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(en) Italy, FDCA, il Cantiere #23: Solidarity beyond borders - Peace and self-determination for the people of the Middle East - Alfio Nicotra, National Co-President Un Ponte Per. (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 3 Mar 2024 07:55:04 +0200

On the map of the Middle East the conflict is spreading like an oil stain. Those who thought that the war would stop in Gaza - a territory now reduced to rubble - and the West Bank must think again. ---- The domino effect is there for all to see. In Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen there is fighting in several places even though, like tightrope walkers, the little bit of diplomacy that survives the new dogma of war as a natural resolution of crises is keeping the most instincts in check. incendiary. But the rope is so tense that it risks, sooner rather than later, breaking.

The Palestinian question, considered dead and buried before October 7, has forcefully returned to the agenda. All the architecture built for a peace without Palestinians, the so-called "Abraham's Peace" between Israel and the Gulf petrocracies, has been shattered. Just as the idea cultivated for almost three decades by Tel Aviv was shattered - from the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the hands of a Zionist extremist onwards - of an Israeli security based on the most technologically advanced security technologies, on muscular strength of the fourth strongest army in the world and on the apartheid legislation with which it was intended to neutralize any desire for revolt of the Palestinian people.

Of course, on 7 October Hamas and its allies were guilty of crimes against humanity by indiscriminately targeting civilians, but no fight against terrorism can legitimize the destruction of 80% of the buildings in Gaza, the deportation of 2.3 million Palestinians, the systematic attack on everything that, under international law, should enjoy protection and should be excluded from war operations (hospitals, schools, churches, mosques, headquarters of NGOs or humanitarian organizations, refugee camps, etc.).

The silence and complicity of our Government and those of the European Union in the face of the massacre of civilians produced every day by the IDF (the Israeli armed forces) is not just fearfulness towards the Netanyahu government: it is a real promissory note in white given to Israel which hides an objective racist undertone. Would we have ever allowed the London government to raze the Catholic neighborhoods of Belfast in the name of the IRA's war on terrorism? Or should the government of Madrid, in order to strike the ETA militants, displace the population of San Sebastian in the Basque country by military force?

The blaming of all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip for having voted for Hamas in 2006 is unacceptable from every point of view. The dignity of the international community was safeguarded only by the initiative of the South African government (later followed by a dozen countries) to denounce Israel to The Hague for violation of the genocide treaty. UN Secretary General Gutierrez - more than a hundred workers from United Nations agencies were killed in the field by Israeli bombings - tried to invoke the ceasefire as an indispensable precondition but was blocked by the right of veto unexpectedly used by the Use to protect Israel.

In this context, the ejaculation on "two peoples, two states" repeated like a psalm by our rulers to save their consciences now appears useless. This is not only because the territories on which, according to the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian state was supposed to arise have in fact been eaten up by the new colonies, but also because of the failure of the idea of the "Nation State" which in the Middle East meant the creation of states invented by 'high by the colonial powers. Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, confessional states, pure ethnically or by religious affiliation, have often been the cause of civil and power wars that have bloodied the whole area.

The idea of a plurinational, multiethnic and plural space also on the religious side, in which all citizens have equal rights and equal duties, is appearing among several Arab and even Israeli intellectuals. The idea of coexistence, of overcoming the borders that are now increasingly closed between peoples, the construction of an inclusive confederalism that is being tested in the experience of the North East in Syria, demonstrate that it is not just a utopia grown from Abdullah's intuition Ocalan, but something concrete as well as a great hope for the entire Middle East.

If a meter of ice does not form in a single night, then we also have the duty to remember when the powerful of the earth decided that the world had to embark on the path of new wars and genocides.

The watershed for us at Un Ponte Per is January 17, 1991, when with the "Desert Storm" operation it was decided to unleash a global war against Iraq, wiping out the hopes of peace that had opened up following the fall of the Wall of Berlin and the end of the balance of terror between East and West.

It was the choice to clear the war into international relations - among other things for the first time broadcast live on television almost as if it were a colossal war game - that poisoned the following decades. From the planning of the war, from his attempt to make it "drinkable" for public opinion - humanitarian wars, for democracy, to prevent genocide, etc. - to the new strategic concept of NATO which converted the Western alliance into a sort of global gendarmerie at the service of the richest countries to move towards the marginalization of the UN and the replacement of international law with the law of the strongest. It is from this womb that the current international insecurity was born, the wells of hatred were filled, fanaticism and sectarian tendencies were seen growing: Al Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS) are daughters of this breeding ground.

Between 2001 and 2021, global military spending doubled, making the world even more insecure. Among other things, these are rapidly updated data, pushed up by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and by the fact that thousands of unprecedented missile and artillery warheads have poured into Gaza. The request to all NATO countries, including Italy, to bring military spending to 2 percent of GDP as soon as possible is destined not only to bring social policies to their knees but also to unleash a new and excessive global arms race.

This "world disorder" based on the green light for wars and weapons is obviously at the service of an increasingly unjust world. Since 2020, the five richest men in the world (Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Warren Buffett) have more than doubled their fortunes - from $405 billion to $869 billion - at a rate of $14 million per year. 'now, while 5 billion poorer people have seen their condition overall unchanged if not worsened.

According to the recent Oxfam report , at current rates, within a decade we could have the first trillionaire in the history of humanity, but it will take over two centuries (230 years) to put a real limit on poverty. For nearly 800 million workers in 52 countries, wages have not kept pace with inflation . The related wage bill saw a decline in real terms of 1.5 trillion dollars in the two-year period 2021-2022 , a loss equivalent to almost a monthly salary for each worker.

This is why for international solidarity workers - not surprisingly criminalized by the political class and mainstream media - moving in this context means working to counter this trend towards global injustice. It means first of all seeing in the civil societies of the Middle Eastern countries in which Un Ponte Per operates, the protagonists of their redemption, emerging from a charitable approach which too often becomes the other side of the coin of neocolonialism. Over the years we have created educational, health, humanitarian, cultural, dialogue and social cohesion projects which you can view on the web page www.unponteper.it.

Over time, Un Ponte Per's intervention has changed, adapting to changes in the contexts in which we operate, always maintaining the same objective: promoting peace and human rights and preventing new conflicts. Equally unchanged is the commitment to ensuring the quality of its projects, paying particular attention to the support and self-determination of the populations and communities involved, to the valorisation of the partnership, to the respect of subjectivities and above all to the political and social demands of the people and organizations we collaborate with. Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq were crossed, for example, by a mobilization of boys and girls who took to the streets (in Iraq for very long months and at the cost of hundreds of victims) to contest the corruption of the parties in power, the sectarian division of society, ask for dissolution of private and religious militias, stop the destruction of the environment carried out by multinationals (think of the extractive policies that are poisoning entire territories), ask for the right to strike and the right to education for everyone. Young societies - half the population is under 20 years of age - which, as in the case of Iraq, have grown up never knowing true peace.

In Syria we operate in the territories liberated from ISIS and the Assad regime with our partner, the Kurdish/Syrian Red Crescent, and with the local administrations of "democratic confederalism". We have always placed at the heart of our initiative the role of women, their emancipation and direct protagonism as a revolutionary engine of change in society. "Woman, life and freedom" is not only an extraordinary slogan that challenges patriarchal society but it is a real political program.

From these struggles we learn, aware that bridges are made to be crossed in both directions and that solidarity does not have just one meaning. In a world where humanity seems to be lost - as Vittorio Arrigoni wrote from Gaza - remaining human alongside those who struggle is easier and more instructive.

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