zaytoun: a call for the nonviolent liberation of the palestinian people by the palestinian people
I have written this with the help of some Palestinian friends, and believe it to be the only option left the nation of Palestine. We have all of us, citizens of the world, been too long lost and taken advantage of by the powers that seek to rob all of man of its humanity. I hope there rings in this second draft something that rings of truth.
A call for the nonviolent liberation of the Palestinian people by the Palestinian people
It is our belief that the end of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine can only come when the Palestinian people unite under a single banner of nonviolence. It is our goal to weave and plant this banner in the heart of the Palestinian nation and beckon the winds to keep the banner waving.
Our fathers’ fathers have grown up in chains and this nation has forgotten what it means to be free. The Palestinian people have died beside the Palestinian people, prisoners in their own homes, wrists and ankles shackled. We would sink if not for the thickness of our earth, Palestine.
Growing up unfree, we have become overaccustomed to the current habit of conflict, a habit that tears holes in our homes, leaving beds empty, and has taken our brothers from beside us and put them behind bars of glass in metal frames where they will live forever after. We have allowed ourselves to accept the methodologies of our enemy and have allowed their weapons to become our weapons.
In chains, we have learned to hate.
In jails, we have learned to anger.
In fear, we have listened to the raining of bullets and the snowing of missiles, the thunder of tanks and the weathers of violence, and conflated them with victory for they were in the hands of our oppressors.
But we have made a great error, for we have confused our enemies with the innocent and have unwittingly surrendered ourselves to harvesting hate for a machine of violence. We have each of us become farmers in the pastures of our souls, planting blood and feeding its fruit to a tireless machine, a worship of hate. It is this machine that we must fight, not its puppets.
When we allow ourselves to hate, we feed a conflict that feeds on our hate, we make it impossible for our people to liberate themselves. For our freedom can only come when the Palestinian people unite under a desire to end conflict, not persist it. When we use violence we call violence upon ourselves and justify a hate that desires the death of all man, a hate that seeks to make us forget that our enemies are human, a hate that seeks to make our enemies for that we are human.
It is our belief that the liberation of our people will come when we DECIDE no longer to be occupied, for in submitting to the dialogue of violence we are implicitly supporting the reign of the occupation over us. It is our belief that we must use the only true resource left the Palestinian people: our bodies and our wills. We must force the Israeli people to recognize that they have been fooled into thinking that we are unlike them. We must force the world to remember that the Palestinian people are.
We must force them to see that our government has been purchased by our oppressor and that our olive trees are being stolen, our streets are being destroyed, and our nation is turning into a series of islands in a sea of death. We are disappearing slowly and by reacting against our misfortune with violence, we play into the system that facilitates our disappearance. We erase ourselves.
Previous attempts at wresting the Palestinian people free have failed because they were dependent upon broken systems, and did not recognize the possibility of the Palestinian people freeing themselves, they have relied on politics and weapons that do not work in the hands of the oppressed. They have been unclear in their goals, unclear in their methodologies and have been so numerous and separate that no one cause has been able to achieve the critical mass necessary to act in concert.
Our goal is clear: The end of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, which we define as follows.
I. The nation of Palestine will be demarcated by the lines drawn in 1949 and will be constituted of the what are now known as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We cannot identify our goal as the destruction of the nation of Israel, for we must be the first to vie for compromise or else the circle of violence will never end. Unmoving, solid compromise.
II. The people of Palestine will be given to governing themselves, exercising complete political, social, and economic autonomy insofar as is possible in the world today.
III. All walls, physical and otherwise, meant solely to constrain, inhibit, force, and in any way discomfort the Palestinian people must be torn down, for they were constructed by the machine of hate so that our enemy would not see us our eyes and noses and arms and legs and instead envision us as invisible animals. Robbed of sight, we confuse the innocent for our enemies.
IV. All Palestinians abroad who have been displaced by the aggression and violence of the Israeli nation must be given express Right of Return, and the cost must be covered by both the nations of Palestine and Israel, as a gesture of future peace and a moving past from years of blind oppression.
V. Once the nation of Palestine is established, all Israeli settlers will be given the choice to either return to Israel or to continue to live their lives as our brothers and sisters, as Palestinian Jews.
VI. East Jerusalem will be the capital of the nation of Palestine.
Our intentions are fair and our goals are just, and the world will see us as people, and as invisible animals no longer. We will achieve these goals with peace and with nonviolence, for they are the only tools left to us and the only tools of a truly just and honest cause.
We cannot let the Occupation allow us to give up, for that is its goal. To rob us of hope and to convince us that because we do not have as many weapons of violence as our enemy, we cannot win. After years of unsuccessful combat, those of our fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers who still live have allowed themselves to believe that the occupation cannot end. But that is because they fight an illusion and have had no true enemy. Our enemy is not Israel, it is the power of hate that has taught Israel to dehumanize us and consider us their enemy. And we must fight that power by choosing.
