Al Hawadeth for Arab Americans

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حقوق فلسطينية منتهكة

Publish Date: 5/16/2021 9:05:55 AM

 English version follows

أثناء قراءتي لتقرير منظمة «هيومن رايتش واتش» الجديد الذي يرصد الانتهاكات التي يتعرض لها الفلسطينيون، انتباتني مجموعة من المشاعر. التقرير ترك لديّ أيضاً سؤالاً كبيراً. لقد تأثرت بعمق بالطابع العلمي الصارم للتقرير. وفي الوقت نفسه استدعى التقرير مشاعر الغضب والحزن العميق. التقرير يمثل دراسة كاملة بشكل استثنائي ترصد بالتفصيل ليس فقط الوسائل الكثيرة، التي تم من خلالها انتهاك طائفة واسعة من حقوقالإنسان الفلسطيني بل أيديولوجية الاستعلاء التي تم استخدامها لتسويغ القمع.

ولطالما كان الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان الفلسطيني اهتمامي الأساسي، ولذا شعرت بدرجة ما من التعضيد لعملي أثناء قراءة عرض منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش- خاصة وأنها منظمة دولية غير حكومية- للانتهاك المنهجي للحقوق الفلسطينية في الضفة الغربية وغزة والقدس الشرقية وحتى داخل إسرائيل نفسها. وشعرت بألم عميق وأنا اتذكر كثيرين من ضحايا هذه السياسات من الفلسطينيين الذين عرفتهم على مدار سنوات، مثل الذين تعرضوا للتعذيب وأزيلت منازلهم أو صودرت أراضيهم وطُردوا واُحتجزوا لسنوات دون محاكمة أو أصبحوا لاجئين.

وشعرت بالحزن تجاه أبطال الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان من الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين الذين عرفتهم مثل محامية حقوق الإنسان فيليشيا لانجر ورئيس ونائب رئيس الرابطة الإسرائيلية للحقوق المدنية والإنسانية إسرائيل شاحاك ويوري ديفيس، والشاعر ورئيس بلدية الناصرية وعضو الكنيست الإسرائيلي توفيق زياد، ورؤساء البلديات في الضفة الغربية الشجعان عبد الجواد صالح وفهد قواسمة ومحمد ملحم. فهؤلاء الأشخاص كرسوا حياتهم للدفاع عن العدل لكنهم لم يدركوا اليوم الذي وُصف به النظام الذي تصدوا له بقوة بالاسم الذي يستحقه، في نهاية المطاف، وهو الفصل العنصري «آبارتايد».

الجديد، بالتأكيد، في تقرير منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش ليس الاتهامات. بل الجديد أن المنظمة أبطلت الحجة التي لجأ إليها الليبراليون في الولايات المتحدة ليحللوا أنفسهوا من مسؤولية انتقاد إسرائيل. فحين كانوا يُواجهون بالتقارير السابقة عن الانتهاكات، كانت أكثر الإجابات شيوعاً هي «إذا ركرنا على مثل هذه الأمور، فهذا يجعل الإسرائيليين أقل استعداد للتفاوض على حل الدولتين مع الفلسطينيين» أو «إذا استمر الإسرائيليين في هذا الطريق، سيصبح حل الدولتين مستحيلاً ».

 

لقد تم تجاوز الحد. وبالتخطيط الإسرائيلي المحسوب لم يعد حل الدولتين ممكناً. فالانتهاكات تميز الواقع القائم في كل المنطقة الخاضعة لسيطرة إسرائيل. ونصيحتي لمنتقدي هذا التقريرهي «أقرأوه» وكفى. فحين يقرأه المرء، فإنه يطرح على نفسه سؤالاً واحداً: «هل الفلسطينيون بشر كاملي البشرية تعادل حياتهم في القيمة حياة أي شعب آخر؟» وإذا كانت إجابته هي «نعم». إذن عليه أن يسأل نفسه كيف يمكنه السكوت والاذعان أمام الانتهاك المنهجي المروع الذي أُجبر الفلسطينيون على تحمله؟

 

The Big Question Posed by HRW's Report

Dr. James J. Zogby ©

President, Arab American Institute

While reading Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) monumental report “A Threshold Crossed,” I felt a range of emotions. It also left me with one big question.

