Issued by New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
August 17, 2005

New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine is appalled and disgusted to see the praise accorded to the Zionist occupation regime and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, notorious butcher of Sabra and Shatila, for "pursuing peace" with the so-called "disengagement" from Gaza. The corporate media and U.S. government have relayed the news of this "disengagement" as if it is a step of amazing generosity on the part of the Zionist occupiers, and as if it will leave the Palestinians of Gaza free from occupation. This mythology around the "disengagement" perpetuates a false picture of the actual situation in Gaza and obscures the continuing reality for Gaza Palestinians, 80% of whom are refugees continuing to be denied their right to return to their homes and properties, and the Palestinian nation in its entirety.

The "disengagement" from Gaza does exhibit the power of the Palestinian resistance to force a crisis in the Zionist leadership. Despite over 57 years of assault upon Palestinian national existence, the Palestinian people have continued to resist and to struggle for liberation and return. The steadfast resistance in Gaza has continued despite the most brutal assaults weighed against the people of Gaza - home demolitions, bombing raids and military incursions - and has made it increasingly difficult for Zionists to justify for themselves the ongoing presence of illegal colonists in Gaza. The colonization of Palestine has always been an illegitimate and illegal exercise, against all standards of human and national rights and law. The colonists of Gaza are but one segment of the overall illegitimate colonization of Palestine.

The achievement of any kind of pullback or withdrawal is an accomplishment of the resistance, welcomed for its potential to afford much-needed and much-desired breathing room and space for Palestinians to live and move without a constant and overwhelming military presence. Nevertheless, the "disengagement" myth is a pretext for a new form of encirclement and imprisonment - surrounding Gaza in its entirety with a massive wall, retaining Zionist control over the airspace, borders and international relations of Gaza Palestinians, demolishing yet more Palestinian homes for a Zionist-controlled "buffer zone" to separate Palestinians from their Arab sisters and brothers in Egypt, and maintaining a monopoly over the access to water, fuel and other essential natural resources for Gaza Palestinians. Zionist military forces will surround the borders of Gaza, ready for attack at any time, and, indeed, pledged to assault the Palestinians of Gaza in yet another attempt to stifle Palestinian resistance - this time, without the presence of Zionist settlers to concern themselves about in the pursuit of a brutal war against the Palestinian people.

Rather than a step towards "peace," the Gaza disengagement is yet another attempt at "pacification" - at attempting to impose a so-called settlement upon the Palestinian people that utterly negates fundamental Palestinian national rights in all of historic Palestine. 80% of the people of Gaza are refugees from 1948; their right to return remains blocked in this process of "disengagement," along with all six million Palestinian refugees who have been prohibited from returning to their original homes and lands since the occupation of their land in 1948. This "disengagement" is no liberation for them, and they will continue to struggle for their right to return to their original homes and properties.

Indeed, the entire process of "disengagement" has represented not Palestinian needs and concerns, but, rather, has been an internal debate within the Zionist society, between rabid illegal colonists and the more refined colonial Zionist state machinery, over the best way to maintain occupation and control over Palestinian land and Palestinian people. Indeed, in this respect the power and achievements of the Palestinian resistance has been exhibited in its ability to exacerbate the crises and tensions among Zionists that have been on full view in the "disengagement" battle.

We note with disgust, but without surprise, the "gentle" and "polite" treatment given to colonists by Zionist military forces, in stark contrast to those same forces' treatment of Palestinians. While Palestinians are routinely brutalized and threatened, their homes demolished, and at every turn face the possibility of slaughter by the fourth most-powerful military machine in the world (backed up by the first most-powerful military machine), Zionist soldiers ensure that they will not injure any of the colonists who are attempting to stay in Gaza. They cry alongside their fellow colonizers, and help them to pack - while the demolition of Palestinian homes is a daily, normalized occurrence. Zionists on the other side of an internal debate receive treatment that is considerate and sympathetic - worlds apart from Palestinians, who face a brutal existential war arrayed against their very existence on a daily basis. The August 17, 2005 slaughter of three Palestinians by a West Bank colonist who took a gun from a Zionist military occupier illustrates the genocidal intent and brutality of not only the colonist "extremists," but the Zionist project as a whole.

The "disengagement" from Gaza is not liberation of Palestine; only the return of all Palestinian refugees to their original homes and lands and the liberation of all of historic Palestine from the control of an illegitimate apartheid colonial settler state, founded upon the dispossession and oppression of Palestine's indigenous Arab people, can ensure such liberation in reality. The discourse around "disengagement" has presented the Palestinian struggle only within the context of an internal issue in Zionism.

