Palestine, War and the Responsibility of Colonial Power

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To achieve justice and peace in Israel, its popular portrayal as the victim of Palestinian aggression must be replaced with the state accepting responsibility in its role as a colonial power with all the attendant political, military, and financial hegemony. As an occupying power, they must protect the civilian population, and their actions must be proportional and measured towards perceived injustice, granting rights and self determination to the Palestinian people. Otherwise, war, death, hatred, and instability will continue. Essay by Ajamu Baraka with two films by John Pilger.

Israel Colonialism

Whatever the outcome of this battle however, Israel has already lost the war. Despite its occupation and blockade of Gaza, Israel has remained unable to isolate or marginalize – let alone destroy – the Palestinian resistance that is now represented by Hamas. Force, pillage and deprivation are not working. There is another way. Photo By Hatem Moussa – AP.

From Victim to Colonial Settler, Shifting the Paradigm on Israel

by Ajamu Baraka, Published in CounterPunch

“… To be committed to justice we must believe that ethics matter, that it is vital to have a system of shared morality.”  — bell hooks

“Out of nowhere many soldiers jumped out and ambushed Samir. They shot him first in the leg, yet he managed to run away towards the village. But how far can an injured child run? Twenty, maybe 30, meters? They could have easily arrested him, especially when he was injured, but instead they shot him in the back with live ammunition… To me this is premeditated murder.”[i]

Palestinian life is cheap – something Samir already understood from his short 16 years of living under occupation. For the friends and family of Samir and the thousands of other Samirs murdered by the Israeli military and settlers over the last four decades, Palestinian life will still be cheap when the shooting stops, the Israeli military withdraws its ground forces from Gaza, and daily life under occupation returns to the norm of low-intensity systematic state terror.

The killings, breaking of bones, firing of tear gas canisters into enclosed spaces, and the daily humiliation of checkpoints, separate roads and separating walls will continue and will continue to be daily reminders to Palestinians that they are different; lesser; expendable.

From these experiences, Palestinians understand – like many of us on the receiving end of the Western world’s “civilizing mission” – that the West’s claim to moral superiority by championing universal human rights and the rule of law is a grotesque lie.

Over the years, Palestinians have seen how they can be murdered in the hundreds and thousands with impunity and in the full glare of the mass media. And while most of the non-Western world is stunned by the indiscriminate viciousness of the Israeli attack, headlines in Western media outlets proclaim “Hamas lays siege on Israel” and “Hamas terrorizes Israel”— as though the over one thousand lives of murdered Palestinians are completely irrelevant and devoid of value.

For activists in solidarity with Palestinian desires for national self-determination, undermining the hegemony of the “innocent settler” narrative is imperative in order to counter the propaganda that justifies Israeli state and settler violence. To do so means centering colonialism and white supremacy as the grounding analytical categories and conceptual framework.  — Ajamu Baraka

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WilderUtopia.com regularly posts articles, photo essays, features, and documentaries from around the web that illuminate the challenges to coexistence between city and wild, developed and developing, human and other.