I was deeply impressed by the report’s rigorous scholarship. At the same time, it brought to the surface feelings of anger and profound sadness. It’s an extraordinarily complete study detailing not only the many ways Israel has violated a broad range of Palestinian human rights, but the ideology of racial superiority and entitlement that Israel has used to justify its repression.

Defending Palestinian human rights has long been my passion – and my vocation. I founded the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) almost one-half century ago. In the 1970’s, we issued our own reports on some of the very same policies covered in the HRW study. I, therefore, felt some degree of validation reading their presentation of Israel’s: systematic effort to cleanse the Galilee and the Negev of Arabs; refusal to allow Palestinian refugees and those internally displaced access to their homes and properties; crippling stranglehold on Gaza and impact on the lives of that region’s civilian population; efforts to ensure Jewish demographic dominance in what they call “Greater Jerusalem”; and deliberate policies designed to corral Palestinians in the West Bank into Bantustans, replicating the way they dealt with their Palestinian citizens in the Galilee. I also felt enraged because these inhumane policies​, though known (and reported on) for decades​, have been ignored by policymakers.

I also felt a deep hurt as I recalled the many Palestinian victims of Israeli abuse whom I’ve known over the years – those who: were tortured; had their homes demolished or lands confiscated; were illegally kidnapped and expelled; detained for years without trial; or were refugees, forced to flee and longing to return to their homes.

And I grieved for those human rights champions I knew who had devoted their lives to the cause of justice and helped guide my early work: the human rights attorney, Felicia Langer; the President and Vice-President of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, Israel Shahak and Uri Davis; the poet, Mayor of Nazereth and Knesset Member Tawfiq Zayyad; and the courageous West Bank mayors Abdul Jawad Saleh, Fahd Kawasmeh, and Mohamed Milham – who were taken by occupation authorities in the dark of night and expelled from their homes and country. At one point, while reading the report, I wept at the thought that none of these heroes had lived to see the day when the racist system against which they worked so hard was finally being called out by the name it deserved - Apartheid. 

What’s new, of course, in this HRW report, aren’t the details of the charge sheet. It’s that HRW has removed the argument that liberals in the US have used to absolve themselves from criticizing Israel. When confronted with past reports on Israeli abuses, their two most common responses have taken two forms of nervous dismissal: either – “If we focus on these matters, it will make the Israelis less willing to negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians;” or “If the Israelis continue on this path, a two-state solution will be impossible and Israel will become an apartheid state.”

As the title of the report makes clear, that threshold has been crossed. By calculated Israeli design, the two-state solution is no longer possible​; apartheid and persecution define the reality that exists in the entire area under Israeli control.

Relying on the accepted definitions of these crimes in international law, “A Threshold Crossed” methodically lays out the case that Israel is guilty of: Apartheid – that is, “inhumane acts committed in the context of systematic oppression by one racial group over another, with the intent to dominate the marginalized group; and Persecution, that is, “severe abuses of fundamental rights committed with discriminatory intent.”

To date, the responses of Israel and its supporters in the US to the HRW report have been predictable. They worked themselves into a frenzied rage throwing every imaginable insult they could at HRW and the report’s leadership – “fabricated,” “a pack of lies,” “anti-Semitic.” The reactions of liberals have been more interesting, since they have long held that HRW reports on other countries as the “gold standard.” They have, therefore, twisted themselves in knots trying to maintain their concern with Israeli practices while still falling back on the two-state mantra.

In both instances, it was clear that the report hadn’t been read​, and in all likelihood​, wouldn’t be read because of the discomfort it will cause. And this too is infuriating.

My advice to both Israel’s defenders and weak-kneed liberals is​, “Read the damn report.” And as you read it, ask yourselves just one question: “Are Palestinians full human beings whose lives are as valuable as those of any other people?” If you decide the answer is “Yes,” then I ask​, how can you be silent and acquiesce in the face of the horrific systematic abuse to which Palestinians have been forced to endure? And how can you continue to tolerate the denial of Palestinian rights to the sanctity of their homes and properties and their fundamental rights to life and liberty?

If you remain silent, continue to find ways to absolve Israel’s behaviors, or refuse to consider measures to end these abuses, then you are, in fact, answering “No, Palestinians are not full human beings whose lives are as valuable as those of any other people” – and you, in effect, becom.complicit in these continuing crimes against humanity The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions of الحوادث Al Hawadeth Newspaper, Al Hawadeth for Arab Americans, alhawadeth.net or their Editors.

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