As Israel murder Palestinians, where are we?

By Danielle Frederick
May 22, 2018

Israel killsOne would have hoped that a nation such as ours, created from genocide and enslavement, one which has felt the destructive, manipulative forces of colonialism would want to raise its voice clearly against war, oppression, exploitation of human beings and anything that threatens humanity. Alas not. The Trinidad and Tobago government has failed to issue any statement, whether in support or condemnation with regards to the actions of Israel against Palestinians. Being the descendants and continuing victims of white, male, Christian dominance and violence, it is hoped that we would come to our senses and stand for truth and justice, the foundation blocks upon which tyranny cannot stand.

The Beginnings

The creation of a Jewish homeland on Palestinian territory was motivated by the British Empire ensuring it had a grateful, complicit and loyal agent protecting its interest in the region. It was imperialism securing itself the only way it knew how, violently and irreverently. What we are witnessing is a continuation of white, Christian patriarchal dominance which brought us enslavement, colonisation and apartheid, all of which heap death, stagnation and removal of human rights from indigenous populations. The first suggested place for the resettlement of Jews was Uganda at the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basel on August 26, 1903. They also considered Canada and Australia, but they met opposition from local residents. Curious how the residents in Canada and Australia had a say on whether the Jewish resettlement should come to their home, but Ugandans and Palestinians weren’t asked. It was the British, without consent or input from the Palestinians, who offered the Palestinian territories to the Jews in exchange for Jewish support during the First World War. This was to appeal to the goodwill of Russian Jews so that they would pressure their government to remain in the war and to garner support from the powerful American Jews. It also ensured that the Suez Canal, which is a connection between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea i.e. trading access, be controlled by those favourable to the British interest within the region. Israel was created by the Balfour Declaration, not divine reckoning.

The Christian Connection

The justification used for this entire course of action is based on a religious claim that Jews are the ‘chosen’ people and they have not a moral, not a legal, but a spiritual right to Palestinian territory! The members of the Lloyd George English Cabinet fancied themselves as ‘good Christian’ lads who, understood that ‘deep-rooted in the Protestant world is a sympathy with the idea of restoring the Hebrew people to the land which was to be their inheritance’ (according to a memorandum to the then British Cabinet entitled Future of Palestine in 1915 by Herbert Samuel). Who wants to be the one to go against the Christian/Judeo god’s plan, hence the tiptoeing around the subject by nations? Although most western countries are not governed by religious doctrine, many people are still guided by their Judeo-Christian sentiments that were instilled during slavery and colonialism. This now poses a challenge when one considers calling the Israeli government to account for its actions. This alleged spiritual right was first used by the British but has been amply exploited by the United States. Israel’s support from the United States is a quid pro quo arrangement which sees the US providing Israel with not only economic and military aid but using its considerable VETO power within the UN Security Council in Israel’s interest. Israel serves as ‘America’s aircraft carrier’ according to later Republican Senator Jesse Helms in order for US to police the region. This relationship allows Israel to usurp land, murder Palestinians and stamp out any regional sympathisers or descent.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Voice

Trinidad and Tobago would feel the full brunt of sanctions from the international community if it even thought of stepping outside of international treaties and conventions of which it is a signatory. Then why does Israel and the United States get to ‘cherry-pick’ what they adhere to? In fact, Trinidad and Tobago has been consistently pressured to lend support to the interference by the United States in the governance of a duly elected Venezuelan government and has maintained their stance on non-intervention into sovereign states’ affairs. However, we are reaping the whirlwind of not taking a position with regards to Venezuela with the increased amount of illegal Venezuelans migrants and guns entering our country. Therefore, it can’t be that we are afraid to at least say ‘no’ to the bullies on the international playground. We did it to the United States when we went against the Cuban embargoes and when we did not support their military invasion of Grenada. Yet we curiously won’t raise our pens and voices in condemnation of Israel’s actions!

