In follow-up to the very successful 15 May events (the beginning of the global uprising), activists around the world called for a day of protests Friday (tomorrow). In Bethlehem, we gather after Friday prayers in front of Omar’s mosque (the Nativity square) and march towards the apartheid wall.
President Obama tried in his (Cairo II) speech to again convince a skeptical world that the US promotes democracy and human rights. We have heard all of this orientalist talk before and yet have seen no action/change.
The change is coming from the people waving Palestinian and Egyptian flags everywhere. Even Obama’s rhetoric seems hypocritical: why speak of peaceful demonstrations being suppressed in Syria and Libya but not speak about the constant repression of demonstrators by the Israeli apartheid regime?
Obama even went further than other US presidents and talked as a typical Zionist: he lectured us the native people that we should stop "delegitimizing" Israel and accept it as "a Jewish state", "for the Jewish people". Even Reagan who supported apartheid South Africa in his first term did not ask that we stop delegitimizing South Africa and recognize it as a "White state""for the
What about International law (not mentioned by Obama) and what about a state of all its citizens (including the refugees who must be allowed to return to their homes and lands)? No, these basic rights are to be removed and the colonizers have a right to security but the colonized must be content to live in a demilitarized ghetto and accept their dispossession.
Ronald Reagan refused to speak to AIPAC. But Obama agreed. He will also host war criminals at the White house and Netanyahu (the gang leader) who will speak to the (Israeli-occupied) congress. No mention will be made of Israel’s illegal use of US weaponry in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Yet, the success of the popular uprisings in the Arab world including the new uprising that started on 15 May in Palestine and two scandals that hit the apartheid state this week add to the cracks in the "Iron wall" (fortified by the US).
In one scandal, Russia charged the Israeli military attache working at the Israeli embassy with espionage and expelled him. Russia and Turkey and many other countries previously friendly to the apartheid regime have been changing.
Israeli papers also reported that Ron Arad, national security advisor to Netanyahu did not actually resign voluntarily but was fired because he leaked "sensitive information". The "sensitive" information was that the United States had given Israel unequivocal guarantees that its "strategic capabilities" in the nuclear field would be preserved and strengthened (according to Haaretz). This put another nail in the coffin of the "change we can believe in" facade and embarrassed Obama.
We should all write to the US media immediately to demand balanced coverage of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US. Netanyahu and Obama talk about threats from Iran (like he did about Iraq getting us into a mess) and about Hamas’s refusal to recognize the apartheid state of Israel. It is fine to put their views out there but why not allow the facts of how Israel’s lobby pushed for wars and that Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid or that Netanyahu’s own political party opposes a Palestinian state and rejects international law (settlements are illegal and yet he even refuses to suspend partially colonial activities so that negotiations can resume). The Likud party platform clearly states: “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”  The platform also denies other basic rights to even our cities like Jerusalem and certainly does not even consider the need to allow refugees to return per International law.
The only official in the Obama administration who genuinely wanted Israel to at least suspend its persistent violations of International law is now out of the way (George Mitchell). Business thus goes on as usual between the two governments supporting apartheid, repression, and violation of International law. Obama will address the AIPAC convention saying the same nonsense about Israeli security (security for a colonial racist regime). Maybe his Zionist aids will not allow him to know that the US public is demonstrating against this lobby. Maybe he thinks most people don’t care that Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman are two known Zionists and yet are leading a US delegation in an annual strategic "dialogue" with Israel officials (headed by war criminal Danny Ayalon).
The issue really is not about what these people do; they are criminals and professional thugs who profit off of wars and conflict. The issue is how many people in this land and around the world will join us in the unfolding global uprising (intifada) to change our collective situation towards peace with justice. Corrupt business at the highest level that harms US public and strategic interests will not be changed by a speech from Obama. We, the people of the US and the world must take matters into our own hands. What Obama does not understand is that the millions who pour into the streets do not buy his fake caring. To prove sincerity he should start by cutting off aid to Israel until it complies with International law and basic human rights.
The Zionist project has not succeeded in its stated aim of full ethnic cleansing and transformation of Palestine. While over two-thirds of the native Palestinians in the world became refugees or displaced people, 5.5 million Palestinians remain defiantly here. We faced over 130 years of a relentless assault against our people. The assault was supported by European and other Western Countries and aided and abetted by despotic rulers in the Arab world. Over the past 20 years more and more people around the world have joined the struggle for freedom from oppression and colonization. Obama failed to revive the charade of a fake "peace process" whose only beneficiaries are profiteers interested in liquidating Palestinian rights.
A monumental transformation in the Arab world is happening and a global intifada is spreading using tools like media work and boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. The Palestine issue remains the torch for this global transformation. More people in the West are shedding illusions about what is really happening here in Palestine and in the rest of the Arab world. As for us, the 400 million Arabs that Obama wants to befriend with words, we will say with our feet and our bodies: the time for talk is done and it is time for revolutions and real change.
Yalla to the streets. La Luta Continua.
In occupied Palestine
19 May, 2011.
Mazin Qumsiyeh is a tireless activist for Palestinian human rights who returned to his hometown of Beit Sahour in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and now teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People in Beit Sahour, a suburb of Bethlehem. The author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle” (2004), Qumsiyeh is both a human rights activist and a scientist who has a lengthy list of publications on genetics to his credit.
See his website: http://qumsiyeh.org/