How Not to Write About Gaza [reblog]

  •  Do not infantilize it by God-awful chants such as the morbid “Gaza Gaza don’t you cry/We will never let you die.” Gaza has withstood a seven year siege, three invasions in six years, and a resistance movement that despite the odds has developed itself and given life and hope to Palestinians. That is only in the last seven years. Look up Gaza’s rich history, one that extends beyond being the spark of the first intifada in 1987.


  • Gaza is not Palestine. It makes up less than 2 percent of the country. Gaza is not the Palestinian cause. It is part of it. The Palestinian cause encompasses all the territories that the occupying power has divided and ruled over such as the West Bank, Jerusalem, the 1948 occupied territories, and Gaza. And then some, considering the millions of refugees still waiting for their right of return in camps in the neighboring countries of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.


  • Gaza is no more an “Arab cause” than it is a “Muslim/Islamic ummah cause.” The former are collaborators with the Zionist regime, the latter does not exist. So save your takbeers (unless it is to cheer on the resistance) and empty rhetoric on saving al-Aqsa mosque (it’s not the one with the shiny golden dome by the way) for when Salah al-Din emerges from his grave.
  • Continuing on in the same vein, bury that stupid slogan of “You don’t need to be a Muslim to support Gaza. You just need to be human.” NO. Just. NO.
    • Also, don’t “Pray for Gaza.” Thank you very much.


  • Gaza is not a charity basket case. Use those bake-sales to attain something oh so slightly pettier. We don’t want money to ameliorate the disastrous conditions. We want an end to the siege and a border crossing we can be in charge of. We want dignity.
  • Gaza is not a cool warzone for you to add on your CV and Facebook albums. So pseudo journalists, fuck off. Orientalist journalists, the same applies to you. Foreign journalists who love reporting about the location of resistance rockets fired-endangering whole neighborhoods- the darkest depths of hellfire await you.
  • Gaza is not a cool slogan. Gaza is not cool for you to parade your activism shamelessly. Gaza is not an acceptable mainstream easy activist protest where flags of parties who are actively involved in killing civilians such as Hezbollah can be waved around.
  • Gaza is not a platform to use for your political and public speaking career, George Galloway. Gaza is not for bigots, no matter how “good” of a speaker they are.
  • Gaza is not a “feel-good call of duty even though I am so angry by all the killings there.” If you want to protest, do it right. Do not hold hands for the umpteenth time in front of the Israeli embassy chanting “Free Free Palestine” like a broken record. Do occupy or smash up the embassy. Quality over quantity.
  • Gaza is not for selfies.
  • Gaza is not to be used for people to further their own careers and star-studded personalities who support oppression elsewhere. Gaza is not for hypocrites, like Abby Martin.
  • Dear West Bank especially, and the rest of Palestine in general: Gaza is not a neighboring country. Do not protest in “solidarity” by holding candles and gathering at city centers. Rise up against the slavemaster’s puppets, the Palestinian Authority. Rise up against the slavemaster, Israel. Shove your solidarity to somewhere where the sun don’t shine.
  • Dear the rest of Palestine: do not internally Orientalize Gaza. That includes describing singer Mohammed Assaf as “dark-skinned but with a great personality.” Perhaps it is too much to ask to get rid of your colonized minds.
  • Gaza is not for your own fetishization. Do not fetishize Gaza.
  • If you do not understand what is meant by “Gaza is Hamas, and Hamas is Gaza” as Israel relentlessly bombards it with thousands of tons of heavy weaponry and massacres then do not even torture us with your senseless analysis.
  • Do not use “We teach life, sir” to the point where the phrase’s essence loses its meaning every time you see a photo of Palestinian children enjoying themselves. Children are children. They quickly adapt to their surroundings and find ways to have fun.
  • Gaza is not for your sympathy. Gaza is a call for direct action against the complicit hypocritical world.
  • Gaza’s murdered civilians are not just “women, children and elderly.” Men are civilians.
  • Gaza is not to be resoundingly victimized as hapless and helpless. Simultaneously, Gaza is not under any circumstances to be compared to the colonizing, occupying Zionist regime.
  • Do not talk about Gaza, liberal Palestinians and foreigners. Do not ask why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza, like that stupid sellout rap group DAM did (who have since deleted that July 13 post on their Facebook page. The powers of screenshots poses their question in Arabic below). Do not ask why people in Gaza “don’t just leave.”


