We are standing by our Palestinian sisters!

We will not remain silent against misogyny for fear of being called “Islamophobic” or “anti-Semitic”

We are standing by our Palestinian sisters!

The populous narrow strip of Gaza along the Mediterranean sea has been bombed and devastated for more than twenty days. This barbarism is cloaked in mouth-watering slogans such as “democracy”, “peace” and numerous international treaties with the “most stable democracy in the Middle East”. Over this period the Israeli army has bombed Gaza from the air, sea and land and slaughtered over 1900 Palestinians, more than two-thirds of whom were civilians and at least twenty percent children.

If the massacre of women and children at the UN-sponsored school is not a “ war crime”, and If this “ slow genocide” and “ ethnic cleansing” is not systematic, what else are they? Why are civilians being brutally attacked for any excuse by a gradual system of massacres by Israel that randomly bomb neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and beaches? This shows that the mass killing of Palestinian civilians is Israel's main weapon for carrying out their policy of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Some defenders of Israel’s ethnic cleansing declare that there are no non-military Palestinian civilians! Ayelet Shaked from The Jewish Home party, who is in the government, wrote on a web page: “All Palestinians are our enemies. Even Palestinian women must be killed as they bear and rear snakes.”

The US is supporting this crime and has announced that they understand Israel’s “security concerns”. Angela Merkel has also approved the invasion of Gaza, while David Cameron shows his consent by silence. Under the pretext of “violence from both sides”, “ Israel versus Hamas”, etc. the pro-capitalist media have once again tried to cover up the truth about these massacres as part of concealing the filth and criminality of an unjust world saturated with oppression and exploitation. They are doing their utmost to save Israel as the most important ally of the US in the region.

Israel not only has succeeded in turning Gaza into a huge ghetto, but it has also appointed and trained prison guards from the prisoners themselves. Not long ago, the Palestine liberation movement was a source of hope and inspiration for progressive movements regionally and worldwide. But through the “Oslo peace process”, the autonomous government of Palestine, under the pretext of protecting the peace process, has collaborated closely with the CIA and Israel’s Shin Bet in suppressing the resistance of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  Arafat died but the illusion that people can obtain some of their rights through collaborating with their oppressor lives on.

This situation created an opportunity for outmoded Islamic forces that had long been compromising and collaborating with Israel to present themselves as an alternative. Such groups were originally created by the USA and Israel to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was secular.

But Hamas, like other fundamentalist forces such as the Islamic Regime of Iran, was and still is seeking to create an Islamic identity for the Palestinian people, and central to that, to create an identity for Muslim women in which the Hejab is its flag and concentrated expression.

While Palestine’s women were always part of the Palestinian national movement, their role and visibility during the first intifada (1987-92) was qualitatively different from any earlier time. While Palestinian women were the “skeleton”, the backbone, of the first intifada, they became the skeletons in the closet of the second intifada. Women were explicitly asked to be mostly spectators and victims. It is not surprising that in this context, the female suicide bomber, along with her male counterpart, emerges in national discourse as a key means of challenging the “spineless” Arab men. The most dangerous use of the image of the female suicide bomber in Islamic debates is to wipe out the history of women fighters in the Palestinian resistance and to reduce their role to being essentially “wives” and “mothers”.

Today, we must look at the Palestinian struggle, its people and particularly women and rebellious youth as representing the anger of oppressed people in the Middle East. Putting aside nostalgia and exaggerated and irrational ways of looking at this struggle, we need to see the painful and demoralizing facts, alongside which there are true solutions. Today the people of Palestine, like people around the world, and Palestinian women like the rest of the world’s women, are bound by the shackles of backward imperialism and religious fundamentalism. We must not take refuge in one for fear of the other. The Palestinian struggle clearly shows that neither negotiation with imperialism nor Islamism, nor Israel’s invasive wars, offer any solution to ending this horrific brutality, where women are the main victims. However, women have the most potential to radically change society. Their presence in the struggle for Palestinian liberation has been the source of inspiration for the entire region and the world. Once again another generation of young, combative women should step forward, not only to challenge all the reactionary patriarchal forces, but also to carry out maximum resistance and struggle. A struggle in which the role of religion in subjugating women and society, and the crimes of Israel and the USA, are exposed without fear of being called “Islamophobic” or “anti-Semitic”. We will not again remain silent against misogyny. Our protests against Israel’s ethnic cleansing and genocide do not mean we endorse the reactionary policies of Islamist forces like Hamas and their allies such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and the Islamic Regime of Iran.

 We Iranian women expose the crocodile tears of the Iranian Regime, whose true intention through this struggle is to advance their reactionary interests. We stand in opposition to all other outmoded Islamic forces and imperialism, and we extend our solidarity to our Palestinian sisters and people. We stand by you to smash this systematic violence and barbarism. Your fight is our fight!

8mars women organization (Iran-Afghanistan)

August 2014

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