Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hope coming from Hebron

OPENING of Hebron conference, in May. And of new chapter in struggle?

THE Tent Cities are coming down, as students return to their courses and children are back at school, but the Israeli housing and social protest has not ended, and hundreds of thousands packed the streets of Tel Aviv and other cities at the weekend to show that it has not got any smaller.

With the impending declaration of Palestinian statehood placing that people's right to freedom once more before the nations, and the likelihood of another intifada taking it on to the streets, what are the chances these two struggles could converge?

Unity usually looks easier from a distance, and pious preaching, particularly if directed at the oppressed nationality, can be irritating as well as evasive. I can understand the Palestinian speaker who responded at a Cairo conference my friend attended by saying the only Israelis he had met were either trying to shoot or ethnic cleanse him.

We must also understand that when unknown gunmen shot up a bus carrying workers in the Negev, there was a reaction, with people calling for Arab-Jewish unity being shouted down as "traitors" that weekend in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu of course took the opportunity to blame Palestinians and order another bombing of Gaza -ignoring the doubts of his own military intelligence incidentally.

Organisers of the Israeli social protests have tried avoiding the occupation and settlement issues, difficult as it must be to pretend these have no bearing on the nature of their society. But there have been more encouraging signs. There was the demonstration by Sderot residents calling for and to the siege and attacks on Gaza, there was the joint meeting in Hebron, more used to harassment and terror by Jewish settlers. And the flare up on Gaza was ended with a Hamas ceasefire, rather than escalating and putting an end to the Tel Aviv protests, as some Israeli leaders hoped it might.

Now as reported by the Alternate Information Centre in Jerusalem, there has been a significant follow up to that Hebron conference.

Some 20 political parties and social movements from both sides of the Green Line issued an historic declaration in support of the social protests currently rocking Israel and their necessary linkage to the struggle against Israel’s occupation and colonial policies.

Historic Declaration by Palestinians, Israelis in Support of

Israeli Social Protest, Anti-Colonial Struggle

Monday, 05 September 2011 08:51

Together for putting an end to occupation and racism, in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their national rights and against national and social oppression

Even in light of the encouraging developments in the Middle East, the wave of social protests and the awakening of the peoples’ struggles for freedoms and the right to live in dignity, the Palestinian people still live under the yoke of the Israeli occupation, despite their persistent and ongoing struggle for freedom. The international community, for its part, demonstrates its helplessness and does not lend a hand to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice.

The protest movements and the winds of change blowing in the Arab world have aroused excitement throughout the world amongst freedom seekers, encouraging many to adopt the model of popular struggle. These protest movements have had a deep impact on various groups in Israel, amongst both Jews and Palestinians, and made an important contribution to the rise of the popular protest movement within Israel for social justice.

The UN initiative is a legitimate step. The United Nations must fulfill its responsibility to realize its responsibility to establish peace and justice on the international level. This is a step that strengthens the rights of the Palestinian people and in no way represents a threat to Israel, despite the great efforts of the Israeli government to present this step to the Israeli people as a declaration of war or harming the legitimacy of the existence of Israel. "

We welcome the participation and integration of the Palestinian population in Israel in the social protest. This is an important opportunity to present before various groups within Israeli society the distresses of the Palestinians and the injustices caused to them, so that these groups can take responsibility in the struggle against the marginalizing policies and ongoing discrimination against the Palestinians in Israel, for putting an ending to confiscation of lands and full equality, and an end to the occupation of the Palestinian lands that were occupied in 1967.

We warn again the familiar attempts by the occupation government to evade the crises and its internal crises and the pressure of the protest waves through the politics of fear which point to an external threat: Whether by presenting the Palestinian appeal to the UN as a “danger” or by military actions, as we have witnessed in the past few days in light of the harsh escalation in bloodletting of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Association of Progressive Students (Palestine)
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Palestine)
Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Israel)
Democratic Teachers’ Union (Palestine)
Democratic Union of Professionals in Palestine (Palestine)
Democratic Women’s Movement in Israel (Israel)
Israeli Communist Party (Israel)
National Campaign for Return of the Bodies of Arab and Palestinian Martyrs Captured by the Israeli Government (Palestine)
Palestinian People’s Party (Palestine)
Popular Campaign for the Boycott of Israeli Products (Palestine)
Progressive Workers’ Union (Palestine)
Tarabut-Hithabrut – Arab-Jewish Movement for Social and Political Change (Israel)
The Alternative Information Center (Palestine/Israel)
Union of Palestinian Farmers’ Unions (Palestine)
Union of One World for Justice (Palestine)
Union of Palestinian Working Women (Palestine)
Workers’ Unity Bloc (Palestine)

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