سؤال لحماس-

غير انه عندكم استراتيجية ل-تخويف العدو
هل في برنامج لجلب الطمأنينة للشعب؟

يعني غزة دايماً كانت مستهدفة، بس بين هجوم لهجوم هل في بناء ملاجئ؟

  • Impartiality does not exist in Gaza.

Originally published on State of Hawiya


When Genocide is Undeniable

By Cygnus

It is 2014 and Zionism continues to labour under the delusion that it will achieve its settler-colonial aims of 1897. Starting in 1947, the ongoing Nakba has now reached an agonising climax, with the Israeli state moving from apartheid policies to carrying out genocidal acts – the extermination of Palestinians in Gaza. As the Zionists attempt to remove Palestinians from history, the West ignores this. However, they are not merely complicit but actively funding and arming the perpetrators of the greatest crime of our generation.

Raphael Lemkin – the Polish scholar who coined the term genocide – based his studies largely on the Armenian genocide of 1915. Writing in 1946, as the world was still reeling from WWII, Lemkim clearly identified genocide as: “the crime of destroying national, racial or religious groups … by its very legal, moral and humanitarian nature, it must be considered an international crime.” He goes on to contextualise the atrocity: “A ruthless regime finds it easiest to commit genocide in a time of war. It then becomes a problem of the treatment, or, rather, mistreatment, of a civilian population by an occupant.”[i] Lemkin successfully pushed for genocide to be formalised as a crime under international law, with the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide being adopted in 1948. According to Article 2 of the convention, can refer to:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;
  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.[ii]

Genocide is not simply about the extermination of people; there is a process before and after this particular stage. Gregory Stanton has indentified ten stages of genocide in a model, which lamentably can, without any effort, be applied to Palestinians. Since 1947, we have witnessed the classification, persecution and dehumanisation of Palestinians by those in military and/or political power of the Zionist movement. The denial of the Nakba was attempted by renaming ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages to Hebrew, utterly razing villages, or building parks upon the ruins of them. As Jean Baudrillard writes, “forgetting extermination is part of extermination, because it is also the extermination of memory, of history, of the social, etc.”[iii] Palestinians, by commemorating the Nakba, by resisting through culture or through force of arms, have fought against this genocide.

Today, genocidal sentiments in Israeli society are the ethical and tribal support for the violence carried out by the state. In the parliamentary, public, military and journalistic spheres, explicit or implicit support for genocide against the Palestinian people – or Arabs generally – is now commonplace. At the beginning of the current campaign of destruction and slaughter, Israeli parliamentarian, Ayelet Shaked called for the wiping-out of all Palestinians. She categorised the enemy as “the entire Palestinian people” and argued for the extermination of Palestinian mothers because they give birth to “little snakes”.[iv] Later in July, reports of racist mobs singing and chanting in Tel Aviv revealed the genocidal nature of Israeli society further still. The songs celebrated the state murder of children, with the lyrics: “In Gaza there’s no studying, no children are left there” and “Gaza is a graveyard”.[v] A few days after this, an IOF soldier boasted online of his murdering of Palestinian children. Aiming his comment at a Palestinian woman, he said, “ I killed 13 children today and you’re next Muslims”.[vi] These manifestations of overt and violent racism are not incoherent outbursts, nor are they isolated – they all support, from different angles, the Israeli state killing of Palestinians as a people. Equally important, but more sinister, is that all three examples explicitly emphasise and support the deadly violence against children. The targeting and murder of Palestinian children has been a prominent feature in the latest phase of genocide in Gaza. On the first of August, The Times of Israel ran an Op-Ed entitled When Genocide is Permissible. The author, Yochanan Gordon, argues that – in a roundabout fashion, using rhetorical questions – genocide of the Palestinian people could well be the only option Zionism has if it wants to retain its hold of Palestine. This article was pulled on the same day it was published.[vii] In July, four children – all boys from the same family – were killed by an Israeli gunboat as they played on the beach.[viii] Later in the month, eight children were killed in the bombing of a playground on the first day of Eid al-Fitr holiday.[ix] Now, over 1800 have been murdered, including 300 children, and almost half a million displaced.[x]

Nine years ago, before the systematic carnage in Gaza today, the UN World Summit produced an Outcome Document on ‘The Responsibility to Protect’. This noble initiative prefaces its principles with a considered observation of the globalised political structures:


The 2005 document puts forward three ‘pillars’:


  1. The State carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement;

  2. The international community has a responsibility to encourage and assist States in fulfilling this responsibility;

  3. The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

[italics added]

