The situation in Palestine

An interview of Marwan Toubassi to Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)

How is now the daily life of the Palestinian people in the West Bank?

I believe that we are on the verge of a new phase since the 7th of last October, which constituted a milestone in the history of the conflict with the occupation, as well as a difficult one in the wake of the war of extermination carried out by Israel and its fascist regime today to make Gaza an unfit place for life and thus to displace the Palestinian people until the Israeli Jewish population becomes larger in number and proportion in the lands of historic Palestine between the sea and the river, which constitutes the implementation of the biblical Zionist vision.

Only yesterday, in the Tulkarm camp in the northern West Bank, the Israeli occupation forces killed 17 young Palestinians, and this happens on a daily basis, in addition to attacks by gangs of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the ongoing genocide in Gaza, where entire families are killed. You must be aware of the frightening numbers of dead children and women, evidence of mass graves, executions, theft of the bodies of our martyrs.  

We have reached a point in history where Nazi crimes have exceeded the time of World War II in Europe, we see similar ones committed in Gaza at the moment. All of this is still happening without Israel being held accountable and punished, despite its standing before international justice today, sadly there is nothing obligating Israel to implement its decisions.

The Palestinian people are living a real human tragedy today that is greater than the tragedy of the first Nakba crime in 1948. It is more horrific and more criminal, without sufficient food, water and medicine. After the destruction of everything from bakeries, hospitals, electricity and water stations, they live in conditions that resemble the beginning of human civilization.

How people view the role of the Palestinian Authority, its inability to act?

Our people are now asking the Palestinian leadership in the Palestine Liberation Organization to reconsider and review relations with the United States, which only stood by the occupying state politically and militarily during the past 76 years, and today it offers protection for the Israeli occupying state, which leads to the continuation of its crimes against our Palestinian people, which took the form of genocide and displacement in Gaza and all areas of the West Bank as well.

The United States of America’s vote in the UN Security Council using its veto is a disappointing, unfortunate, shameful, irresponsible, and unjustified position.

The use of the “veto” constitutes a blatant aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people, their history, their land, their sanctities, and presents a challenge to the will of the international community. It is tantamount to yet another crime against our Palestinian people and their just rights recognized by international, human rights and humanitarian organizations, in particular their right to self-determination.

While the world agrees to implement international law and stand by the Palestinian just cause, America continues to support the occupation, and still refuses to oblige Israel to stop the war of genocide, and even provides it with weapons and money with which it kills our children, demolishes our homes, and stands against us in international forums in positions that do not serve Security and stability neither in the region nor the world.

The United States has violated all international laws, and has broken all the promises it makes regarding the two-state solution and achieving peace in the region.

The current American administration has not only backed down from its promises and commitments, but has also allowed Israel to weaken the Palestinian National Authority, through its silence regarding the theft  of the Palestinian people’s money and making it an authority without real authority on the ground through the subsequent incursions, killings, and destruction carried out by Israel in the cities, villages, and camps which are supposed to be subject to the Palestinian National Authority by virtue of agreements signed under US auspices, despite its repeated claims that it wants to strengthen the authority and enhance its presence.

Now, work must be done with the Arab group and many European countries to create a environment that leads to ending the war and creating a common vision that prevents instability and tension by the occupation once and for all. However, America’s position was nothing but contempt and rejection of every vision that does not suit Israel, and the immoral American policy.

People feel that there is a need for the United States to realize that the Middle East will not stabilize without a just solution to the Palestinian issue and the establishment of an independent state with sovereignty over all the territories occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem its capital as well as the implementation of Resolution 194 concerning the refugees. A Palestinian state that will be geographically contiguous between the West Bank and Gaza, otherwise if the policy of double standards and supporting Israel continues then security and peace will not be achieved to the detriment of all people in the region.

Our Palestinian people believe that the American administration is reviewing its wrong policies, as the Palestinian national aspirations cannot be broken, liquidated, or defeated, and the sacrifices of the people of Palestine over the past hundred years, have offered tens of thousands of martyrs and thousands of heroic prisoners and the moment has arrived as they can no longer be unnoticed even by the biased US administration.

There is a widespread feeling that the hostile positions of the American administration have created unprecedented anger among the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region, which could push the region towards greater instability and enhance chaos and terrorism.

People also believe that the ongoing war of annihilation against the Palestinian people, coupled with a frantic campaign against UNRWA aimed at starving the Palestinian people, will push the region to the brink of abyss.

I believe that we are on the verge of a new and difficult phase, and we have multiple options to preserve our rights and our identity. The Palestinian leadership must develop a new strategy to protect the independent Palestinian national decision, and proceed according to a Palestinian agenda and not according to an American vision, or regional agendas. We will not remain hostages to these policies. they failed, and are now exposed to the whole world.

Our Palestinian people believe that the entire region is in turmoil without a just solution to the Palestinian issue, in accordance with Palestinian, Arab and international concepts.

There is an evident hostility regarding the American administration’s positions as they bare full responsibility for the deterioration of the situation in the region.

The Palestinian people appreciate the solidarity positions of all the peoples in the countries around the world that support and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, which protest daily and are met with oppressive police attacks in some countries in the European Union and the United States.

How do people view Hamas’ action?

The Hamas movement today, which is still leading the armed resistance alongside other factions in Gaza, (and this is the right of any people under occupation in accordance with international conventions), must maintain the steadfastness of our people there so that they can be a popular incubator for the resistance. It must also develop its political positions towards the PLO Programme, which requires a recovery process in accordance with the current political circumstances. Hamas must join the PLO as it has international standing in representing the Palestinian people, in order to embody broad national unity.

The resistance must have political intelligence that will embarrass and expose Israel even more before the international community and achieve a political path based on the unity of the land, the people and the cause in order for our people to reach freedom and national independence. In the face of these difficult circumstances, the National Authority must engage in the path of defending our people, not with armed force, (it only has police forces and light armament according to previous agreements), but through popular and political protection on the ground and in international forums, as what is happening in the West Bank today is the completion of what is going on in Gaza against the project of Palestinian national liberation.

We, the Palestinian people are able to withstand and develop all the necessary mechanisms of resistance, both in political and popular forms, because our birthplace is at the essence of the conflict, and we are defending a homeland that is ours only.

(*) Marwan Toubassi is a co-founder of the Progressive Forum for Greek Palestinian Solidarity and Former Ambassador to Greece. He gave us this interview from Ramallah, Palestine.

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