After 11 straight days of missile bombardment on the occupied West Bank and Gaza by the Zionist State of Israel a ‘unilateral’ cease-fire was agreed to. The Israeli Security Cabinet approved to halt the military onslaught amid international pressure and negotiation. The talks were brokered by Egypt and the State of Qatar. The May 20 decision also came while Israel and the United States, its chief benefactor, became increasingly isolated over the crisis.
However, with the long history of turmoil and aggression of the Zionist state, the question is how long will a ceasefire exist before attacks resume? And what does it mean for the masses of Palestinians still suffering? Does this latest ceasefire end the 73-year-old root issue of colonial occupation of Palestinian lands by European Zionists?
“A ceasefire is necessary, but will not alone achieve freedom, justice, and equality for all who live under Israel’s apartheid government,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in a May 20 twitter response to the announcement.
“The U.S. must condition funding to uphold human rights and end the funding entirely if those conditions are not met,” said the Michigan lawmaker and Palestinian -American.
Leading up to the ceasefire as the crisis worsened on the ground, President Joe Biden’s administration came under heavy pressure by a progressive wing of U.S. Democrats and others to take a stronger stance such as halting a previously approved $735 million sale in precision-guided weapons to Israel. The lawmakers saw it as leverage for the U.S. to dissuade Israel against its actions. The arms package is part of nearly four billion dollars in annual financial and military aid—the largest to any foreign nation.
In a special session of the UN General Assembly on the situation, hours before the announcement, U.S. UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield gave a four-minute speech defending America’s widely criticized response to the crisis, that some claim was biased toward Israel and silent toward the Palestinians.
“We have not been silent,” Amb. Thomas-Greenfield said. “In fact, I don’t believe that there is any country working more urgently, and more fervently, toward peace,” she added.
Addressing other permanent representatives who slammed America for soft pedaling on Israel, the diplomat argued America had over 60 diplomatic meetings at the highest levels, including at least five by President Biden.
But since the turmoil intensified May 10, the U.S. defended the militarily well-equipped Israeli “right to defend itself” and blocked three attempts by the UN Security Council to issue a unified demand for a ceasefire. Observers note the U.S. policy of an unwavering bond with Israel comes at the expense of Palestinian blood. Furthermore, the intensity of the fighting can possibly spark wider war involving other nations.
In a conversation, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, once spoke with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his top student and servant, about war and the ultimate cost of war. He warned America, the world’s greatest superpower, will be forced out of the Middle East. Min. Farrakhan asked, will there be bloodshed? “Plenty,” warned Elijah Muhammad, in a prophetic one-word answer.
“War is coming to the Middle East because the Messenger said so,” said Min. Farrakhan. And if America is coming out of the Middle East what about Israel? She certainly cannot stand alone. The rising tension, fighting in Israel is part of that which will ultimately help ignite the region.
While the U.S. stands with the Zionist state, rights experts, progressive movements, and many nations are condemning human rights violations in Israel.
Practicing historical hypocrisy and deceptive intelligence, the Zionist state affirms the post-Holocaust mantra “never again” pertaining to targeted eradication and Jewish ethnic cleansing. However, they are “doing it” to Palestinians through colonial repression.
Although, the 10 days of carnage without any apparent relief pushed some international indignation, the level of backlash on America and Israel indicated a growing dissatisfaction and rise in the awakening of people, particularly on the streets of America and other capitols.
There is a shift in consciousness in America among people who recognize the connection between the anti-colonial struggles of Palestinians against European Zionists, and the colonial relationship between U.S. Blacks and America, explained Ajamu Baraka, national organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace.
“They recognize that both are settler colonial states, and one cannot expect to appeal to a settler colonial state to recognize and respect your rights,” reasoned Mr. Baraka. “What you have to do,” he told the Final Call, “is be prepared to fight for your rights.”
Mr. Baraka explained, the resistance in Palestine is the assertion of a colonized people to embrace and assert their rights. “That understanding is a developing understanding,” he stated.
In terms of the world stage, colonizers understand “terms of struggle” and the importance of unity, which accounts for why European nations, including the U.S. supported the Israeli attack on Gaza. Freedom loving people worldwide must also understand and unite their forces against colonialism, imperialism, and tyranny. Black freedom and Palestinian freedom are not mutually exclusive.
Protests were organized outside of Israeli embassies and elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad on May 18 around justice and against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. Washington, D.C., protests ended with the names of children killed in the assault read in front of miniature coffins covered in Palestinian flags.
“Every single Palestinian life matters. Every single Palestinian soul that was taken matters. And that’s why we wanted to make sure that those names were read. These are people who come from us and are of us,” Taher Herzallah told media. He serves as associate director of outreach & community organizing for american muslims for palestine.
In Los Angeles hundreds gathered at the Israeli Consulate. Solildarity protests also took place in Chicago
For days leading up to the ceasefire, the world watched horrified images of desperate rescue efforts of Palestinians buried alive in heaps of stone rubble from buildings flattened by American financed missiles. The same ruins were the graves for many of the 231 Palestinian men, women, and children killed in the bombardment.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the same day leading up to to the hour of the ceasefire decision, hostilities resulted in additional Palestinian displacement, bringing up the number of internally displaced persons to 91,000, including 66,000 seeking protection in 58 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA} schools across Gaza, leaving many without food, shelter or medicine.
According to UN reports, Israeli military forces bombed hospitals, schools, and the sole Covid-19 testing clinic. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said an orphanage and a girls’ high school are among the more than 400 structures destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.
“Bombing a school is a war crime. Bombing a hospital is a war crime. Bombing news outlets is a war crime. Firing rockets at civilians is also a war crime,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on May 19. “If we believe in human rights, we should hold anyone who commits war crimes fully accountable,” she wrote.
It is more egregious being an occupying power to deny the rights of the occupied population according to the Geneva Conventions. To bomb hospitals and schools and shut off water to the areas are international crimes. “No other nation has done these in such a blatant way outside of Israel,” said Mr. Baraka. (Staff Writer Nisa Islam Muhammad contributed to this report.)