According to the 4th Geneva Convention, the Israeli state, as the occupying power, is responsible for the people living in Gaza.[xi] The Zionist government in Tel Aviv has committed (or is committing) War Crimes (murder and displacement), Genocide (according to the UN Convention), ethnic cleansing (though forced population transfer in Gaza and West Bank) and Crimes against Humanity (through apartheid policies). Anyone using a Liberal interpretation of power would naturally assume that states endorsing the Responsibility to Protect would intervene – militarily or otherwise – to stop the Zionist atrocities in Gaza. After all, the doctrine was invoked by the UN Security Council in 2011 in response to the crisis in Libya. However, It did not go as cheerleading Liberal interventionists expected. Instead of protecting the people of Libya, NATO bombed civilian population centres and overthrew Gaddafi. Following that, amid the fragmentation of state power and military confrontation between militias and the army, western oil companies moved in to consolidate their control of Libyan oil production. The country remains extremely volatile and unsafe.

The ‘protect’ in Responsibility to Protect implies that this is a project for imperial powers. Only states which have substantial military power coupled with interventionist policies have an interest in this mendacious initiative, since it lends legal and moral backing – via the United Nations – to predatory campaigns seeking to overthrow disobedient despots or to usurp national resources. Reading past the front cover and between the lines reveals Responsibility to Protect to be an attempt to legitimise and justify violations of state sovereignty under the cloak of humanitarianism. Were this doctrine to be applied equally to all human rights violations, troops would be rushing in to break the siege of Gaza and dismantle apartheid. Unfortunately, Palestinians are not the right kind of people: they are oppressed by the right kind of people for the west. The US, as an imperial power – with its allies, UK and France – has no interest in stopping the Palestinian genocide. As a European settler-state in the Arab world, the Israeli state is an ally. It can be set upon recalcitrant Arabs if they do not know their place and bow to western strategic aims. But more importantly, western arms companies such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon & Thales either sell parts to the rogue state or buy weapons from it which have been ‘tested’ on the Palestinian population.[xii]

While Palestinians are either seen as a people to be removed from the land or as guinea pigs for weapons, the UN will not and cannot stop the genocide. Palestinians – as an economic cog in the machine of the arms trade – are just too profitable. There is now a growing gulf between those citizens of conscience and the imperial states that govern them; and they are waking up to their responsibility to show solidarity with Palestinians by boyotting and isolating the Israeli state. As the BDS movement gains traction across the western world, states collaborating with genocide will be forced to change course. The trend towards this is slow but increasing as more and more people rise with indignation against apartheid, looking for a constructive and effective outlet to stop genocide.








[vii] Full article can still be found here:



[x] |



Fear and Loathing in the Gaza Strip

by Cygnus

The Israeli state is now responding obediently to the rabid colonist chants of ‘Death to the Arabs’ and to the graffiti around al-Quds that in English and Hebrew reads ‘Gas the Arabs’. In a backdrop of systematic starvation, a ground invasion of tanks, assisted by the deployment of toxic gas has begun this week, with homes and hospitals being destroyed and entire families being wiped out.

As expected, the corporate media have buried any mention of the Palestinian experience of colonisation: the ongoing Nakba remains absent, resistance is terrorism, and the Israeli state is merely ‘responding’ to rockets from Palestinians who break ceasefires they didn’t even hear about. Thankfully, Palestinians in Gaza have challenged the imperial and colonial narratives by using social media, such as Twitter, and writing on news/analysis sites, such as Electronic Intifada. Without this, many people in the world would remain lost in the undignified and distorted world of the Zionist narrative.

Sadly, there one notably unsavoury character who has modelled himself as a promoter and defender of the ‘Palestinian perspective’, while in reality expertly fashioning himself into an institution. Harry Fear is a beneficiary of Palestinians being denied – as Edward Said termed it with clinical accuracy – “permission to narrate”. He has carved out an orientalist niche somewhere between the unabashed, self-congratulatory rich kid talking about his gap year volun-tourism shit with ‘the poor’, and the embedded war-reporter who pretends to give a fuck about the whirlwind of carnage prop that makes his 5-minute report for the evening news so “oh, dear” inducing for his audience.

He made this niche during the Zionist slaughter of Gaza in November 2012, and subsequently went on a world tour to talk about Gaza. At the outset, many of us watching his reports thought he was a welcome alternative to the corporate media coverage. This was quickly proved false. He describes himself as a “documentary maker & activist” – a slightly ambiguous description of someone who simply actively documents his white male self amid a colonial ethnic cleansing campaign of Arab people.

