The Guardian • Issue #2097

Palestine and the world

Part two of the CPA’s interview with His Excellency Izzat Abdulhadi, Palestinian Ambassador to Australia.

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2097
Monastery of Saint Theodosius, Palestine.

Monastery of Saint Theodosius, Palestine. Photo: Britchi Mirela – (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Part one: ‘Palestinian Ambassador speaks’ Issue #2096 29-04-2024

Interviewer: A Carruthers

AC: Thinking about the PLO and the various progressive forces in Palestine reminds me of the National Progressive Front in Syria, which includes Arab nationalist as well as communist and socialist forces, and the necessity for unity between them. As for external, international relations, we hear that Russia and China have been working with the Palestinian Authority. There’s also been a strong response from the Global South, from Brazil for instance. Do you think that these kinds of forces have a positive role to play now?

IA: Yes, this is very important, actually, that Palestine has become a significant issue on the global agenda. Palestinian self-determination enjoys huge support from the Global South as you mentioned; Brazil, Cuba, countries in Asia such as Indonesia and Malaysia, most Latin American countries, and African countries. In addition to, importantly, Russia and China. We clearly observe the growing political influence of China in the international arena and its clear political support for Palestinian self-determination.

We should also note the systemic and gradual progress of the Western Bloc towards supporting self-determination of the Palestinian people, at the grassroots level and at the elites’ level. As an example, support for the two-state solution is growing among Jewish communities in the United States, especially the young generation; it is estimated that 37 per cent of Jewish youth in the US support the establishment of a Palestinian state. Likewise in Europe we have huge support, although they are unable to recognise Palestinian statehood without consensus among all members of the European Union.

140 countries have now recognised the State of Palestine. We’ve signed 50 international treaties. We have been upgraded to observer non-member status at the United Nations and soon, we hope to achieve full membership at the UN.

AC: I’d like to talk about the cultural side. The other day we published a piece on Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet. What about the culture of Palestine, both modern and ancient culture?

IA: Maybe this is an exaggeration, but it is said that Palestine is the cradle of civilisation! [laughter] A strong statement, but it includes aspects of truth. The Palestinian people historically have had a very strong culture. Even if you look at religion, as a cultural aspect, Palestine has been really important as it was and continues to be holy to the three Abrahamic religions.

In addition to the history, Palestine has a vibrant modern culture. If you look to our writers, novelists, poets; all are inspired by the struggle against colonisation, occupation, and apartheid, and now against Israeli genocide in Gaza. Our own intellectuals, artists, and painters represent Palestinian resistance and the resilience of the Palestinian people. Palestinian culture has been a significant tool for non-violent resistance against colonisation and self-determination.

AC: In a poem by Darwish there’s a striking line, ‘The war will end.’ We wish for this day, but we know it may be far ahead. The Communist Party of Australia has supported Palestinian struggle  and will do so far into the future. What are some short-term and long-term goals for this struggle?

IA: Firstly, I want to express our appreciation for the CPA’s position of continuous support for the self-determination of the Palestinian people and Palestinian statehood. Although of course it is still a small Party, its ideas, history, and intellect will definitely assist in the CPA playing a huge role here in Australia to promote and advocate for Palestinian rights.

Actually, the Communist movement in Palestine was very crucial in advancing Palestinian resistance. We’re very appreciative of the historical and current role of the Communist Party in Palestine. It’s the oldest Party – it was active before 1948, already advocating and struggling for our rights.

Regarding goals: in the short-term, we should focus on the genocide in Gaza, violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and the apartheid system. I know you’re participating in the rallies, issuing statements in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as international advocacy towards these objectives.

Another proposal for advocacy in the short-term is a lobbying strategy: it’s important to talk to MPs and other officials and lobby them, either at the state or federal level.

A third aspect of effective advocacy is networking and coordination processes, such as talking to unions, civil society organisations, academics, faith-based organisations, health organisations among others.

Fourthly, it is valuable and important to conduct effective media and social media strategies; the Guardian is an example. It’s important to promote the Palestinian story and explain to the public about what’s happening.

These are four aspects of an effective advocacy strategy.

In the long-run, I think the CPA supporting the self-determination of the Palestinian people, and statehood is crucial. The most important task to achieve this objective is to link the current struggle in Gaza and the so-called ‘day after’ to long-term political solutions – this is the establishment and recognition of the State of Palestine on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital.

It is imperative to lobby the Australia government to recognise the State of Palestine immediately, as a major and tangible contribution towards peace and justice in the Middle East.

We’d also like support for an international or regional conference to solve the Palestinian issue based on international law and UN resolutions.

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