Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Ahmed Tibi

Because I believe in ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, equal rights for Palestinians and Jews, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees forced from their homes and lands in 1948, I support boycotting — and calling on others to boycott — all Israeli companies that help perpetuate these injustices.

In Israel there is ethnic democracy: democracy for 80 percent of the public and exclusion and discrimination for 20 percent, and a regime of oppression and dictatorship in the occupied territories. I and my colleagues, my fellow Arab Knesset members, are sitting just a few meters away in the plenum hall from Israelis who have killed members of our people and are imposing a regime of occupation. Will anyone say this testifies to support for their deeds?

Something evil is occurring in Israeli society. Racism and xenophobia are consuming its enlightenment and tolerance, and democracy is becoming more and more endangered. Phenomena that had been on the sidelines are now moving to the forefront.

If Israel is the Jewish state, then what right do we Palestinian interlopers have to be here at all? None. And so it should be little surprise that Lieberman is simultaneously pushing a plan to trade Palestinian citizens of Israel into a rump state in the West Bank.

The only way out of the impasse is for Jews to recognize Palestinians as their equals and negotiate with them on that basis. A fair two-state solution requires the abrogation of all laws, both in Israel and the occupied territories, that raise Jews above Palestinians. This is a point the US, notwithstanding the recent dangerous demagoguery of some of its politicians in seeking to elevate Christian and Jewish religious rights over those held by Muslim Americans, should still understand.

Palestinian freedom and equal rights are unlikely to be secured by a United States committed to false notions of Israeli security. Since his Cairo speech, President Barack Obama has failed to pursue new policies. In the Middle East, he is regarded as full of fine but empty words. Empty because securing Palestinian freedom and equal rights requires standing up to Israel.

The state land authority has been allowed to hire or purchase land only for Jews. Non-Jews are not allowed… land that was ours in the past and confiscated. In the early 1950s, we [Palestinian Arab citizens] owned 80% of the private land. Now we own 3% of the private land.

We have rights not just in this land, but also rights over this land. This is a historic axiom. Even if the generation that experienced the events of Land Day in 1976 does not get to see the desired change, our message will be passed to all future generations as they mark Land Day each year.

We have no interest or desire in a clash – the opposite is true. Popular protest is legitimate. However, we shall never accept a situation whereby one side feels like a knight while the other feels like the horse; one side is the master and ruler while the other is the servant and slave.