Communiqué:Palestine #4 Brief Thoughts on international solidarity with our struggle in Palestine

This week in Communiqué: Palestine #4, Maath Musleh, a Palestinian activist & journalist in Jerusalem, argues the international solidarity movement must understand that they are supporting a liberation struggle and everything that entails.

Amidst the growing solidarity movement with the Palestinian cause, a lot of aspects of the struggle are lost. Many people get caught up in the present events and forget about the core of the struggle. A lot do not have a clear idea of the essence of this cause. To explain the history of the cause, I will need hours of writing. But for now, I would like to share some brief thoughts that I believe are essential. It is great to see all the solidarity around the world, but for any of it to be meaningful, it is important that you know what the cause is all about.

It is important to keep in mind that we are not a charity case.

We are people with a just cause and a long struggle.

To start with, our fight is not for a state in the West Bank and Gaza called Palestine, because simply this is not Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied by the Zionists in 1967. Our struggle against the Zionists has started long before that.

The essence of our struggle is the right of the return for the refugees (+70% of the Palestinian people). They demand their right to return to their homes and they do have the right to do so. If you think that it is not possible then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

It is also important to keep in mind that you cannot be selective about your solidarity or make concessions on behalf of the Palestinians. You are either with us or you are not. You cannot stand mid-way between the victims and the perpetrators. If you do, it means you decided not to stand for justice. You are already taking a position and you are not being neutral as you assume.

There is no shame in recognizing wrong-doings within a struggle. No struggle in the world is perfect. Someone who discusses those wrong-doings in efforts to improve the struggle is a noble person. And any wrong-doings does not change the facts of the struggle. The perpetrators who caused all the sufferings – for both sides – are the Zionists.

Some people try to delegitimize the Palestinian cause by referencing the use of “violence”. Let me start by stating what I have previously and constantly stated: the use of armed resistance is our legitimate right. And I have made it clear in many of my writings that the armed resistance refers strictly to targeting military targets.

Some Palestinians are shy or apologetic when they discuss our history of armed resistance. I am not. They think that “peaceful” resistance makes them more acceptable by the West. Let me tell you something, we are not in the public relations business. We are in the business of liberating our land and our people.

We do not have a just cause because the world stands with us. The world stands with us because we have a just cause.

But let us cut the discussion of the use of armed resistance short. If you believe it is legitimate but you have trouble making an argument for it, simply, refer them to UN resolution 3070: “The General Assembly also reaffirms the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” If they do not like it, they can take it up with the UN.

If they say they support justice for the Palestinians but they do not like our ways of resistance, then – if they are that passionate about opposing our way of struggle – they can make it stop by ending the injustice in their own way.

No one is tying up their hands.

You can follow Maath Musleh on twitter at @MaathMusleh

5 Responses to “Communiqué:Palestine #4 Brief Thoughts on international solidarity with our struggle in Palestine”

  1. Linda J says:

    I think this is a brilliant summary. I put it on my blog. Hope you don’t mind, Maath.

  2. A lot of clarity here for me. I wasn’t aware that right of return was so important before. That’s been rectified.

  3. Let me start by stating what I have previously and constantly stated: the use of armed resistance is our legitimate right. And I have made it clear in many of my writings that the armed resistance refers strictly to targeting military targets.

    While I respect the right of people to take up arms against an occupying force, the question has to be asked around tactics.

    I can’t see how Palestinians can effectively mount an armed struggle to overthrow a heavily militarised occupying force which has the backing of the main modern empire and the aquiecence of other smallers ones, a backing which extends to suppressing regional support for the liberation movement.

    In terms of strictly targetting military targets, again I would question tactics, economic targets are likely to be more effective. If you look at the history of the IRA, they started out with primarily military and related targets, but it was the Bishopgate and Canary Wharf (and I suppose Arendale, but thats much more contraversial) bombings that changed the nature of the occupation. Although there were deaths, the main focus was economic damage.

    So while I would never deny that it was the right of Palestinians to take up armed resistance, and directing such at the military as a form of “legitimate warfare” the question has to be asked around effectiveness in achieving objectives. It is economic damage which is most productive in effecting change, whether that is caused by paramilitary or other means.

  4. Maath Musleh says:

    Thank you Dear Mhairi.
    You raise up some good points.

    It’s true that Israel is a heavily militarised occupying force, but let’s remember when we talk about armed resistance we’re not talking about a war between two traditional armies. A traditional army will always have problems in Guerrilla warfare.

    For Israel, the nearest example is in Lebanon, yes they destroyed half the country from the sky, but when they got down on foot, they were defeated.

    Ideally if the whole world joins the BDS call, yes that would give us such a peaceful and ideal ending. But it’s less likely to happen, although the current BDS movement are causing Israel damage. But still not enough damage imposed to force them give us back our rights.

    But at the end of the day, it’s about the tactics used, armed resistance is not just about holding a gun and just shoot, it takes a lot of planning and a great strategy to achieve the goal.

    But it’s doable, examples in history says it’s doable. Remember most of the Arab countries succeeded in overthrowing foreign occupation using armed resistance. Yes there is a difference in circumstances, but we also have advantages that they didnt have in the past. At the end of the day, the armed resistance is just a tool, not a goal.

  5. Funnily enough I was at a talk on the Shabila and Sabra massacres in Lebanon in the early 80s from a nurse who tended to the wounded and dying. And that was one of the points that he made, that in ground combat the PLO were as effective as the formal military.

    Problem is tho that Israel have arial weapons and long range artillary that they can deploy for vengence.

    Perhaps the key thing is that a mix of tactics is likely to be the most effective means of resistance, picking the tools most appropriate for the weakness that is exposed.

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