Palestinian campaigner slams US for supporting Israel militarism

Rashed and Biden

Via Phoenix Co-op

Israeli occupation forces have been bombing the blockaded territory of Gaza since 10 May. They’ve killed at least 64 children so far.

Amid the violence, Phoenix Media Co-op spoke to Rashed, a campaigner in occupied Palestine. He called out international hypocrisy on human rights and democracy; but he also noted that awareness and solidarity around the world seem to be growing. And he explained how people can support Palestinians’ struggle against apartheid.

International bias and support for the Israeli occupation

Israel’s current attack on Gaza came after occupation forces had violently repressed protesters in Jerusalem for weeks. It also came as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggled to stay in power during an ongoing corruption trial. Many have made the connection between this power struggle and the violence that looks likely to improve Netanyahu’s popularity in Israel.

The Israeli state’s latest attack on occupied Gaza has killed around 227 Palestinians, including 64 children. Gaza’s response, meanwhile, has killed 12 Israelis, including two children. As occupation forces bombed civilian buildings (like one housing numerous media organisations), Israeli human rights group B’Tselem insisted that “killing blockaded civilians and destroying infrastructure on a massive scale” amount to war crimes.

Rashed told Phoenix Media Co-op how cheap Palestinian life seems to be to the Israeli occupation forces. He said they “don’t really need any reason for attacking Gaza or killing children”. Why? Because:

The international media, and the international… authorities: they’re still supporting the Israeli occupation.

And he had a simple message regarding the international media’s bias towards Israel’s apartheid state:

We are all humanity in the end, as Palestinians, or Israelis, or whatever… International media, they have to show the whole thing… This is how there can be justice.

The self-interested role of the US and the UK in Israel

The US consistently gives massive support to the Israeli state. Other Western nations also maintain firm alliances with the occupying power. The UK in particular continues to sell it millions of pounds’ worth of arms, while keeping close military ties.

Rashed spoke about Washington’s longstanding alliance with Israel, emphasising:

They’re supporting the whole time to make more trouble in the Middle East, just for economic and business [reasons] – to steal our gasoline, our petrol, to steal our resources…

They don’t care about international law, they don’t care about humanity, they don’t care about… democracy.

He also slammed the continuing complicity of the US, the UK and others in Israel’s “apartheid system of occupation”. And he called their resulting failure to support peace and democracy a source of great shame.

For peace, the occupation must end

Rashed also stressed to the international community:

If they are really looking for democracy and peace in the Middle East, they cannot have it without ending the occupation, without taking the Israeli government… to the international court.

Explaining why, he spoke about ‘48‘ Palestinians (who live within Israel’s current borders):

They are living there since [1948] until now… we are talking about more than 70 years. And they are still refusing the occupation and fighting against the occupation. That’s a very clear message…

They cannot change our Palestinian ideas, our Palestinian nationality… We are all believing this is our country.

In a show of unity, Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and Israel launched a general strike on 18 May in protest at the offensive on Gaza and the ongoing occupation.

Rashed added:

We have the right to be there, and to live there. And we have the right… to fight for our freedom and our justice and our democracy.

International solidarity is essential

Rashed also insisted that solidarity from around the world is greater than it was in the past. And while Palestinians need even more support, he stressed, this solidarity can make a difference.

In particular, he called for people around the world to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to push Israel into compliance with international law. And he encouraged people to actively support the Palestinian people, too.

He added:

Anyone who believes [in] the law or… humanity… they have to support the Palestinian people to have our freedom, our justice.

And he stressed that the Israeli state “must [be] held accountable in the international courts”.

More about the interviewee

Rashed works with Jordan Valley Solidarity. The Jordan Valley makes up almost a third of the occupied West Bank. As B’Tselem explains:

Almost 90% of this region has been designated Area C, the West Bank land which remains under full Israeli control…

The human rights group also describes how the Israeli state sees Area C territory “as there to serve its own needs, such as military training, economic interests and settlement development”. While encouraging the building of illegal settlements, it “practically bans Palestinian construction and development”.

Rashed told Phoenix Media Co-op about how Jordan Valley Solidarity resists this system:

Main article image via screenshot and U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/(CC BY 2.0)