Look at his website. It is exhaustingly hard to believe that this site is about anything other than him. Gaza is the background to his show. No links to activist groups. No reblogging of or reference to works by Palestinians (or any other people, for that matter). No reference to Palestinian organisations or individuals working with him. There are two different links take you to the same page – his blog. Five different tabs on the left, with his smug, pasty face looking back at you from the right side of the page. He’s even got his own fucking logo – an ‘H’ next to an ‘F’, because these are the initials of his name. Harry Fear. HF

Harry got invited to do a TEDx talk in Copenhagen. The theme was ‘challenging realities, the mainstream media & you’ – because he is the alternative to mainstream, remember? He does not come across as a passionate activist or documentarian. He is self-indulgent, and well warmed and nurtured by his white, male, upper-class privilege. His body language and speaking style convey an absurd degree of self-satisfaction, with his annoying pursing of lips, and sharp intake of breath to punctuate points, like a 1960s BBC reporter, doing a piece on the monarchy, and trying to make it seem acceptable to the proles. If viewed for the first time, having never heard of him, in the context of a pub, for example, he’s what you’d call a wanker.

Indicating the point where he left Gaza for an extended trip up his own arse, Harry makes a video entitled ‘Harassed in Gaza: Internationals Under Threat’. Basically, it’s 2 minutes 47 seconds of him walking up to an Israeli state controlled border and getting warning shots fired at him. He stoically concludes “all in a day’s work for an international journalist.” Harry has the luxury of entering and leaving Gaza when he wants. A “day’s work” is choosing to use the IOF to show how dangerous Gaza can be for ‘Internationals’ (ie. Harry) in an unnecessary provocation of Zionists (who, admittedly, shouldn’t be there anyway).

Harry’s suspect motivations and ideology have already been identified by Palestinians and other (decent) international activists. Last year, he put up a list of books on his facebook page about Palestine that he recommends people to read, because he is an authority on the matter, after all. This list of books included one Palestinian and no women. Comments on his page highlighted this but he deleted whole lot. Fortunately, some comments were saved here: (copy & paste into address bar to read). Speaking at the Islamic University of Gaza, he is challenged by a young woman about this. He responds with the usual condescending style, chiding the woman, saying, “firstly, I want to say that I don’t appreciate the confrontational tone.” He then goes on to expound a bit of orientalist theory with: “I do not believe in freedom of speech 100%… and judging by the hijab on your body, you probably also don’t, because neither does Islam.” Muslim women: Harry can identify your political ideology just by gazing at your head.

A succinct summary of the deeply problematic nature of Harry’s comments, approach and behaviour is given by Maha Rezeq here. “As Palestinians,” she writes, “many of us are extremely offended by his inaccurate accounts and exaggeration, presumably to simply boost careers potentials.” Despite these very serious problems, expressed by Palestinians, Harry continues to gain media coverage. In its coverage of the recent spate of massacres in Gaza, Russia Today has been praised by activists for its anti-Zionist angle. However, they invited the self-promoting, one-man-institution for an interview, as they have done many times before. There are 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, but they choose the white upper-class Englishman.

It has been established that the corporate media values an Israeli life over a Palestinian life. Looking at the comments on Harry Fear’s videos, it would seem that for some people, a privileged white voice is of more value than a Palestinian voice. Comments on his videos regularly feature gushing praise and sycophantic compliments, from people of all backgrounds. What really is the appeal here? Harry is offering nothing in terms of news and analysis that Palestinians in Gaza cannot. Is it perhaps that people, realising the very real danger the Zionists pose to Gaza, find some sort of muted amusement in the fact a white posh kid with a comically over-inflated ego is actually in the besieged enclave? Or, perhaps more likely to western viewers, the boy deserves kudos for ‘reporting’ (read: vlogging on himself) in Gaza while being more ‘like them’ than a Palestinian?

Those who identify as activists no longer have any excuses for behaving like a Harry Fear (not that he qualifies as an activist). A good start for those who are still lost would be Ramallah Bantustan blog by Mariam Barghouti. Written with such clarity, empathy and political nous, one article methodically works through the various political and cultural problems and issues that have emerged with westerners becoming involved in Palestine solidarity activism. Harry Fear epitomises virtually all the negatives enumerated by Mariam.

