By Shuriah Niazi
New Delhi, India
“The blood of Palestinians is very cheap when it comes to the dignity and sovereignty of our land,” Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu al-Haijaa said.
Al-Haijaa made the assertion at a two-day workshop held under the banner “Advancing the struggle for a free Palestine”, which was held Sunday in New Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Center.
The event was organized by the IndoPal Foundation in collaboration with the India-Palestine Friendship Forum and the Palestine International Forum for Media and Communication.
Al-Haijaa discussed various aspects of the Palestinian struggle and Palestine’s diplomatic relations with India.
In regards to the U.S. administration’s “Deal of the Century”, the ambassador said that the terms of the proposed peace plan had yet to be made public.
“But one thing is clear,” he added. “The ‘Deal of the Century’ will not be a road to peace in Palestine, which [U.S. President Donald] Trump and the radical American Zionists cannot decide unilaterally.”
Emad Burnat, a Palestinian filmmaker who was nominated for an Oscar award for his film “Five Broken Cameras”, was also present at the event.
“I experience the realities of the West Bank every day,” Burnat said. “The Palestinian issue is not a ‘conflict’ because it is not between two equal parties. It is an occupation in which colonizers exploit occupied land.”
IndoPal Foundation Chairman Ajit Sahi, for his part, said: “Palestine is the freest place on the earth. Even though they [Palestinians] have lived in captivity for decades, their minds and souls are free.”
Sahi went on to point out that there were “many people” in both the U.S. and Israel who supported the Palestinian cause.
“We must talk to them and involve them in our activities,” he said. “We must not hate them.”
Another speaker, Omair Anas, assistant international relations professor at Ankara’s Yildirim Beyazit University, said: “India and Palestine have the right to stand for freedom, as India’s fight against British rule was very similar.”
“It was the fight against the colonizer,” Anas asserted. “If someone calls Gandhi or Bhagat Singh -- or any freedom fighter -- a ‘terrorist’, we must not accept this.”
He added: “Resisting the colonizer is the right of the Palestinians; labeling them ‘terrorists’ is highly condemnable.”
Anas went on to recount the permutations of Indian policy vis-à-vis Palestine, comparing India’s traditional stance on the issue to that of the current government.
Muhammad Makram, president of the Asia Middle East Forum, who also spoke at Sunday’s event, shared his views on what he described as Israeli “myths”.
He listed 10 oft-cited “myths” about Israel, referring in particular to Shlomo Sand’s book, “The Invention of the Jewish People”.
Drawing attention to Israel’s “politics of victimhood”, Makram cited several additional references in an attempt to make sense of Israel’s brutal policies.
Professor Zikrur Rahman, India’s former ambassador to Palestine, was also present at the forum, where he spoke at length about the faltering Israel-Palestine “peace process”.