Review & photos by Theresa Wolfwood “The victory against Israeli apartheid, colonialism, and racism that I am convinced Palestinians and their allies have in their power to make will not be theirs alone. It will belong to everyone who believes in, and fights for, equality and justice.”
Abunimah is the director & creator of: www.electronicintifada.net and author of ONE COUNTRY: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, review: http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2012/09/abunimah-ali-one-country-a-bold-proposal-to-end-the-israeli-palestinian-impasse-2006-metropolitan-books-us
The Battle for Justice in Palestine, his latest book is an important contribution to the contemporary literature of Palestine. Abunimah reports on little known connections between Palestine’s occupation and internal events in the USA. His insights into the political landscape of Palestine’s place in the world are important for solidarity activists and scholars alike. His reference notes are extensive and important to research and understanding.
He documents the close ties between Israel’s security and prison industries with those of the USA-both based on systemic racism, and the collaboration and neoliberalism of the Palestine Authority which panders to rich elites, the IMF and other institutions and provides a model of how to destabilize other countries. He provides details of how Israel fights back against the growing support for Palestinian rights in the USA and Europe. He questions the right of Israel to be a Jewish State – the fundamental pillar of Zionism.
Although Abunimah is very clear about the obstacles to justice in Palestine, he is equally clear about the future of self-determination for Palestinians. He provides details of the increasing support for Palestinian self-determination by international solidarity activists, Christian churches, divestment strategies in USA universities and the growing success globally of the BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement, including the right of return of exiles. “Israel’s panic about the growing BDS movement is an important piece of evidence that this campaign is already working.”
Photo: Boycott Sodastream activists in Brussels
Writing about South Africa and its struggles to overcome apartheid and to create a democratic nation, he states that the success of this change was the delegitamization of the apartheid regime and the final acceptance by the white minority of peaceful change. This could happen in Israel where 22% of the population is Arab and where there is small but significant movement for a one democratic state (with the right of return) among Jewish Israelis. He writes that the situation of Palestine and Israel may have some differences from other examples, such as South Africa and Northern Ireland, but , “the message is simply this: we don’t need to allow our vision of justice to be constrained only by what seems realistic from the perspective of today, and especially not by what powerful and privileged groups deem acceptable or pragmatic…Things change because people change them- and as situations change, so do the boundaries of what is considered achievable. But it starts with knowing where you want to go.”
In his last chapter, Abunimah quotes another scholar on the ‘Principle of Self-Determination’ who states that the right to self-determination belongs to the legitimate residents of any region whose status is unsettled. A definition which applies to all Palestinians.
“There has never been a more opportune moment for Palestinians to put forward their demands for decolonization, equality and justice in clear, principled, visionary and inclusive terms. The tenacious resistance on the ground…and the global BDS movement need to be complemented by a program worthy of such efforts and sacrifices. Our energy should be invested in developing support for such a program rather than worrying about the minutiae of moribund negotiations…It is into this new territory that the battle for justice in Palestine is now decisively shifting.”
co-author Nadia Abu-Zahra at Beit Zatoun, Toronto