Harry is back in Palestine again. Zionist oppression of Palestinians is again another few lines on a curriculum vitae. There are many activists and international ‘journalists’* who have in fact heeded the guidance of Palestinians. They see them as intellectual and moral equals, and respond to their demands accordingly. They do not need to do a world tour and they do not need a logo. The work for the liberation of Palestine as a secondary, complementary element of the struggle, led by Palestinians themselves.

*In Palestine, code for any white person with a camera, ability to use a word-processing document, and internet access.

The Legal and Moral Right of Palestinian Resistance

By Cygnus


Well I hate it when the blood starts flowin’

But I’m glad to see the resistance growin’

– Gil Scott Heron, Johannesburg


The majority of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are refugees from the 1947-49 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Since 1967, the tiny enclave of (now) 1.5 million people has been under belligerent occupation. The most recent spate of attacks on the defenceless, highly populated area were in the form of aerial and naval bombardment, using hundreds of tonnes of high explosives. The bombing by the Israeli state of the besieged Palestinian territory is congruent with the history of colonial oppression from Zionist forces. Resistance against the Israeli state by Palestinian groups occurs to varying levels of intensity, from symbolic attacks with no military gain, to self-defence through damaging Zionist machinery and weapons. Nonetheless, Palestinian acts of resistance are not viewed as such in the west, with the word itself virtually remaining absent in the lexicon of western journalists and political commentators.

The very idea that Palestinians using force against the Israeli can be considered ‘resistance’ is alien to the corporate media and the western public generally, the former having a clear and direct influence on the opinion of the latter. The BBC prefers to adopt a narrative that presents those fighting against Zionist oppression as militarily and politically equal to the 4th largest army in the world. This narrative omits to mention that the state is an occupying power, and that Palestinians have no navy, no army and no air force to defend themselves.[i] Unabashed, the BBC stands with the aggressor: one of their journalists, Jonathan Marcus, dedicated an article to cogitate over the military limitations of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. “The Gaza Strip,” he sagely observes, “is a tiny-cockpit – especially for mechanised forces.” He then goes on to describe the Operation Cast Lead massacre (2008-09) as “a bitter three-week struggle.”[ii] The Israeli defence minister at the time chose to describe the campaign as a “Holocaust”.[iii]

At the time of writing, 100 Palestinians have been killed in four consecutive days of bombing – the vast majority being civilians. At 18 months old, the two youngest victims were Mohammad Malakiyeh and Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour, while the oldest is 80-yea-old Naifeh Farjallah.[iv] UN OCHA reported that “the targeting and destruction of residential properties in Gaza is the main cause of civilian casualties.” The people of Gaza live permanently in the crosshairs. There has been resistance to this latest bout of ethnic cleansing, by Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad. Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas) fired a number of rockets at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nevatim military airport in the south of 1948 Palestine. The al-Quds Brigades (IJ) claimed responsibility for rockets fired at Israeli town, Nir Oz. The Ali Abu Mustafa Brigades (PFLP) fired a combination of home-made projectiles and rockets at Israeli towns surrounding Gaza.[v] On the 8th and 9th of July, Palestinian fighters swam from Gaza to an Israeli military base in 1948 Palestine, only to be killed in short fire fights. Five were killed on the first day, and two on the second.[vi]

It must be emphasised that according to customary international law, armed resistance is not controversial, but is in fact a right of all peoples fighting colonialism or occupation. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed this on a number of occasions, the most explicit and significant being the following two.

UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/3246 of 29 November 1974:

2. Renews its call to all States to recognize the right to self-determination and independence of all peoples subject to colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation and to offer them moral, material and other forms of assistance in their struggle to exercise fully their inalienable right to self-determination and independence;

3. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle;

7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people;

UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/23/34 of 29 November 1978:

2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;

3. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the peoples of Namibia and Zimbabwe, of the Palestinian people and of all peoples under alien and colonial domination to self-determination, national independence, territorial integrity, and national unity and sovereignty without external interference;

As the resolutions show, the right to armed resistance is subsumed under the fundamental right of all people to self-determination. The Zionist project has aimed, since its inception, to not only deny Palestinians this right, but to exile them from their homeland, through various military, political and legal means, or exterminate those who remain.

