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Two small protests in the Occupied West Bank that speak louder than words

May 2, 2024 at 4:52 pm

Birzeit University students gathered in front of the Canadian embassy building to protest the Canadian government’s support for Israel, demonstrating solidarity with Palestine near the Canadian consulate in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on April 30, 2023. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

As focus remains consistently on Gaza, so far, Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank have maintained their anti-colonial struggle. Stepping in where the Palestinian Authority fails to act, because it is beholden to the foreign powers allowing its existence, Palestinians protested against international diplomats who blatantly support Israel’s alleged right to defend itself, and offer only rhetoric of hope for Palestinians, despite the fact that consciously enabled genocide is more powerful than any hopeful and futile illusion.

Recently Palestinian demonstrators turned away a delegation of European diplomats – among them ambassadors of Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany – from the Palestinian Museum in Ramallah. According to the Palestine Museum, its staff had no idea that ambassadors from countries supportive of Israel’s genocide were going to visit the premises that day. An ambiguous statement, considering that the ambassadors had rented a room for their meeting.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Ambassador to the PA, Oliver Owzca, stated, “We regret that today’s meeting of EU heads of mission at the National Museum in Birzeit was unduly interrupted by protesters.”

It beggars belief that Owcza can dissociate between the presence of diplomats at the Palestinian Museum, and the diplomats’ stance over the genocide in Gaza. The meeting was not unduly interrupted – there was a reason behind it. Palestinians are merely asserting that their premises should not be exploited by representatives of countries that are supportive of Israel’s genocide.

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Meanwhile, the PA’s security services, always ready to extend Israel’s colonial violence, prevented Palestinians from reaching the Canadian representative office in Ramallah. While Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, stated it would halt future arms shipments to Israel, the Canadian government had already played its part in the Gaza genocide by sending $21 million in military exports during the first months. Even at a time of genocide, at a time when Palestinians have all been affected by loss in Gaza, the security services continue to demonstrate their misplaced loyalties.

It is only in the Israeli and mainstream narratives that such resistance is depicted in a derogatory manner, emphasising the colonial attitude towards the colonised. Israel’s I24 news, for example, attempted an equivalence designed to put Palestinians in a bad light. “Germany, traditionally supportive of Israel, has also advocated for the rights of Palestinians and the need for a resolution to the conflict that includes the establishment of a Palestinian State.”

But let’s dissect the rhetoric. The two-state hypothesis is defunct, and its implementation impossible due to colonial expansion. Germany’s two-state adherence is merely a step that keeps it aligned with the rest of the international community, and in no way does it detract from its unequivocal support for Israel and its current genocide in Gaza. How does one advocate for Palestine while supporting genocide against the Palestinians?

These two acts of protests may not reverberate strongly in mainstream media, but their significance should not be lost. Palestinians are doing what the PA refuses to do – calling out not only genocide, but also complicity in genocide. In doing so, Palestinians have exposed the weakness of diplomats when isolated from the network that makes them untouchables – people scurrying away from a sliver of the reality of decolonisation.

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