Edinburgh Action for Palestine were delighted to welcome Nadia Hijab, a well known political analyst, author and journalist to Edinburgh on Sunday 28 October. Hijab is co-founder and board president of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network (https://al-shabaka.org/en/)
In her talk titled Remembrance and Resistance: How We Can Build a Just Future, Hijab acknowledged that in the midst of the various actions by the Trump administration like the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the ‘deal of the century’, it is easy to feel despondent. She acknowledged the worrying alliances between Israel and anti-semitic politicians in Europe like Hungary (1) and Poland (2) and the willingness of the Gulf States to ally with Israel, but she reminded the audience that there is also much to be positive about.
The international solidarity movement is strong, and getting stronger. After Oslo it became weak, but once it became apparent that Oslo was a dead end, particularly after 2000, the movement began to grow in strength again.
Hijab spoke of the many alliances forged particularly in the US with the Black Lives Matter movement and with the Native American movement and said that it was important to forge these links in Scotland as well. The Palestinian solidarity movement is part of a global solidarity movement for human rights.
Hijab spoke of Israel’s attempts to control the discourse in the US and Europe but she does not believe that is working well. In the US many, particularly young, Jews are questioning the increasingly right wing policies of the Israeli government. Attacks on, and attempts to outlaw, the BDS movement are being challenged by those campaigning for free speech.
Within Europe, she continued, the European Union has resisted pressure from the US and Israel to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, instead working to secure EU-Iranian trade in the face of US sanctions.
Hijab also reminded her audience about Khan al Ahmar – it is a very small Bedouin village, the halt to the demolition and transfer of the population is only temporary, but it is important to recognise that the EU can exert some pressure on Israel.
Looking to the future, Hijab told her audience that the sources of power that Palestinians have are too weak to be able to negotiate a just settlement. She said that the question should not be one-state or two-state, but the issue is one of human rights based on international law.
Solidarity groups should be promoting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, (BDS) movement and their call for freedom, justice and equality, upholding the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. We should demand our politicians uphold the law.