Salute Resistance in Palestine
Historic Palestine Vote
The U.S. working class and people stand firmly on the side of the Palestinian people's struggle for the recognition of their national rights. We firmly condemn U.S. efforts to block such recognition and block UN condemnation of Israeli crimes, which the U.S. routinely does by vetoing such resolutions in the UN Security Council.
On Thursday, November 29 the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution upgrading the status of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) — from that of an observer to that of a non-member state endowed with membership-seeking privileges among any of the numerous United Nations agencies. These include the International Criminal Court for example, which could be utilized to bring charges against U.S. and Israeli officials responsible for war crimes in Palestine. The vote in favor of the resolution was 138, with 41 abstentions and only nine voting against, including the United States and Israel.
Those in favor included the European Union representative, a serious blow to both the U.S. and Israel who pushed hard to have the resolution defeated. As a senior Israeli official at the Foreign Ministry commented, “We have clearly lost the support of Europe in a drastic and spectacular manner.” In addition, France voted in favor, while Britain and Germany both abstained. The only other countries the U.S. convinced to vote against were Canada, the Czech Republic, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.
President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice both insisted the resolution means “prospects of a durable peace have only receded.” However, the vote is coming in the context of the victory of the Palestinian resistance in the Eight-Day War, where the resistance in Gaza secured a ceasefire. Conditions are such that broad public opinion is being galvanized in support of Gaza, demanding a political resolution, while the U.S. and Israel with their military solutions are being isolated.
This vote also comes after the U.S. last year subverted similar efforts in the Security Council. Many doubted that further progress on this front could be expected for some time into the future. For the last year and more, the Israeli government has also tried to make the entire resolution and debate on it disappear. Despite U.S. and Israeli threats and arm-twisting, an overwhelming vote in favor of the resolution occurred.
The selection of the debating and voting date is historic. November 29, 2012 marks the 65th anniversary of UN Resolution 181 by which means the United Nations General Assembly created the future State of Israel on 56 per cent of the physical territory of British Mandate Palestine. It also envisioned an Arab Palestinian state for the other 44 per cent. Each piece of the partition was supposed to have Jewish and Palestinian majorities respectively. Under Resolution 181, they were even supposed to fulfill a 10-year economic union.
The ink was not even dry on Resolution 181 before the Zionists set about importing British-trained troops and aircraft for terrorizing Palestinian villagers and townspeople, pushing hundreds of Palestinian villagers to the bottom of village wells, rounding up hundreds of women and children (as at Deir Yassin outside Jerusalem) for executions by firing squad. After dispersing more than 750,000 Palestinians from their hometowns and villages, the Zionists declared Israel as on a territory 40 per cent larger than Resolution181 had provided.
The UN vote further shows the significance of the tit-for-tat armed resistance by the Gaza Strip against the fourth-strongest army on the earth forcing the U.S. and Israelis to accept a ceasefire after just eight days. Compare this to the situation in July-August 2006, when the Zionist assault on Lebanon and its Hezbollah resistance killed and injured tens of thousands of mostly Lebanese civilians for 34 days before the U.S. finally dropped its objections to a UN-monitored ceasefire. Or even more remarkably, compare the December 2008-January 2009 rampage, in which the Israeli armed forces killed 1,500 and wounded another 4,000 in Operation Cast Lead, over a period of 22 days — right up to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The historic UN vote reflects the demand among the peoples, demonstrated in actions worldwide, for a political resolution that favors the rights of the Palestinians, including their right to return.
Americans joined these actions and will continue to stand firmly on the side of the Palestinian struggle for their national rights. We demand an end to U.S. aid and backing of Israel and that President Obama stop funding war crimes and stop providing Israel the impunity to carry them out.
End The Ongoing Violence Against The Palestinians! UNAC supports the Palestinians right to resist tyranny. We support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel. Palestine solidarity activists in the United States must do everything we can to stop our own government’s unconditional support for Israel’s crimes against humanity. Without this support, Israel would not be able to maintain the ethnic cleansing and continuous land theft of the Palestinian homeland that has been unleashed on the Palestinians for more than 65 years.
UNAC applauds the will of the Palestinians to survive and to thrive and to maintain the optimism that one day Palestine will be free. In spite of daily hardships and repression (80 percent need food aid; 45 percent unemployed) — intensified as collective punishment for democratically voting for Hamas in 2006, and still trying to rebuild after the genocidal bombardments of “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-09 — the Palestinians cling to their ancient land and continue to resist. As spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah says, we do not teach our children hate; “we teach life!”