What else can account for our obvious cowardice on December 21st, 2017, to abstain from a UN vote which called for the United States to withdraw recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Our position, according to the press release, has always been in support of a two-state resolution. Therefore, how do we become selectively mute when the United States’ actions can put that in jeopardy, increase tensions and lead to the loss of more lives, liberties and exacerbate a humanitarian crisis? A simple statement demanding a return to talks and the adherence to the United Nation’s use of Lethal Force Policy would place Trinidad and Tobago in a moral, leadership position. Our selective mutism on Israel’s actions is a loud support for colonialism and imperial rule.

When one’s approach is because of flawed logic EVERYTHING that comes after will be flawed until the logic is corrected. Imperialist’s aggression is not always physical, it uses economic aggression quite effectively. That aggression can also be seen locally when international companies ‘negotiate’ deals to do business in Trinidad and Tobago in ways which benefit their source economies more than they benefit the local. One such example is the case of ArcelorMittal and its response to a tribunal victory by workers after which they abruptly closed its plant leaving six hundred employees unemployed with no severance packages to ease the loss. It is the same mindset that developed racial stereotypes, taught them to the inhabitants of this twin island, reinforced it by their policies and structures for their own benefits and when they were done with us walked away leaving us in a quagmire of mistrust, resentment and falsehoods. Therefore, by speaking out against Israel’s actions, rule breaking, and bullying, Trinidad and Tobago would also be making a statement on behalf of itself.

Pan-Afrikan Reasoning

Many of my Pan-Afrikanist Brothers and Sisters would argue ‘why should we get into this conversation? We have so many things to lend our energies to both on the Continent and in the Diaspora, especially, notwithstanding all that they are going through, Palestinians, like others in the Arab/Muslim world possess an anti-black world view….’ My response is simple: it is all connected. Kwame Ture stated that ‘anti-zionism is the criteria by which Afrikans are measured politically. If one supports, aids and abets Zionism, they are in fact opposed to the interest of Afrikan people.’ Malcolm X said ‘Zionists believe their present occupation of Arab Palestine is the fulfilment of predictions made by their Jewish prophets. They also religiously believe that Israel must fulfil its “divine” mission to rule all other nations with a rod of irons, which means a different form of iron-like rule, more firmly entrenched even, than that of the former European Colonial Powers.’

We as Afrikan people are directly impacted by these behaviours, isms and actions of Israel. They are what allow the Dominican Republic to state with confidence and with no fear of repercussions that they have a system that causes a large portion of their population to have NO FRANCHISE, NO NATIONALITY, NO PROTECTION by the government of the state that they were born into, and that they will be deporting them to a place where they speak neither the language nor know. The same justification used by Israel is the same reasoning used by the Brazilian police for the genocide that they have engaged in on black people in Brazil, i.e, that people that don’t look like and share the heritage of the ruling class should be exterminated without prejudice because it is a ‘security’ response. The same attitude that allows Israel to engage in apartheid is the same one that sustained first physical and now economic apartheid in Azania. And, I can go on and on. Therefore, we have an obligation to address this mindset. It is found in Israel.

Whose side are we ‘leaning on’?

History will not look favourably on Trinidad and Tobago’s silence with regards to these examples of oppressive, illegal and immoral actions by those governments. Our country has an opportunity to be known for more than Carnival, Steelpan, Soca and Natural Gas; it can also be known as a voice for truth and justice if it begins with the condemnation of this latest round of violence by the Israeli government. Why was it easier to stand against the embargoes on Cuba which is and has been morally and economically unjust, not to mention bullying, but we can’t find our voice in this grave situation? If we are truly free to self-determine then that should be manifest in stances that reaffirm justice.

It has become a humanitarian imperative to remind Israel of the Balfour Declaration’s caveat: ‘it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,’ the very declaration that gave them life. Trinidad and Tobago can remind the Israeli people of the time they were subject to unjust actions by people that also thought that they were doing the will of their god by persecuting and exterminating them. The Trinidad and Tobago government can return some measure of humanity, though small, to the Palestinians as I am sure we would like given to us should we find ourselves in a similar position.