Speaking in the context of the al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-05), UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Richard Falk, argues the legal angle regarding Palestinian rights and resistance. As the occupying power, the Israeli state is obliged by the 4th Geneva Convention to protect the human rights of Palestinians and their prospects for self-determination. Instead, it has defied international law by refusing to withdraw from the occupied territories, and has continued to ignore UN resolutions and to violate the fundamental rights of Palestinians. The military occupation itself has engendered the Palestinian right of resistance.[vii] It is the structural violence of the occupation that dictates how individuals and groups see themselves and the oppressor. This perspective shifts the understanding of resistance from a legal question to a moral one.

It is elemental to the success of a settler colonial project that violence is used: the replacement of one people (the indigenous) with another (the colonists) requires ethnic cleansing by definition. Frantz Fanon, writing in 1961 on the Algerian Revolution, points out that “the colonial regime owes its legitimacy to force and at no time tries to hide this aspect of things.”[viii] Conversely, the Palestinian resistance can derive its legitimacy from international law and from – by virtue of undergoing colonial occupation, moral norms. The coloniser and the colonised can never be morally equal and must be seen as opposites; the uprooting and genocide of a people is an inherent wrong in any decade or country, and has no moral foundation, although the settlers will use any religious, ethnic or historical pretext for it. Resistance against Zionism does not need a legal text for justification – this is a purely human phenomenon of land, violence and belonging. It would demean the people if we were to urge those resisting to consult the law before deciding to defend themselves against colonists. Fanon captures the root of the issue in its entirety: “National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever may be the headings used or the new formulas introduced, decolonisation is always a violent phenomenon.”[ix]

Armed resistance has legal and moral justification, and the UN calls upon states to assist oppressed people in their struggle for self-determination. For western states to acquiesce to this call, a paradigm shift would have to occur. Were they to do this, they would be undermining their diplomatic support for Zionism, and would – to avoid contradictory policy – have to cease the funding and arming of the Apartheid state. This would also hinder their own neocolonial projects by legitimising the resistance in Iraq, for example. Undeniably, Palestinian resistance will not receive any support – tacit, symbolic or concrete – from any western state. However, the support from the grassroots campaigns and civil society in imperial countries is growing.









[viii] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 66

[ix] Fanon, p. 27

No Basta Rezar


By Cygnus

No, no, no basta rezar,
hacen falta muchas cosas
para conseguir la paz

Y rezan de buena fe,
y rezan de corazón,
pero también reza el piloto
cuando monta en el avión
para ir a bombardear
a los niños del Vietnam


(No, no, praying is not enough
many things are needed
to achieve peace

And they pray with faith
and they pray with heart
even the pilot prays
as he boards the plane
to go and bomb
the children in Vietnam)

– Alí Primera

On Sunday, the 8th of June, Pope Francis hosted Israeli president and war criminal, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Authority president and collaborator, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to the Vatican Gardens. The purpose of this was a prayer as an “invocation for peace”, with the pope proclaiming: “Prayer is all-powerful. Let us use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the world.”[i] While these three elderly, wealthy men prayed to their respective Abrahamic gods, the human rulers over the Holy Land of Palestine continued their reign of racist oppression unabated and with impunity.

At the time of writing, an increasing number of Palestinians are taking to hunger striking as a method of resistance against Zionism. 125 prisoners began their strike on the 24th of April. This number has now swelled into hundreds. They are protesting the policy of ‘administrative detention’ – the incarceration of individuals without charge or trial, for an indefinite period of time. Most of those on strike are administrative detainees. Due to their deteriorating condition, 70 prisoners have been transferred to various hospitals. On Friday the 6th of June, the UN Secretary-General asserted publicly that all those on hunger strike should be released or charged with a crime.[ii] A lawyer who gained access to those imprisoned observed that all of them were cuffed at the wrists and ankles, and some of them were isolated in solitary confinement. When intending to visit six prisoners in a hospital in Ashkelon (former Palestinian village, Al Majdal), he was barred from visiting three of them.[iii] According to another lawyer, the conditions were inhumane. Some hunger strikers have lost consciousness, some have eyesight weakness, others suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding. The Israeli Prison ‘Service’ responded to the strikes by denying some men toiletries such as shampoo, razors and toothbrushes.[iv] The names of some of the hospitalised hunger strikers have been released (dated 9th of June)[v]:

Abdel Jaber Foqaha

Jawad Al-Jabri

Mahmoud Werdian

Mazen Alnatasha

Jamal Hamara

Mahmoud Shabana

Faraj Romana

Raed Hamdan

Tareq Ideis

Mohamad Jamal Natsha

Fayez Misk

Louay Ghaith

Salem Badi

Mahmoud Daoud

Mosab Alhimoni

The Israeli state is taking the next step to quashing nonviolent resistance: Netanyahu, upon the recommendation of Shin Bet director, Yoram Cohen, has driven a bill through the Knesset to legalise the force-feeding of hunger strikers.[vi] As they fully understand, this is a violation of international law.

