For decades, Israel, aided and abetted by the American empire, has sought to politically erase Palestine from the map. Over the past few days, Palestinians have proved, once again, that they won’t easily give up their indigenous claim to and sovereignty over the land stolen from them.
I do not use “sovereignty” here to mean “the authority to govern a land” in the narrow Euro-American sense. Rather, I’m speaking of an authority to govern that stems from the deep, non-utilitarian connection between a people and their ancestral land – a connection that renders meaningless all other political impositions.
That deep connection between Palestinians and Palestine is exactly what the Israeli state has long been seeking to erase.
Recently, efforts to normalise relations between Israel and Arab states, and especially between Israel and Saudi Arabia, have intensified this erasure. With every step towards normalisation, more and more people around the world, including top diplomats and politicians, bought into the idea that the Middle East has become a region where Palestinians do not matter, where Palestinian aspirations for freedom, liberation, and sovereignty do not figure into the future of the region.
Palestinians have, for decades, tried to put under a global spotlight the violence Israel has been inflicting on them on a daily basis. They recorded all the killings, the torture and the abuse. They catalogued the stolen homes, lands and other vital resources. They documented in painstaking detail how Israeli state violence deprives them of their freedom and dignity, and harasses and abuses them on a regular basis, in blatant violation of international law.
How did the leading members of the international community respond to all this evidence of Israel’s relentless brutality?
They responded with something much worse than silence.
They voiced their support, repeatedly and loudly, for Israel. They aided and abetted Israel’s colonial oppression and basically encouraged it to intensify its efforts to expel Palestinians from their remaining lands and erase Palestine from history and global politics.
Palestinians tried diplomacy, political advocacy, and all types of armed and unarmed resistance and protest to get the world’s attention. They pleaded their case over and over to anyone who listened, but all that effort has not brought their situation to a stasis – in fact, their situation has gotten worse.