A response to Aziz Abu Sarah post in 972 magazine what is normal about normalization.
First of all, allow me to start with the definition of ‘normalization,’ at least the one that Palestinian anti-normalization activists use; normalization is the participation in, or joint work with, any Israeli in a field other than politics, which might imply that the relation between the Palestinian and the Israeli is normal. i.e. myself and an Israeli write a book about fashion. Normalization is also when Palestinians and Israelis meet "voluntarily" to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without the Israeli participant’s recognition of the Palestinian’s rights to return and self-determination. i.e. Well, all those programs we have been protesting!
"Voluntarily" being highlighted in the previous paragraph brings me to my second point. My birth certificate has the IDF civil administration logo on the top, and it’s written in Hebrew and Arabic, same as my ID card. Do you call this normalization? If you do, allow me to remind you that in the case of occupation, the occupier takes the responsibility of administrating the occupied nation’s needs. That includes issuing ID cards, drivers licenses…etc. In other words, we, the Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and in ‘48, don’t cooperate with the Israeli occupiers because we choose to, but because we have to. Or, do you want to lose your Jerusalem ID because you didn't renew it on time?
Beside Mr. Aziz’s ignorance in the definition of normalization, he has obviously never stepped foot in any of the weekly protests across the West Bank, such as the one in Nabi Saleh. Over the last 2 years, Israeli activists who recognize the Palestinian's rights to return and self-determination joined Palestinians in the field against their government’s oppression. They jump in front of the soldiers to protect Palestinians from getting arrested, and if they are arrested, they provide the needed legal aid to the detainees and their families. Many of those activists challenged their loved ones, their families, and their whole world to protest on our side.
Speaking of that, allow me to quote my friend’s sarcastic comment in Nabi Saleh last Friday, in which she referred to Mr. Aziz Abu Sarah’s article.
“I did something shockingly bad today, I called an Israeli activist "Habibti" after she swore she wouldn't sign release papers, in the case we got arrested, until we both get released. Aziz Abu Sarah, I have joined your ranks of Normalization.”
I recommend what Maath wrote about co-resistance.
Finally, the Freedom Riders, I knew this would happen, and this is why many of the anti-normalization activists protested the action, as we were almost sure it would be misused, or at least misunderstood by world media. If you read the coverage of the action, you would see it. They ignored the original press release that explained why those activists were carrying out the action, and concentrated on what serves their propaganda. So, please, spare some time and read the press release again. You can also find my take onthe Freedom Rides actions right after it.
In the end, I have Israeli friends, they are good people, but the moment they reenlist in the army, or question my people’s rights to return and self-determination, they are out of my life.
As the oppressor, Israelis hold more responsibilities than the oppressed Palestinians.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a case of the oppressed against their oppressor, just a reminder in case you forgot.
Happy New Year