Apartheid Beach: Tel-Aviv invited to Paris-Plages
August 12, 2015
Each summer the mayor of Paris traditionally creates artificial beaches along the river Seine in the center of Paris, a summer program known as "Paris-Plages" or "Paris Beaches". This August, the city has decided to invite Tel-Aviv to the banks of the Seine to honor the capital of the colonialist and racist State of Israel in a festive atmosphere... A year after Hollande’s and his socialist government’s support for the Israeli Military aggression against Gaza last summer, it is now Anne Hildago, the Socialist Mayor, and her majority in the City Council who are showing their support for the State of Israel. Paris plans on welcoming Zionism to its shores on Thursday, August 13th.
No debate on the Palestinian people’s situation, nor on last year’s massacre, and even less so on the recent assassination of Palestinian babies and families by settlers who are literally getting away with murder. Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris, has surely insisted on defending the city against any "amalgam with the Israeli government’s brutal colonization policies (...) the city of Tel-Aviv [being] a progressive city, a symbol of peace and tolerance." For memory, Tel-Aviv was built on the ruins of seven Palestinian villages. It is far from being a normal city. No matter what Eitan Schwartz, an advisor to Tel-Aviv’s Mayor, says, according to whom the Mayor of Paris is supposedly building "bridges between peoples (...) in order to advance the cause of peace," Tel-Aviv is above and beyond all else a symbol of the State of Israel and its historic policies of ethnic cleansing.
The right-wing opposition has brought its support to Anne Hidalgo while several left-wing officials have manifested a certain uneasiness with the idea. This being notably the case of Left Front city council member Danielle Simmonet, who has strongly opposed the organization of "Tel-Aviv Beach", as well as other city officials from the Communist-Left Front caucus. They have expressed their dismay, saying that they "were never associated to or informed of" such an initiative, "while Tel-Aviv is the economic capital of a country whose extreme right government shows no respect for international law and spearheads a brutal policy of colonization in Palestinian territories daily." However, as an integral part of the city’s political majority, the communist elected officials should re-examine their political engagement at Anne Hidalgo’s side (as they were by former Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s side before) within the city council.
The problem is not so much the absence of communication, denounced a little too late, or deploring insufficient security measures for the event’s organization. The real issue for those who support the just cause of the Palestinian people is forcing the cancellation of Tel-Aviv Beach, which is nothing more than the expression of support for the Apartheid that Israel imposes on Palestine and Arab citizens. Several political parties and organizations, like the New Anti-Capitalist Party, have already announced their intention to oppose the event’s opening.
In the meantime, on the other side of the Mediterranean, a week after the death of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshah, burned to death in a criminal fire when Israeli settlers set fire to his family’s house, we have learned that his father, also severely burned, also just succumbed to his injuries. The mother, also suffering from third-degree burns on 90% of her body, as well as their 4-year-old son still find themselves between life and death. The city’s decision to maintain Tel-Aviv Beach at all costs is even more revolting after such crimes. Regardless of what Benjamin Netanyahu says, trying to make the perpetrators of such a heinous crime seem like "extremists", the State of Israel with its policies of colonization and exactions against the Palestinian people. and is solely responsible for these crimes.