Skip to main content

Israel-Palestine war: No peace without decolonisation

We, members and friends of the North African Decolonial Network, give the Palestinian people our full support in their liberation struggle and denounce the ongoing massacre
Palestinian children injured in an Israeli air strike await treatment at the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip, on October 17, 2023
Palestinian children injured in an Israeli air strike await treatment at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 17 October 2023 (AFP)

We, members and friends of the North African Decolonial Network, are responding to the call issued by our colleagues at Birzeit University, in the occupied West Bank, whom we salute for their courage and tenacity.

We want to express our full solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to liberation, and our compassion for all the civilian victims.

We would also like to denounce the outrageous effects of political demonisation and media intoxication, which seek to minimise and divert attention from the criminal brutality underway.

Colonial forces always want history to begin with the moment their allies are attacked, thus erasing the accumulated effects of oppression, humiliation, and perpetual aggression produced by apartheid policies.

We would like to stress that the history of this murderous madness did not begin on 7 October 2023. Just as it did not begin on 6 October 1973.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


It is the story of a permanent and gradual expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied territories, accompanied, with each wave of annexation, by ever more sophisticated ways of alienating and persecuting the Palestinians.

It is the result of the creation of a discriminatory state where dehumanisation is normalised, which today allows the Israeli minister of defence to publicly call the inhabitants of Gaza "human animals" - with impunity.

Elimination by Israel

At the time of writing, Israel has ordered 1.1 million inhabitants to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip within 24 hours, and to take refuge in the south. Any resident who stays in place will be presumed to be a member of Hamas and threatened with elimination by the Israeli armed forces.

On Friday 13 October, for the first time in recent history, humanity witnessed the live announcement of a planned genocide. By supporting this massacre, be it tacitly or overtly, western powers lost all legitimacy to take part in a lasting peace process. By exposing its double standards to the world, the West has once again shown its contempt for the "universal values" it loves to trumpet.

Follow Middle East Eye's live coverage for the latest on the Israel-Palestine war

The cruelty of Israel's colonisation is intensifying. On 13 October, as Palestinians fled the north of Gaza, the Israeli army bombed civilians and ambulances. That same evening, it made incursions throughout the West Bank: Jenin, Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.

For several days now, the state of Israel has been officially arming settlers and encouraging them to murder any and all Palestinians.

Israel-Palestine war: How US media legitimise Israel's barbarism against the Palestinians
Read More »

These state crimes are being committed with impunity. Western media propaganda justifies them - the most appalling example being the allegation that Hamas slit the throats of 40 Israeli babies.

Thanks to fact-checking by Al Jazeera journalists, CNN was forced to officially apologise, acknowledging that those were unconfirmed claims.

But the damage was done: this lie, taken up by the US president himself, enabled Washington, in addition to its financial and military aid to Israel, to prime public opinion for the impending massacre. A sombre reminder of what preceded the invasion of Iraq.

The international community's deafening silence on the war crimes committed in Palestine today is further proof that racial inequality has always been at the heart of the West's colonial and imperial projects.

In fact, racial inequality has always been used to justify all the major massacres and genocides perpetrated against racialised populations.

In Palestine, the current situation is but the outcome of enduring and permanent colonial violence. This year, violence against Palestinians has markedly intensified. According to UN estimates, 227 Palestinians had already been killed by the beginning of October. We all remember images of the Jenin refugee camp devastated by the Israeli army.

Ethnic cleansing

Israel's indiscriminate policy of intensifying settlements, its constant violation of international law, and its failure to abide by peace agreements all undeniably amount to ethnic cleansing in a settler colonial context.

Other indigenous peoples have been massacred throughout history. Of this, the routine persecution of and discrimination against Native Americans is a constant reminder.

No lasting peace in the region will be achieved if the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people continue to be ignored

In the face of the international community's silence, the United States and the European Union's unconditional support of Israel, and the obvious biases of western media, we, members and friends of the North African Decolonial Network, affirm our full support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation, and denounce the ongoing massacre of Palestinian civilians.

In this context, we also want to highlight the ethical and political necessity of ending the normalisation agreements, which only reinforce Israel's sense of impunity.

No lasting peace in the region will be achieved if the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people continue to be ignored; and if the demands for justice, true equality and freedom of movement for all continue to be flouted.

At the end of the day, the equation is simple, if constantly obstructed and denied: there can be no peace without decolonisation.

The North African Decolonial Network is a transnational group of researchers and artists from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya. It was created in 2021 with the aim of conducting scholarly work on the decolonisation of knowledge and imagination.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of Middle East Eye.

This letter was originally published in Middle East Eye's French edition.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.