There is a direct association between the situation of Indigenous Palestinian people who have been invaded by Israel and Indigenous peoples who have been invaded by other settler colonizers. Examples include the Tibetans (invaded by China), Indigenous peoples in Australia (invaded by Britain), Indigenous peoples in the USA (initially invaded by Britain, France, Spain and other European countries and subsequently invaded by the USA), Indigenous people in Hawai'i (invaded by the USA), and Indigenous peoples in East Timor and West Papua (invaded by Indonesia). Settler-colonial invasion is not simply a matter of racial prejudice, though the Natives whom settlers dispossess are usually demonized in racist terms by the settlers. Rather, settler colonialism is a zero-sum contest in which the settlers come from outside with the intention of stealing the Natives' homelands and removing the Natives from them, by whatever means they choose to remove them. Palestinians are currently in the situation that Native Americans faced at the very moment they were first being driven from their ancestral homelands. The frontier is now - in occupied East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and surrounded Gaza. Millions of other Palestinians languish in the exile that Israeli militias drove them into in 1948, when they stole their country and their homes. Other Palestinians live as second-class citizens inside Israel. As an invaded, dispossessed and dispersed people, Palestinians are currently enduring the Native plight at its most extreme. The experience of settler invasion is what binds them so closely to Native Americans. Their situation is comparable to the situation of Indians undergoing removal in the 1830s. The relevance to readers of Indian Country Today is that Native Americans can share some of their historical experience with invaded Palestinians - a violent and oppressive historical experience that they have endured at the hands of the one settler society that is currently providing Israel with the means to carry out its inhuman violation of Palestinian people's inalienable rights.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 23:55