Friday, February 12, 2010

Disproportional Imperialism Vs. Proportional Resistance

Occupied Palestine
History has proved that empires and their clients states, including the land they seize, are not eternal. Empires collapse and become dismantled due to resistance movements that bleed their vital resources dry
By Dallas Darling
First Published 2010-02-09
Courtesy Of

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a tree planting ceremony and declared portions of the occupied West Bank were "eternally" a part of Israel, in regards to Palestine he evoked centuries of waves of imperial conquests. Palestine, known as the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe, has been conquered by the Egyptians, Assyrians, Israelis, Babylonians, Greeks, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, Christian crusaders, and the Ottoman Empire. Britain, France and America, through their client state Israel, are the most recent empires to try and subjugate Palestine.

After World War I, the British understood Palestine's geo-political and strategic importance. Not only did Britain establish mandates for Palestine under its control, but it also paved the way for massive Jewish immigration and settlement that still provokes conflict and tension today. Under the mandates and the Balfour Declaration, Britain was able to control oil from Iraq, oversee the Suez Canal, and establish Jewish settlements to be later used against Palestinian resistance movements.

Support for Zionism and the creation of a Jewish State, including control of Palestine, was initially conferred to the United Nations (UN) and then France. Although the UN was established as an allegedly objective governing body, it acted imperialistically by granting most of Palestine to the Jews who only constituted 30 percent of the population. Western powers also committed one of the greatest betrayals in history as they turned their backs on Arabs who had helped them defeat Nazism. During this time too, France supplied Israel with military aid, equipment and fuel for Israel's nuclear ambitions. This changed with the outbreak of the Cold War.

As nationalist and socialist regimes emerged in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, and as these nations opposed American hegemony and corporate globalization, the US moved closer to Israel. With the start of the 1967 Six Day War, US military aid came pouring into Israel and aided Israel's conquest of Egypt's Sinai peninsula, the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Syria's Golan Heights. While the US celebrated Israel's expansion into Palestine as a victory over the Soviet Union, more Palestinian Arabs were added to the already 700,000 permanent refugees.

After the 1967 Six Day War, Western intellectuals, apologists and ideologists safeguarded their interests by defining Palestinians and Arabs. Articles and movies appeared in the mass media showing them as lesser peoples, with lesser rights, morals, and claims. Europe and the US portrayed Arabs as sleazy "camel jockeys," terrorists, and offensively wealthy "sheikhs." Perceptions and political attitudes were molded and manipulated by claiming the Arab world was crude, anti-Christian, and militant. (Palestinians and Arabs are finally regaining their self-definition, which was stolen by imperial powers.) (1)

Soon, the US replaced Britain and France as the dominant empire in the world. While backing Israel with billions of dollars of military and economic aid, it could control Middle Eastern oil and threaten the underbelly of the Soviet Union. US supremacy was ensured in the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan War. The war sent a message to the region regarding America's military might and advanced weaponry. While the Nixonian-Reagan Doctrines made Israel a fixed strategic asset, through Israel's armed struggles the American Empire became permanently entangled in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Iran.

Under the Clinton and Bush Administrations, the Oslo Declaration of Principles and the vision for a Palestinian State alongside Israel have yet to be realized. Tragically, the Global War On Terror has been used as a pretext to send more arms and military aid to Israel. It has also been used as a pretext to contain Arab and Islamic nationalistic movements in Palestine and Iran. The US has even used the excuse of protecting Israel to occupy some Islamic nations, like Iraq and Afghanistan, and to build a future missile defense shield.

However, and history has proved, empires and their clients states, including the land they seize, are not eternal. Empires collapse and become dismantled due to resistance movements that bleed their vital resources dry. Already the Palestinian Authority has questioned how US-backed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could claim occupied territory as part of sovereign Israel. At the same time, Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and more than likely, will continue to resist the Jewish State. There will be many more nonviolent Intifadas too that will resist disproportional imperialism.

Over time, the myths of empires and their proxy states are diminished. This was evident when Israel invaded Gaza last year killing 1,500 Palestinians. While Hamas investigated its alleged war crimes and has absolved Palestinian armed groups of any atrocities, Israel has not. Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups are backed by other nations, like Syria and Iran. Turkey and Saudi Arabia has expressed support for Palestinian statehood. Even the Palestinian Authority has told the American Empire that in order to revive peace talks, Israel must halt its expansion of settlements into the West Bank.

Eventually, the world will recognize the futility of disproportional imperialism in Palestine and embrace proportional resistance. More global activists will resist the blockade against Gaza and protest Israel's military incursions. Deadly checkpoints and night time raids will be questioned too, as will the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, the demolition of their homes, and assassinations that neglect the rule of law. Harsh measures used by the US and its Zionist State to suppress its own citizens, who want to peacefully coexist with Palestine, will backfire and only add momentum to defeating disproportional imperialism.

It is no wonder President Barack Obama said peace in the Middle East was really hard. What makes it difficult is disproportional imperialism. Instead of planting trees, Israel's prime minister and the US should be planting peace by uprooting illegal settlements and making every effort to live peacefully with Palestinians. Due to years of imperialism, they should also offer indemnity to refugees. Until then, Palestinian resistance groups and their supporters will continue to reverse decades of disproportional imperialism. For those who believe they have no stake in an independent Palestinian State, remember that empires and their imperial ambitions eventually devour their own.

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas' writings at and darling.

Note: (1) Said, W. Edward. Culture And Imperialism. New York, New York: Random House, Inc., 1993. p. 36.

No comments: