Haidar Eid https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/6217/all cached version 04/07/2018 11:55:33 en On the 70th anniversary of the Nakba: reflections of a Palestinian refugee https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/haidar-eid/on-70thanniversary-of-nakba-reflections-of-palestinian-refugee <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Like any settler-colonial power, Zionism views native Palestinians as an ‘other’ to be fought against and erased.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="western"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36238622.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36238622.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Palestinian boy protesting near the border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City, 27 April 2018. Picture by Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Sipa US/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>This year marks the 70th&nbsp;anniversary of the&nbsp;<em>Nakba</em>, the process of ethnic cleansing carried out by Zionist militias in Palestine which led to the displacement and dispossession of more than 750 000 Palestinians, including my own family.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">I will not only confine my deliberations to abstract concepts and theories, but will evoke the reality as we experience and understand it on the ground in Gaza and in the diaspora. We Palestinians are fully aware of the fact that we are the victims of an historic issue that has impacted the lives of many, and has polarised the discourse on international peace and security.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">But what we have learned from the history of state making is that it is not easy to maintain a state that is founded and based upon a historical injustice and the denial of universal freedoms. The history of states is littered with examples of people using all sorts of means of resistance in defense of their universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. We Palestinians are deprived of both! Hence our decades-long multifaceted resistance: armed struggle, popular resistance, BDS…etc</p><p class="western">Eight years ago, I wrote a piece in which I quoted Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It does not, however, say “with the exception of Palestinians.” But we, 12 million Palestinians, know very well that we are the exception to that rule. Whether we are Palestinian citizens of Israel, West Bankers &amp; Gazans, or Diasporic refugees, we are not allowed to expect to have the same rights as those of “all human beings.”</p><p class="western">Any attempt to understand the rationale behind what is essentially a case of blatant violation of fundamental human rights is faced with accusations of anti-Semitism, a weapon used to silence voices calling for justice in the Middle East.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">I am convinced that the possibility of having a just peace is today far from realization because of the hermetic medieval siege imposed on more than 2 million already impoverished people in Gaza, and the slicing of the already sliced West Bank. The impossibility of realizing the national dream of one third of the Palestinian people has brought forward the embarrassing question about the rights of the remaining two thirds, namely the dispossessed refugees living in miserable camps in other countries and the second-class citizens of the state of Israel.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">What is the Palestinian cause if not the right of return of the refugees?</p><p class="western">We never tire of asking the question raised by the&nbsp;<em>Nakba&nbsp;</em>generation, the generation that was supposed to die, while we are supposed to forget: What is the Palestinian cause if not the right of return of the refugees, those inside and outside Palestine? Can genuine peace be achieved without resolving this?&nbsp;</p><p class="western">We live in a world that promotes democratic systems of government. It is supposed to be a system that brings about political stability within a state, guarantees equality of citizenship and individual freedoms. Nevertheless, the basic tenet of this system of majority rule are tested in multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">There is an inherent contradiction between advocating democracy as a universal idea, while defining the State of Israel in mono-ethnic terms. This approach has only resulted in the relegation of Palestinians residing within the state of Israel to the status of second class citizens. This undermines,&nbsp;<em>inter alia</em>, the very principle of equal citizenship which is at the core of a democratic system of government.</p><p class="western">Zionism, is based on the idea of separation, rejection of difference, and ethno-religious supremacy; it is based on a dogma&nbsp;that proclaims that Jews all over the world constitute one nation. In Zionist consciousness, we, native Palestinians, exactly like Native Americans, became a surplus population that must be gotten rid of.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">Those who remain would be considered a minority without political and national rights. We, native Palestinians, were viewed by hegemonic Zionism as an obstacle to realizing the Zionist dream by our mere existence and presence. This might explain the continuing ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, and the incremental genocide taking place in Gaza.</p><p class="western">Like any settler-colonial power, Zionism views native Palestinians as an ‘other’ (<em>goy)&nbsp;</em>to be fought against. The Palestinian resistance, peaceful or otherwise, is thus viewed as ‘criminal violence,’ ‘illegitimate,’ ‘terrorism’...etc.