Categorized | Palestine Affairs

Re-framing the Narrative for Palestinian Rights and Justice

Video & TranscriptNadia Hijab, Zena Agha, and Yara HawariTranscript No. 497 (April 10, 2018) 

Mohamed Mohamed:

On behalf of our board of directors and staff, it is a pleasure to welcome you all here today including everybody watching online. It is also a great pleasure to introduce and welcome our distinguished speakers from al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. We have Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari. 2018 marks 70 years since the Nakba and Israel’s disposition of the Palestinian people and violation of their rights, yet an end to their oppression and displacement remains out of reach. Indeed the discourse about what constitutes Palestine and Palestinian people has been steadily circumscribed during this period and the focus on the ephemeral two-state solution has excluded the majority of Palestinians from request for a just peace. Nadia Hijab, who is the executive director of al Shabaka, along with Zena Agha and Yara Hawari, policy fellows of al Shabaka will discuss how reframing the narrative on Palestine could help further the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

Nadia Hijab, she is the co-founder and executive director of al Shabaka and a writer, public speaker and media commentator. Her first book Women Power: the Arab Debate on Women at Work was published by Cambridge university press and she co-authored Citizens Apart, a Portrait of Palestinians in Israel. She is a co-founder and former chair of US Campaign for Palestinian rights and now serves on its advisory board. Zena Agha is the US policy follow for al Shabaka, her areas of expertise includes Israeli settlement policy related mapping efforts and the status of Jerusalem. She has previously worked at the Iraqi embassy in Paris and the Palestinian delegation at UNESCO. Zena’s media credits include The IndependentThe NationPR Arise the World and the BBC World Service and BBC Arabic. She was awarded a Kennedy scholarship to study at Harvard University where she completed her MA degree in Middle East Studies. Yara Hawary is the Palestine Policy Fellow of al Shabaka. She completed her PHD in Middle East Politics at University of Exeter where she focused on world history projects and memory of politics within an indigenous studies framework.

Her other areas of expertise include the Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jerusalem. Her articles have been published in the Independent, al Jazeera English and Middle East Eye. Her previous professional experience includes working at Kenyon institute in East Jerusalem and the refugee studies intern at the University of Oxford. Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari will each speak for about 15 minutes after which we will have a Q&A session. As always we ask that you please wait for the mic to come to you before u ask your question that everybody online can hear as well and for the online audience you can tweet your questions to us at Palestine Center and I also just want to let you know we have a signup sheet for al Shabaka and some flyers next to the door where all the other flyers are there so please sign up on your way out. Without further ado, please join me in giving a warm welcome to Nadia Hijab, Zena Agha and Yara Hawari.

Yara Hawari:

Thank you everyone for coming here today and thank you Mohammed for the introduction. As was mentioned, it has been 70 years of Nakba and the Palestinian people as a result remain socially, geographically and politically fragmented. There are Palestinians in the diaspora in every corner of the world. There are Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and over the last 6 years, since the war in Syria, an increasing number have made their way to Europe. There are also Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza and there are Palestinians in present-day Israel. This geographic fragmentation is of course no accident, a naverusim mainstream discourse and definitions on who and what constitutes as Palestinian. Mainstream Israeli and international discourse limits Palestinians to the West Bank and Gaza and some of the more right wing discourse even eliminates them entirely and refers to them simply as Arabs, severing their connection with Palestine. Now the peace negotiation discourse is slightly more inclusive and it will include the Palestinian refugees because of UNRWA, but this does not translate into recognition of their right to return to their homes. Most discussions on Palestine and Palestinians on a policy level for sure on encompassing the Palestinian people in their entirety and this is one of the major downfalls. 

So I am going to briefly talk about an often forgotten group of Palestinians and these are the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who today number about 1.8 million and who make up 21 percent of Israel’s population. The Palestinian citizens of Israel were the remnants of Palestinian society in 1948 and whilst 750 of their brothers and sisters were expelled, around 150,000 remained within the borders of the new state and these pockets in which they remained were mostly focused on the south a few Bedouin populations some areas in the Triangle region, some villages in the Galilee and a few populations remained in the cities. From 1948 until 1966, this population was placed under military rule which restricted every aspect of their lives and in particular there was a lot of political repression and enforced isolation from the rest of the Arab world. The military rule ended in 1966; one year later we saw Israel occupies the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in the six-day war. In Palestine terminology or Arab terminology, this became known as the Naksa and historic Palestine was geographically reunited and Palestinians across the green line could share their experiences after being two decades apart.

