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Palestinian Professor provides insights on Gaza atrocities and the Palestinian struggle

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

A visiting scholar at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape, Dr Muhannad Ayyash, shared insights on the Gaza atrocities during his conversation with VOC’s Shafiq Morton on Monday.

Born and raised in Silwan, Al-Quds, Ayyash now serves as a Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal University in Canada and as a policy analyst at Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network. He is a prolific author, with notable works including “A Hermeneutics of Violence” and co-edited volumes, alongside numerous journal articles and opinion pieces.

Reflecting on recent events, Ayyash emphasized that they do not alter the longstanding realities he has been teaching about, particularly concerning the structures of genocide inherent in settler colonial projects like Israel.

He underscored that the Palestinian issue transcends religion, highlighting the historical coexistence of Palestinian Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Ayyash identified Zionism’s fundamental aim as the expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

“The core of the issue is the Zionist project’s goal of expelling the Palestinians off their land and replacing them with European Jews at first and then obviously then other Jews would come from other parts of the Arab world and elsewhere afterwards. This is a European colonial racist project that is the core of the issue here and Palestinians have refused like anybody would their expulsion from their land,” explained Ayyash.

Addressing the vilification of Palestinians as Islamist terrorists, Ayyash traced its origins to the 1980s, with figures like Benjamin Netanyahu promoting this narrative in Europe and the United States. He critiqued such efforts as a means to dehumanize Palestinians and justify their annihilation.

“Netanyahu always had this plan by associating all Palestinians in resistance with this “terroristic evil” that cannot be negotiated with or rationalised but should just simply be eliminated. Therefore, there are all these efforts to label Palestinians as terrorists as a way of justifying the annihilation of Palestinian people.”

“All of these Israeli attempts are always an attempt to deflect from the reality of the situation which is that they want to steal all the Palestinian land and expel all the Palestinians from it. So that is the original crime, the ongoing crime if we don’t address that we not addressing anything,” stated Ayyash.

Regarding shifts in Western youth’s attitudes towards Palestine, Ayyash noted a growing pro-Palestinian sentiment. While acknowledging that immediate change may be limited, he highlighted the significance of this evolving political consciousness. Ayyash suggested that such shifts could mark the gradual erosion of the Zionist project over the long term, signalling hope for a more just future.

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