This bout of resistance, through hunger, is not unprecedented, and in fact indicates a trend. Two years ago, hunger striker, Khader Adnan, was released in April after a 66-day strike against administrative detention. Following Adnan, Hana Shalabi went on hunger strike for 43 days and, upon her release in the same month, was banished to Gaza. Both received worldwide attention by grassroots groups, and demonstrations were enthusiastically held in many cities globally. On the 17th of April, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, around 2000 prisoners went on a mass hunger strike, inspired by Adnan and Shalabi.[vii]

Having been stripped of fundamental rights, and conventional arms, the use of the body as a weapon against oppression is the only option the incarcerated individual has left. Hunger striking – as well as a form of resistance – is symbolic of the structural violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people as a whole; it emerges only when all other methods of resistance have been exhausted. Those on hunger strike have been reduced to the elementals of existence: the sheer force of will and the human body. This is controlled starvation of the self by the individual; but co-ordinated, systematic and intentional moves to starve Palestinian populations has also occurred.

The story of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus is the most recent and horrific example of systematic starvation. After being shelled by Syrian state forces between December 2012 and July 2013, people fled for their lives, reducing the number of people living in the camp to 20,000 from 160,000. Those remaining were subjected to a siege in August. From then on, the number of deaths due to dehydration, malnutrition and lack of medicine increased. The siege was maintained by the Syrian army, its various militias, and Lebanese group, Hizballah. For one section outside the camp, a rebel group also worked to ensure the blockade of people and goods.[viii] Observing this, some Palestinians in Lebanon saw a macabre repeat of their own suffering. In the mid-1980s (during the Lebanese Civil War) the Shia militia, Amal – backed by Syria – besieged Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Like in Yarmouk today, some survived by eating grass, cats and dogs.

The Zionist desire to reduce the Palestinian population in Gaza is manifest. In 2007, in response to Hamas winning elections, the state put the coastal enclave under siege. In 2012, it was revealed that a document known as ‘Red Lines’ was drafted a year after the siege was imposed. This was a guidebook on how to starve Gaza. Health officials calculated the minimum number of daily calories for the inhabitants to eat in order to avoid malnutrition – in terms of truckloads of food, it was calculated that 170 trucks per day would be suffice. After the blockade started, only 67 trucks were allowed to entering daily; there were 400 before 2007.[ix] The intentional starvation of a people is a War Crime and a Crime against Humanity: it is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[x]

This history of hunger points to a history of imprisonment and isolation – whether in the camps, in Gaza or in the Zionist jails. An absence of legal, political and physical protection for Palestinians means that virtually all acts of oppression can go unpunished. Since the Nakba began in 1948, hunger has been found to have a twofold character: both as a form of resistance, and as yet another form of grotesque and unforgivable collective violence upon a people.












The Bonds With Zionism

By Cygnus

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to economically pressure the Israeli state to adhere to international law has been gaining traction since its inception in July 2005. From individual to organisational boycotts, divestment by universities and pension funds, there are an increasing number of successes. While companies complicit in human rights violations – such as G4S – are an excellent boycott target, less attention has been paid to a more obscure form of economic security for Zionism in Palestine. The BDS movement has paid scant attention to bonds, but Israel Bonds has acknowledged BDS.

A bond is ‘A debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity (corporate or governmental) that borrows the funds for a defined period of time at a fixed interest rate. Bonds are used by companies, municipalities, states and… governments to finance a variety of projects and activities.’[i] To buy a bond from Israel Bonds, then, is to assist in strengthening the apartheid state; this method of support is currently being aggressively marketed and juxtaposed against the BDS movement by Zionist agencies.

The US-based Israel Bonds – or the Development Corporation for Israel – was established by president Ben-Gurion in 1951. It is a broker-dealer member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Writing an op-ed in the Zionist organ, the Jerusalem Post, in January this year, CEO Israel (Izzy) Tapoohi Israel Bonds was described as a “record-breaking, strategic asset for Israel”. The article goes on to boast that bond sales of that financial year surpassed $1.12 billion – an increase of 37% from the previous year. The most interesting part is the political:

“A value-added aspect of investing in Israel bonds is the powerful statement it sends to Israel’s adversaries, especially the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Knowing Israel will never be defeated on the battlefield, BDS supporters employ confrontational economic tactics on a wide variety of fronts.”

