The last few months have seen thousands of Palestinians and their supporters rally for prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. This has resulted in several victories including a deal that ended the mass hunger strike and allowed for release of the two prominent figures former Islamic Jihad spokeperson Khader Adnan and football player Mohammad Sarsak.
Western media reported these success stories as a victory for non-violent resistance, lauding Palestinians for having used it. Reuters published an article entitled Palestinian prisoner deal shows non-violence works while the AFP reported that the mass hunger strike “not only headed off a confrontation with Israel,” but also proved that the strategy of non-violence is effective. (to avoid repetition)
Whatever one’s opinion, one thing is clear, the Palestinian community cannot rely on international politics and Western powers to “save us” any more than any other indigenous population relies on its occupying power to relinquish rights to their land. If the hunger strike movement taught us anything, it is this: Don’t rely on Arab Nationalism or the puppet regime put in place by Western States. After all, Abbas was quick to warn the Israelis that Palestinians would get out of hand should one of the hunger strikers die, begging the Israelis for more weapons to prevent “terrorism” in the occupied territories. “If they help me to get weapons, I’m helping them because I’m promoting security… We want security to stop terrorism. We have a need for these legal weapons. I have complaints from the security apparatus: ‘We don’t have guns and bullets.’ ”
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not rely on the West and the United Nations, who since World War II have attempted to push a liberal, “human rights” agenda that serves the purpose of imperial powers. After all, it is these same powers that aim to preserve the Israeli state as a Jewish “democratic” state at the expense of its indigenous population. These same member states that espouse Palestinian “self-determination” and provide millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority while giving Israel millions of dollars in military aid.
In conclusion, I’d like to point out that none of what I mentioned above hasn’t been said or written by various scholars, activists, and politicians. Rather, the point of this article is to point out the importance of the hunger strike movement, which has elements of grassroots organizing in the West Bank – and other areas the Palestinian diaspora resides. This movement comprises young and old Palestinians coming together to fight for their rights, all over the world. In the West Bank, this type of organizing has been missing since the first intifada.
Let us take matters into our own hands. Let us not rely on third parties, or our so-called leadership in the West Bank and Gaza, nor the powers that may be to free us.
I will end this rant with a quote from Fanon, whose words, written decades ago, still apply to our situation. “The immobility to which the colonized subject is condemned can be challenged only if he decides to put an end to the history of colonization and the history of despoliation in order to bring to life the history of the nation, the history of decolonization.”