By Khairunnisa Aga

Normalization with Israel betrayal of Palestinian cause

October 14, 2020 - 21:21

Even though peace-building is essential for stability in West Asia, it should be built on the foundation of justice, not on betrayal. Peace today is practically being projected as an entity incompatible with the concept of justice.

However the projection has failed in numerous cases by relapsing into violent conflicts in the absence of assurance of fairness. The peace processes is the case of Palestine also presents an important illustration of deprivation of peace and stability through denial of justice. The peace processes in Palestinian question have normalized the betrayal and failed to bring reconciliation, peace or justice. The operations have relegated Palestinians and made attempts to deviate from the core issue of rights, liberties and justice. 

Peace means absence of hostility and violence and is opposite to violent conflicts. The prolonged conflicts, wars, ethnic tensions, proxies, civil wars, and human rights abuses have depressed human life and in many cases robbed it of dignity. The instances of Palestinian Question that is persistent from the day of establishment of Zionist state has destroyed homes, killed and displaced innumerable Palestinians. Wars on Iraq and Afghanistan or earlier Iraqi invasion on Iran and Kuwait resulted into disasters and made the people vulnerable. The ethnic conflicts around the world are not new but one group that is suppressed by the other are still fighting for fundamental rights, like Tamil-Sinhalese or Arab-Kurdish tensions. Lebanese civil war or new era proxy wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are indicative of interference of the Super powers and regional rivals and giving rise to displacement and vulnerable life for numerous people. 

The root cause of all these conflicts is betrayal and denial of justice as is seen in the case of Palestine. Peacebuilding cannot be conceived on the shaky ground of injustice, human rights abuse and complete rejection of it. Betrayal is a word with negative connotation with an intention to harm. The most dangerous betrayal that the world has seen is seen in the form of dehumanization of majority of world’s population through the process of colonialism by the Western Powers. The Palestinian Question is a colonial legacy as many more conflicts like Kashmir Question between India and Pakistan, Sri Lankan ethnic tensions, Lebanese and Somalian civil wars and so on. The conflicts are mostly outcome of the imposition of arbitrary and imaginary borders by the colonialists that is wounding for the indigenous people but beneficial for the grand colonial schemes. As Prof. SD. Muni maintains that majority of the conflicts of the world are born to colonial interests and arbitrariness of hegemonic forces. 

The betrayal for Palestinians started right in the 1948 with the facilitation and support for the establishment of a Zionist state on its land. Imperial Iran and Imperial Turkey were the first Muslims to recognize Israel and extend the support under pressure of the Western powers. The betrayal for Palestinians entered into its second phase with the façade of Arab unity propagated by the Arab leaders. In this project not only Palestinians but Arabs at large were betrayed. The betrayal was constituted with the non-commitment and non-seriousness to the idea of ending all forms of oppression. The cracks in façade appeared when Arab countries like Jordon and Egypt took the lead in legitimizing Zionism.  

Zionism is a political belief that desires an exclusive Jewish state in the area of Palestine that is considered the promised land for people without land. Zionism is manifested in two ways; the one is in hard form and includes aggression, wars and military tactics. As opposed to the hard form, its soft form is through cooptation policy that started with the violent death of state sponsored autocratic Arab nationalism. The co-optation demands believing in the lies of Zionists and closing of eyes to the pain of Palestinians and pushing a narrative that projects Palestinian cause parochial and support for Israel fashionable. The policy gradually resulted into criminalization of the national liberation movement of the Palestinians. This is also the beginning of securitization of Muslim identity and construction of vague and unilateral term of ‘Islamic Terrorism’. 

The peace processes in the case of Palestinian Question is another form of betrayal. an abundance of evidence is available that substantiates that Palestinians were brought to the table of negotiations but were relegated every time. All such processes, especially the ones brokered by Washington disempowered the Palestinians and institutionalized structures of oppression. In this way, layers after layers of oppression were added and the settler colonialism of Zionist movement facilitated by the Western hegemons almost legalized the occupation. Further, in the process the Palestinians are dehumanized and forced to face de facto discrimination and military occupation on the daily basis. There are multiple barriers of restriction on movement, on thought and on expression and so on. 