Naturally over the years, relationships were re-established and there was a relative amount of fluidity between the West Bank, Gaza and the rest of historic Palestine. This fluidity in these relationships once again disrupted with the building of the separation wall in the early 2000s.

Now in the early years after the establishment of the state of Israel, there was a discussion on what to do with these Palestinians who remained there were many discussions on expulsion and population transfer but in the end it was decided that they would be granted citizenship. Now this was done on the understanding that this citizenship would be nominal and would never be full. A common phrase is that Palestinians in Israel are second class citizens, but I don’t think this phrase gives a complete picture of reality. In Israel, citizenship and nationality are distinct terms and categories unlike most countries where the two are interchangeable. So whilst there is such a thing as Israeli citizenship, there is no Israeli nationality.

Rather nationalities designated along ethnic religious lines and actually in Israel there are about 137 possible nationalities including Jewish Arab and Druze. These nationalities are recorded on the identity cards and in the registry databases but because these data defines itself constitutionally as Jewish, it is therefore those with Jewish nationality who crumb the non-Jewish population. So whilst European states might categorize themselves as Christian culturally or historically, but constitutionally the rights to full citizenship are not premised on that. As the Jewish nation and the state of it considered to be one of the same, the exclusion of non-Jewish systems is a rather predictable consequence. The differentiation between citizenship and nationality allows for a very sophisticated and convert racist system which is not necessarily detectable to the unknowing observer.

This system essentially divides into 2 categories Jews and non-Jews, and Palestinians are designated as Israeli Arabs which not only serves as part of this binary exclusion mechanism, it also attempts to negate their Palestinian identity whilst at the same time allowing Israel to portray itself as a multicultural and diverse state. Now this citizenship and nationality issue has been challenged several times in Israeli courts by both Palestinian citizens and Israeli Jews, but thus far the Israeli Supreme Court have rejected all petitions to change the law on the basis that Israeli nationality would technically open up inclusion for non-Jewish citizens and we challenge the Zionist underpinning as a Jewish nation state. Now most of the Palestinian citizens of Israel live in Arab only villages and towns with a few living in the so-called mixed cities and it is important to note that this segregation of these populations is neither accidental not a natural residential pattern. The villages that survive ethnic cleansing in 1948 have many of their lands appropriated and expropriated and expansion since has not been permitted.

As a result these Arab towns and villages suffer from severe overcrowding with no opportunity of relied redevelopment or growth and in addition since 1948 not a single new Arab town or village has been built. So essentially the goal of the Israeli state with regards to these Palestinians is the same goal as with other Palestinian communities, to squeeze as many Palestinian Arabs into as little space as possible. If Palestinians leave their towns or villages of origin they are restricted from purchasing or leasing lands through two mechanisms: First admissions committees and second the discriminatory policies pursued by the JNF the Jewish national fund and the state authorities. The admissions committees have been continuously upheld by the high court despite challenges against it. Basically, what they are is rural communities which set up admissions committees that assess the social suitability of potential residents so in this way Palestinian applicants can be legally rejected on the very basis that they are not Jewish. So in practice this has had very devastating consequences for Palestinian spaces in 1948 borders Israel proper. In the Galilee which is in northern Israel where there is a Palestinian majority population. This has led to furious attempts by the government to Judaize the region which includes circling Palestinian villages with Jewish Israeli settlements to prevent geographic contiguity.

The Galilee also reveals the Israel state’s preoccupation with demographics and in particular its fear of the rising Palestinian population and this fear have also played out in the south, in the Negev, where there is a continued displacement and forceful relocation of tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins. Now in order to counter these racist policies and to challenge their overall treatment by the state, Palestinians in Israel have created a civil society space that is pretty much separated from its Jewish Israeli counterpart. Palestinian society initially developed to make up for the services that the state failed to provide its Palestinian citizens. However, over the last two decades, there has been a burgeoning of civil society organizations working explicitly on political mobilization and Arab Palestinian identity and cultural preservation.

