian problems.

Palestinians are sceptical of any attempt to reach a socio-political resolution that emphasises the notion of peace because we know such attempts reduce our struggle to a mere inconvenience. The Western and Israeli sellers of peace see our resistance as a burden and a testament to Middle Eastern peoples' alleged inability to co-exist in peace. This is why they keep telling us that to achieve peace, we first need to be "tolerant" - meaning we should accept the theft of our land and the apartheid state that we currently live in.

Palestinian resistance, both violent and non-violent, is constantly branded as an "obstacle to peace". Meanwhile, Israel regularly evokes the mantra that it has the "right to defend itself".

Just this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uttered those very words after Israel's assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Atta and his wife in Gaza. The same was said when Palestinians are peacefully protesting against fully armed soldiers.

While we are constantly being accused of committing violent acts, the violence unleashed on us constantly is never recognised. When we are not bombed or sniped down by the hundreds, we are humiliated, oppressed and violated on a daily basis – whether it is when going through a military checkpoint, facing a new Israeli discriminatory law, getting evicted from our homes, trying to eat in the dark because of a power cut, struggling to prove our innocence in Israel's military courts, trying to survive in Israel's prisons or enduring the pressure from the de facto police states that our governments really are.

Even the simple task of trying to be with who you love sometimes means suffering through a variety of microaggressions by the occupation since Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and the rest of historic Palestine are physically and legally divided from one another.

And yet efforts for "peace" in Palestine always require the Palestinians – and never the Israelis – to make a concession and settle for less: less sovereignty, less freedom and fewer rights.

Excerpted from: 'Palestinians need justice before peace'.

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