Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Israel further humiliates Abbas, Palestinians

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:40    
Michael Warschawski for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)
The recent announcement that Israel is revoking Palestinian Authority President Mahmous Abbas VIP status, which allows him to move more freely than most Palestinians, reminds that the Israeli occupation controls everything and everyone, even the most obedient of Palestinian politicans. But there is one thing Israel cannot take from the Palestinian people--their dignity.
The Qalandia checkpoint, which Abu Mazen might find himself subject to now that Israel has stripped him of his VIP status (photo: flickr/rguha)

We learned yesterday that Israel has decided to revoke Abbas’ VIP status. Who precisely is this “Israel”? The media reports don’t say, but I will not be surprised if “Israel” is some random military captain or lieutenant colonel, for this is the colonial mentality. Every petty captain perceives himself as being above the natives, even if the captain is illiterate and the native is a renowned scientist. The colonialist holds both a carrot and a stick--a stick, in order to show the native the correct way, the path to civilization, and the carrot in order to reward him if the stick is effective.

But Mahmoud Abbas is not entirely blameless here. He erred. For years he waited with endless patience by the door of Israeli prime ministers, in accordance with the suggestions (read: orders) of the heads of the international community. When this led nowhere, he demonstrated initiative and courage and turned to the United Nations. When the UN Security Council brushed him off, he acted like a cultured man-- he didn’t raise his voice or upturn tables, but said “excuse me” and returned home.

However, for the colonial master, this was too much. “What is this unilateral initiative?” he asked, “it was possible to discuss this together, to coordinate positions…” And the truth lies with the master: in colonialism, the right to unilateralism is the sole possession of the colonial regime, not of the occupied.

Israel revokes the VIP status of Palestinian Authority head and waits to see if he will learn a lesson. If not, they will undoubtedly demand that he stand in a corner, with his face to the wall and hands on his head, somewhere near the Qalandiya checkpoint.

Confiscation of lands, theft of water, closing of territories, deportation, moving of population, home demolitions, settlers and settlements – all these are an integral part of the colonial regime at various stages in Palestine since the beginning of Zionist colonialism and through today. It involves violence and force, control and violation of rights.

It also involves humiliation of the one supposed to represent and lead the occupied population.

However, this aspect of the colonial regime is different from the others in one important way: even in the most terrible power relations, the occupied population has the ability to refuse to cooperate. Through a civil or armed struggle, in diplomatic actions or popular mobilization in the streets, actively or passively – all in accordance with the peoples’ will.

It is possible to take away the lands, liberty, and lives of an occupied people. But not their dignity. And even if their leaders are willing to relinquish their dignity, they cannot, for it does not belong to them but to their people.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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