Q: What are the achievements and gains of the Resistance Movements in Palestine in the past year in the face of the Israeli occupation?
Palestinians continue to live in their open-air prisons in Gaza and the West Bank, but the struggle goes on in creative ways. On the illegal Apartheid wall that cuts into much of the West Bank "Existence is Resistance" is lettered across many areas. This simple act underlying their peaceful resistance to blatant injustice is an ultimate form of resistance.
The Palestinian National Basketball team has been even more successful despite the restrictions. They played in the FIBA Asia Championships and beat the Philippines in a shock first game (Philippines went on to come second in the competition and Palestine ranked 10th).
The UN provided a new nod of recognition. The village of Battir was recognized as a UNESCO heritage site, giving it a responsibility towards Battir.
The most famous artist from Gaza is the Arab Idol sensation, Mohammad Assaf, who faced many obstacles to be awarded the title. He is now also the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Youth Ambassador.
More recently, Ramallah-based artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme won the Abraaj Group Art Prize, sponsored by Dubai. Their work "depicts and engages with their Palestinian environment, tackling themes of colonialism, occupation and militarism."
Q: Regarding the worsening of Israel's situation in the international community and growing waves of protests against Israel during the past year, how do you see the current situation of Israel in terms of economy, diplomacy and security?
Israeli leaders are conflicted about the situation in both Palestine and Palestine's main support, Iran. For many years, Israel has had a free ride on both counts.
One after another, the Arab nations opposing Israel have been brought to heel. Egypt, Libya, Iraq have all seen their anti-imperialist leaders defeated, and pro-imperialist governments installed. The only non-Muslim nation to support the Palestinian cause, the Soviet Union, was also brought down, giving a huge boost to Israel, with a million Russian Jews immigrating to Israel.
Only Iran has managed to stem the tide at a great cost, as intrigues against Iran have never ceased. But times change. The US leader, less biased than early ones, began to see that the US was losing credibility to the non-imperialist nations, who were not interested in US plans to destroy Iran. Finally, the Cold War has given way to a detente. Iran is moving forward politically, working to improve the economy and relations with the West.
However, the Israeli military is left holding the bag, and is not so cynical, though still anti-Iranian. One official told Al-Monitor, "International pressure, sanctions and the clandestine campaign have induced Iran to sign the nuclear agreement, and it is our assessment that they will implement it meticulously. The agreement creates a 10- to 15-year window, which provides us with an enormous opportunity. Now it has all been blocked, rolled back and frozen at a reasonable distance from that goal. This is real news."
The implication of "an enormous opportunity" is that Israel can mobilize western pressure on Iranian President Rouhani to lessen Iran's resolute support of the Palestinian struggle, to stop it from supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. This would give Israel "an enormous opportunity" to finish off its unfinished business -- the final solution of destroying the remnants of Palestine, either by completing its settlement occupation or even expelling the remaining Palestinians from the West Bank and Israel proper. Close to half of Israelis approve of this.