A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza has been announced after eight days of Israel’s latest assault on the Palestinians held captive in the world’s largest penal colony. More than 160 Palestinians, including dozens of children, women and elderly, have been killed and more than 1,100, also mainly civilians and children, have been injured. Civilians and vital infrastructure have been deliberate targets, along with journalists attempting to counter the claim of Israel’s simply “defending itself.”
While a halt in the current escalation is good news, it is only a temporary respite as long as the underlying cause is not resolved. The long-term issue is that Gaza remains under a brutal occupation and blockade and the violence before and after “ceasefires” is ongoing, with killings often unreported. There is a long history of ceasefire agreements, honored by the Palestinians, but broken by Israeli targeted assassinations and killings. There is also the harm that is done because Israel restricts food and medicines, contaminates the water, destroys infrastructure, and steals land. Generations of Palestinian children have been traumatized by Israeli violence with crippling impact; food scarcity and restrictions cause malnutrition and widespread growth-stunting anemia.
The war crimes committed by Israel are in full partnership with the United States. $3.1 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayers’ money goes to Israel annually to sustain its illegal and brutal occupation of the Palestinians living under an apartheid, militarized regime and to threaten Iran. The money is used to buy American weaponry. In the past 10 years, almost 671 million U.S. weapons valued at $18,866 billion were delivered. In addition to full military and economic support, the U.S. uses its diplomatic power to shield Israel from the demands of the international community to adhere to international law and from any accountability.
The recent assault on Gaza immediately followed three weeks of joint military exercises involving thousands of U.S. and Israeli military personnel and costing more than $100 million. Part of the mission was to test the Iron Dome missile defense system paid for by the U.S. government, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. Wanting to test these systems in real life may have been one of the reasons for the deliberate triggering of the operation. “Make no mistake. The U.S. is 100 percent committed to the security of Israel. That commitment drives this exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin. “These are very difficult days [which require] further bilateral cooperation in defense against future missile threats, as well as persistent operations against Hamas and the Iranian terror threat in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters.
Both the U.S. and Israeli officials agree on this “partnership”. The Obama administration was briefed just prior to the attack showing that this was a jointly orchestrated operation. According to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, “This effort (attack on Gaza) could not have been concluded without the generous and consistent support of the American administration, led by President Obama.” President Obama likewise stated that the U.S. is "fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself” and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing its "unwavering commitment" to Israel.
At UNAC’s founding conference in 2010, there was a debate about what position to take re: Palestine, Israel, and the U.S…A large and representative gathering of peace and social justice activists took an unequivocal stand in solidarity with the Palestinians. By a strong majority vote, the conference adopted the demand that the U.S. end all aid to Israel – military, economic, and diplomatic […]
Emergency International Delegation Enters Gaza
Participants in the Emergency Delegation to Gaza report that the first seven members of the Emergency International Delegation to Gaza entered the Gaza Strip on Monday, November 26. Fifteen others planned to cross November 27. About $25,000 was raised to buy medical supplies in Egypt to bring into Gaza. The medicines will be donated to the Shifa Hospital, the hospital treating most of those injured during the attack. The delegation is also documenting the deaths and injuries of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure and housing caused by the more than 1000 Israeli military strikes carried out in the eight-day attack on Gaza.
Overall the delegation is composed of 20 people from the U.S. citizens, 2 from Britain, one from Spain, one from Germany and one from Norway. "When the fourth largest military power in the world maintains a crippling blockade against a tiny, entrapped population the world must come together any say “NO,” said Medea Benjamin, CodePink cofounder and a trip coordinator.
“The ceasefire is a pause in a long military war while an economic siege continues,” said Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-director and one of the four delegation members that entered the Gaza strip. “The agreement does not address the Occupation, border issues, and water rights. Nor does it mention ways to deal with repatriation and compensation of refugees. International solidarity actions clamoring for a just peace in the region are crucially needed."
Demand Obama Act to End the Siege of Gaza
CodePink is also organizing a letter campaign to demand that President Obama take immediate action to end the siege of Gaza. They report, “We are heartened that [the ceasefire brings] an end to this round of violence but we know that we need to organize for an end of the siege of Gaza, and for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.” They add, “We hear from President Obama and Congress about Israel’s right to self-defense, but what about the rights of the Palestinian population in Gaza?”
The letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton reads in part:
“When President Obama said ‘There's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders, so we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself,’ he broke the hearts of the children of Gaza who have seen their family members murdered, their schools and homes destroyed … by Israel’s “self-defense” measures. As our friend Mohammad Bashir said, ‘All of Gaza’s children heard those words, Mr. President, and they were louder than the sound of bombs and missiles.’”The letter condemns the fact that “Billions of our tax dollars go to the Israeli military to commit atrocities against the Palestinian people…” It concludes “For there to be real peace in the region there must an end to the brutal siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.”