Now these activities are wide-ranging and diverse and they include art, cinema, theatre and they are all very political because in their very nature they express a Palestinian identity and a Palestinian narrative. Some more perhaps interesting recent political developments among this community include the publication of a series of documents called the Future Vision Documents. These were published between 2006 and 2007, and came out of a political context of total frustration from being marginalized from the Israeli state and being marginalized at the same time from the Palestinian national movement. So what these documents were was a collective effort from politicians, intellectuals, civil society, and basically they laid out social and political demands of the Palestinian community in Israel. They put forward a cohesive Palestinian narrative. These documents didn’t present new ideas but rather what they did was consolidate what Palestinian academics, organizers and activists have been calling for decades and they have a very clear picture of an imagined future. This included equal rights and equal full rights within the state of Israel and that the state would become a state for all its citizens ending the occupation of the 1967 territories as well as the right of return for refugees. Now unfortunately, these documents have not gained much attraction but if developed I think and worked on with Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora, they could really lay the foundation for a collective Palestinian vision of the future.

Another interesting political development took the form of the joint lists in the 2015 Knesset elections. The Knesset being the Israeli Parliament, now this was the first time all major Arab parties in Israel joined together on a single list. Israel has an electoral list system and the reason they did it in 2015 was because they were trying to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government. The joint list was headed and is headed by Ayman Awdeh and they won a total of 13 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset. And they managed to mobilize about two-thirds of the Palestinian citizens to vote which was quite phenomenal because usually many Palestinians within Israel take a boycott stance towards Knesset elections. During the elections itself when it was apparent that the joint list was gaining in popularity, Netanyahu actually released a video on social media in which he said the following: the right-wing government is in danger, Arab voters are heading to the polls stations in droves. Left-wing, NGOs are bringing them in buses. Now this discourse might be very uncomfortable to us but it’s actually quite common to hear in Israeli politics, where Palestinian citizens are light into animals or a sort of hegemonic mass that can be sort of driven or taken on buses. Now the joint lists hope that their increase in seats would help them be able to prevent racist bills such as the 2012 per hour plan which I’ll explain shortly, which seeks to relocate ninety thousand Palestinian Bedouins in the south.

My analysis is that the join list is not naive, it doesn’t think that it can drastically change the system from within but I think it does hope that can, well it did at the time hope that it could alleviate some of the hardships of daily life for Palestinians in Israel and also highlight and bring attention to that specific case. Unfortunately however, Netanyahu cemented a coalition deal that would see the formation of Israel’s most right-wing government state. The aforementioned government proud plan received a lot of attention in 2013, particularly because on the 30th of November, the day before the Knesset second vote on the plan, a collective day of rage was organized by activists around the country and across the green line. Demonstrations were held in Gaza, Bir Alsaba’, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Yafa, Bethlehem and the Galilee, all in solidarity with the Negev Bedouin facing displayed displacement. They used collective political manifestations across the green line were met with the same repression from the Israeli authorities and it’s this repression that unifies the Palestinian experience.

Now just a final point because I’m running out of time, another example of political solidarity across the green line is that of BDS the boycott divestment sanction movement and this has recently been developing a lot amongst the Palestinian community in Israel, and particularly there are a lot of conversations about normalization. Normalization here refers to a concept that was developed by the movement which argues that Israel must not be treated like any other country or enjoyed normal relations. Practically this means not having relations with Israeli initiatives, institutions, organizations and so on and that are not openly against Israeli oppression and colonization. For Palestinians in Israel, this can obviously be a huge challenge as interactions with the state and its institutions are unavoidable.

So, specific guidelines have been developed that recognize the difference between necessary relations and normalizing relations. For example, funding from the state for cultural projects constitutes as normalization as it’s possible to get funding elsewhere but going to a state school is not because it’s necessary as part of daily life. But I can go into BDS further in the question time. Now just to end, my sort of brief intervention here was not to isolate this fragment of the Palestinian people from the other Palestinians but rather to highlight the nuances and the specific characteristics that they face under an overall system of Israeli oppression which affects all Palestinians where they might be wherever they might be, and I really think this should be part of our reframing effort to expand the discussion of Palestine and Palestinians beyond the 1967 borders, particularly this year as we approach the 70th anniversary of the Nakba and we have remained geographically fragmented and still far from achieving full rights. Thank you.

