By Anisa Abd el Fattah, news, opinion
We so often hear people speak of ending Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, yet outside of the negotiated settlement peace process, we don’t hear much about how one would go about liberating Palestine, without falling into the current peace process scheme, which is a land for peace model. In response to this obvious deficiency in respect to options, or alternative plans to achieve Palestinian’ liberation, it might serve our purpose to look at a dismantlement of the system of apartheid as a first tactical step towards liberation.
Israel has positioned its checkpoints in a strategic pattern, the purpose of which is to control and limit the movement of the Palestinian population. This control is accomplished by militarizing the checkpoints and implementing a rigid policy, the aim of which is to protect the checkpoints and also to deter Palestinians from any effort to bypass or to seek to breech the checkpoints as in forcing their way through or overcoming any physical barriers. The policy that dictates the control and protection of the checkpoints is so strict, that many deaths have occurred at checkpoints and also many births, due to the fact that the seemingly arbitrary process of identifying and clearing Palestinian travelers is purposefully long, humiliating and unpredictable.
There has been lots of conversation about the effectiveness of the checkpoints and their real aim. Many argue that the checkpoints are not effective in respect to providing Israel with security from resistance attacks and they cite the incident in Dimona as an example. People also argue that the checkpoints cause unnecessary hardship for Palestinians, while making life more secure for Israelis simply because they separate Palestinians from one another, which inhibits opportunities to plan and organize resistance operations and to move weapons. They also effectively create separate areas of living for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. This creates a sense of security for the illegal settlers and other Israelis, while facilitating the Israelis economic control of the West Bank resources, trade and commerce.
All of this makes it very clear that the checkpoints are a major aspect of Israel’s system of apartheid and occupation. Even Israel’s military experts and policy makers admit that the checkpoints are not really part of Israel’s actual security apparatus, yet they do effectively separate the two peoples, who are divided mostly due to religious and not security reasons. Zionism which is the Talmudic religion or ideology, strictly prohibits Jewish Zionists from sharing the land with what they refer to as Goyim, or Gentiles. What this also means in respect to international law, including the Geneva Conventions, is that the checkpoints are legal targets for any Palestinian entity that is interested in eliminating the system of apartheid and occupation in Palestine.
Unfortunately international and Palestinian political pressure to remove the checkpoints has failed, with even US policy makers complaining that Israel’s refusal to dismantle at least the supposedly temporary checkpoints is a violation of its failed peace process agreements.
What this recalcitrance on the part of Israel suggests is that the illegal checkpoints are fair and legal targets for forcible removal by the Palestinian people. Since the checkpoints are manned by armed Israeli soldiers who will use likely lethal force against civilians who attempt to remove the checkpoints, it probably is not a good idea for civilians to target the checkpoints for armed operations. It does suggest that the checkpoints are perfect targets for nonviolent takeovers by mass numbers of Palestinians who have the legal right to peacefully retake their land and to dismantle the checkpoints.
Of course once dismantled by force of numbers, the question is how to keep the roads and land under Palestinian control. Since Israel is already dismantling and abandoning some of the checkpoints, it might be possible for Palestinians to first take control of the abandoned checkpoints, prohibiting Israeli soldiers from using the checkpoints, and also preventing them from becoming operative again. This would require the cooperation of the PA security which is questionable. They mostly serve the occupation.
It also appears completely legal for the Palestinians, with the possible cooperation of the PA, to dismantle the abandoned checkpoints and to reclaim the land upon which they were established. How? By pressuring the checkpoints. Of course, only the Palestinian people can actually answer that question, but what is certain is that the removal of illegal checkpoints, and reclamation of land are key to ending the occupation overall, since the checkpoints and the system of apartheid, while they may not lend much to Israel by way of actual security, they are a major psychological and strategic barrier to Palestinian freedom and unity and essential to sustaining the occupation. The same is true for segments of the illegal wall that Israel has been ordered to remove, but stubbornly refuses.
There are of course those who will argue that such efforts will only lead to Palestinian deaths and Israel tightening the noose on Palestinian villages to prevent future efforts to dismantle, or at least to pressure the occupation at its seams. Consider that Israel will be hard pressed to explain to the international community why it can dismantle checkpoints, but Palestinians can’t dismantle abandoned checkpoints and why Palestinians cannot reclaim the land, especially since it is illegally occupied land. For Israel to resort to massacres or excessive force is not likely or wise, since it would cause Israel to loose the security argument and there are not many people who will accept that Israel has a right to kill Palestinian people in mass at checkpoints, to preserve an illegal system of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and occupation. Also, people frustrated by Israel's arrogance and stubbornness in respect to ending the illegal occupation, might even see the removal of the checkpoints and reclamation of the land by the Palestinians as major and much needed progress towards peace.
If the right strategy is employed, the occupying entity might realize that its system of checkpoints is not sustainable without the use of excessive force and experiencing losses of its own, most importantly, it will loose much of the dwindling support it presently enjoys.That alone would be a major victory for the people of Palestine.There is a good chance that it could also loose some of its security aide from patrons if the case can be made successfully that Israel is in violation human rights law and do is not eligible for continued aide according to the laws of some countries.
2012 Presidential Candidate Anisa Abd el Fattah was born in 1955 into a “family of Baptist ministers.” When her parents divorced, she began attending Catholic schools. She credits this experience with fostering in her “an interest in religion and particularly how religions impact people and the world that we live in and share.” She converted to Islam in the 1980s and began her career in Muslim community work in 1989 as the business director for the Jamaat Ibad el Rahman private school in Jersey City, New Jersey. Prior to joining the school, she had worked as an independent local community activist, working with immigrant Muslim women and families in the New York metro area. It was while employed at the Jammat Ibad el Rahman that Anisa founded the National Association of Muslim Women which became the National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW) in 1994.