Happy New Year For Palestine?

palestine

It is New Year’s Eve, 2022, by all accounts the year that has been the hardest for Palestinians living under the yolk of Apartheid Israel. At least 207 people killed, 47 of whom were children. That Israel is an Apartheid state is not just an off-the-cuff remark, or yet another adjective to throw at Israel, it is what Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Watch have called it and most tellingly, it is what an Israeli human rights, NGO, B’Tselem called it. Apartheid.

You must have seen, as I have, many young Jews in the United States of America and also in Israel itself saying out loud and publicly, Israel is an Apartheid State, and, as such, it does not represent us. For me, as a Palestinian exile, this is where hope lies. When Jews in Israel and Europe and any western democracy, in particular the USA, start to say, “this is not what we signed up for, and this does not speak for me” that is when the Apartheid regime will begin to crumble.

Apartheid in Israel, and supremacy of Jewish Israelis above all other citizens, or people who live in Israel was enshrined in law with the passing of the Nation-State Law, in July 2018 making Apartheid official.

Last week we had a new government in Israel, number 53 since 1948 and number 6 for Mr Netanyahu as Prime Minister. This new government dropped all the facades and the pretences that Israel is a democratic state for all its citizens. It is the most hard right, religious government to be elected into office into Israel. It is a coalition of convicted criminal racists, extreme religious zealots and people who call publicly for the expulsion of Palestinians, for the murder of Palestinians and for the expansion of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the annexation of the West Bank.

Here are the words of Mr Netanyahu from his Twitter account, as translated from Hebrew by Google:

“These are the basic lines of the National Government headed by me..The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlements in all parts of the land of Israel. In the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan, Judea and Samaria.”

Some Israeli citizens went out in front of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, to show their disapproval of this new, hard-right government and most of those who were interviewed said that this is not the Israel that we want and this is a threat to our democracy.

Israel’s ambassador to France, Ms Yael German, went a step further. She actually resigned from her position saying. “This new government includes representatives of parties whose extreme views are expressed in the coalition guidelines, in their policies and in their declarations regarding the passing of legislation that is, in my view, unacceptable.”

She went on to say: “Under these circumstances, I cannot lie to myself and continue representing a policy that is so radically different from everything that I believe in.”

It couldn’t be clearer. But perhaps in this catastrophe lies hope. As renowned Israeli columnist, Gideon Levy, wrote in Middle East eye, last week. “The new government, by word and deed, may force Israel’s allies, along with the almost non-existent leftist camp in Israel, to look honestly at Israel and acknowledge the reality. With a government like the one that’s coming, no longer will there be an option to ignore, avert the gaze and obfuscate, attempting to make do with weak condemnations and clinging to a fictitious “peace process” or a two state solution that has long been unrealistic.” He continues, “This is an apartheid state. Continuing the masquerade ball with Israel will become untenable. The new government may even compel Israel’s allies to move one step forward and, for the first time in Israel’s history, take practical actions against it.”

We live in hope.

Happy New Year to you all.

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.

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