The Palestinian people must choose no longer to live under Occupation.
The Palestinian people must choose no longer to live a life of illusory stability, for the longer we wait to stop the machine, the closer we come to the complete disappearance of the nation of Palestine and its people.
Our Methodology is clear. The Palestinian people must stop cooperating. The Palestinian people from Hebron to Nablus to Jenin, from olive tree to olive tree, must turn off their lights, turn off their cars, shut down their homes, and choose no longer to live under Occupation.
We must, for the first time in history, martyr the entirety of our people with nonviolence. We must forsake food and sight and touch and breath if need be to convince the Israeli people and the world that the Palestinian people are. We must take the power back from the leaders of Palestine and the leaders of Israel who have become voices of the machine of violence, and liberate ourselves.
We must liberate ourselves not from Israel, but from the hate that governs it. We must force the Israeli people to see us as human beings again, we must force them and the people of this world to recognize that we are people, truly people who are cold in the cold and warm in the warm, we desire only the right to plant olives in our own earth and tend them and harvest their fruit and pass these trees to our children.
We must break the rules of war and violence, of global conduct, we must speak in a language that no one has ever heard, a collective voice of peace. We must starve for our freedom, and thirst for our freedom. We must be blind and poor for our freedom because the only way to remind the world and our enemies that we are filled with life is by robbing ourselves of it. We must show them, truly show them, that what they have been fooled into desiring is the death of an entire people. A living loving god-created people.
Palestinians, we must starve for our nation and we must thirst for our freedom.
We have watched man kill itself and hunger itself and strangle itself and the Great Powers of the world have written laws and rules for the global discourse and interchange of the modern human. These laws and rules condemn almost a century of crime perpetrated by the nation of Israel, yet nothing is done. Palestine, this is evidence enough that we cannot trust to the politics and empty words of the united nations of the world, for they create these rules only to protect themselves and legitimize their economic, social, and cultural monopoly of humankind. Palestine, we must cease to grovel at the feet of Presidents and Emperors and Rulers and instead stand hand in hand with the people they claim to serve.
We must appeal to humanity, and bypass the systems of power that seek to melt down the bonds of brotherhood and community to make walls and chains. Palestine, when we turn to violence our people die and the Israeli government is able to steal our land in silence while its people are more and more filled with hate for us, and the eyes of the world are turned not to the injustice of the Occupation but to the injustice of individual missiles and bombs. We may win or lose the small battles of violence, but everyday that we do not band together under a banner of nonviolence, we lose our land, our future, and our hope.
Palestine, we must turn off our lights and turn off our cars and open our doors and open the roofs of our homes to the sky. We must stand unblinking and let the light and air of Allah breathe through us and clear from us the black exhaust that we have breathed in. We must no longer trust to a single voice or a single means to achieve our freedom while we go about our days ignoring the occupation and implicitly supporting our enslavement and the enslavement of our families. We must instead, each and every last one of us fight with our two eyes that were given to us by god. With our two ears that were given to us by god. With our two legs that were given to us by god. With our two arms that were given to us by god open wide and empty palmed and eager not to kill but to emancipate.
Palestine, we will crowd the open air and we will become as a great mass of man and woman and child and when they raise their guns to us we will raise our open arms to them and some of us will die because they will know us only for our violence. But they cannot kill all of us, and we will drown them in a reminder: We are Palestine, we are not terrorists and invisible animals. When your government tells you that we die you cheer because you have forgotten that we breathe. You have forgotten that we love our children also. You have forgotten that we hunger, We are palestine, we are not terrorists and invisible animals.
Palestine, do not be tired by years of defeat, but recognize that they are evidence in the ineffectiveness of violence and the need for Zaytoun.
When they raise their guns and shoot us in our peace the world will watch and they will see the justness of our sorrow, and the Israelis will see the injustice of their governments and they will remember that we are also a people. But we must lead. We must be the first to remember that they too love and hate and hunger and thirst, for there is nothing left for us. Our land is being stolen and our mothers and fathers are becoming tired and the violence of our leaders further endangers our people and our cause, making us into terrorists for the world to continue to condemn and hate. We must be the first to remember and the last to forget that we all of us are filled with oceans of blood and our hearts are as the reflections of the stars on its surface, our dreams the clouds.
There must be one goal and one goal only: the end of the causes of the occupation, the silent, systematic dismantlement of our homeland, and the destruction of the Palestinian people. We must stop relying on others to fight for us, hoping that things will solve themselves. We must unite and liberate now.
This is greater than a movement or a political party or an organization, this is a call to prayer for the future. This is a call to prayer for our children and our families and the memories of our forefathers. This is a call for the collective action of every Palestinian to choose, instantly and perfectly, not to be occupied. Not to be occupied by Israel, not to be occupied by hate, not to be occupied by violence.
God will care for us in our travail, and the people of the world will see us for what we are: the hungry, the thirsty, the forgotten. We are, let us make sure they can never again forget. Let us be visible.