Tapoohi concludes: “Yet, each and every Israel bond investment sends an unmistakable message to BDS advocates: Israel’s economy will remain strong.” Israel Bonds is hailed as a “dedicated, independent financial pipeline” for the Israeli state.[ii]

For those of us supporting the BDS movement or active within it, this is very flattering and a signal that we must be doing something right. Were the movement a simply a disorganised and incoherent fringe group, it would be ignored, or perhaps mocked.

BDS gets further attention on the Israel Bonds website, in the ‘from the CEO’ section, entitled “Israel Bonds are a Strong Response to the BDS Movement”. It’s Izzy again. He dedicates a whole page to defending the Israeli state and venting spleen on the BDS movement. After going through the usual red-herring platitudes (‘Why pick on little Israel?’ and ‘It’s great for gays and women’) he asserts the real reasons for economic pressure by BDS are:

“First, knowing Israel will never be defeated on the battlefield, they view the economic front as an alternate means of attacking Israel. Second, Israel’s economy represents an outstanding success story. Nothing agitates Israel’s detractors more than another achievement for the Jewish state, and Israel’s economic success is truly an exceptional achievement.”[iii]

Ignoring for a second the trouncing of the IOF by Hizballah in 2006, it is true that economic pressure is a non-violent means by which people living in imperial countries can assist in resistance against Zionism. The second one is clearly a ‘through the looking glass’ moment for Izzy; it’s doubtful that anyone involved in BDS is really motivated through envy of Israel economic ‘success’.

In May this year, Izzy gets another platform to remind the world again:

“Not everyone is applauding Israel’s stellar economic achievements—most especially the BDS movement. BDS advocates employ confrontational economic tactics in the belief they will succeed in isolating and weakening Israel.”[iv]

He is losing sleep over this.

According to the ‘learn’ section of Israeli Bonds website, 75% of investors are retail clients, while 25% are “institutional investors, encompassing states, municipalities, financial institutions, corporations, labor unions, universities and foundations.”[v] In the ‘history’ section, the broker-dealer is said to have a “legacy of achievement”, with proceeds that have “helped cultivate the desert [more on this later], build transportation networks, create new industries, resettle immigrants, and increase export capability”[vi]

If accurate, this means that Israel Bonds is a key agency in advancing land theft, creating apartheid roads for colonies, supporting the arms industry, assisting colonists occupy Palestinian land, the selling of goods produced on usurped land. Not only that, but universities and unions around the world are funding this.

Thirty years after the establishment of Israel Bonds, the Development Company for Israel (UK) Limited (or State of Israel Bonds UK) was created. It is virtually identical to Israel Bonds in aims and in terms of where proceeds are channelled. The website informs the reader that State of Israel Bonds UK has “enabled extraordinary advances throughout Israel”, giving the example of crops being grown in the Naqab, complete with pictures of colonists in their greenhouses. It quotes Ben-Gurion’s European colonial tropes of ‘making the desert bloom’.[vii]

That bond proceeds are important to maintaining occupation, colonisation and apartheid is quite obvious, but in April this year, a new development brought it to the fore. The state revealed that it planned to relocate Israeli Occupation Forces training bases to a single new facility in the Naqab, near Beersheba – a site of recent attempts to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population – this ‘Training Base City’ plan would be funded through the sale of bonds to meet the first 19 billion shekels of a 50 million total.[viii]

Dissuading people and institutions from buying bonds that fund the Israeli state should not be made a priority for those in the BDS movement, for a couple of reasons. The first is that boycotting and divesting from complicit companies is far easier and more accessible in terms of process and results. The second is that bonds are simply a less-common economic link to Zionism; finding out who bought what number of bonds and at what price could be tedious and unfruitful. However, this is not to say that people in the US should not look out for Israel Bonds activity and those living in the UK aware of State of Israel Bonds UK – both have direct links to the Israeli state, and are therefore unequivocal BDS targets. Those in universities and trades unions can now begin to investigate whether or not their institutions are complicit in Zionist colonialism. The fact that bonds are now being promoted as a panacea to BDS is a hint that bonds must be given more attention by those seeking to strengthen and amplify solidarity with Palestinians.


[i] Definition by Investopedia: