23 years ago, between the 17th-19th of September 1982, over 2000 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila were brutally massacred under the guidance of Ariel Sharon. Today the war criminal is the Prime Minister of Israel and under the invitation of the United Nations will address its 60th General Assembly. There he will receive the applause of the international community for the Occupationâs latest move; the Gaza âdisengagementâ. This miraculous transformation from Saul to Paul is Israelâs new PR strategy, a disingenuous narrative of âpeaceâ shamelessly repeated by international media and governments worldwide.
Against this invitation and in remembrance of Sabra and Shatila, Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza are gearing up for mass demonstrations in front of the UN offices and the Apartheid Wall. United in their determination to resist the continuous massacres and expulsions of their people, Palestinians continue after the facade of disengagement, to struggle against the ongoing colonization, confiscation and Occupation of their land. The UN might be willing to forget the Occupationâs crimes, shun implementing countless resolutions and overlook the realities being carved out on the ground. Palestinians are not.
They understand the colonial and expansionist agenda behind âdisengagementâ. In Gaza, amidst the celebrations that popular resistance convinced the Occupation that withdrawal was necessary, Palestinians are well aware that the Strip remains the worldâs largest open-air prison. Gaza refugees want to end their existence in refugee camps (with or without Israeli Occupation Forces guarding them) and go home.
Instead, âdisengagementâ aims to subdue the resistance in Gaza into inter-Palestinian disputes, and with an enormous propaganda drive to ensure the worldâs distraction from the construction of an Apartheid Wall that steals 47% of the West Bank and leads to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their capital Jerusalem. With the global media and international agencies such as the UN willing players, the sham of disengagement passes off without a moment of attention upon the brutal crimes that Israel carries out. As Occupation Minister Livniâs stated: “We must take advantage of the exceptional situation that has presented itself to strengthen the settlement blocs.â
Sharon began his career of butchery in 1952 when as a commander of the Zionist army he oversaw the slaughter of 69 villagers in Qibya. He holds responsibility of the massacre in Sabra and Shatila and stands as a mastermind of the Occupationâs settlement policies in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Today he completes the project of the Apartheid Wall prepared by his predecessors. Rewarding Sharon with an address to the UN, instead of trying him for his old and new war crimes, smacks of the most stinging hypocrisy and shameless disregard for international law.
Instead of expelling Israel from the UN for the perpetual violations of its founding charter, or its continual disregard for its resolutions, the UN prepares a sickening array of congratulations towards Israel. The Occupationâs daily violations of international law and the complete refusal to accept the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to tear down the Apartheid Wall are downgraded to minor details.
Today the US dominated UN wants ânot pressure but timeâ for Sharon – the necessary time to complete the construction of the Apartheid Wall and secure the Judeaization of Jerusalem. The discourse being shaped represents a cynical blend between the notorious blindness the international community shows in front of the Occupationâs crimes, and the rhetoric about âpositive engagementâ developed by the powerful supporters of South African Apartheid. The argument that celebrating Bantustans as âconcessionsâ to the indigenous people and embracing the racist settler regime with further funding and international recognition would have ended apartheid was as preposterous as todayâs discourse which favours applause to the Zionist version of apartheid and Occupation. Once again people all over the world have understood that the only way to support the Palestinian struggle for justice and an end to the Occupation is the international isolation of the oppressive and racist regime â economically, politically and culturally. It is against the ongoing Palestinian struggle and its growing solidarity movement that the UN chooses to invite Sharon to speak.
In this context, it becomes crucial for the Zionists and their apologists to co-opt the Palestinian Authority to legitimize the Israeli moves. The PA is asked to ensure an end to resistance against the ongoing Occupation, construction of the Wall and military attacks, and to negotiate on the status of the splintered, disjointed and walled-in ghettos located on 12% of Mandate Palestine. They are asked to provide the logistic and economic administration to the benefit of the Occupation and global capital which can cream off the profits of Palestinians transported from their ghettos to industrial production zones. However, the Palestinian people and its popular movements are not interested in signing their surrender to life in open-air prisons.
Sharonâs speech at the UN will try to catalyse a feeling that those who oppose life in ghettos, ethnic cleansing, expulsion and the Occupation in Palestine are ungrateful extremists. Yet, the grassroots resistance all over the West Bank and Gaza will continue to lead the way forward for the Palestinian struggle and its global supporters. The demonstrations of these forthcoming days will not fade away. Mass protests are already scheduled for the third Week against the Apartheid Wall (9th-16th of November) underlining the resilience of the Palestinian people in their quest for liberation and justice.
The UNâs move to host Sharon is as murderous as the state and the career he represents. By accepting to support the Israeli ploy, the governmentâs and media carry the same responsibility over the destruction of Palestinian lives and land as the Occupation army that protected the Falangist militia and pointed the flash lights for the butchers of Sabra and Shatila.