Haaretz contributor Amira
Hass is right saying so. Current headlines highlight thousands of West
Palestinians took to the streets against unaffordable rising prices.
In some areas, things got violent. Demonstrators smashed windows, tried
to storm a municipality building, and clashed with police.
On Sunday, trucks and taxis blocked the Bethlehem to Hebron road. In
Ramallah, tires were set ablaze. Streets were blocked. University and
other school classes were cancelled.
Duheishe refugee camp residents marched on Abbas' headquarters. Beit
Jala protest leaders urged nonviolence but joined others expressing
Balata refugee youths blocked Al-Quds Street. They forced traffic onto
bypass roads. Traffic was also blocked in Jenin. Taxi union director
Abu al-Wafa said strike action shut down 700 cabs and 120 buses. At
issue is unaffordable fuel prices.
Public transportation across the West Bank is paralyzed. Thousands of
drivers walked out. Tulkaren and Jericho residents also staged protests.
Hundreds turned out.
One protest sign read:
"We're tired of hearing about reformů.a council after anotherů.a minister
after anotherů.and corruption that hasn't gone away."
General strike calls resonate. Unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
is a longtime Israeli collaborator. He's neoliberal, corporatist, and
hardline. Rage targets him. He claims budget shortfall constraints.
Palestinians want him out.
One youth spoke for others, saying:
"We'll do anything, throw rocks, to get rid of the Fayyad government.
They call it sabotage, but we'll do whatever we need to get rid of him."
He agreed to resign to cool things down. Fellow longtime Israeli collaborator
Abbas defended him. He's doing his job, he said.
At the same time, Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh asked Israel
to amend the 1994 Paris Protocol. It's the Oslo Accords economic agreement.
Abbas was chief negotiator. He sold out his people for benefits he derived.
He got to be president. Israel rigged his election. He bears full responsibility.
He agreed to burden Palestinians with the same value-added tax as Israel.
In September, it rose to 17%. Impoverished Palestinians are severely
Oslo also denies Palestinian farmers and businessmen normalized foreign
trade. Those permitted can only go through Israel.
Partial and delayed salary payments compound intense public anger. Palestinian
civil servants see no end in sight. Israel deserves most blame. Abbas,
Fayyad, and other Palestinian collaborators share it.
Hass called Israeli negotiators "geniuses." Negotiating a Palestinian
Versailles assured they'd be blamed for economic crisis conditions they
PA concern became panic. Speeches, interministerial committees, and
other ways are sought to diffuse public anger and lower prices. Condescending
paternalistic language doesn't help. Protesters understandably are angry.
Venting rage at PA officials lets Israel off the hook.
Oslo shackled Palestine's economy to Israel. Palestinian salaries don't
approach Israeli ones. Regressive taxes make things harder. Unaffordable
prices compound crisis conditions.
In all respects, Oslo was a Palestinian Versailles. Unconditional surrender
defines it. Arafat, Abbas, Ahmed Qureia, and others went along. Eighteen
years later, conditions are considerably worse.
More land's been stolen. Israel has the choicest parts. It controls
water and other valued resources. Settler numbers increased greatly.
Intensified violence accompanied them. So has repression. PA security
forces serve as Israeli enforcers.
It's unsurprising they're blamed for occupation harshness. Israelis
get off largely scot-free. They establish rules. Militarized occupations
Gaza's isolated and suffocating. Extreme hardships exist. It's economy
is in shambles. Around 80% of its factories remain shut or barely operate.
Unemployment is high. Poverty is severe.
Most exports are prohibited. Farming on much of its most arable land
is prohibited. Its best fishing waters are off limits. Food insecurity,
power shortages, inadequate healthcare, other unavailable or inadequate
services, and extreme aid dependency punish 1.7 million people.
It's called the world's largest open-air prison. Frequent land, air
and sea attacks target it. World leaders turn a blind eye. They're mindless
of West Bank abuses. Israel's worst crimes are supported. Palestinian
suffering remains out of sight and mind.
Everything benefitting Israel harms Palestinians. Zero sum repression
works that way.
They're locked down and economically strangled. Locking them up is policy
if they resist. Institutionalized racism persecutes them. Sovereignty
over their own lives is denied.
Security forces and settlers attack them. Children are treated like
adults. Anyone not Jewish is considered subhuman. Muslims are persecuted
for their faith, ethnicity and presence.
They're unfairly called culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy,
religiously fanatical, violent, gun-toting terrorists. They're targeted
for wanting to live free. Innocent men, women and children are punished.
Punitive taxes harm them. Vital services are withheld. Wages are too
low to live on. Land belonging to them is stolen. Homes and other property
are destroyed. Refugees are prohibited from returning. Their rightful
capital is called Israel's alone. Peace roadmaps go nowhere.
Fear traumatizes children. Closed borders, checkpoints, roadblocks,
electric fences, enclosed population centers, Jew's only roads, and
Israel's Annexation Wall prevent free movement. Regular curfews are
Heroic freedom fighters fill Israel's gulag. Collective punishment is
policy. So are daily incursions, home invasions, lawless arrests, torture,
targeted assassinations, and denial of fundamental human and civil rights.
Crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide are committed with impunity.
Rule of law principles don't protect them. A repressive foreign army
occupies their land. Lives are lived in limbo.
Besides other notable areas, hell on earth resides in Palestine. Gaza
is its epicenter. It's been that way for 45 years and counting.
Occupied Palestine isn't occupied said former Supreme Court Justice
Edmond Levy. During his judicial tenure, he supported this view in a
2005 case. Other High Court justices rejected it.
Militarized occupation controls Palestine. Israel admits it. Permanency
defines it. Anything Israel does is OK because what it says goes. Who'll
challenge policy no matter how lawless, ill-conceived, unjustifiable,
and against even the most fancifully stretched normative standards.
Yes, we can, no, you can't is policy. That's what occupation is all
about. Tyranny defines it. Author Sandy Tolan calls it the "show that
time and the world forgot."
It covers land the size of Delaware. It's out of sight and mind to most
people. Headlines don't explain. Anything Israel does is OK no matter
how lawless, disturbing, and harmful. Palestinian resistance is called
Symbols matter. Lies become truths. Israel's winning the battle for
control over every square dunum it wants. Palestinians are marginalized
and denied. Who cares about unwanted people? They're forgotten out of
sight and mind.
Palestinians thought Oslo granted them 22% of historic Palestine. Instead
they got a 10% no-state solution at best. Once Israel steals all parts
of Judea and Sumaria it wants, they'll have canonized rump state isolation
without sovereignty on worthless scrubland.
Control over their own land, air, resources, or borders is denied. Drilling
for fresh water is verboten. Challenging Israeli authority risks injury,
imprisonment or death.
It's the occupation, stupid. Israeli intransigency perpetuates it. Freedom
remains an unfulfilled hope. It springs eternal. Maybe next time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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