4 thoughts on “As Israel murder Palestinians, where are we?”

  1. Dat eh going to end anytime soon. No other nation has had so many UN resolution brought against them. The latest when Trump declared Jerusalem to be the place for the US embassy. Then the mass protest as the embassy was dedicated with much zeal and fanfare.

    The next move is to get rid of the Al Aquasa mosque. And build the third temple as prophesied by the prophet Daniel some 2500 years ago. Already the Jews have the minora, the hefier,the temple garments, the purple color as derived from the snail. Amongst other things, but most of all the 120 trained priest.

    Protest or no protest, things are marching forward. All the nations will head to Jerusalem for the final battle.

  2. A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh

    By Deepak Tripathi
    May 23, 2018 –

    It is a bloody hot summer in Gaza. And the events surrounding the killings of nearly 60 Palestinians and wounding of more than a thousand by the Israeli army on the day Israel and the Trump administration celebrated the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem are as shocking as they are of profound importance in Middle Eastern history. The one-sided nature of the encounter is illustrated by the fact that there were no casualties on the Israeli side.

    Scenes of Palestinian men and women of all ages, barely armed with stones and burning tyres in a futile attempt to form a protective shield, were reminiscent of the massacres in Sharpeville and Soweto townships in apartheid South Africa in 1960 and 1976 respectively and the Jallianwala Bagh in India under British colonial rule in 1919.

    These are three of the most infamous acts written in blood in history. But the truth is that when these massacres were committed, reaction was one of suppressed rage and resignation.

    During the Cold War, the West viewed South Africa’s apartheid regime as a convenient bulwark against the expansion of Soviet influence. The African National Congress and its leaders were “terrorists”. In Sharpeville, the South African Police fired on a black crowd demonstrating against “pass laws” designed to control movement of people of other races. In the massacre which took place outside a police station, 69 black people were killed and nearly 300 injured.

    The African National Congress and the Pan-Africanist Congress were accused of inciting violence and were outlawed. Both organizations went on to shift from passive resistance and formed a military wing to start a low-level armed struggle against the apartheid government. Today, 21 March is commemorated as Human Rights Day in democratic South Africa.

    The Soweto uprising, led by black schoolchildren, began on 16 June 1976 after the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools. An estimated 20,000 students took part in demonstrations. Official figures spoke of 176 killed, but estimates of up to 700 deaths have been made. Stories of the Soweto killings are forever written in history. The Soweto massacre is commemorated on 16 June every year as Youth Day in South Africa.

    The ANC remained outlawed as a terrorist organization, but its leading role in the anti-apartheid struggle was established after the Soweto uprising. Far from losing support, the ANC gained popularity among young South Africans, even though Western governments continued to shun the movement.

    Immediately after the Second World War nearly a century ago, a massacre ordered by Colonel Reginald Dyer, an army officer in British-ruled India, took the lives of hundreds of Indians in the city of Amritsar. It was 13 April 1919 and several thousand had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh near the Sikh Golden Temple.

    The crowd began to demonstrate against the arrest and deportation of two Indian nationalist leaders. The protest, in defiance of Colonel Dyer’s order, enraged him. He ordered his troops to fire on unarmed protestors. The shooting continued until the troops had almost run out of ammunition. Official figures spoke of 379 dead and about 1,100 injured. Estimates by the Indian National Congress were of approximately 1,000 killed and 1,500 wounded. Colonel Dyer himself admitted that a total of 1,650 rounds were fired.

    The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is seen by historians as the beginning of an unrelenting nationalist movement. Finally, the British withdrew from India in 1947.

    The carnage in Gaza resembles massacres of historic proportions like those in Sharpeville, Soweto and Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh. They took place because provocative and wilful decisions taken by powerful rulers triggered rage which brought people out. And then those very same rulers used brute force to suppress the protests.

