…The denial of the Palestinians’ right to resist what has been imposed on them has been demonstrated dramatically in recent weeks. We have witnessed the astonishing international policy of imposing sanctions as a form of collective punishment on an occupied people – rather than on their occupier who is maintaining that occupation through brute violence. Vital international aid for basic services has been cut off by the European Union and the US – from Palestinians in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 – because they elected Hamas, voting for representatives who had campaigned on a platform promising to hold the line against this destruction of their national identity and rights.
The most malicious aspect of this policy is the fact that the money being withheld is only needed because the occupation tactics of curfews, closures and checkpoints have destroyed the Palestinian economy. The financial catastrophe triggered by these sanctions is created entirely by the Israeli occupation itself, as World Bank and British parliamentary select committee reports have made clear. The punishment of starving the Palestinians is quite blatant: to force them to their knees and make them repudiate their elected representatives. Even more absurdly, Israel has not accepted – or even been asked to accept – any of the parallel conditions being demanded of the Palestinians for a resumption of aid: an end to violence; the acceptance of the 1993 Oslo agreements; or the recognition of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Instead they build expand settlements, denounce the Oslo accords, and have used increasingly indiscriminate violence in both Gaza and the West Bank. The west’s response in a conflict it helped created 58 years ago has fallen to a truly cruel, but also bizarre level.