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">The realization of the Zionist dream has meant redemption for some Jews, at the expense of the native Palestinians who were dispossessed, and relegated to what Fredric Jameson, in another context calls, 'the political unconscious'. Thus, from the Palestinian perspective, the crystallization of the Zionist dream has meant dispossession and&nbsp;<em>Ghurba (</em>exile).&nbsp;</p><p class="western">Zionism wanted us to be forgotten forever in the ‘political unconscious.’ However, massacres, humiliation, dispossession, defeat, expropriation, invasion, denial of existence, and now a medieval, hermetic siege... etc, have not led to our ‘disappearance’. We have been robbed of our land, deprived of our identity and history; even our future has been stolen. The Zionist response to these atrocities is that the Palestinians should not have existed in the first place. We must remain invisible!</p><p class="western">Israel’s “independence” has meant a disaster for the Palestinians who have become the victims of the victims. The goal of Zionism has always been to make us invisible, faceless and voiceless refugees from nowhere, removed from the world’s active consciousness. We had ‘no history,’ ‘no consciousness,’ ‘no culture’ and thus no story to tell. We, Palestinians are ‘native aliens’, who became foreigners by the misfortune of being born to non-Jewish mothers.&nbsp;</p><p class="western">It is always frustrating that so many activists have no clue about the basics of the Palestinian question. I am always surprised to find myself explaining how, contrary to what has been central in modern liberal thinking; the idea of the citizen in Israel is totally missing. Israel is a state where citizenship and nationality are two separate, independent concepts. In other words, Israel is not the state of its citizens, but the state of the Jewish people. Moreover, Israel does not have a constitution. Further, since Judaism is a religion and since it is the basis of the existence of a “modern State,” why can Islam, Christianity or Hinduism not be so?&nbsp;</p><p class="western">Many of us think that the only solution to bring this horror, caused by a settler-colonial project implanted in the heart of the Arab World, to an end is only through democratic means by de-Zionizing the state of Israel and transforming it into a state for all of its citizens regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender. There are 7 million refugees waiting for that moment, and 2 million of them have already started their long march to freedom along the Gaza eastern and northern fences separating them from the towns and villages from which they were forcefully expelled in 1948. Alas, my parents are not among those marchers, but I am.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/abdalhadi-alijla/palestinians-in-gaza-fighting-for-life-struggling-for-rights">The Palestinians in Gaza: fighting for life, struggling for rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/gaza-s-great-march-of-return-is-international-rallying-call">Gaza’s “Great March of Return”: an international rallying call for peace and justice</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/isabella-bellezza-smull/from-land-day-to-70th-anniversary-of-nakba-palestinia">From Land Day to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians have plenty to protest</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/neil-serougi/health-catastrophe-in-gaza-our-double-standards-are-killing-pale">The health catastrophe in Gaza: our double standards are killing Palestinians</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/how-britain-s-recognition-of-israel-violated-its-colonial-mandate-over-palest">How Britain’s recognition of Israel violated its colonial “mandate” over Palestine</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> <div class="field-item even"> Israel </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Israel Palestine Conflict nakba occupation Haidar Eid Mon, 14 May 2018 06:00:00 +0000 Haidar Eid 117822 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Haidar Eid https://www.opendemocracy.net/author-profile/haidar-eid <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Haidar Eid </div> </div> </div> <p>Haidar Eid is Al-Shabaka (The Palestinian Policy Network) Policy Adviser. He is the author of&nbsp; Worlding Postmodernism: Interpretive Possibilities of Critical Theory&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Countering the Nakba: One State for All.&nbsp;</em>He teaches Literature and Cultural Studies at Gaza's Al-Aqsa University.</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> &lt;p&gt; Dr Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (&lt;a href=&quot;http://odsg.org/co/&quot;&gt;ODSG&lt;/a&gt;)and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869&quot;&gt;PACBI&lt;/a&gt;). &lt;/p&gt; </div> </div> </div> Haidar Eid Wed, 31 Mar 2010 10:02:29 +0000 Haidar Eid 53333 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Durban Review Conference: A Palestinian Critique https://www.opendemocracy.net/article/email/the-durban-review-conference-a-palestinian-critique <p> &quot;<em>There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism</em>&quot; (Walter Benjamin) </p> <p> The Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva on April 20-24, was supposed to review the implementation of the <a href="http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ddpa.shtml">Programme of Action</a> of the World Conference against Racism held in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Conference_against_Racism_2001#The_Durban_Declaration_and_Programme_of">Durban</a>, South Africa, in 2001. </p> <p> Some western countries <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_Review_Conference">boycotted</a> the conference altogether, and some walked out in protest against Ahmedinejad&#39;s speech in which he dared to reiterate the obvious; namely, the racism inherent in Zionist ideology. These countries are, historically, either racist, or settler-colonialist. The conference itself was actually hijacked by the West. <a href="http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/d/12701.html">Palestinian voices</a> were almost nonexistent. </p> <p> The major problem for those countries was, then, the equation of Zionism with racism. So, what we have here is a complex issue: one seems to be dealing with a colonist who denies his colonialism and argues to the contrary, and with a victim whose victimisation has been denied for decades. This ought to be scrutinized. <span class="pullquote_new">Dr. Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (<a href="http://odsg.org/co/">ODSG</a>) and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (<a href="http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869">PACBI</a>).</span> </p> <p> The conflict in Palestine is between a colonial party, Israel, and a weaker, colonized one, the Palestinians. The problem with what has been presented to us by those countries which boycotted the Durban Review Conference (DRC) is that it is done under the claim of ‘striking a balance.&#39; But, as Ilan Pappe argues correctly, a ‘balance of power&#39; which dominates this discourse ignores the fact that Israelis have colonized the land and history altogether. In his introduction to <em><a href="http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OjuKhNEmFvoC&amp;dq=The+Israel/Palestine+Question&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=bn&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=Fwv4SfQmmMyMB83u9MsM&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=4">The Israel/Palestine Question</a></em>, Pappe argues that &quot;the stronger party has the power to write the history in a more effective way. Israel, the powerful party, is a state whose apparatus has been employed successfully to propagate its narrative in front of an external public. The weaker party, the Palestinians, is engaged in a national liberation struggle.&quot; </p> <p> In an extreme contempt for the Palestinian people, Golda Meir - the former Israeli prime minister - once <a href="http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Golda_Meir">said</a>: &quot;There were no such thing as Palestinians... They did not exist.&quot; Obviously, the creation of an independent sovereign state ruled by parliamentary elections and majority rule before 1948 could have meant the end of Zionism because it would have meant the rule of the majority. It becomes clear, then, why Zionism has fought against the creation of a representative, legislative assembly in historic Palestine. This assembly would have represented the Arab majority, which was a mortal danger for Zionism.  The political goal of Zionism was to engineer a population shift from being a minority to being a majority. Massive Jewish immigration and the expulsion of the Palestinians was the means by which this goal was achieved. Inevitably, the expropriation of land went hand in hand with the denial of the rights of the Palestinian majority. Zionists have always looked at Palestinians as invisible if not absent, or rather ‘present absentees.&#39; Basic human and political rights of Palestinians were completely denied since Zionism, in principle, could not allow them to exercise their rights because it would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise. </p> <p> What needs to be emphasized within this context is that, contrary to what has been central in modern liberal thinking, the idea of the citizen in Israel is totally missing. Israel is the only state in the &#39;modern&#39; world in which citizenship and nationality are two separate, independent concepts. In other words, Israel is <em>not</em> the state of its citizens, but the state of the Jewish People. Moreover, Israel does not have a constitution. So, the question avoided by those countries that have boycotted, or hijacked the Durban Review conference, is since Judaism is a religion and since it is the basis of the existence of a &quot;modern State,&quot; why can Islam, Christianity or Hinduism not be so? Thus, if one is to follow the logic of Zionism, one should ignore the achievements of humanity and the ideals of the enlightenment since what is acceptable for some (.i.e. Jews) is not acceptable for others (.i.e. Palestinians). The more provocative questions, in fact, deal with &#39;universal&#39; liberal slogans and ask why they have never applied when it comes to Israel? Can one imagine the USA being the state of Protestant Christians? </p> <p> Palestinians in Israel are considered foreigners in their own homeland, because Israel is defined by its Basic Laws as &quot;the state of the Jewish people&quot; i.e. not the state of all of its citizens. This is the direct result of Zionism and its ideology of separatism. In other words, there is no place for integration in Israel. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were not expected to share political rights and cultural heritage with whites. Similarly, Palestinians are ‘native aliens&#39;, who became foreigners by birth. But they are also the enemy by their mere presence. Every Palestinian is by definition a threat because of the mere fact that he or she is Palestinian. </p> <p> Similarities between the two states can be found in their policies on citizenship, their use of detention without trial, and laws which limit freedom of movement and the right to live in one&#39;s own home with one&#39;s family. Just as apartheid South Africa gave citizenship to white South Africans and relegated blacks to &quot;independent homelands&quot;, Zionism gives all Jews the right to citizenship in the State of Israel, while denying citizenship to Palestinians - its indigenous inhabitants. While Apartheid used race to determine citizenship, the state of Israel uses religious identification to determine citizenship. Just as the apartheid state made laws criminalising free movement of blacks on their ancestral land, Israel uses a military occupation infrastructure composed of checkpoints, Jewish-only settlements and roads, and the Wall, combined with a myriad of legal regulations that govern Palestinian daily life and are designed specifically to restrict how they work and live. </p> <p> Israel has over the years been accused of being even worse than the apartheid state by South Africans such as Bishop Tutu and John Dugard - amongst others.  