On the 7th of October 2023, Palestinian resistance groups launched what can only be described as the largest offensive against Israel since 1973. The action (which comes almost 50 years to the day since the Yom Kippur War), has seen Palestinian resistance fighters attack via land, air, and sea, taking both settlers and military officials as hostages and killing over 1,000 Israelis.
The action has been condemned by the EU and US, both of whom are reassessing their aid to Palestine and are sending military hardware to provide backing to an Israeli establishment which was caught with their pants down.
The large-scale offensives carried out by Palestinian resistance groups have, however, also garnered the sympathy of many in the global south. While there is a call for an end to the violence, these statements from the global south correctly lay the blame for this at the feet of Israel which they unflinchingly condemn as an apartheid state.
However, this outpouring of Global South backing for an oppressed people, a people who according to international law and common sense, are occupied, was unfortunately not shared by the Prime Minster. Rather than condemn the illegal occupation, our PM found it fit to join the likes of the US, EU and UK, in condemning the Palestinian resistance fighters and expressed sympathy for the occupying force.
In doing this, the PM continues his agenda – it has long passed the stage where we can call it simply a habit, of destroying any and all good standing Jamaica has with the global south in order to kiss up to the fading hegemonic power and its satrapies.
The condemnation of the resistance fighters, from all over Palestine, is a slap in the face of Jamaica and Jamaicans who have a long history of standing up to colonial aggression.
More worrying, the condemnations raise the question, does the PM and his team know international law? Is the foreign ministry staffed by incompetents who are unaware of the fact that an occupied people have not just a right, but a duty to use any and all means up to and including violence to liberate themselves?
As sad as it is that non-combatants were killed, does this mean the Palestinians deserve less sympathy than the guerillas who fought to liberate Zimbabwe and who also killed non-combatants?
The PM in expressing sympathy solely for Israel and none for the Palestinians who have tried every method under the sun to achieve liberation, hopes not only to gain brownie points from the US etc. who are taking stock of what countries are saying, but also to further cement the relationship emerging between the government and the far-right apartheid regime.
This is bad in many ways. Potential moves to get closer to gulf nations may very well hit turbulence as a result of this, but more importantly, this further erodes the moral capital we hold internationally, moves us further away from the Non-Aligned Movement, and makes Jamaica a non-entity when it comes to discussions with the part of the world that is fast on the rise.
The Palestinian question is one of the last remaining colonial questions. It, along with a few other places such as the Western Sahara, represent the final bastions of the putrid idea that is settler colonialism, and it should be shocking that our diplomats and political leaders have chosen the side of the oppressor as opposed to the oppressed.
The condemnation of the Palestinians augurs poorly for the planned military intervention in Haiti and shows the hand of those people including the PM who have been calling for such an intervention. If you cannot support the Palestinians in what is a black-and-white situation of an anti-colonial struggle, how will they make sense of an even more complex situation that is Haiti?
Will they, as they have done here, take the side of the oppressor? Will the protesters in Port-au-Prince be viewed as enemies whose actions are condemned by global leaders?
The abandoning of principles which we have held for over a century as a people (an anti-colonialist mindset) by the leaders, in this one instance chips away from the glorious legacy we can lay claim to as a nation. It is, in no uncertain terms a slap in the face.
No condemnation of the Palestinian citizens killed before or during this conflict, no condemnation of the explicit siege war that Israel has imposed (an action which is illegal under international law) and no condemnation of the starvation tactics Israel has ramped up is all the evidence we need that our PM who likes to think he holds sway on the international scene is nothing more than a minstrel actor playing up to his master.
He is no Mia Mottley, he is no Ralph Gonsalves, he is no John Briceño. He is not for the third world, he is not for the anti-imperial struggle.
The Palestinian struggle will continue, and they will be successful in their fight for liberation. The question then will be, just as it was when apartheid fell in South Africa, whose side were you on, what licks did you take? It is shameful that in an attempt to cozy up to a country which barley knows we exist outside the form of an incubator for its companies. We have fallen a long way, the government does not even attempt to reflect the stance of the masses in order to maintain an illusion.
There will be more actions until Palestine is free, hopefully we will by then have leaders who are big enough to stand on the right side of an issue and the right side of history.