Zena Agha:

Thank you Yara and thank you Mohammed and other organizers at the Palestine Center for having us here today. So as was mentioned at the beginning and repeated by Yara, next month we do commemorate 70 years since the loss of the Palestinian homeland and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs from Palestine, who are still awaiting their return entrapped in a political limbo and of course last year marked 50 years since the Naksa since the 1967 war and the reality that between the river and the sea Israel controls everyone and everything in it in one single stratified system. In the time that I have though, I’d really like to discuss the status of Jerusalem and the annexation attempts that are happening in the West Bank, not only because the imminent move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next month but also because Israel’s brazen attempts of the West Bank among other factors mean that Palestine really is facing an existential moment. In the 50 years since Israel has captured Jerusalem, Israel has limited Palestinian power, ownership and habitation in the Jerusalem area on the one hand, while increasing Jewish Israeli presence and control on the other.

While Jerusalem was the only officially annexed part of Palestinian territory since 1967, the nationalist right wing in Israel has long since advocated the full annexation of the West Bank, otherwise known as the occupied Palestinian territories, and over the last year, the current Benjamin Netanyahu government has presented a slew of plans, resolutions and bills which were tighten Israel’s grip on Jerusalem. This is of course you know elevated by Trump’s green light but Israeli politicians, administrators and planners have also presented thousands of housing units to be built in the Jerusalem area and also deep into the occupied Palestinian territory. Now of course as we know the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a violation of the article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the larger Israeli scheme to annex the West Bank requires a demographic majority and of course the expansion of the settlements that we see all over the West Bank, the multitude of bills introduced such as the now shelved greater Jerusalem bill and the aerial bill which of course extends Israeli law into the universities in the settlements have usually been introduced by the hawkish right-wing justice minister Ayelet Shaked from the Jewish home party. They mostly on the whole seek to apply Israeli law to the settlements, which would essentially blur the green line even further and bring the settlements into the fold of the Israeli state amounting in other words to an annexation. An annexation would irrevocably sever Palestinians from their capital Jerusalem.

It would Judaize the city demographically and spatially and it would colonize the narrowest part of the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state all but impossible. Now fundamental to both of these outcomes is the proposed annexation of the larger city settlement called Maale Adumim, and the strip of land that connects to Jerusalem which is known as the E1 corridor Maale Adumim for those who don’t know it is located next to Jericho in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and it functions as a Jewish suburb of Jerusalem, a population of about 40,000 people and demographically its inclusion in Jerusalem would drastically increase the number of Jewish Israelis, who were considered residents of Jerusalem but it’s intended and when it was built it was really built with this intention to achieve two overarching goals: first to strategically penetrate deep into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and second to consolidate Israel’s grip on Jerusalem. Around 70 percent of Maale Adumim of residents commute daily to Jerusalem for work barely noticing the crossing of the Green Line, of course a privilege reserved only to Jewish Israeli citizens and Maale Adumim along with the neighboring settlements in Palestinian territory which have sprung up around Maale Adumim, they form a sweeping built-up area which interposed the Palestinian landscape and isolate Palestinians from their capital Jerusalem.

It is in other words the jewel of the settlement crown of the Israeli colonizing project. Now any annexation of Maale Adumim or any other part of the West Bank would depend on the acquisition of a strategically significant parcel of land called the E1 corridor which is only measures about 12 kilometers squared, and it’s located in Area C which is Israeli controlled. Its primary objective in acquiring E1 is to really secure Maale Adumim continuity with Israel and Jerusalem by creating an urban Jewish bloc. But in the West Bank this would bolster Israel’s grip on East Jerusalem by dwarfing its neighboring Palestinian districts with Jewish neighborhoods while also you know applying the final nail in the coffin to this two-state solution. Now recognizing the spatial and political difficulties of an annexing this parcel of land, Israel is building the Eastern Ring Road otherwise dubbed as the apartheid Road. But due to the wall that runs down its middle which separates Israel from Palestinian motorists and it’s intended to facilitate Palestinian travel between the north and south West Bank to ensure a transportation contiguity.

