I pondered a bit before deciding that I would not start this newsletter with the much-clichéd “Happy New Year”. It simply does not feel that way in most parts of the world. Covid, conflicts, economic racism and oppression, battles of caste, colour, and ethnicity clearly tell us that we are still away from that day when we can celebrate. The time for celebration will arrive when the times of oppression have ended .
The conditions that Palestinians face are particularly painful. The last few years have been harsh in multiple ways for them with a malicious and disparaging Donald Trump staging political steps one after the other to inflict havoc. The year began with an announcement by Trump in which he made public his so-called vision for peace – stillborn and trivial, totally racist and discriminatory. That not a single Palestinian was there to join the unveiling of the plan evidenced its total rejection.
What of the future? How will Biden deal with it? Will he undo it in whatever way he knows? Will new negotiations begin and an out-of-the-box solution emerges? Or will it be more of the same under a different design?
But it’s not doomsday by any stretch of imagination. On 31st December, Palestine observed the 56th anniversary of the launch of the Palestinian resistance and national liberation movement against the Israeli occupation. As a WAFA report put it: “The popular resistance, the steadfastness of Palestinian people in the various areas threatened by settlements, and their achievements affirm the continuation of this revolution by the means available to thwart all settlement projects on the road to the implementation of the United Nations resolutions and the Palestinian national project”.
Various other forms of resistance either by direct Palestinian action or by solidarity from Israeli peace groups show signs of optimism and anticipation for justice. HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and seven other human rights organizations petitioned Israel’s High Court demanding that incarcerated Palestinians defined as "security" prisoners and detainees be allowed to maintain telephone contact with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, today said a press release. Joined by the organizations Addameer, al-Mezan, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee against Torture, Adalah and Parents Against Child Detention, these signs of solidarity add dimensions of hopefulness to the Palestinian aspiration.COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding, 2020 was a successful year for the global Palestinian rights movement. A plethora of direct actions, court victories and significant calls to sanction Israel over its violations of international law accentuated hope. Activists, students, civil rights defenders and lawmakers fought back even as lawmakers, Israel lobby groups and the Israeli government itself attempted to derail, smear, attack and imprison organizers.
One thing is certain. The occupation may look like it is flourishing. But it is in a state of self-imposed siege. It has no just base. What seems to be an edifice of supremacy and success is certain to fall apart – sooner than later.