On Land Day 2005Popular Movement Refuses Normalization of the Apartheid Wall
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On Land Day 2005Popular Movement Refuses Normalization of the Apartheid Wall

It seems almost clichéd to note the perpetual framing of Palestinian discourse around our “situation” as “very sensitive and complicated”. This has always been the case within Palestinian history. Subduing resistance to the Occupation, as if we are on the verge of some kind of monumental negotiations breakthrough, has been a common narrative in de-railing and demobilizing the Palestinian struggle. The current trajectory of the Palestinian struggle has brought this issue back to the surface. Within the currently “sensitive” and “cautious” time, we witness the acceleration in construction of the Apartheid Wall, further annexation of Palestinian land, and ghettoization of remaining towns and villages. It makes the nature of our resistance more pertinent than ever.

The political movement for “ceasefire” came out of the Sharm al-Sheikh conference and subsequent declarations by the Occupation Forces and the PA expressing their commitment. However, the reality of Israeli aggression, expansion and violence makes a mockery of any period of “ceasefire” in their occupation. Military invasions in Palestinian towns and villages continue unabated. Assassinations, detentions, and beatings shape the milieu of this brutal Occupation, just as they did before. The colonial expansionist project of the Apartheid Wall escalates on an unprecedented scale. With the Wall finished in the northern Qalqiliya and Tulkarem districts, work has shifted south to encompass Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron.

The Judeaization of Jerusalem, through its isolation from the rest of the West Bank and expansion of all the settlement blocks around it (Ma’ele Adumim and Gush Etzion), forms part of a series of Zionist policies aimed at the expulsion of Palestinians from the city.

The Apartheid Wall and the annexation of colonies into some kind of Greater Israel reflects the unilateral imposition of a final settlement as designed by the Zionist Occupation. At the core of this is the maintenance of the three major settlement blocks of Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Ariel, and the encircling of Palestinian towns and villages with walls. Regulated and controlled by gates and locks, these ghettos shape the reality of the so-called “Palestinian viable state”!

This is the scenario which we know to have the support of the Americans and British. Yet what remains most disturbing are the latest signals from the PA. Recent statements by the Palestinian Foreign Affairs minister Nasser al-Qidwa accept the concept of swapping Palestinian lands for “peace” in any final settlement. This is an idea that was brought up in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, in order to make permanent the occupation of Palestine through the retention of the three major settlement blocks. The issue was never about giving “land for land”, but about Palestinians accepting that settlements stay, that their Apartheid settler-road systems become embedded into the demography of the West Bank, and that we now accept the Apartheid Wall dissecting through Palestinian territory, making prisons of our towns and villages by isolating and separating them from each other. It matches the concessions made in the Geneva Accords, signed by Palestinian elites claiming to represent the people. Their compromise also relinquished our right to Palestinian land, together with the right of return.

It is obvious that the UN has gone beyond offering any genuine alternatives to the course of the current occupation, and has become increasingly submissive to the American-Israeli plans for the future of the “Palestinian cause”. Annan’s insistence in his last visit not to address the ICJ’s decision to dismantle the Wall is clear evidence of complicity amongst powerful interests. The UN chooses to consider the Apartheid Wall as an issue of humanitarian aid. It plans to open a registry office for damage claims by those affected by the Apartheid Wall. If these prove to be established outside of the mandate given by the ICJ decision, as a form of compensation which follows the destruction of the Wall, the project will only serve to normalize the existence of the Wall into the demography of the West Bank. Furthermore, Annan’s participation in the London Conference, which discussed the gates and industrial passages of the Apartheid Wall, seeking to cement it into the permanent reality of the West Bank, is contrary to the basis of international and humanitarian law.

Land Day- emphasizing popular resistance

Land Day this year, with its slogans, activities and participation, was an opposing voice to the alarming developments we have discussed.

The main slogan of the activities during the last week was that coined by the National Committee To Resist The Apartheid Wall:

“Through popular resistance we confront settlements and force the implementation of the ICJ decision in dismantling the Wall”

Palestinian analysis and activists agree that in recent years the grassroots resistance of the Palestinian intifada has retreated, especially in light of the Occupation’s resumption of control of the major cities of the West Bank from April 2002. Consequently, the increasingly militant nature of the intifada came to smother the popular grassroots mobilization of the struggle.

The struggle against the Apartheid Wall, led by the local popular committees, reactivated mass participation in the struggle, and fixed the political rhythm of the position against the Wall. This has served to empower resistance to the Wall and the unity of the position which sees the Wall as an intrinsic part of an Apartheid system being imposed upon the Palestinian people from above. Thus the total dismantlement of the Apartheid Wall, and not “modifications” or “re-routing” as supported by the British and Americans, has always been at the forefront of the campaign’s demands. Here the ICJ decision has proved to be an important moment of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. This ruling was created first and foremost by the Palestinian resistance, and we continue to rally around the legitimacy of the ruling as a demand of our popular struggle. Finally, we have consistently denounced the position currently taken by the UN of neglecting the implementation of the ICJ decision, and we continue to stress our resistance to anyone who seeks to deal with the Apartheid Wall as some kind of issue that can be solved by humanitarian assistance. This only seeks to normalize and institutionalize this ghastly project of Apartheid into the West Bank.

The Land Day: Day of people’s unity

Land Day proves to be a decisive moment in the unity of the Palestinian struggle. Attachment to the land as a source of life and existence is deeply instilled within the Palestinian consciousness, and forms the basis of our struggle for freedom, self-determination and sovereignty. The racist policy for the Judeaization of the land, and the expulsion from it for as many Palestinians as possible, forms the basis by which the Occupation functions. Whether it is Palestinians living in the 1948 areas who are denied permits and titles in a system rooted in discrimination, or the policies targeting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through the Apartheid Wall and settlements, the result is the same: the destruction of the Palestinian people and their land – Palestine.

The unity evident in work between the National Committee To Resist The Apartheid Wall and the Committee for Arab Affairs in the 1948 occupied areas is an expression of the solidarity that exists within the Palestinian cause. It reflects the unity of the Palestinian people in struggle against the Zionist project, and their defense of Palestinian life, land and history.

Looking at these developments, it is absurd to discuss any renewal of the “Palestinian cause” in the UN as a genuine alternative to American unilateral domination of the Middle East.