But it’s also meant to better connect Israeli settlements to Jerusalem while severing Palestinian motorists from accessing Jerusalem. The implication of the road is devastating to Palestinians freedom of movement from their future capital. For many Palestinians in the Occupied Territory, Jerusalem is their economic and cultural center of life. The building of the separation wall over a decade ago through parts of the West Bank and around the existing settlements has already denied Palestinians access to Jerusalem. Palestinians holding West Bank IDs could no longer do businesses, study, receive medical care or visit friends and family without permission from the Israeli security apparatus. Moreover, the religious significance of such an annexation should not be downplayed. Jerusalem is home to many of the most religious sites for Muslim and Christian Palestinians including the noble sanctuary, including al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Annexation would only exacerbate the religious restrictions imposed on Palestinians who are denied rights to worship freely at their holy sites. Most significantly however and something I would really like to dwell on in the time that I have is implementation and implementing any annexation or settlement in the E1 area would require that immediate expulsion of the Bedouin Palestinians living on the land, another violation of international law. At present there are approximately 2,700 Palestinians, Palestinian Bedouins half of whom are children in the Maale Adumim vicinity. The majority of these communities come from the jhaleen tribe.

The Israelis or the Israeli Authority have deliberately deprived jhaleen of access to the most basic services such as water and electricity, which makes their existence on that land intolerable. They are not allowed to work or build on the land and the military limits their access to their allotted farmland which of course is used for grave grazing their stock which forces them to depend on purchasing costly further for their sheep and herders have been obliged in recent years to excel their livestock with the result that only 30 percent of the residents continue to earn a living from livestock. The rest work as laborers usually in the nearby settlements and under the current E1 plans, the jhaleen are to be expelled and relocated in three townships. This forces a lifestyle onto the Bedouin that runs anathema to their nomadic existence. In the context of a military occupation, any transfer of protected persons such as these communities, which includes the confiscation of their land or the destruction of property by the occupant, by the occupying power, represents a gross breach of international law by extension any military plan which is intended to permanently relocate occupied people is considered a war crime. Yet despite the clear international legal framework condemning these practices, Israel’s attempt to relocate the Bedouin does continue using Israeli domestic law as a tool to obfuscate Bedouin and Palestinian claims to the land.

This all ties into decades of established Israeli policy which is characterized by land confiscation, creeping annexation, demographic manipulation and popular population transfer, and of course this is not unique to the Bedouin or to the Palestinians living in the West Bank as Yara mentioned. The bedouin communities living in the Naqab or the Negev in the Negev desert are also living in a very precarious condition in so-called unrecognized villages. And despite being Israeli citizens, they are a perpetual threat of expulsion. And I’m thinking most vividly here of the Om Al Heran village which is intended to be cleared of its Bedouin Palestinians and a Jewish settlement called Heran to be built in a space. Populations transfer namely the removal of Palestinian Arabs and settlement of Jewish Israelis in their place really isn’t a new phenomenon, and it ties and it lies at the root of the Palestine-Israel conflict as we understand it.

While Israeli annexation attempts should be understood as a thirst for Palestinian land, forced population transfer of Palestinians should be understood as a desire for an ethnically homogenous Jewish population. The Nakba or catastrophe again denoting 750,000 Palestinians being removed of their land cannot and should not be understood as a single moment in history. Rather as the Bedouins in E1 and Om Al Heran ill-attest, it’s a process of ongoing dispossession and displacement. This is what cannot be forgotten and should not be underestimated. It is in this context that we should understand the return march that has been taking place in Gaza over the last two weeks. Since March 30 since the 30th of March, Israel has killed more than 31 Palestinian peaceful demonstrators and wounded more than 2,500 including children and young people. The Israeli authorities have done this openly and without shame. The threat from these protesters lies precisely in the indisputable fact that the Palestinians have not forgotten where they are from, nor that they have an indisputable and inalienable right to return to their historic homeland. It is unsurprising event that Israel has responded in the only way it knows how through brute force. Annexation and population transfer in and around – in the Jerusalem area is merely the latest installment of the Israelization project to dominate and control the land of historic Palestine. Until this reality is reckoned with by the international community and as policy makers, the situation can only get worse before it gets better. Thank you.

