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John Passant

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November 2012



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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Gaza’s right to resist Israeli terror

OF THE 1.7 million people currently living under Israel’s terror in Gaza, 44 percent–or around 730,000 people–are under the age of 14 writes Sherry Wolf in Socialist Worker US. The 140-square-mile Gaza Strip, about the size of Philadelphia, is surrounded by the most heavily militarized border anywhere in the world on three sides, and by the Mediterranean Sea, patrolled by Israeli naval vessels, on the fourth.

By any objective measure, the Gaza Strip is an open-air prison.

So there was more than a whiff of 1984, George Orwell’s famous novel about Big Brother, when President Barack Obama declared: “[T]here is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes.”

In other words: Nuclear-armed Israel, with one of the most powerful militaries in the world, has the right to resist. But the inmates of the Gaza prison, apparently, do not. Obama’s argument flips justice on its head.

It is not simply the fact that Israel provoked the current war with the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, a leader of Hamas, which won elections to lead the Palestinian government–nor that Israeli leaders pulled the trigger on the brink of a negotiated cease-fire with Hamas. Nor is it Israel’s phony timeline of events in the weeks leading up to the current massacre, which conveniently eliminates “details” such as the November 8 killing of 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he was playing soccer.

Even if no cease-fire were on offer and even if Israel hadn’t been made repeated violent incursions into Gaza, the right of Palestinians to resist the terror of the Israeli military machine must be defended on principle by anyone who stands with the oppressed.

As American University of Beirut professor Rami Khouri pointedly argued in a recent column:

As long as the crime of dispossession and refugeehood that was committed against the Palestinian people in 1947-48 is not redressed through a peaceful and just negotiation that satisfies the legitimate rights of both sides, we will continue to see enhancements in both the determination and the capabilities of Palestinian fighters–as has been the case since the 1930s, in fact. Only stupid or ideologically maniacal Zionists fail to come to terms with this fact.

Professor Khouri is right. People living under military occupation not only will resist, but they have every right to do so–and solidarity activists should defend that right unequivocally.

Some Westerners who are horrified by Israel’s assault on Gaza are nonetheless queasy about defending Hamas’ right to fire rockets into Israel. Yet whether solidarity activists agree with Hamas’ tactics or not is irrelevant–we are not the ones who must suffer under Israel’s bombs and occupation.

Asserting one’s horror at the occupier’s aggression, yet denying the occupied their right to use whatever means available to rebel isn’t solidarity–it’s pity.

Gazans living for years in a prison without access to sufficient food, medicine, infrastructure and any semblance of a decent life do not need our pity. They need our active support with their fight for self-determination.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN THE media, Hamas is depicted as an organization of crazed Islamists who oppose all modernity, aim to destroy Israel, and are misogynistic and homophobic to the core. In fact, since its founding in 1987 at the start of the first Intifada, Hamas has combined the aspirations of a national liberation movement with the tenets of modern Islamism. It does hold positions that are socially reactionary, as do orthodox Jewish and evangelical Christian groups–though unlike evangelical Christians, Hamas is not anti-science.

But the truth is that Hamas is the democratically elected leadership of Gaza–it won elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 in a vote that international observers judged to be fair and proper. Israel and its U.S. backers didn’t like the results of a democratic election–and so they imposed the crippling embargo on Gaza and continue to inflict collective punishment on its population for the “crime” of voting for the wrong party.

In these circumstances, Hamas’ military resistance to Israeli occupation is a source of tremendous pride. Hamas forces may not be able to match up to the murderous Israeli military, armed to the teeth with the most advanced weaponry by the U.S. military-industrial complex. But they remain a symbol of the determination of Palestinians not to surrender to oppression and violence.

Any meaningful defense of the right of Palestinians to self-determination must include the right to select their own leadership and the right to organize a response to the Israeli military’s slaughter.

At the height of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, antiwar activists in the U.S. expressed similar hesitations about the nature of the resistance in Iraq as well. A clear response such doubts came from Arundhati Roy, the famous Indian author and activist. Her words are equally relevant now:

Like most resistance movements, [the Iraqis] combine a motley range of assorted factions. Former Baathists, liberals, Islamists, fed-up collaborationists, communists, etc. Of course, it is riddled with opportunism, local rivalry, demagoguery and criminality. But if we were to only support pristine movements, then no resistance will be worthy of our purity.

Before we prescribe how a pristine Iraqi resistance must conduct their secular, feminist, democratic, nonviolent battle, we should shore up our end of the resistance by forcing the U.S. and its allied governments to withdraw from Iraq.

Likewise, Palestinians living under the brutality of occupation–and now an all-out war in Gaza–have not asked for global ideological approval. Instead, they have asked that we do whatever is in our power to help end their misery and stop the bombings, years-long siege and occupation.

To heed their call for solidarity means defending Palestinians’ right to resist Israel’s terror.



Comment from Ross
Time November 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

The Zionists have a huge influence in this country.Alan Jones of 2GB was shamelessly backing Bibi Netanyahu.I just don’t understand it.

The financial criminals in Wall St and the US Federal Reserve continue to screw the masses with taxes and austerity.

The people of Gaza are suffering oppression and murder but somehow the victims get defined as terrorists?

There are many Jews who are now disowning Zionism yet our pathetic Govts pander to their every need.

If we allow this to happen to the Palistinians then one day it will happen to us.

Comment from Sara Dowse
Time November 22, 2012 at 5:40 am

Of course everything you write is valid. How appalling then that our prime minister has been patting Benjamin Netanyahu of all people on the head. Keep up the good work.

Comment from Gary
Time November 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Why not just remove those people altogether? If only Hitler had not invaded Russia we wouldn’t have this problem. The Arab League would have carved up the territories and Sunni and Shite would be living together on the lands they have owned since Islam was founded 1500 or so years ago.

Easiest solution is to have Iran make the bomb and just drop it right smack bang in the middle. In the war against oppression, genocide and colonialsm, civilians tragically do get in the way, but a bomb will solve this mess in a single day.

I’m not being sarcastic either. This has been going on for way too long. Someone has to win this war.

Let Iran and Hamas just wipe the f*ckers off the face of the earth as was the plan in Wannsee in 1942 and the people who own the land can have it back once and for all.

History is full of vanquished people and tribes and maybe we should all just be honest here and call it as we see it. No Israel, no war, no oppression, no disputes, no killings, no poverty, no genocide. This can be solved tomorrow, the solution is at hand.

(BTW John, my middle name is Greg, which is what my wife calls me. No great mystery)

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