What the struggle in Ukraine taught us, Palestinians | Russia-Ukraine struggle

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For the reason that early hours of February 24, when Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, the world at giant has been watching the Ukrainian folks’s bravery and resilience in awe.

As quickly as the primary Russian soldier set foot in Ukraine, hundreds of civilians took up arms and joined Ukrainian troops to defend their homeland in opposition to an indisputably superior army energy. Even after shells began to rain on Ukrainian cities, devastating army infrastructure and residential areas alike, courageous troops and civilians supporting them made it clear that they may proceed to struggle for his or her nation’s freedom till the very finish.

Within the face of this show of dignity and heroism, politicians and diplomats internationally raced one another to sentence Russia’s aggression and name on everybody to place their help behind Ukraine’s “resistance forces”.

And one of many politicians who rushed to voice his help for Ukraine and its folks was Israeli Overseas Minister Yair Lapid.

Talking at a quick information convention, Lapid outlined the “Russian assault on Ukraine” as “a critical violation of the worldwide order”. “Israel condemns that assault and is prepared and ready to supply humanitarian help to Ukrainian residents,” he stated. “Israel is a rustic that has skilled wars, and struggle will not be the way in which to resolve conflicts.”

Many watching this struggle from afar seemingly didn’t pay a lot consideration to what Lapid has stated, or dismissed him as simply one other politician attempting to attain factors by making empty requires peace and solidarity.

However for Palestinians residing below Israeli occupation and apartheid, his defence of and help for the Ukrainian folks was a slap within the face – it was a blatant show of hypocrisy.

And it was not solely Israel’s overseas minister who hypocritically condemned Russia’s invasion and expressed help for the Ukrainian resistance whereas ignoring Israel’s personal actions.

Hundreds of Israelis additionally took to the streets in Tel Aviv “for Ukraine”. And as they marched with Ukrainian flags at hand and chanted “Free Ukraine”, Palestinian residents of the town watched on speechless. In any case, that many Israelis have by no means taken to the streets in Israel to demand a “Free Palestine” or at the very least equal rights for Palestinians residing below their state’s apartheid regime. To make issues worse, they undoubtedly know that every time Palestinians attempt to take to the streets in Israel to say “Free Palestine” and lift their very own flag, they face speedy arrest, police brutality, or worse.

The shock skilled by the Palestinian folks for the reason that starting of the struggle in Ukraine was not brought about solely by the hypocritical actions and phrases of Israeli officers and residents both.

Since February 24, in addition they got here head to head with the inherent hypocrisy of the worldwide neighborhood at giant.

After Russians entered Ukrainian territory, claiming that Ukraine was by no means an actual nation and the land was at all times Russian, all of the Western leaders, media organisations and establishments began to passionately speak about “the illegality of occupations”, “occupied peoples’ proper to armed resistance”, “the significance of sovereignty and nationwide autonomy” – arguments and ideas that they by no means critically put ahead in defence of Palestinian folks and their decades-long wrestle for freedom.

On this previous week, we Palestinians have been shocked again and again, realising that the worldwide neighborhood has been gaslighting us for years.

We discovered that, regardless of what we’ve been experiencing in our homeland, worldwide regulation does exist, and certainly features. States do have the capability and the desire to take motion when a folks invade the land of one other. We discovered that sanctions can be utilized swiftly and effectively in opposition to aggressors and that sanctioning a rustic for its worldwide regulation violations will not be essentially a racist motion. We discovered that civilian casualties will not be simply numbers however precise residing, respiration individuals who genuinely matter. And we additionally discovered from politicians, pundits, analysts and even our very personal oppressors and occupiers, that armed resistance to occupation will not be “terrorism” however a proper.

Certainly, for the previous week, newspapers, web sites and social media have been crammed with tales of Ukrainian “heroism and resistance” – tales about troopers blowing up bridges to delay the method of Russian tanks and sacrificing themselves within the course of, civilians attacking armed autos with no matter they’ve at hand, frequent folks receiving weapons coaching and digging trenches. If any of those tales befell in Palestine quite than Ukraine they’d in fact not be perceived as acts of heroism – they’d be categorised and condemned as “terror”.

Information organisations printed optimistic, even inspiring tales about Ukrainians making Molotov cocktails to assault Russian troopers. The worldwide media, in fact, by no means praised Palestinians for making Molotov cocktails and throwing them at Israeli settlers and their uniformed protectors who attempt to forcibly push them out of their properties, neighbourhoods and villages. When Ukrainians do it in opposition to the Russian occupier, it’s heroism. When Palestinians do it in opposition to the Israeli occupier, it’s only terror.

All through the previous week, we additionally watched populations in Europe overwhelmingly welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms. The identical politicians who handled hundreds of thousands of refugees created by Israel’s unlawful occupation and apartheid at greatest like a nuisance and at worse like a risk to peace for years, delivered public speeches concerning the significance of offering a haven to these being pushed out of their properties by an occupying energy.

And we all know all these realisations weren’t distinctive to us Palestinians. I’m certain many Afghans, Yemenis, Ethiopians, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, Somalis, Kashmiris and others who’ve been on the receiving finish of colonial and imperial violence and oppression have come to comparable realisations as they watched the disaster in Ukraine unfold.

Previously week, I’ve heard so many individuals say “now will not be the time to speak about Palestine, Yemen, Libya or Iraq”. So many seemingly well-meaning folks declare mentioning these double requirements now could be “whataboutism” that’s feeding into Russia’s palms.

However to them, I confidently reply, no – the timing truly couldn’t be any higher to speak about all and each act of army aggression, occupation and oppression around the globe. Now that every one the highly effective Western nations, the worldwide media and even Israel’s rulers appear to publicly settle for that occupation is unhealthy, resistance will not be solely professional however honourable, and all victims of struggle ought to be supported, we should always all begin speaking about Palestine, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir.

On February 26, simply two days into the Russian invasion, Paul Massaro, a senior coverage adviser on the US Fee on Safety and Cooperation in Europe, tweeted: “I’m racking my mind for a historic parallel to the braveness and combating spirit of the Ukrainians and arising empty. How many individuals have ever stood their floor in opposition to an aggressor like this? It’s legendary.”

Effectively Mr Massaro, have you ever ever heard of the Palestinians? We now have been courageously standing our floor in opposition to an aggressor for 73 years. You can not consider a “historic parallel” solely since you view our wrestle not as resistance, however as “terrorism”.

Terrorism and bravado, it appears, are interchangeable. We struggle our oppressors, and we get branded terrorists. Ukrainians do the identical, they usually get applauded for his or her braveness.

Alas, Palestinians nonetheless help all different oppressed peoples’ struggles for liberation. We uplift them in solidarity as a result of we’ve been by way of the identical. We help Ukrainians of their struggle in opposition to the aggressors attempting to steal their lands and their futures too, as a result of we’ve been there ourselves.

However after final week’s occasions, and witnessing the identical media organisations and politicians demonising Palestinian resistance as “terror” publicly admit that defending your homeland and your folks is definitely a very good, noble factor, we perceive every little thing is only a matter of perspective. We perceive that how your actions are seen depends solely on the identification of the aggressor you’re combating. And we don’t assume that is OK, however we settle for it’s what it’s. Maybe as a result of we too are “comparatively civilised”.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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