by Robert Inlakesh
I have often asked myself, why there is an impression that some Western activists and pro-Palestinian organisations are working covertly, to divide and weaken the Palestinian cause. Before addressing the primary issue, a little has to be said about the Palestinian cause itself and how many prominent figures side-track real resolutions, with their own ideas as to how Palestinians should act in the face of their foreign occupier.
Whilst many choose to point out the progression of the Palestinian human rights cause in the West – with groups such as the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement and others seeing success – the movement at its most essential level, on the ground in Palestine, seems to be at its very weakest.
In order for the world to see a reality in which Palestinians are granted their full human rights, the most important place to see an emergence of change should surely be from within Palestine itself?
No amount of pro-Palestine advocacy from university students, nor rallies for human rights in the West, will result in direct evolution of the struggle on the ground for the Palestinians. It is the Palestinians themselves that will ultimately lead their own way to freedom. Whilst it is absolutely essential to have a strong solidarity movement overseas, this is not the Palestinian cause in its entirety.
The Israeli government have proceeded to massacre, destroy and dispossess the Palestinians for 70 years now and it is unrealistic to believe that they will simply stop what they are doing – suddenly growing a conscience – all because people in Western nations are mad at them.
The only way an apartheid regime such as Israel changes/falls, is when it is forced to do so. History has illustrated that there must be forceful measures executed in order to bring about change when confronted by Western Empire. From the expulsion of the French and the liberation of Algeria, to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, to the fight for Irish independence, the point has been illustrated that resistance is the key to freedom.
Palestinians are generally perceived by foreign onlookers as one of two things, victims or terrorists. The ‘Left’ love the idea of the defenseless civilian that must be saved and the ‘Right’ see Palestinians as violent extremists. Those looking in at the Palestinian struggle seem to have two ultra-polarized views, with little space for the idea that Palestinians are human beings in the struggle to liberate their homeland, thus the general consensus amongst the left is to reject the notion of Palestinians as being engaged in a potentially violent battle for their homeland and existence.
There is no simple solution to what is going on – although it is a conflict that is relatively easy to understand – this article is not claiming to provide all the answers, but certainly is of importance in order to understand a very sinister agenda that has been put into practice for some time now in Palestine.
The agenda to divide and conquer the Palestinian people and how this is being carried out.
Many steps have been taken by the Israeli government, in order to destroy the foundations of Palestinian society. Attempts to suppress the populations of the Gaza strip and West Bank pre-date the occupation/besiegement of these territories themselves and have varied in their approach to achieving this aim.
When Shimon Peres (former Israeli Prime Minister and President) established the first settlements in the West Bank and acted upon his plan to economically coerce the Palestinians of the occupied territories, he changed how the Israeli takeover of the Palestine would manifest itself.
Instead of all out genocide, Israel began a process of quietly and sneakily conquering the land they sought to capture and hiding their true intentions through the notion of a ceasefire and what would be seen as “relative peace”.
Israel’s Infiltration of Palestinian Resistance is Exposed
After speaking to countless Palestinian activists in the West Bank, on the current state of the Palestinian cause, one theme remained constant, the lack of unity in Palestine today. Almost everyone I spoke to on this issue would reminisce back to the days of the second Intifada (or uprising) – which started in the year 2000 and lasted roughly five years – everyone spoke of how the people came together against the occupation and of the current erosion of that unity.
Intrigued as to how Palestinian unity had dissipated, as was described, I quickly came to the conclusion that the election of Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, was a primary factor, then I began to look deeper.
Although the Palestinian Authorities actions had made some impact, I discovered something else lurking behind the scenes. As I travelled from village to village, city to city, everywhere I went I saw division between grassroots organizations and feuds between activists, I saw this often hinder the results of organized demonsrations and campaigns.
After investigating the reasons behind these divisions, I found in every instance the involvement of Western activists and/or organizations.
Palestinians are often offered many things by international organizations/activists, such as celebrity status, money for their families or projects they are working on, the ability to travel to spread their message and much more, but this comes at a price.
These organizations and foreign activists, come with a particular view of how the cause has to be seen and seek to impose boundaries upon those that they promote.
If you would like money and to highly regarded in the eyes of the many, you are forced to abide to the guidelines you are given, fearing demonization if you do not follow what they prefer you to talk about and focus your energies on.
Other Palestinian activists then often note the capitulation to the boundaries established for those aided by international organizations, this I found to be a primary instigator of infighting.
