Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Palestinian and Israeli demonstrations in Jerusalem July 15

On July 15 Palestinians will be marching throughout the West Bank to mobilize in support of the campaign to ask the UN to recognize the state of Palestine. Israelis will be supporting them by organizing solidarity marches – not marches to demand the resumption of negotiations, which have no chance of success with the present Israeli government in office (and very little chance with any government that can be elected in Israel in the foreseeable future). The call to the demonstration (first item) deploys language not typically used by the rather tired Israeli "peace movement." Instead of "concessions" to the Palestinians which are necessary to secure the future of a democratic Israel, "Support for Palestine's independence means committing to the Palestinians in their initiative and their struggle." This language goes beyond the dead-end one-state/two-state debate and emphasizes justice and equality on the basis of solidarity. Yishay Rosen-Tzvi's article in
Ha-Aretz (second item), uses the word "Zionism." But he is also clear that, "This land and its peoples have no future without cooperation." Cooperation, equality, and integration. What American ideals! Why are the Obama administration and the US Congress pathologically phobic about them when it comes to Israel/Palestine? [Joel Beinin]

Marching for independence, Solidarity with Palestine
Jerusalem, July 15

"Unilateral steps are not constructive. I don't think that an attempt to coerce things outside of direct negotiations will bring peace…. If anyone wants to do anything positive it must be to push for direct negotiations." (Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Haaretz, 16 June 2011)

"Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected on Tuesday the European Union's peace initiative." (Haaretz, 14 June 2011)

"This is an insoluble conflict because it is not about territory… Until Abu Mazen recognizes Israel as a Jewish State, there will be no way to reach an agreement." (Netanyahu, Haaretz, 15 June 2011)

We can talk all we want about unilateralism and political processes, but we can no longer avoid a decision. Today it is clear that genuine negotiation is not going to happen under the current government. Even if the Europeans and the Americans drag Bibi to another round of talks, there will be no outcome. For a long time now, negotiations have been nothing more than yet another means of perpetuating occupation. There is no choice for anyone advocating for an end Israeli control over the Palestinians other than supporting the only realistic way left to achieve this goal: recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Applying to the United Nations for such recognition is not merely the Palestinian people's right, it is the sole remaining constructive step for countering unending negotiation and the threat of increased violence. As Israelis who support the Palestinian struggle for independence, it is our duty to express our backing for the Palestinian initiative. We can go on calling for "Two States for Two Peoples" and repeating that the occupation must end, but Bibi and Lieberman are [chattering] the same things.

Sure we can go on marching in Jewish Tel Aviv under tired slogans until Jerusalem no longer has a future. But another choice is to unflinchingly fix our gaze on reality and understand that there is only one political decision to be taken: are we for Palestinian independence or not? In the current reality, support for Palestinian independence can no longer be interpreted as a call for the government to enter into negotiations known in advance to be dead-end, or as encouragement to a right-wing government to "take an initiative". Whoever feels with, but accepts going without, is, in a final analysis, naked. Support for Palestine's independence means committing to the Palestinians in their initiative and their struggle, not reinforcing Israeli intractability and speechifying about negotiations and political processes.

On July 15 we will stand with our Palestinian partners in a Palestinian-Israeli march through the heart of Jerusalem for the independence of Palestine -
because the Palestinians also deserve to be "a people, free in their country".
Because Jerusalem is the place for this freedom to be realized
and because Jewish-Arab solidarity is the only response to hatred and racism
We will march together in both sections of the city, the Israeli and the Palestinian, to express our support of Palestine's independence and our commitment to fight for it together

Facebook page for the event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=223656024322221

Not Masters and not Culprits, but Partners Instead / By Ishay Rosen-Zvi
Ha-Aretz, July 7, 2008

On July 15th, an unprecedented event in the history of Zionism is set to take place in Jerusalem: a Jewish-Palestinian independence march. This march will not be yet another demonstration in support of the negotiations; not a call for an end to violence nor for a bilateral two-state solution. We've had enough of those. This time Israelis, Jews and Arabs, will show our support for the unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence expected in September; a free state in the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. No more favors, thank you very much.

This way is unequivocally better than yet another statement of support in negotiations, which in turn is nothing more than the continuation of the occupation by other means, that of negotiations without end. At the same time, we must ask what the role of the Jewish marchers is in this march. Is not the Palestinian state a Palestinian project? Is it not our role to just stand back and not interfere? Is it not better that we fight against the occupation, and leave the founding of the state to those whose state it will be? Is it not just slightly offensive? Hast thou conquered, and also rejoiced?

We claim that the illusion that the end of the occupation will bring with it a separation from the Palestinians is the root of all evil. What lies behind the various "disengagement plans", especially the greedy "separation wall", if not the desire "not to see them anymore?" This land and its peoples have no future without cooperation. Not just because the oppressor will be free only when the oppressed will be free (as Hegel well understood in his master and slave dialectic), but also because after their respective freedoms, the two sides are destined to sit together, to share a land, its resources and history. Solutions based upon separation (always unilateral), are bound to fail (see under: Gaza).

Moreover, we are trying to undermine the most successful lie in the history of the Israeli public sphere, that which presents everything as a zero-sum game, as if every Palestinian gain is an Israeli loss. We are marching to say that the Palestinian declaration of independence is not just a theatre of conflict between Israel and Palestine, but first and foremost a discussion Israelis should be holding amongst ourselves. Similar deliberations should have taken place before the wars of choice in Lebanon and Gaza, and should now be held apropos the Gaza flotilla. The fact that we cannot hear even the slightest echo of such a discussion teaches us more than anything else about the total and unequivocal surrender of the Israeli media to official government policy. For exposing an internal disagreement will undermine the binary illusion, that of us against them, and might even begin to deter the Obama administration's intention to veto the declaration in the UN security Council (
the US
has no power of veto in the general assembly) as a way of defending Israeli interests. One can dream, at least.

But all of these are just icing on the cake. And the "cake" is the solidarity itself. We do not come to the march "from above," as masters, and not "from below," as culprits. Rather, we come as partners in the desire for freedom. Against the fascist marches which washed over the city on Jerusalem Day, against the ethnic politics, becoming ever more violent, the marchers are attempting to make room for an alternative politics, one based on civil partnership, on amicability, on common, worldly interests. This then is the reason that the initiative comes from an organization whose very existence is based on solidarity, civic and human. This is why the real goal is not only political or a matter of publicity. Indeed it is nothing less than the shattering of the dichotomist model through which the entire Israeli political apparatus operates: "us" against "them." Those who yearn for independence in this space are not "them;" they do not belong to the other s
are our very own poor. And, as the Talmud teaches us, our own poor come first.

Ishay Rosen-Zvi is professor of Talmudic Studies in Tel Aviv university and a research fellow in the "Shalom Hartman" Institute.

Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Ofer Neiman
Lincoln Z. Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
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