Palestinians are systematically deprived of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, to sanitation, to electricity and healthcare. The denial of political rights is in multiple forms as political rights are suspended and there is no actual participation in the political process that decide for their life. The Palestinian Universities are ransacked and bombed, staff, students and faculty are tear-gassed, shot dead and arbitrarily detained. The refugee word has become synonymous with the Palestinian life, numerous of them are forced to live in exile in refugee camps with no hope to return. On the other hand, Israel is freely erasing Palestinian land, livelihood, stories, personhood, histories in the direction to erase Palestinian resistance and the voices calling for end of the oppression. 

The settler colonialism is employing every colonial tactic to enhance its control over Palestine. The smear campaign against Palestine and those supporting them is undertaken by the section of paid media of the West. The project includes misrepresentation and demonization of the Palestinians through different means. A good part of academia is also giving place to Zionist narrative and Islamophobia plays key role in this. Palestinians have only social control over the vicinities and exits and entries are occupied by the Israeli security forces. The excessive presence of security forces paves way for massive militarization of the Palestinian society. The life of Palestinians is under constant siege and military occupation. Therefore, it is apartheid that is in place in Palestine, Dr. Mitri Raheb says that apartheid is Palestine is like ‘swizz cheese’ where cheese is taken by Israel and Palestinians are pushed into the holes. Thus Palestinians have no autonomy and control over their own lives and resources and make a classic case for the denial of basic human rights and right to self-determination under the nose of the bodies like UNO. 

Subsequently comes the question of normalization of betrayal, the betrayal is normalized through many tools and manipulations with the truth. Here I focus on ‘Islamic Zionism’ that is rampant in today’s time. We have seen Arab Zionism, Christian Zionism or Hindu Zionism and so on, but now Islamization of Zionism is being prepared to normalise the occupation. By Islamic Zionism, I mean using Islam to serve the imperial project and normalizing the occupation through justifying it with the help of Islamic sources. Though, it is crucial to understand Islamic Zionism in the context of recent developments and include normalization of trade, cultural, diplomatic, strategic, and security relations between Israel and the Gulf countries. 

The normalization of Israel-UAE relations is not overnight affair, Israel opened its diplomatic office in UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi in 2015 that also included wide range of exchange of officials, athletes etc. However, the illusionary retention of Israel in annexing the occupied West Bank territories was dramatically returned by the Emirati ambassador. The Ambassador acknowledged the Israel’s desire to normalize its relations with the Arabs in the Gulf by writing a piece published by the Israel’s top daily. The suit was followed by Bahrain and much more is expected to surface. Consequently, a trilateral accord is in formation to which the name is given as ‘Abraham Accord’ to honor the common patriarch of the three religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

It is indicative of the development of a kind of Zionism that will legitimize existence of Israel through Islam and a section of Islamic Zionists is using Quran and Hadith to justify this. I see this paradigm shift after the Israel Defense Force-Hezbollah war in 2006 that was followed with a sudden escalation in sectarian tension in the region and appearance of Shia-phobia. Yet, the point that I want to emphasize here is that the betrayals are normalized by the regimes while as people are not involved in such decision making. Islamic Zionism, if kicks off, will become one more force to normalize and legitimize racism, exclusion, oppression and human rights abuse. It will legalize the Zionist assumption that Palestinians are not native of Palestine but the land is without people promised for the people without land. Joining Tel-Aviv-Washington nexus can fetch regime security for the Gulf countries in the backdrop of rising Islamism in Turkey and influence of Iran but it will compromise more considerable stability of the region.  I conclude by stating that Palestine is redline and oppressors are to be stopped here and questioned. 

The writer is a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

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