The First Week

Dispatch from the Palestinian Youth Movement

Taken at a pro-Palestine protest on 10/13

Gaza is the story of the Palestinian people. It is a story of displacement and refugeehood, of imprisonment at the hands of a foreign occupier. But, most importantly, it is a story of sumud (steadfastness) and resistance: resistance that is driven by a love for one’s people, a love for one’s homeland, and a love for life and freedom. Now and onwards, you must not allow your friends and comrades to turn their backs on the Palestinian liberation struggle. You must not allow them to falter in the face of the events of this week, or to devolve into insipid both-sideism or pragmatic armchair generalismo, or to publish cowardly denunciations that do nothing more than provide a left cover for an impending genocide on the people of Gaza. Most importantly, you must not allow them to lose sight of why the oppressed people resist; that it is not only understandable, not only an occupied people’s right, but also just and true. We hope this bulletin will help guide what principled solidarity can look like right now within the imperial core, and arm those in solidarity with us with tools to resist the military-industrial complex that is hellbent on our people’s extermination.

Your priority must be communicating a set of realities clearly and unequivocally. 2.4 million Palestinians are currently being held hostage by Zionists, who are martyring thousands with genocidal impunity. All the crossings are closed. The Zionists are indiscriminately using bombs and internationally-prohibited weapons on a densely populated concentration camp full of entrapped civilians. There is no water or electricity. Mass arrests of Palestinians across all of historic Palestine add to the hundreds of administrative detainees imprisoned without charge, who are now suffering additional retribution by the colonial regime. Gazan hospitals—which are already graveyards—are themselves being targeted, and at least thirteen have already been hit. Seven confirmed members of the press have been martyred, and news stations are regularly being cut due to the lack of electricity. Ambulances and the Red Crescent are also being deliberately targeted. Universities and mosques have been destroyed. Entire families are being wiped out—at least forty-five entire families that we have seen reported. And this is just a small sampling of what is happening in Gaza right now, owing to a reporting blackout, which is being aided and abetted by the genocidal Western media machine.

All this being said, we do not want to use abstractions to discuss Gaza: every story is one of violence and resistance and beautiful, ordinary life. But to do them proper justice, you’d have to give us a lifetime. What we can say with certainty is that the Palestinian people are unbowed. No amount of collective punishment by the Zionist entity will bend or break the will of our people to live in dignity. We know why Gaza is being targeted: because it is the heart of our resistance. And that resistance is both a strategic and moral necessity to the ordering violences of the Zionist system from river to sea, which seeks the extermination of the Palestinian people. We therefore maintain what the rest of our Palestinian sisters and brothers maintain: we will continue to fight, and we will win. 

The foremost demand to anyone inside the West, inside the imperial core, is to oppose the genocidal drumbeat waged by Zionist and Western leaders alike. The Palestinian people of Gaza have asked for the bombing campaign to stop, the blockade to end once and for all, and for humanitarian aid to enter. But also and more broadly, what we are asking those who wish to be in solidarity within the West is threefold. First, struggle through organizations and your workplaces and your communities and in the streets to demand an end to both the current genocidal campaign and for an end to the entire system of settler colonialism that has strangled Palestine for the last century. Second, go on the offensive: demand sanctions against Zionism; no more weapons, no more money, no more cultural or institutional cover. We want the total anti-normalization of a Zionism that has once again shown its face to the world. Finally, understand Palestinian resistance as fundamentally just and as a means of survival for our people; it will not stop in the weeks and months to come, and you must be prepared not to waver again.

The Western governmental response has been military and economic carte blanche and material support. These nations have withdrawn much of their foreign aid to the Palestinian people at a moment of utter crisis; leaked documents suggest that the US State Department has instructed its bureaucrats to avoid issuing calls for de-escalation or ceasefire. Secretary Blinken visiting the Philadelphia-born prime minister of the Zionist entity while he is initiating genocide of Palestinians is an affirmation of total US government support and a guarantee of intelligence and military resources to be placed at the Zionists’ disposal. EU leaders, too, have embraced the death merchants of the “Second Nakba” in a lurid display of global settler phantasmagoria. Students and activists are being rounded up from the streets and campuses for their brave defenses of the Palestinian resistance. Germany is leading mass arrest campaigns and seeking to ban the Palestinian prisoners’ movement from their country; England and France are seeking to ban symbols and expressions of Palestinian solidarity. Your voices and your bodies are needed now.

The media gives cover to all this: they render us savage and killable. The world is watching your programs and statements and essays, and will remember your complicity, just as it did with Iraq. We demand local and national news outlets commit to honest reporting on Gaza that does not include racism and effacement designed to manufacture consent for genocide, but also, we do not hold our breaths.

Palestinians and Arabs have long understood that Zionism and Western imperialism to be intimately intertwined. At their base, the two ideologies fundamentally seek the same things: the extraction of Arab land and labor, the elimination of a Palestinian population, and the blanket of an imperial military and economic system that subjugates the world’s oppressed. The violent colonial response we are witnessing is therefore neither surprising nor random. Rather, it is the “rational,” ordered response of a system governed by counterrevolutionary and anti-Communist logic.

The bitter irony is also not lost on us, that some have chosen to speak now after decades of silence. Where were they when Gaza was put under air, land, and water siege sixteen years ago, entrapping a population of two million people, half of them children? Where were they when the Zionists implemented calorie controls to spread malnutrition and disability? Where were they when Zionist leaders told the world decades ago that their intention with Gaza was to extract maximum pain on a civilian population, to once again ethnically cleanse a people who were stripped of their lands and homes seventy-five years ago, and who now comprise the heart of Palestinian resistance? This week, these peoples’ mask has come off—such are the realities of revolution. For those who are willing and ready, we have a keffiyeh to offer in its place.