Chartist asked prominent Palestinian writer and activist Sumud for brief comments on the Israeli onslaught
Why a permanent ceasefire? It is not happening whichever spelling we use. I suspect it will be permanent, sorry but dark humour helps me from going insane…
A permanent ceasefire would stop the killing and maiming of thousands of innocent civilians, enable treatment of the sick and wounded, deliver basics, replenish hospitals, prevent a total collapse of order and try to rebuild the damaged infrastructure and environment. I hope it would also give the powers to be the space to think of a permanent sustainable political solution to the Palestinian question that doesn’t involve genocide, land theft and further destruction to countries in the wider region- don’t forget the mess they left behind in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan. But I am not hopeful since this latest assault on Gaza is essentially the continuation of settler-colonial policies since 1948 and before. It’s a text book example of the colonial projects against non-Europeans in Asia and Africa. Maybe this will stop only when the dependency on oil is resolved by renewables, but this may be too late in the near future because climate change will make the region uninhabitable- as predicted by multiple models.
Why the US and UK are wrong? Gaza and the West Bank are occupied territories under international law as articulated by the UN, scholars and lawyers from many sources (see the link to an article below). So this is not a war, and framing it as such distorts the reality and serves the purposes of colonisers and their funders. This onslaught with support from the US, EU, and UK, will in the long term enable Israel to clear Gaza of Palestinians, give it free easy access to the multi-billion Gaza Marine gas fields offshore and aid the plans to build the lucrative Ben Gurion Canal linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to rival the Suez Canal.
What are the West Bank realities? The realities in the West Bank are horrible and time is also running out for them: people cannot lead a “usual life” (note not normal life because there is no normal life under Israeli occupation). People cannot travel between villages, towns or cities. Businesses are struggling. Education is disrupted and people are killed by soldiers and armed settlers every day. Land is stolen. Farming is halted and crops destroyed. Economies are shattered. Children are killed, injured, scared and traumatised. People are disempowered and abandoned by the international community especially as they see the hypocrisy in their condition compared to that of Ukraine.