It is definitely conceivable that these organizations and activists truly believe that what they are doing, is for the good of the people they claim to advocate for. However I cannot simply believe the notion of coincidence without considering a much deeper involvement, one truly insidious in its nature.
If it was happening in one village or two, perhaps I could believe that these wealthy and well established groups were not compromised, but this was persistent throughout the West Bank, in almost every city and village I saw the same trend.
Other than causing feuds between activists and dividing grassroots organizations, the international groups are able to achieve the objective, of forcing those that they “help”, to speak only on very specific issues within occupied Palestine. When the attention is all surrounding one street, or one single instance of a human rights abuse, the wider picture is often fragmented, the wider picture being Israel’s intentions for all of Palestine.
Palestinians are never allowed to voice their opinions on a solution to what Israeli is/has been doing to them and their land, they always must assume the position of a victim, a victim that the West must step in to save. Of course when you depend upon the best friend of the occupier to save the occupied, this is a defeatist cycle.
By allowing these Western organizations – which approach the peaceful solution prospect from a zionist point of view – to control the Palestinian grassroots organizations, it acts to muddy the water, destroying the foundations of the Palestinian movements.
I would proceed to name specific cases, activists and organizations, but I believe this would do a disservice to the purpose of this article. Rather than encouraging backlash against specific individuals, it is best that the points noted above be circulated in an effort to raise awareness.
Cliques of virtue signalers who seek to make themselves famous or wealthy off of the occupation.
As the Palestinian cause continues to gather support in the West, so does praise for those who choose to stand in solidarity with it. An alarming trend has been sparked recently, with virtue signaling activists who visit occupied Palestine, seeking to draw attention, a following and an income from their short-lived trips.
Insensitive videos have been circulated, by previously unknown activists, in which they feature with smiles on their faces, attempting a happy-go-lucky approach to reporting the horrific crimes committed against the Palestinians. With them, also come those that feel they are entitled to tell Palestinians how they should resist and deal with the occupation they face, otherwise known as the saviour complex.
To illustrate my point about these types of – so called – activists, I would like to share a personal account of my experiences whilst working for a short while with an international activist group.
During my recent visit to Palestine, spanning three months, I decided to get involved with a group called the ISM or International Solidarity Movement (in Hebron or al-Khalil). Whilst the ISM have in the past done some great work, this specific group of entitled university students I encountered, were nothing short of parasitic to the cause they claimed to stand for.
The group that I encountered at this time was five individuals who considered the Israeli firing of tear gas at Palestinian children to be an event to be joked about. This group of individuals brought with them preconceived ideals, feeling that they had a right to better comment on how Palestinians fight their externally imposed occupiers.
After my defending of a Palestinian man’s “legal and moral right” to expel the Israeli occupier with all means available, I was all but told to pack up my stuff and leave the accommodation we were staying in. Having been cast out for my differing views to my western room-mates, I was taken in by a Palestinian family who had none of the advantages of my previous companions but ten times the hospitality and respect for diverging views.
It is my position that Palestinians have every right to choose how they resist their foreign occupier, without the interference of those who claim to be in support of them. The dispute between this group and I took place at a rooftop cafe in the West Bank city of al-Khalil and consisted of them coming from a perspective that Palestinians were not as politically astute as they were.
I later discovered that this push back is a common occurrence when anyone goes against the grain of ISM’s diktat on how the Palestinian cause should be “managed”.
After speaking to many Palestinian friends – such as Iyad Burnat from the village of Bil’in and others – I got the sense that these types of activists were not all that uncommon.
I believe that talking about this issue, of activists who end up doing a great disservice to the Palestinian people, is key to making things better on the ground. One of the most powerful weapons that the Israelis can use against the Palestinians and their supporters – is division through misunderstanding, confusion and lack of education on what these organisations should be trying to achieve in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance – anything else, essentially controlled by the Zionist entity is nothing less than psychological warfare, designed to fragment support for the Palestinians.
It is imperative that we become aware of what division does to a cause that depends upon unity, therefore I wish for this article to be passed on, as a first hand experience. Palestinians often find it difficult making their voices heard, so this report comes from those that wish to communicate this point to the wider community of Palestinian human rights supporters.
The original article first appeared in 21st Century Wire
About the writer:
Robert Inlakesh recently spent three months in various parts of the West Bank, occupied Palestine, living with Palestinian families and witnessing the crimes of the Zionist occupiers. The author’s views are their own.
READ MORE PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Palestine Files