By: Saeb Shaath
Palestinians have refused to surrender. The Collective Punishment unleashed on them by the combined might of Israel and the United States has failed to crush the extraordinary resistance mounted by the Palestinian people.
Regardless of the unconscionable suffering and desolation that Palestinians continue to endure as a result of Collective Punishment a brutal and nihilistic concept that mistakes force for power – Palestinians have refused to surrender. From the early days of the last century to the continuing daily struggle faced by thousands of Palestinians at this very moment, their resistance has deflected, confused and thwarted the Imperialists’ designs for the Arab World.
The USA, which was, after all, built on the extermination of the Native Americans, will not hesitate to annihilate the mass of Palestinians who continue to resist and make a stand against the Imperial hegemony on which the USA’s supranational supremacy depends.
The stubborn resistance of the Palestinians has already forced Uncle Sam and his cronies to play the political game; recognizing the legitimacy of the PLO, taking part in the Madrid peace conference on the Middle East, the signing of the Oslo accords between the Zionist Entity and the right wing of the PLO, the road Map; the game-playing has continued, right up to yesterday’s display of shuttle diplomacy by George Mitchell.
Official Israeli and American policy has consistently rejected the equal status of the Palestinian people, let alone their right to a Palestinian identity. The US has refused to acknowledge the historically persistent and appalling violation of Palestinian rights by the Zionist entity of ‘Israel’. With bewildering conceptual back-flips, and a Herod-like washing of hands, they have denied the Palestinian reality. This has assured them their role as Imperialist master, along with their satellite nations and puppet Zionist entity, over historical Palestine.
Two watershed episodes have occurred since the occupation and decimation of Iraq – a cynical and murderous act of invasion which resulted in the slaughter of one and a half million Iraqi citizens.
This delivered into Western hands one of the biggest prizes in human history; Arabian oil. At the same time, they act as the war has secured the future of the US’s Zionist avatar in Palestine and guaranteed, at colossal cost, the domination of Zionist Israel over Arabs, Turks and extending the process to swallow the Persians.
The first of these crises was the criminal war against Gaza, which was characterised by breath-taking brutality against an unarmed civilian society.
On the first day of the criminal war on Gaza, 300 Gazans were killed in four minutes. By the time the 22-day criminal assault was over, Palestinian casualties numbered almost 1,400. Four fifths of these were civilians and 350 children.
Statistics, however, cannot begin to express the unspeakable effects of the illegal weaponry inflicted, indiscriminately, on the people of Gaza. And, in the aftermath of the massacre, babies are still being born, on a daily basis, with birth defects caused by the depleted uranium and tactical nukes used by the criminal Zionist war machine.
Right now, we in Irish Medical Aid are facing huge logistical problems in sending special milk for such infants, who are born GA lactose intolerant. The special milk that is essential to keeping these infants alive is unavailable in Gaza. We sent an urgent consignment of the special milk to Gaza from Ireland. Miraculously, some got through. The Zionist Israeli Fascists fiercely obstructed the passage of the rest, in spite of the fact that we are using World Health Organisation facilities.
During its onslaught, Israel systematically destroyed and ruined 58,000 homes, 280 schools,1,500 factories, water and sewage installations and 80 per cent of agricultural land and crops. The cost to Gaza’s civilian infrastructure was estimated at $3 to 3.5 billion ‘total economic cost’.
Naturally, I avidly followed the events unfolding in Gaza minute by minute, especially in terms of the escalating health crises. I saw images and incidents which broke my heart to pieces, especially as the victims and the martyrs of this devastation are people with whom I shared my life; neighbours, childhood friends, relatives.
My grief was sharpened by the destruction of my family home, and of a school which was incredibly close to my heart as I contributed to its development in Gaza city. As an educational institute, it impressed any visitor ‘the International school’ in Gaza. It cost over £10 million to build, equip and refurbish, but its value for the young people of Gaza was immeasurable in monetary terms. It was my kids school.
The goals of this criminal war were:
· To restore Israel’s deterrence capacity, which it had lost in its 2006 war against Lebanon, by using massive lethal force against a defenceless Palestinian society in Gaza?
· To pursue the destruction of the Palestinian civil society as an incubator of the Palestinian resistance, and its heart in Gaza.
· To decimate the Palestinians in Gaza, so allowing the Zionist entity to retain the valuable sections of the West Bank, and to force the Palestinians to accept this.
However, the resistance, in spite of the catastrophic costs incurred by the Palestinian people, stayed resilient, startling the Zionist entity with its strength. The biggest bombshell faced by ‘Israel’ was the power and defiance of the society they sought to break. So, then, their criminal war did not achieve any of its goals, apart from a senseless bloodbath and the demolition of the Palestinian’s civil society infrastructure.
Politics before the flotilla and politics after the flotilla:
The second turning point was the attack on the Turkish humanitarian aid flotilla in the early hours of the morning of 31st of May 2010. The killing of the International AID workers and humanitarian activists in the midst of international waters marked a new era in international politics and activism. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we can now speak of politics before the flotilla and politics after the flotilla.
Our gathering here today is a manifestation of that statement. We are here in direct recognition and expression of the most profound solidarity with the justice of the Palestinian cause, and with the courageous struggle carried by the Palestinian people and its international supporters, who reject the double standards and hypocrisy of the international community in terms of the USA and its puppets.
Today, in the great Irish city of Derry, we reject the imperialist and racist views with which their propaganda industries do their utmost to brainwash us.After the tragedy of the flotilla, the politics of direct people action, people power and people resistance have been galvanised, and are now in full swing in support of Palestinians in their hour of need. We are all a vital part of this Noble cause.
The Governments are supposed to be a group of civil servants with whom we have a social contract , they perform the tasks that we contracted them to carry out on our behalf. They are paid to carry out the mandates that we give them. Do they do that?
Those civil servants are, in fact, servants only to the concerns of thieving banks and corporate multinationals, whose interest is maintaining the status quo which allows them to make vast amounts of money from war. It is in their interest to kindle paranoia; to terrify us with the threat of ‘the Others’, the ‘Barbarians’. It is in their interest to invent terror groups, phantoms that allow them to keep their own state terror war machines destroying nations and countries around the Middle East and the world.
Is that the social contract, we the people, are party to? What of our interests?
It is in the interest of the people is to stop criminal acts against nations and populations, and to live in peace with them – not to use our monies and names to supply Zionist Israel with weapons to destroy the Palestinians, and the leeway to use them. Opening our markets for them to sell their stolen goods makes every one of us directly party to Zionist and the Imperialist crimes.
We told Bush, and his then lapdog Blair, ‘Not in Our Name’. Now we say we are with Palestine. We are taking direct action against anyone who supports the Zionist war and the human rights atrocity of the blockade on our brothers, sisters and comrades in Palestine.
Speech by Saeb Shaath, Guild Hall, Derry, Ireland