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Keeping the Momentum Going – Seek ICC Membership
By Fadi Zanayed
The momentum towards achieving a Palestinian State is swinging in favor of the Palestinians. With increased activity by Palestinians and supporters on social media sites with the Boycott;Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS); at college campuses, and in international diplomatic levels, the momentum has shifted. The question facing Palestinians is whether they can keep this momentum going?
The momentum in the social media is increasing. The video showing how Israeli soldiers killed 2 Palestinian children, who posed no imminent danger to the soldiers, during Nakba commemorations has gone viral–so much so that the UN and US State Department have independently called for a transparent investigation. To increase social media activity, the Palestinian authority should require internet and cellular companies in Palestine to install video cameras at major confrontational areas with the occupying Israeli army. Additionally, the Palestine should employ the children of jailed Palestinian political prisoners and pay them for video and picture evidence taken on the atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers. This will justify the payments that are going to families of imprisoned political Palestinians lingering in Israeli military jails.
The momentum with the BDS Movement is also increasing. The actions of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are getting widespread media coverage as they bring forth resolutions before the US universities’ student governments to divest from corporations who profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Many US university student body governments are taking up the issue of divestment. These university student body governments are engaged in a non-violent peaceful and democratic activity to bring public awareness of the Israeli apartheid practices and the US corporations that help Israel continue the occupation.
While the SJP students may not win every vote, the public discourse and awareness generated by these student’s efforts are to be praised.
Israel is pulling all stops to swing the momentum back toward its favor and divert attention to its apartheid regime. University faculty are being provided junkets to Israel to persuade them against supporting divestment movements. Public relation firms are behind advertisement campaigns against the divestment movements on university campuses. Despite all the advertising and junk money, the BDS movement is growing stronger every day.
The momentum on Facebook, Twitter and other social media are also increasing. Each day more and more Palestinians and supporters are posting and sharing stories that bring to light what the Israeli occupation is doing to everyday lives of the Palestinians. Statements, articles, news stories, videos and pictures are being posted. A recent photo-shopped picture of Salma Hayek displaying a “#FreePalestine” message went viral with the message “Perception is Reality.”
The momentum in Palestine is growing stronger and it must continue. The momentum generated by the brave Palestinian youth who daily confront the Israeli terrorist soldiers with rocks is growing–nothing can stop them for their human spirit to be free is insurmountable.
Neither Israel nor her supporters can stop this momentum. Sheldon Adelson’s billions thrown at Republican candidates cannot stop this momentum.
The momentum on all fronts needs to continue to grow, especially the political front.
April, 2013 was a great month for the Palestinian cause, especially on the political front, despite the faltering of the “talks”. The Palestinians sought membership in 15 nternational agencies and a unification agreement was signed by Fatah and Hamas, the two leading parties in Palestine. Even American officials blamed Israel for the faltering of the talks.
To keep this momentum going, a great majority of Palestinians now desire that Palestine seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The momentum for seeking international organization membership and seeking to hold Israeli officials accountable for war crimes is now during President Barrack Obama’s second term. Waiting to take action during a first term US president in 2016 will not be as effective as the new president, wishing to be re-elected in 2020, will then have to appease the supporter’s of an entrenched Israel in return for the political contributions..
Now is the time for Palestine to seek membership in the ICC. President Abbas’ must be under tremendous pressure as he recently stated that Palestine is not seeking such application. He did leave some encouragement when during the swearing in of the new unity government in Palestine he stated that any Israeli punitive action for the reunification between Fatah and Hamas will be countered on the international level.
The will of the Palestinian people in Palestine and in the Diaspora is to seek membership in the ICC. The pressure from a new US president in 2 1/2 years will be much greater as the political momentum will shift if action is not taken now.
President Abbas needs to strengthen the political momentum by seeking membership in the ICC and by bringing to justice those Israelis who have committed war crimes against Palestinians.
President Abbas can use the Nakba Rememberance Day killing of Nadime Siam Abu Nuwara, 17, and Mohammed Awad Salemeh Abu Thaher, 22, by the Israeli soldiers as a justification to seek membership in the ICC. He can use the video which shows that these martyrs posed no imminent threat to the soldiers and thus are criminally liable. This move will give great hope to the Palestinian people, especially in Palestine and it will give the Israeli leaders and soldiers pause before they fire another bullet aimed at Palestinian children.
Despite Israel’s whitewash of this video, President Abbas needs to capture the moment to keep the political momentum going. He has a duty to protect the Palestinian people. Israeli soldiers are killing innocent Palestinians and they need to be brought to justice. ICC membership by Palestine is the next step to keeping the momentum going.
(Fadi Zanayed is an attorney and American-Arab Community Leader. He blogs at http://fadizanayed.blogspot.com. His poetry is at http://poetrybyfadizanayed.blogspot.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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