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We are not Native Americans but is the US ready to implement its own law?

October 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm

There are many who provoke me and it is thus with very little faith that I write. The comments on Israel’s streets regarding the crimes that are currently being committed by its army, settlers and “Arabised” undercover police all say the same thing: “Kill the Arabs, wipe out their children, Arabs are pigs, thieves, murders and deviants”; and so the list goes on. There has not been a single negative explanation without it being applied to us. A recent study by Professor Daniel Barnell of Tel Aviv University found that nearly 124 books used in the Israeli curriculum (89 per cent of all school books) describe Arabs in racist terms and portray us in the worst possible light. That fact notwithstanding, Israel was audacious enough to ask education departments in the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt, all of which have a peace agreement with the Zionist state, to review their school books and delete any passages that discuss being enemies with it. Benjamin Netanyahu even said recently that Mahmoud Abbas is the one inciting the Palestinians against Israel even though the Palestinian president is well known for calling constantly for what many call “a sense of calm”.

Furthermore, the fascist ex-minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the use of the “iron fist” against our family in Palestine (as if Netanyahu is using a silk glove) as well as the implementation of military rule. Both right- and left-wing parties have been threatening the Arabs and calling on Netanyahu and his government to step down for their failure to contain the Palestinians and oppress them even more. Indeed, our land lies under the feet of the invaders, reminding me of the famous poems of Mahmoud Darwish: “Beware, beware my hunger and my anger.” Ayelet Shakid, Israel’s Minister of Justice, has said that her ministry has started work on a law to remove any legitimacy from the northern Islamic movement, which is led by Shaikh Raed Salah.

In his book, A Palestinian State for Native Americans, the writer, translator and researcher Muneer Al-Aksh said that there is good reason to compare the Palestinians with the Native Americans, despite Yasser Arafat’s famous quote that our fate would not be like theirs. Al-Aksh looks at the recent and not so recent histories of both ethnic groups and the similar policies of state terrorism used by the Israelis and their strategic ally the United States against the two colonised peoples. The fate of the two ethnic groups helps to explain the goals that both have in establishing a state and renders Darwish’s famous poem “The Native American’s Speech” into an attempt at telling the story of the Native American plight while also depicting the reality of a story through poetry and song. This sentiment also reminds me of the point made by journalist Paul Oster when he asked why the US did not offer to establish Israel in one of its fifty states seeing as how Washington is so biased in its favour. Why was this not the solution instead of taking someone else’s land in Palestine? The plight of the Palestinian people is in many ways a repeat of the Native Americans’, which is itself a prime example of political forces forcing the migration and expulsion of a whole nation.

Al-Aksh took part in a seminar focused on his book and said that the colonisation of America was implemented through power, occupation, killings and ideology. This is exactly what the Zionists did to create Israel, taking over and colonising Palestinian land and expelling the indigenous Arab population, replacing it with settler-colonist followers of a completely foreign political ideology.

He went on to say that the US strategy for expelling the Native Americans and the eradication of their culture was the same colonial policy used by Israel. This has become evident in the constitution of the two states; both fail to define clearly where their borders are. Al-Aksh quoted Arthur Berg, who believes that the US views on borders help to explain the “purist” ideology that continues to preoccupy the minds of Americans to this day. There is a myth that there are strangers and settlers and the concept of manifest destiny, which is the same as Israel’s view that they are God’s chosen people and that they are living on a “Promised Land” or “a land without a people for a people without a land”, etc.

American philosopher Noam Chomsky, who was banned from entering Israel during his trip to the Middle East in mid-2010, told an audience in Beirut that anyone who has examined the history of the conflict can conclude that the Zionists followed the American example in invading and occupying foreign lands and both parties use religious discourse to justify their subjugation of religious peoples. Chomsky believes that everything that Israel has done on the ground is geared towards the establishment of an exclusively Jewish state and believes that there is a cause for comparison between the Palestinians and the Native Americans.

Nevertheless, despite the use by the US and Israel of similar ideologies and methodologies, the fact remains that the Palestinians are not Native Americans and they remain steadfast on their land and continue to fight for the establishment of their own state. The Native American population has acquiesced to living in reservations and have in some ways integrated into the greater American fabric. The Palestinians, however, remain an integral part of the pan-Arab world and its culture. The Palestinian nation has its own sophisticated culture, traditions and established identity in both geographic and historical terms; as such, Palestinians will not find themselves in the same situation as the Native Americans, no matter how many years go by.

The Palestinians are steadfast despite all the attempts to expel and eradicate their presence on their land. According to recent statistics, the Palestinian population is growing close to 11 million people; more than half live in the diaspora and the rest are inside the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel. In terms of population alone, the number of Palestinians poses the biggest threat to the Zionists. Our people will always be steadfast in their resistance and a thorn in the side of the occupation.

While it is true that Israel has succeeded in achieving the bulk of its objectives since Zionist Jewish settlers first set foot on Palestinian land, most of its success is due to the dedication of European parties and their insistence on finding a solution to the “problem” of Jews in Europe; they have tried to “solve” this at the expense of the Palestinians. Israel’s success can be credited to the dedication of world powers such as Britain and the United States.

Even so, countries like the US still describe the actions of the Palestinians in resisting the colonisation of their land as “terrorism” but refuse to use the same terms to describe Jewish attacks on Palestinians. In a recent press conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry, said that he viewed attacks with knives and guns as “terrorist attacks”.

This is the “justice” behind state-sponsored terrorism against our people; Israeli aggression is said to be “self-defence” and is a re-run of the tactics used by the US in its genocide of the Native Americans. Israel and America coined the term “Palestinian Terrorism” in two conferences held in Washington in 1979 and 1984 in memory of Jonathan Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, who was killed during the raid on Palestinian militants in Entebbe, following which the media begin its biased “ideological fight against terrorism”.

It is useful to mention that article 497 of the American Law of Warfare (FM27-10) says that in the event of war, if a state takes up arms against the population of another country and does not abide by the rules of armed warfare, the victims of the aggression and occupation are in turn allowed to forgo the rules. Israel as the occupying power is thus the first and primary aggressor. Israel has committed enough war crimes against our people to the point where it can be deemed genocide. According to the American law mentioned above, we the Palestinian people are in the clear even if we acquire an official army. More importantly, the weapons used by our people are not sophisticated.

This is the last military occupation in the world, which is recognised as such by UN resolutions. We have the right to establish an independent state and self-determination, and our refugees have the right to return to their land. We also have a legitimate right to resist the occupation, including by armed struggle. My question to the Israeli ministers of justice and foreign affairs and the president of the United States is simple: Where are those who are willing to implement this article of US law?

Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 14 October, 2015

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.