No peace without decolonization
When and where?
We, members and friends of the North African decolonial network, are responding to the call issued by our colleagues at Bir Zeit University, whom we salute for their courage and tenacity. With the present text, we want to express our full solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to liberation, and our compassion for all the civilian victims. We would also like to denounce the outrageous effects of political demonization and media intoxication, which seek to minimize and divert attention from the criminal brutality underway. Colonial forces always want history to begin with the moment their allies are attacked, thus erasing the accumulated effects of oppression, humiliation and perpetual aggression produced by apartheid policies
We would like to stress that the history of this murderous madness did not begin on October 7, 2023. Just as it did not begin on October 6, 1973. It is the story of a permanent and gradual expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied territories, accompanied, with each wave of annexation, by ever more sophisticated ways of alienating and persecuting the Palestinians. It is the result of the creation of a discriminatory state where dehumanization is normalized, which today allows the Israeli Minister of Defense to publicly call the inhabitants of Gaza "human animals" -- with impunity.
At the time of writing, Israel has ordered 1.1 million inhabitants to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip within 24 hours, and to take refuge in the south. Any resident who stays in place will be presumed to be a member of Hamas and threatened with elimination by the Israeli armed forces. On Friday October 13, 2023, for the first time in recent history, humanity witnessed the live announcement of a planned genocide. By supporting this massacre, be it tacitly or overtly, Western powers lost all legitimacy to take part in a lasting peace process. By exposing its double standards to the world, the West has one again shown its contempt for the "universal values" it loves to trumpet.
The cruelty of Israel's colonization is intensifying. On Friday October 13, as Gazans fled the North, the Israeli army bombed civilians and ambulances. That same evening, it made incursions throughout the West Bank: Jenin, Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem... For several days now, the State of Israel has been officially arming settlers and encouraging them to murder any and all Palestinians.
These state crimes are being committed with impunity. Western media propaganda justifies them -- the most appalling example being the allegation that Hamas slit the throats of forty Israeli babies. Thanks to fact-checking by Al Jazeera journalists, CNN was forced to officially apologize, acknowledging that those were unconfirmed claims. But the damage was done: this lie, taken up by the US President himself, enabled Washington, in addition to its financial and military aid to Israel, to prime public opinion for the impending massacre. A somber reminder of what preceded the invasion of Iraq.
The international community's deafening silence on the war crimes committed in Palestine today is further proof that racial inequality has always been at the heart of the West's colonial and imperial projects. In fact, racial inequality has always been used to justify all the major massacres and genocides perpetrated against racialized populations. In Palestine, the current situation is but the outcome of enduring and permanent colonial violence. This year, violence against Palestinians has markedly intensified. According to UN estimates, 173 Palestinians had already been killed by October. We all remember images of the Jenin refugee camp devastated by the Israeli army. Israel's indiscriminate policy of intensifying settlements, its constant violation of international law, and its failure to abide by peace agreements all undeniably amount to ethnic cleansing in a settler colonial context.
Other indigenous peoples have been massacred throughout history. Of this, the routine persecution of and discrimination against Native Americans is a constant reminder. In the face of the international community's silence, the United States and the European Union's unconditional support of Israel, and the obvious biases of Western media, we, members and friends of the North African decolonial network, affirm our full support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation, and denounce the ongoing massacre of Palestinian civilians.
In this context, we also want to highlight the ethical and political necessity of ending the normalization agreements, which only reinforce Israel's sense of impunity. No lasting peace in the region will be achieved if the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people continue to be ignored, if the demands for justice, true equality, and freedom of movement for all continue to be flouted. At the end of the day, the equation is simple, if constantly obstructed and denied: there can be no peace without decolonization!