    In Gaza, the worst of the carnage was on the day the American embassy was moved to Jerusalem, the city which Palestinians regard as their capital. President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy was the spark that ignited the fire.

    That decision was incendiary, but only part of the crisis. Let us make no mistake about it. Gaza is a huge refugee camp of two million Palestinians living in appalling conditions within a short distance of the villages, now in Israel, from where their ancestors were expelled seventy years ago. Gaza is a cage under land, air and sea blockade by Israel and Egypt collaborating with each other since 2007. The blockade itself is an act of war.

    The effects of this blockade are truly awful. Population density in Gaza is more than 13,000 per square mile. Ninety-five percent of water there is undrinkable. Electricity is available only for about four hours a day. Just under half of Gazans are unemployed. The same proportion of children suffer from anaemia and say they have no will to live. The population has no freedom of movement.

    The crushing blockade and frequent Israeli attacks mean that the two million Palestinians are victims of war by an overwhelming power. And as victims they have a right of self-defence.

    Not surprisingly, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights has decided to launch a war crimes inquiry into the Gaza carnage. Israel, certain of unqualified support from President Trump, insists that it will not cooperate with the inquiry. There are some who assert that Israel as a sovereign state has absolute right to use whatever force it regards as “necessary.”

    The United States has already vetoed a critical resolution in the UN Security Council, where the American ambassador, Nikki Haley, made the astonishing assertion that Israel had acted with “restraint”.

    As the carnage was taking place in Gaza, the new American embassy in Jerusalem was being inaugurated. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as a “glorious day.” Thanking President Trump, Netanyahu said, “By recognizing history, you have made history.” And representing the United States President at the ceremony in Jerusalem, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, pronounced that “those provoking violence are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

    As it goes with all massacres, their justifications become more and more depraved as self-interest and hatred of others come to dominate mindset.


  3. When Israel was created by the Balfour declaration and not by divinity raises the interesting question where are we? in view of the onslaught of Palestinians in Gaza at the hands of the Israelis. During Arafat leadership of the PLO the Palestinians were commonly referred to as ‘dogs’ by God’s chosen people-the Jews. When Trump receives so much support from the Evangelicals despite his immoral leadership and daily doses of lies and above all Nikki Haley extending myopic vision of the use of the word ‘restraint’ by the Israelis when the world sees the slaughtering of young children. Do the Palestinians have a leg to stand on when Egypt works with the Israelis in literally starving the Gazans. When Pompeo can make a statement to the effect that it would impose the strictest sanctions on Iran to remove every possibility of Iran assuming a leadership role in the Middle East which is supported by Saudi Arabia then the question where are we cannot be genuinely answered by T&T; when we see so much double standards by institutions that we contribute to viz. the UN. At least we know what to expect when Mahatma Gandhi made the statement in his Satyagraha that ‘politics and religion are inseparable’.

  4. In a perfect world, the ideal solution would be for a one-state solution, where both Jews and Palestinians share the land, with Jerusalem as the capital. However, given the decades of bad blood and acrimony between Jews and Palestinians, the one-state solution is virtually inconceivable. The two-state solution has virtually become an impossibility as well, as there is a deep chasm of distrust between Jews and Palestinians.

    This is a family feud over land which could result in unmitigated disaster for the Middle Eastern region and for the world. The United States forfeited its right to be an honest peace broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a long time ago. President Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid bitter protests from the Palestinian community has proven to be pure folly.

    The official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital also indicates the United States’ support of Israel’s revocation of permanent residency status for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians in this part of Jerusalem have never been considered Israeli citizens, and as such, are in a state of legal limbo. Any official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, must at least be based on this issue being resolved in a manner satisfactory to both the Jewish and Palestinian sides.

    For its part, all Palestinian political entities must condemn all acts of terrorism against Israelis and realize that groups such as Hamas are detrimental for the prospects of peace in the Israel. Palestinian militancy in the form of violent attacks against Israeli civilians could be used a justification, albeit ill-conceived one, for the continuation of the harsh policies against Palestinians communities in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.

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