One of the major differences between crimes committed by the South African apartheid regime and those of Israel is the way, as evidenced by the DRC sham, that the latter gets away with its crimes with unprecedented impunity.  Israel could not have carried out its massacre on the people of Gaza without a green light from the international community. One Israeli soldier commented to <em>Haaretz:</em> &quot;That&#39;s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn&#39;t have to be with a weapon, you don&#39;t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him.&quot; </p> <p> The contradiction between professed ideals and actual behaviours, which has been the engine of political change in many places, does not exist for many Israelis because the democratic creed, or civic democracy, is absent. There is no promise of equality for all citizens in Israeli political culture and praxis. In short, there is no tradition of civil liberties in Israel because such a tradition would mean the end of Zionism. If Israel belongs to <em>all</em> its citizens, it would mean the end of the Zionist state. Hence, one can understand the antagonism of the establishment to calls for the creation of a secular democratic institution. When South Africa was declared the state of all its citizens, political apartheid came to an end.  Thus there is a clear contradiction between the Zionist ethos and democratic ideals. The Zionist system is quite clearly incompatible with democracy, which stems from the colonialist problem and the presence of the Palestinians.  </p> <p> The conflict has been <a href="/article/email/article-51-israels-false-claim">misrepresented</a>, by CNNized mainstream media owned by those who decided to boycott the DRC, as a ‘war&#39; between ‘two sides&#39;. In fact, as I have argued, and as the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said put it, there are not two sides involved in the &quot;violence&quot; in the Middle East. There is a colonial state turning all its great power against a stateless people, repeatedly made refugees - a dispossessed people, bereft of arms with the aim of destroying this people. What is left for the Palestinian people after the fourth, some say third, strongest army in the world, with its navy and air force has been bombarding the West Bank and the Gaza Strip? Ten years of &quot;negotiations&quot; created only <a href="http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/68315/Bantustan">bantustans</a>, and when Palestinians asked for the implementation of international law (in Camp David) they were accused of blowing Ehud Barak&#39;s &quot;generous offer.&quot; Palestinians have been at the receiving end of merciless assaults by Israeli troops, and reservists, hidden in their helicopter gun ships, F16&#39;s and tanks (Gaza 2009).   By and large, Western governments have considered the killing of Palestinians by tank and plane missiles &quot;legitimate,&quot; whereas acts of Palestinian resistance are &quot;terrorist attacks.&quot; Israel, therefore, is given the green light to conduct its genocidal attacks against Palestinians whose death is considered collateral damage.  Barak Obama&#39;s administration does not have a balanced plan to resolve the crisis in the Middle East. What all American envoys to the region have been trying to do is reaching a cease-fire in accordance with Israeli conditions and without linking it to any clear political programme that is based on Security Council resolutions and international legitimacy. Of course, the logical outcome of this biased, even antagonistic American position, and the lack of will to find a just solution/peace, is catastrophic. </p> <p> We, Palestinians, are absolutely fed up with the so-called ‘International Community&#39;. Has Durban II been a failure? Well, if we still believe in the role of western governments, especially those with a long colonial legacy, in playing a positive role vis-a-vis the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, we are, then, fooling ourselves. It is the power of people that we must bank on, just as it was in the case of apartheid South Africa, where a sustained global  ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions&#39; (<a href="http://www.bdsmovement.net/">BDS</a>) campaign forced the same governments to boycott the Pretoria racist regime. Durban II was a reminder that whether it is Bush, or Obama, the Empire is the same. Patrice Lumumba once said: &quot;<em>I know that history will have its say some day, but it will not be history as written in Brussels, Paris or Washington, it will be our own.&quot;</em> </p> <p> What urgently needs to be addressed at this moment in time, is an alternative programme that is necessarily dialectical and secular in its treatment of the Palestinian and Jewish questions - an alternative that never denies the rights of a people, one that guarantees equality, and that abolishes apartheid, bantustans and separation in Palestine altogether. </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> gazavoices Haidar Eid Creative Commons normal email Thu, 30 Apr 2009 14:00:00 +0000 Haidar Eid 47841 at https://www.opendemocracy.net