In the United States corporate media, we are bombarded with images of sympathetic illegal colonists in Gaza and a supposedly peace-loving Ariel Sharon, as the U.S. government prepares to allocate billions of the dollars of U.S. taxpayers to fund the hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs that will be given to each colonist in order to move them to new illegal colonies in Palestine's West Bank, or, in other instances, to move them to areas of Palestine occupied in 1948. While people in the U.S. suffer from inadequate housing, health care and education, we are required to fund the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land and to pay bonuses to reward thieves of Palestinian land, to encourage them to steal yet more Palestinian land. The Zionist backed media perpetuates illusions that the settlers are somehow victimized by this evacuation. The Zionist propaganda well accepted in US media deliberately confuses victims with victimizers- where settlers are an extension of the occupying military acting on their behalf to control and colonize Palestinian land.

Despite the continuing occupation, not only of Gaza, but of all of historic Palestine, the Palestinian people will continue to resist and to struggle for liberation and return. The power of that resistance to force crises upon Zionist society, and the determination of that popular resistance to see an Arab Palestine free from settler colonial occupation in its entirety, will continue to be demonstrated. It is imperative, at a time when all of Gaza is in danger of a major military assault, that the people's movements of the U.S. and the world display the strongest solidarity with the Palestinian people and with their resistance to occupation and oppression.

The resilience of this resistance, and of the ongoing steadfastness of the Palestinian people in their entirety - in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Palestine 48 and in exile - continues to be demonstrated through the ongoing struggle for return and liberation despite over 57 years of oppression and occupation. The massacre in Shafa Amer last week, where 4 Palestinians from Palestine 48 were slaughtered on a bus by a colonial settler, indicated not only the brutal, colonial, racist mindset of Zionism, but also the continuing refusal of Palestinians to relinquish their identity and their lives, as the people of Shafa Amer en masse ensured that justice was delivered to the colonial settler, an outcome that could never be relied upon from the Zionist system of injustice that has perpetuated their continuing oppression in their own land since 1948. The anger and mobilization of the Palestinian Arabs of Shafa Amer indicates the depth of resistance and awareness that remains, despite decades of oppression, paramount throughout the Palestinian nation. The response of the people of Shafa Amer represents the continuing refusal to submit of the Palestinian nation in its entirety, in Palestine 48, in the West Bank and Gaza and in exile.

Time and time again, the Zionists have attempted to provoke a civil war among Palestinians, focusing intently upon Gaza, attempting to undermine the national unity and consensus of the Palestinian people and to turn Palestinian institutions into mechanisms of security control for the Zionist entity against Palestinian resistance. They, with the assistance of the U.S., have attempted to find Palestinians to do their work for them - as the U.S. has sought out Iraqis to maintain occupation in Iraq. Despite these attempts, they have failed, as the Palestinian Arab people have maintained their national unity and national consensus and dedication to resistance, return and liberation. In these times, the reestablishment of the national democratic representative institutions of the Palestinian people through the Palestine Liberation Organization, in all of Palestine and in exile, has become essential for the maintenance of the national struggle, the defeat of all plans to divert Palestinian weapons to turn against each other rather than against the enemy, and the eventual victory of the Palestinian movement.

The U.S. government has supported the Gaza "disengagement," hailing it as a step toward peace; indeed, the strategy is not unconnected to the U.S.'s own attempts to create an appearance of independence while maintaining occupation in Iraq. The joint assaults against the Arab people of Palestine and Iraq, by the U.S. and by its Zionist colonial proxy, continue and must be opposed. It is urgent and essential that people's movements - the antiwar movement and all movements for social, racial and economic justice - be mobilized in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and Iraq, in their struggle against occupation and oppression. Here in the U.S., our money is spent to maintain brutal colonial occupation, to divide Arab peoples from one another, to deny millions of Palestinians their right to return home, and to prop up an illegitimate colonial settler state, when our money could be used instead to fulfill people's needs. Now is the time for protest, and for making our voices heard, loudly and clearly, that the people's movements of the United States stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Iraq, in their struggles against occupation and apartheid, for the right to return, and for the liberation of their land. The smokescreen of "disengagement" must not be allowed to cloud the realities on the ground in Palestine - realities of U.S.-funded brutality, occupation and oppression, of continuing colonization, of the denial of the right to return of Palestinian refugees, of the massive imprisonment of the Palestinians of Gaza - and the reality of a continuing struggle for national liberation and self-determination.

Free Palestine, all of Palestine!
Right to Return of all Palestinian Refugees!