History Is Being Re-Written, and It's About Time!
By: Arab America Contributing Writers / Hala Gores and Ned Rosch
This time is different.
We are living in remarkable times: a turning point in the historic struggles for justice not only in Palestine but also all over the world. Palestinian-Canadian attorney Diana Buttu speaks about how the pine trees planted by Israel in her family’s village after the Nakba are dying and the native vegetation is once again springing forth.
None of us will forget the intense feelings that erupted within our communities when George Floyd was publicly, slowly and methodically suffocated and murdered in cold blood by an arm of the state, the brutality captured on video for nine minutes by a brave, young black teenager, Darnella Frazier. The Black Lives Matter movement incorporated the Palestinian struggle against Israeli oppression into its platform of racial justice, strengthening the bond between Black people and Palestinians. Both peoples share a history of victimization from state violence, mass incarceration, theft of land and resources, colonial settler domination, and deeply imbedded structural racism in the US and Israel.
This latest Palestinian uprising, a watershed moment, declares that ALL of historic Palestine is under some form of occupation and that it must – and will – end. The fact that the colonizer has been an oppressed people throughout history, whose survivors were reeling from an indescribable genocide carried out by Nazi fascists does not at all give them the right to ethnically cleanse the indigenous people of Palestine.
Just as in Palestine now, where young Palestinians are risking their lives by leading the popular uprising, the growing movement for Palestinian rights in the U.S. has been propelled by a new generation of Palestinians and increasing numbers of committed allies. It is a generation that is bold and has shifted the narrative from the control of mainstream media to social media platforms where instantaneous documentation of Israeli brutality reaches the world.
The way out is to end not only the occupation, but also apartheid, the siege and demolition of Gaza, and the enduring dispossession of generations of Palestinians. We must acknowledge the historical injustices and repair them through demanding the implementation of the right of return, reparations, and other means of restorative justice.
In this transformational moment, Palestinians under occupation and in the diaspora are asking all of us to end our complicity, and join the struggle for a new, decolonized future for all. Because Palestine is not only an historic piece of land, but also an idea that no amount of oppression will ever kill, a new generation has emerged that is connecting with historical and contemporary parallels of oppression and resistance. Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising “the right to defend itself.” It is engaging in war crimes. Both B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, and Human Rights Watch have issued carefully documented studies that reach the same conclusion that Palestinians have always known: Israel administers an apartheid regime within the whole of historic Palestine.
For those who have not yet proactively joined the struggle for justice in Palestine because the issue is “too complicated”, we offer the powerful words of a Jewish activist and friend, Josh Ruebner: “You see the images. You know that in your heart of hearts Israel is oppressing the Palestinian people. You sense that this has to end at some point. You know that the indigenous Palestinian resistance to Israeli settler-colonialism will not end and that it is ethically wrong for Israel to try to erase the Palestinian people from their homeland. It’s time to think long and hard about what side of history you want to be on. Israeli settler-colonialism is coming to an end. Palestinians can feel it. When your children and your grandchildren ask you if you spoke out against this injustice, what do you want to be able to tell them?”
As not only the pine trees but also Zionism’s settler colonialism begin to die, Palestine, its people and its rapidly growing international supporters are springing forth armed with history, morality, international law, and people power on their side.
History is being re-written, and it’s about time!
Hala Gores is a Palestinian American attorney from Portland, Oregon. She is past President of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.
Ned Rosch worked in Gaza two months after the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza and again in 2020. His recollections of those experiences – teaching empowerment and relaxation techniques to people in refugee camps and bombed-out apartment complexes – are chronicled in Stories of Personal Transformation: Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism, https://www.interlinkbooks.com/product/reclaiming-judaism-from-zionism.