Proud to be on Palestine's side

Issue 

The following is a statement released by the socialist youth organisation, Resistance.

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral" — Paulo Freire.

When Israel's launched its latest barbarous assault on the Gaza Strip on December 27, Resistance activists from across the country didn't wash their hands of the conflict but instead stood firmly and proudly on the side of the oppressed, the Palestinians.

We stood with the Palestinians, by engaging in what we believe the best type of solidarity — attempting to build the biggest and broadest mass demonstrations to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

We organised to place pressure on Israel to stop its brutal assault, to build maximum pressure on the Australian government to reverse its support for Israel's war and to call on the Australian government to cut ties with the apartheid state of Israel.

Resistance helped to initiate and build these demonstrations across the country, part of a worldwide movement that successfully exposed Israel's war crimes to the world.

A "ceasefire" has been announced and Israeli troops have withdrawn from Gaza, but Resistance still believes it is an imperative for progressive activists to continue building a movement in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

We believe the "ceasefire" to be a sham. The Israeli military themselves have been clear on this.

For instance, Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi stated, "even now, after the ceasefire, the army is prepared to respond with all the means at its disposal".

Furthermore, the total blockade imposed by Israel remains. Food, aid, medicine and other materials cannot enter into Gaza. In this way, Israel has turned Gaza into the world's biggest concentration camp.

Poverty, which before the blockade was bad, has become even worse.

The Israeli blockade has led to severe water supply shortages. Forty percent of Gazans only have access to water three times a week. The near destruction of the electricity supply and sewerage system in Gaza are other consequences of Israel's terrorism.

Resistance believes that Israel's economic blockade is a declaration of war, so to talk of "peace" or a "ceasefire" while the blockade remains is meaningless.

According to a January 21 Associated Press report:
"International aid agencies warned on Tuesday that Gaza was at risk of a 'total collapse' of its infrastructure if Israeli blockade measures continued."

All those opposed to Israel's military assault, must also oppose Israel's blockade and seek to apply maximum pressure on the Israeli government to end it. People in Gaza will continue to perish, and in higher numbers, unless the siege is immediately lifted.

Resistance will also continue to work to isolate Israel internationally. Primarily we seek to do this by contributing to the burgeoning, worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

This campaign has the support of over 180 Palestinian organisations and unions. Other supporters include the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

We will be taking the campaign onto campuses, encouraging academics and universities to join the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The president of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees put the case for an academic boycott saying: "We urge academics around the world to intensify their boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and to isolate the Israeli academy in international forums, associations of academics, and other international venues.

Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity."

Some commentators have sought to portray all those who opposed Israel's war as supporting Hamas. We reject this view.

However, we believe that the democratic will of the Palestinians must be respected and that Hamas should be recognised as the legitimate and democratically elected government of Palestine.

We also support the right of Palestinians to resist the occupation, a right recognised under international law.

The Geneva Declaration on Terrorism states: "peoples who are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination have the right to use force to accomplish their objectives within the framework of international humanitarian law. Such lawful uses of force must not be confused with acts of international terrorism."

Resistance remains firmly committed to helping the Palestinians in their fight "against colonial domination and alien occupation" and believes all those who are committed to justice should join us in the struggle to free Palestine.