Nadia Hijab:

Well thank you very much Mohamed and thank you very much to the Palestine Center in Jerusalem Fund for organizing this event. And it’s always a real pleasure for me to come back to one of my homes as I caught one of my intellectual homes I consider it, so I’m really happy to be here with my colleagues. So you’ve heard from Zena and Yara about the situation on the ground and the continuous process of decolonization that’s been going on since 1948 and that actually for which the ground was laid at the turn of the century. I want to focus in my talk on the narrative and discourse that we use to describe this struggle. And as part of that I want to also emphasize, discuss the importance of emphasizing not just what Palestinians are fighting against but what they are fighting for. And finally I also want to touch on some of the sources of power that Palestinians have to achieve these goals. So when it comes to the narrative, there’s a lot of debate particularly in academic circles about what framework of analysis, how should we understand the Palestinian question and what happened? Is it a question of settler colonialism or ethnic cleansing or racial discrimination or apartheid? In fact you can make a strong case for any one of these and many more frameworks of analysis. But it is important to agree on a common framing because without it, there’s a lack of clarity about the strategies that are needed to succeed.

My colleague, My al Shabaka colleague Ingrid Jaradat and I reviewed a number of frameworks in a recent al Shabaka policy paper. And we identified apartheid as the most strategic framework that should be applied to this struggle, to this question. In other words, it’s strategic because it is most useful to the Palestinian struggle for rights. For example the settler colonial framework which is beloved of many academics is strategic in many ways but it was not expressly prohibited by international law at the time that Israel was established so this means that it would only be applicable to Israel settler colonial enterprise in the occupied territories under international law and it could not be used to address the rights of the refugees or equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In addition, although settler colonialism was prohibited it was not criminalized. In the case of Palestine you can make the case that the settler colonial society that apartheid began when the settler colonial society transformed into the State of Israel.

So Israel actually bears legal responsibility for acts of apartheid against all Palestinians including the refugees, the citizens of Israel and those under occupation. Now there is much more on this in the UN report by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley that was withdrawn under pressure. There’s also more in my al Shabaka paper with Ingrid and as I think from admission there is a sign-up sheet at the door. So if you want to be on our email list and to get regular Palestinian analysis, please do sign up and check out this paper and others online. So if we can establish the apartheid framework as our common framing of what we are fighting against, that would be a major source of power for the Palestinian people and for the Palestine Solidarity movement. Now if that’s what we’re fighting against what are we fighting for? And this is where the discussion slips always into a debate about one state versus two states. Is that what we should be pursuing? is that what we should be going for? But let’s think about that for a moment. In terms of achieving Palestinian rights what would the one state do that two states would not see, he agrees with me I like that.

The vision of a secular democratic state in all of Palestine as set out by the PLO in 1968 has always been more compelling for the Palestinian people than that of two states. I mean we need to recognize this. Through a single state Palestinians would exercise the right to self-determination in the entirety of the land that had been Palestine under the mandate alongside the Jews living there with equal rights for all. But when we come to discuss the two states vision, it’s important to discuss between the one that was said it’s important sorry to distinguish between that the vision that was set out in 1988 when the Palestinian National Council adopted it and the disaster that was set out in the Oslo Accords. When it was adopted in 1988, the two-state solution was seen as a pragmatic, doable recognition of reality Palestinians would exercise the right to self-determination through a sovereign state that would secure the equal rights of its citizens. The 1988 Palestinian National Council resolution also upheld the UN resolutions regarding the rights of the Palestinian refugees. And the struggle for two states does not mean forsaking the vital struggle for the equality of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In any case Oslo doomed any kind of rights based project from the start. The Palestinian leadership was willing to sacrifice refugee rights, there was no reference to the Palestinian citizens of Israel and asked for the Israeli side even the so called great peacemaker Yits Caribbean made it clear that Palestinians would have an entity that was less than a state and that the Israeli security border would be located in the Jordanian Valley, i.e. extending over the entire West Bank.

