✊ SPECIAL NAKBA _ Stop telling Palestinians to be ‘resilient’ – the rest of the world has failed them

Ciarán Browne, The Conversation, May 14, 2018

from Palestine, it’s hard to disagree that we’ve perhaps seen one of the most
inflammatory weeks in recent memory.
Israeli army launches tear gas at protesters on the border with Gaza. EPA/Luca
In just a
few days, several extremely sensitive events have coincided to devastating
effect: the culmination of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip, the relocation of
the US embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the 70th anniversary of
the 1948 Nakba
(from the Arabic, “Immense Catastrophe”) and the start of the holy month of
Ramadan. Throw in for good measure Israel and Iran’s recent clash over the
occupied Golan Heights
and it seems that more than ever, the region is something of a tinderbox.

As 800
guests arrived in Jerusalem to bear witness to the US embassy’s relocation – 33
of them representatives from foreign embassies
– protesters in the Gaza Strip were being shot and killed. In what’s been
dubbed the Great March
of Return
, Palestinians in Gaza (the vast majority of whom are
refugees, or descended from refugees) have amassed at the edge of the territory
to demand their right of return, a right that is protected under international
. So far, their demands have been met with a brutal show of
force, with more than 50
Palestinians shot dead, including children, paramedics and journalists.
Much is
being made of the US’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
and perhaps rightly so. Undoubtedly, that change is symbolically resonant. But
there is a risk that focusing too narrowly on that issue will obscure a far
deeper issue: the continued destruction of the fabric of Palestinian society
and ongoing attacks on Palestinian civil liberties.
As others
have reported,
the embassy move does little to change the actual reality of Palestinians
living under occupation in the city. What it does do is remove any naive notion
that the US is acting as an honest broker for peace.
Those who
are calling the embassy move the death of the
two-state solution
would do well to look more critically at recent
history. Israel has aggressively ramped up the construction of settlements; the
Israeli military has killed scores of Palestinian protesters in Gaza (not just
this week), and civilian infrastructure has been damaged and destroyed across the
Occupied Territories. All the while, world governments have failed to hold
Israel to account.
as Israel entrenches its occupation, the Palestinian National Authority
continues its state-building efforts and the international development industry’s
failures become clear, the Palestinians are being asked to develop a greater
capacity for “resilience”.
‘resilience’ agenda
it seems, is the buzzword of the day. It’s particularly popular in the field of
international development, where it’s used to evoke a capacity to “bounce
back”, survive, or more optimistically “thrive” in the face of extreme
adversity. International organisations have turned their attention to promoting
“resilience” both individually and at community level, to better equip people
to cope and overcome adversity. 
At least
43 people were killed at the May 14 protests. EPA/Luca
at the state of Palestinian society and standards of living today, it’s
abundantly clear that the international development sector has failed in its
mission. And yet a “resilience industry” has taken hold in Palestine, and the
discourse of resilience is everywhere. It has crept into the operational
language of major international organisations, including the United Nations
Development Programme, an organisation that recently hosted two major
international conferences focusing on the development of Palestinian resilience.

agenda is disingenuous on a number of levels, and as it becomes a driving force
in the international development agenda in Palestine, it needs to be viewed
more critically than it currently is. For a start, it’s not clear how its
achievements are to be evaluated. But more than that, Palestinians don’t need
lessons in resilience from an international community that has utterly failed in
its stated mission.
promoting Palestinian resilience instead of holding Israel accountable for its
multiple breaches of international law, and its involvement in the destruction
of Palestinian society, the international community is masking its own failures
– and shamefully abdicating its responsibility to the people it claims to be