No alternative to freedom.


The occupation is unsustainable – no alternative to freedom

On the eve of the day that the Palestinian Authority goes to the United Nations to submit its bid for Palestinian statehood, it is important to clearly see what has moved the Palestinians to do this step. It has not been taken lightheartedly nor is it just a matter of media theatrics.

  1. The UN bid has been chosen because the peace process, if it could be called so, was hijacked by the US government and “managed” in various impotent diplomatic forums and formats while on the ground settlement and Wall building flourished. The bid at the UN is intended to bring back the principles of freedom and independence into public discourse about Palestine. At the same time, other principles and legal rights should not be forgotten. There has been much discussion and criticism these days among Palestinians that the rights of the Palestinian refugees is pushed to the sidelines, as is also the role of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the PLO, as representative of all Palestinians. We appeal to the Palestinian leadership inside and outside the country to take care that the UN bid will not legally imply or be interpreted as abandoning the personal and collective rights of Palestinian refugees.
  2. The forum of the UN is chosen because it represents not just the heads of governments, but symbolically also the peoples of the world. The Palestinians are saying: we want to hear the voice of the peoples. If the leading governments are unable to act upon their professed principles – we remember how Obama a year ago brought up the vision of a new Palestinian state in his UN speech – it is the task of worldwide civil society to challenge their governments. We notice that public opinion about Palestine is ahead of their governments in several European states.
  3. The UN bid means that more sumud or steadfastness will be required of the Palestinian people. These days many people in the West Bank put flags on their cars. This may remind us that the “Palestine question” or the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” is about humans with feelings. While feeling a moment of celebration, people here generally prepare themselves for the worst. Both Israel and the US threatened to punish the Palestinian cry for freedom. If the US will withdraw the annual 500 million $ aid to the PNA, this may severely affect its future, and that of the thousands of employees dependent on it. This very day, it is expected that armed settlers from neighboring settlements are going to march to Palestinian cities. Israel may announce annexation of parts of the West Bank. We do not know what the immediate future will bring. Sometimes we have the feeling that the Israeli government and the settlers hope for the outbreak of violent clashes, so as to declare that the problem is one of violence and not freedom, while at the same time hiding their own and the settlers’ provocations. AEI together with its Palestinian Leadership and with many other organizations and groups, will focus on Palestinian nonviolent protests against the occupation and bringing out the people’s sumud notwithstanding the sacrifices demanded on the road to freedom.

At the least, Palestinians feel that the present situation of direct or indirect occupation and siege of West Bank and Gaza, and also the annexation of East-Jerusalem, is unsustainable. In all fields: politically, economically, culturally, educationally, humanly. Instead, we wish to raise the banner of the Kairos Palestine document of Palestinian Christian leaders, challenging world leaders and Israeli occupation with the principles and practices of love, peace, nonviolent action, and justice. Only that road will lead to real freedom.

September 20, 2011


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