The pressure on Israel is building. Non violent protests by the Palestinians are increasing in numbers and size. As predicted by me in an earlier article, they will soon escalate and go one notch further, adopting Gandhi’s concept of not mere passive protest but active non-violent civil disobedience. It will not be long before thousands of Palestinians and their Israeli supporters will march to checkpoints and attempt to break through without waiting for “clearance” from young, arrogant Israeli soldiers manning them. Tunisian and type mass protests that are taking place all over the Middle East are bound to take place in Palestine also. No one need be surprised to see many Israelis joining them.
It is encouraging to see that while the international community represented in the UN seems paralyzed, the common, peace and justice loving people from around the world are ready to lend their support to the brave people of Palestine. They are beginning to say “enough is enough”. They are demanding that Israel comply with International law and human rights.
On July 8 hundreds of activists – about 500 estimated so far — from all over the world will converge on Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, and this time they will not lie about their reason for being there. They will openly and truthfully declare to the Israeli security that they are there to go to the West Bank to help the people there and participate in nonviolent solidarity actions.
These solidarity actions are scheduled to take place from July 8-16 in coordination with 15 Palestinian civil resistance organizations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The purpose of these actions is to show that not only are the actions of Israel in Gaza reprehensible but that Israeli repression in the West Bank and Jerusalem is no less condemnable and is part of an attempt by Israel at ethnic cleansing and colonization.
I long to join them. Unfortunately, I do not have the money to go there. Also, my holding an Indian passport and living in the US makes getting the necessary paperwork done difficult – not to mention my 83 years and poor health.
Why are hundreds of internationals giving up the comforts of their homes to go to Ben Gurion Airport and subject themselves to the certain humiliations and invasive interrogations by the Israel security — and deportation that seems certain to follow?
Why are other internationals sailing in boasts to go to Gaza and risk being bombed by the Israelis?
Why do I long to go there?
Basically because having come to know of the injustice, hardships, trials and tribulations, deaths and tragedy on a vast scale being suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government, being quiet, saying nothing, doing nothing, is no longer an option. Silence, in such situations, is complicity.
For long we have agonized over our helplessness to help. For long we have wondered what we could do.
Michael Riordon in his book Our Way to Fight writes: “Yet in the face of overwhelming harm, the question arises: “What can I do?” The victims ask, our conscience asks. So does a shared interest in a livable world. What can I do?
“During Athens street protests in 2008, a Greek blogger answered, beautifully: “We have a duty to move here, there, anywhere except back to our couches as mere viewers of history, back home to the warmth that freezes our conscience.”
The convergence at the Ben Gurion Airport on July 8, the solidarity actions in Palestine from July 8 to 16, sailing on Flotilla II provide some opportunities to do something.
Israeli apartheid days are numbered, and now is the moment to challenge it on every front.
Action is the best antidote to despair. Besides, it bears repeating, silence is complicity.