[surgelocal] BRC Statement on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (fwd)

JOHN M COX coxj at SPAMemail.unc.edu
Tue Oct 10 08:13:50 MDT 2000





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This is a Press Release/Statement from the Black Radical Congress
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Current Conflict in Israel and the Occupied Territories
Statement by the National Coordinating Committee (CC)
of the Black Radical Congress (BRC)
October 7, 2000
The current situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories
is fast breaking, and circumstances change with every
passing moment. As we write, on the eighth day since extreme
right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon's provocative visit
to Jerusalem's Temple Mount -- called by the Palestinians,
Haram Al-Sharif -- triggered a Palestinian uprising, blood
is still flowing in the streets of many cities and towns,
overwhelmingly the blood of Palestinian men, women and
children.
We comment on the current events in northeastern Africa
(usually called the Middle East) as people of African
descent. We comment as people living in the United States
who have endured several hundred years of unpunished crimes
against our humanity, abuse of our rights as human beings
and as citizens, and state-sponsored and state-sanctioned
violence against our persons and homes. Only a few days
prior to the eruptions in Jerusalem, several articles in
the Israeli Arab paper Kull Al-Arab documented racist and
contemptuous treatment of Arab citizens by the Israeli
police. The subject has a familiar ring. Reading and viewing
reports of police suppression of demonstrations by Israel's
Arab minority, which has mobilized on an unprecedented scale
in solidarity with its Palestinian brothers and sisters, we
nod in recognition. These pictures, along with the picture
of Israeli soldiers' and police officers' disproportionate,
murderous response to the Palestinian protests, are pictures
we know well from the lived experiences of our own history.
First and foremost, in this moment when children are dying
from rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition in the chest
and head, the Black Radical Congress condemns these actions.
We join representatives of the Palestinian people, others
within the United States and in the international community
-- including Al Haq, the European Union and freedom fighters
throughout the world -- in an urgent call for the United
Nations to stop the bloodshed, and for a United Nations
investigation into the Israeli military and police forces'
excessive use of deadly force against Palestinian and
Israeli Arab demonstrators. We are also angered by reports
that journalists and medical personnel in ambulances have
been targeted. Further, The Black Radical Congress, reflecting
the sentiments of thousands of African Americans, demands that
Israel be held to account for the armed actions of its agents
under the Geneva Conventions and all other appropriate
provisions of international human rights law.
The most stunning of the many ironies marking the history
of Israel is that this State, established in the wake of a
holocaust of monumental crimes against the Jewish people by
the Third Reich and its allies, has itself inflicted upon
generations of another great people the pain of conquest,
occupation, displacement, statelessness, exile, subjugation,
national oppression within its borders and violent death.
Aiding and abetting Israel in this oppressive project has
been its principal patron and benefactor, the United States,
which, in recent years has also been party to a "peace
process" that can only be seen as deeply flawed and
inadequate through the lens of Palestinian interests
and aspirations.
The Oslo agreement of 1993, successor to the Camp David
Accords, falls woefully short of actualizing the Palestinian
dream of independence and equal sovereignty. Rather, it provides
for limited "self-rule" with a negotiated transition to greater
autonomy -- not independence -- and it leaves fundamentally
intact the conquering Israelis' supremacy over the vanquished
Palestinians. It also effectively perpetuates Israel's U.S.-
sponsored role as the nuclear-armed northeastern border guard
of a resourceful continent. Not only do the conditions of
Israeli occupation remain virtually unchanged under Oslo,
but the Black Radical Congress is appalled that the march
toward a stillbirth of Palestine as a bantustan, surrounded
by Israeli settlements and subject to the total political,
economic and military control of Israel, continues unabated.
In short, nothing but legitimate rage and frustration could
be expected to flow from the Palestinians' awareness that
Oslo promises not a peace with justice, but a peace of might
over right, of supremacy over the principle of equality, a
neo-colonialist peace, an apartheid peace, a peace of the
grave.
Into this context stepped Ariel Sharon, the former
defense minister who presided over the infamous slaughter
of innocents by Israeli Defense Forces under his command in
Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps during the 1982
Israeli invasion, condemned worldwide for that episode and
ever since the premier symbol -- for Palestinians and for
the world -- of Israeli intransigence and brutality. How
else to view Sharon's taking his aggressive show to the
Temple Mount, under armed escort of the state, than as a
deliberate provocation intended to spark exactly what it
sparked: an uprising. Instructing posterity on what happens
to "a dream deferred," the great African American poet,
Langston Hughes, wrote, "it explodes." What else to conclude
than that the government presumed to be custodian of an
alleged peace process on the Israeli side is bent on arresting
that process, insufficient as it is. Let those who would demand
"restraint" from the Palestinian people in the face of outrageous
provocation redirect that demand to the occupiers. We view as
inescapable the conclusion that the Israeli government bears
full responsibility for the present disturbances, and as the
world watches we are reminded that rank injustices in any
part of the world, left to fester and metastasize, with
nuclear weapons lurking in the wings, threaten all of
humanity.
Several visions are competing for the resolution of this
conflict. Some Palestinians (and some Israelis alike) uphold
the ideal of a democratic, secular Palestine in which Moslem,
Christian and Jew enjoy equal rights of citizenship, equal
religious and cultural expression, equal protection under
the laws. The majority favors an independent Palestinian
state that enjoys equal sovereignty with the State of
Israel. Unfortunately, successive Israeli governments,
though never all of the Israeli people, cling to the
vision of a fortress Jewish state, its citizenry
divided into de facto first, second and third
classes, reigning supreme and dominant in the
region.
The Black Radical Congress calls upon the United States,
which consistently promotes itself globally as the foremost
defender of human rights, to end its silence and its
hypocrisy in the face of the slaughter of Palestinian
children, by demanding that Israel cease and desist
immediately its brutal conduct.
The Black Radical Congress further calls upon the
progressive sectors of the Israeli populace, those who seek
a safe and honorable future for their own children, to demand
that their government embark upon the journey toward a true
peace with justice and equality, a peace founded on the right
of self-determination for the Palestinian people, a peace that
respects the national and human rights of all the people of
the Middle East.

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The Black Radical Congress
National Office
P.O. Box 490365
Atlanta, GA 30349-0365
Phone: (404) 768-2529
Fax: (404) 614-8563

Ajamu Dakarai Dillahunt
ardillahunt @igc.org
"Organize the South"
"Free Mumia Abu-Jamal"

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