22 October 2020

Solidarity with the Palestinians! Boycott Israel!

 The news from Gaza fills us with disgust and anger. What parts of the media refer to as a 'conflict' or a 'war' is nothing of the sort. The Israeli army, by far the most powerful killing machine in the region, is subjecting the population of Gaza to collective punishment.

This is punishment not for rockets nor for the murder of three Israeli teenagers – Hamas observed a ceasefire and there is still no evidence linking them to the death of the three Israeli's. The Israeli army is punishing the population of Gaza for not surrendering, for not giving up their right to resist.

The recent agreement between the Hamas government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority on the Westbank is the real reason for this new round of Israeli aggression. The Israeli government is afraid of a united Palestinian resistance.

As leftists, our sympathies in the struggle between the Palestinians and the Israeli state are with the Palestinians.

For decades, the Palestinian people have made concessions, were subjected to murderous violence and daily oppression and harassment through checkpoints, the 'separation wall', arbitrary arrests and so on. An oppressed people has a right to resist – armed or peaceful.

The task of the left is to support such resistance. In a struggle between a powerful, repressive and violent state like Israel and a dispossessed people like the Palestinians, there should be no doubt about whom to support.

Large parts of the parliamentary Dutch 'left' seem to have forgotten this. For example, Labour minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans once pretended to sympathize with the Palestinians but now his party is in government, he keeps silent. As if he was rehearsing for Timmermans' role, Harry van Bommel of the SP even suggested sanctions against the besieged people of Gaza to punish Hamas!

We put our hope in the growing number of people who realize that Israel is the aggressor and who voice their solidarity at demonstrations like this one. This is badly needed: our government is complicit with the violence of the Israeli state. The Netherlands is a faithful diplomatic and economic ally of Israel. We need a movement that pressures the government to change course. And we call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.

International solidarity and Palestinian resistance can end oppression and bring real peace, based on justice and equal rights for everyone.

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