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Recent articles by Ilan S.
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Interview with Ilan Shalif (Anarchists Against the Wall)
mashriq / arabia / iraq | anarchist movement | interview Wednesday August 25, 2010 23:44 by Ilan S. - AAtW; ainfos; Matzpen Tel Aviv
Interview with Ilan Shalif (Anarchists Against the Wall)
Alasbarricadas interview Shalif Ilan, a veteran Israeli anarchist activist. We discuss in this interview his views on the situation in Palestine-Israel, following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, and the latest developments in those lands. The situation there is very interesting for anarchist action, since, as Ilan himself said:
ALB. - Hello, Ilan, We'd like to have an idea about the present state of the Israel-Palestine conflict. What stage is now it now, after the construction of the wall, and the attack on the Freedom Flotilla?
I. - As you know the Zionist settler colonialist project tried for more than 120 years to replace the Palestinian people with Jewish immigrants.
They succeeded to replace most of the Palestinians of the 75% of the west bank of the Jordan with Jews in the areas conquered in the 1948 war. Most of them now in Jordan and the areas conquered in 1967 others in Lebanon and all over the words as refugees and their descendants.
In the 1967 war they conquered the rest of the west bank and Gaza strip, but only about third were driven away.
The more than Million Palestinians within Israel are second rate citizens. Additional 1/4 million are the annexed Palestinians inhabitants of east of Jerusalem who are not even second rate citizens.
The struggle is now against the 1967 occupation and the equality for the rest of the Palestinians with the wish of the refugees of both wars to return. Most of the Palestinian elite wish for a Palestinian state instead of the 1967 occupation. They even agree to compromise in return with minimal return of refugees to the 1948 areas.
Most of the Israelis understand that the status quo and advance of the settler colonialist project is impossible.
Many think that one state west of the Jordan river is more appropriate for the end of the advance of Zionist settler colonialist project and for the rights of the Palestinian people.
The extreme rightists who start to understand the status quo and advance of the Zionist settler colonialist project is impossible start to put the one state as preferred by them over two states that will force them to retreat to the 1948 borders.
The building of the wall was a mean to keep part of the 1967 conquered areas within the Israeli state after the immanent retreat from most of the rest of the 25% area of Palestine took in 1967 war.
Thus, the attack on the Gaza flotilla acted as boomerang. It damaged the Israeli international status and as first step forced it to lift most of the harsh pressure on the occupied Palestinians in Gaza mainly.
ALB. - We have some references about the group 'Anarchist Against the Wall' which appears to have been expanding their impact on weekly demonstrations. Could you comment on this group? Where have it came from? What kind of actions they take? What is their influence?
I. - The AAtW (acronym of Anarchists Against the Wall) began as an initiative of activists of the Israeli anarchist scene who wanted to involve more in the struggle against occupation with a direct action mode, in a joint struggle with Palestinian grass root activists against the separation fence.
It started with a bi-national camp in the village Masha near the the planned route of separation fence in the Spring of 2003. It attracted also some other radical people who were not anarchists, but liked the idea of joint non violent direct action against the separation fence and occupation. This composition of participants continue till this day.
(It is not "them" but us... as I was already involved with the Israeli anarchist scene since 1998).
ALB. - According to some reports this struggle against the wall seems to be spreading rapidly. Why now?
It is not rapidly expanding. It took nearly two years of relatively short periods' struggles till the consistent struggle of Bil'in started. It took another two years with few other additional struggles (but non consistent) till the consistent struggles of Ni'ilin and Ma'asara joined.
In recent months, few other local struggles seem to become persistent, and not all of them against the separation fence. Hebron - Al Halil and Nebi Saleh are example of this new trend.
So, it is spreading but not so fast.
ALB. - As for this "anarchist" activism (is it correct to talk about an anarchist activism?), supported by international activists, what is the reaction of Palestinians? I mean, are there some palestinians interested in linking with activist groups and individual people in Israel and the West?
I. - The stile of direct actions with low intensity confrontation with state force is regarded here as the anarchist stile. It involve joint struggle together with the Palestinian grass root activists, (including formal meetings of planing of activities) and invitation for internationals to join.
Success has been so great that even the leaders of Hamas in the West Bank supported our participating in the joint struggle with the local popular committees of the villages...
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has been a Palestinian initiative.
ALB. - We have read some manifests like that of the "Israeli and Palestinian women for peace", We wonder if this is an exception, or whether this tendency to do things jointly are being extended to other social sectors.
I. - The anarchists are not the only Israelis involved with the Palestinian struggle.
The above is one of this initiatives.
ALB. - What happened with Israeli left? Is there anything of it? Are there many anti-Zionist among the Israeli Jewish people?
I. - The so called "Israeli left" was mainly the more realist section of the Zionist settler colonialist camp. Even the Israeli communist Party supported the establishment of Israel in 1948 as so ordered Stalin.
Part of the "Israeli left", were simply liberals or social democrats. Most of it were National Socialists who supported the Zionist settler colonialist project with some "humanistic" consideration.
There never have been many anti-Zionist Jews in Palestine-Israel. Even most of the anti Zionist orthodox Jews in Palestine became gradually pro occupation and settlers after the 1967 war.
However, there is a growing spectrum of non-parliamentary and non-Zionist who can be seen as a kind of New Left.
ALB. - What are the political actors on the Palestinian side? Are there popular alternatives to Mahmoud Abbas (current president of Palestine) or Hamas?
I. - There are some small ex-communist movements and a new independent intellectual movement of Mustafa Burguti. There are also some who are less corrupt among the second generation of Fatah.
ALB. - How has it been felt in the Israeli society, the attack on the Gaza Flotilla? Has there been any reaction?
People were disillusioned about the wisdom of military-political heads. There was also some eye opening caused by the international scandal.
ALB. - Has the anarchists in Israel links with other anarchist in the Arab/Muslim world? Is this possible?
I. - There is a sporadic flow of information, but it is still too dangerous to have direct contacts.
ALB. - We wish you luck and hope you all take care. A few words about the repression you have suffered?
The level of Israeli democracy for Jews is still high.
The state forces cause us some troubles, but no one of the AAtW killed yet, only one of us was seriously wounded, and only three served up to one month in prison (as they refused to pay a not so high fine or refused to do "service to the community work" as alternative to jail time.
When they arrest us for not abiding low, they open criminal cases, but usually released us within hours or seldom after more than 30 hours.
Thu 12 Dec, 14:50
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