But and here’s the thing and here’s why I want to discuss the sources of power that are needed. Had the Palestinians built up enough power to ensure that this-state solution had stayed faithful to its original framing, then this approach could have fulfilled the right to self-determination and return just as the one state would have. Plus and this is a very important point fulfilling Palestinian rights needs some of the sources of power that associated with the state system. For example under international law states believe that Israel has no right to annex and colonize East Jerusalem. In fact, it has no right to West Jerusalem under international law obviously the settlements are illegal these are sources of power that should not be given up until Palestinian goals are achieved. So just to summarize that piece of the discussion, either state outcome one or two could be made to achieve Palestinian rights if there is sufficient power to do so, or it’s useful to remember that this was the smart strategic choice of the founders of the BDS boycott divestment and sanctions movement.

Recognizing that the Palestinian people had very little power at present, they focused on rights instead of on political outcomes because there was no power to actually influence or realize a political outcome. So the BDS call is for the realization of self-determination through freedom from occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and justice for Palestinian refugees in fulfilling the rights of return, freedom, justice, equality. This is how the BDS movement reached the broad spectrum of Palestinian society and a very broad spectrum of international solidarity activists in for Palestinian rights. And they built a considerable source of power by giving the Palestine solidarity movement specific actions they could take. Now when it comes to the question of narrative, in my view the three goals of the BDS we often when we talk about BDS we often talk about the strategy and the tactics but we rarely talk about the goals. The three goals of BDS capture very well what the Palestinian narrative should emphasize not just what Palestinians are against, Israel’s violations of international law and apartheid, but also what Palestinians are for and Israel continues to dominate the narrative in the West despite inroads by Palestinians and by the Solidarity movement. This dominance of the narrative can be challenged by a narrative that communicates what Palestinians are for until the time comes for a political outcome, and that unifying narrative already exists: its freedom, its justice, its equality.

This speaks to two goals all human beings can aspire to it, speaks to the reality of each segment of the Palestinian people whether they’re under occupation in Israel or in refugee camps and exiles. What this narrative would make clear is that human rights advocates support BDS because they want to achieve freedom, justice and equality. They are against Apartheid because they want to achieve freedom, justice and equality. So far and so I think that getting the narrative right would be a major source of power. So in my last few remarks I want to touch on the sources of power available to the Palestinians I’ve already mentioned three: the first the fact that what Israel is doing is illegal under international law, second which is a source of power that the Palestinian leadership should be using but is not second is the strategic use of BDS that’s a that’s a very good source of power and third a narrative that communicates what the Palestinian people are for not just what they’re against. There is a fourth source of power there are many but I’m just singling out these four there’s a fourth source of power which is the ability and determination of the Palestinian people to mobilize for their rights over the last hundred years.

There is of course everyday resistance to stay on the land as Palestinians try to stay on the land which is called sumoud which is Arabic for steadfastness there’s a continuous flowering and culture in the art both with within historic Palestine as well as amongst refugees and exiles as Palestinians tell their story. But if you think about it looking back every 10 or 20 years, there’s a major uprising or mobilization. Think back for example to the great Palestinian uprising of 3639 which stands out in Palestinian history. And even though but by now it has failed, still the effort to organize Palestinian refugees in exile into the PLO into a national liberation movement was another major mobilization. And despite repeated setbacks and many mistakes the PLO did impose itself and its advocacy for Palestinian rights on the world stage. there’s been other mobilizations in 1976 the Palestinian citizens of Israel rose up in land day even as Israel drove the PLO away from the borders, all the borders abutting Palace so that’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 during that time, a new wave of struggle began to be built for Palestinian rights by the Palestinians under occupation and that led to the first intifada an 87.

The launch of the BDS movement in 2005 was another mobilization because it mobilized international civil society around targeted peaceful actions that could be taken against Israeli policies. Last summer they were there was an uprising by Jerusalemites with support of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in math’s peaceful protests that stopped Israel’s attempt to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque and as Zena and I mentioned since March 30th of this year there’s been the great march of return spearheaded by the Palestinians besieged in Gaza. And it’s very great this risk to life and limb which has imposed itself on the world stage despite a multitude of other crises. So even though Palestinians have not been able to achieve human rights in the land of Palestine, it’s very clear that steadfastness and mobilization will continue to challenge Israel’s policies of apartheid as well as the current Palestinian leadership defeatism and collaboration and the international community’s acquiescence in this injustice until justice is done. Thank you very much.

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