Israel's Aggression Is Not a Civil War

Category: World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation Views: 883

New terminology among pro-Palestinian intellectuals has seeped into the daily discourse of the Middle East conflict, calling Israel's one-sided violent oppression as a "civil war".

Applying the term "civil war" is dangerous and should be immediately rebuked because it only legitimizes Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. Webster's Dictionary defines civil war as a "war between geographical sections or political factions of the same nation."

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli army jeep during a demonstration 17 April 2001 in the West Bank town of Ramallah to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. 

When my family was robbed of its land and dignity, and was forced to flee after Zionist gangs perpetrated a horrifying massacre in May of 1948 in their village of Beit Daras, they were the victims, not equal participants in a war or battle.

It's as offensive to put the Israeli terrorist gangs of  Stern, Irgun, and Hagana in the "same nation" as that of my parents.  It's unimaginable to consider Israel's Jewish settlers on the same ground as the indigenous Palestinian population. Over 70 percent of the current Jewish population in occupied Palestinian and Syrian lands are European and American Jews, according to historian Dr. Walid Al Khalidi.  Furthermore, a substantial percentage of those immigrants came from Russia, and continue to use Russian as their first language.

So how does such a typical colonial setting qualify the current aggression against Palestinian civilians as a civil war?

Civil war provides both sides, Palestinians and Israelis (including the 220,000 settlers) with a sense of territorial legitimacy, for it indicates that both sides are striving to achieve more gains (particularly territorial ones) at the expense of the other.

But according to UN resolutions and international law, neither Israel nor its settlers have any rights in Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Arguing on moral grounds, not in accordance with the unfortunate political reality, one can even easily contest Israel's legitimacy in the land occupied by force since 1948 as well.


Those who bombed KhanYunis refugee camp a few days ago, and used illegal gas against Palestinian children in Bethlehem are not my people, not my neighbors, nor are they part of my nation. 


Moreover, the term could weaken the righteous Palestinian argument that Israel is an occupying power. 

Consider this, would any rational person have accepted the scenario that the Lebanese civil war would have been resolved with less bloodshed if certain segments of the populations were forced to relocate based on their ethnic and religious lines?

Don't we look with dismay on the suspicious attempts to divide Sudan, Iraq or even the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Consequently, embracing the civil war approach would suddenly make Palestinian demands for the dismantling of Jewish settlements and the departure of settlers unjust and baseless.

But more provocative is the negative impact that this new approach would have on the world's already apathetic attitude toward the Palestinian plight.

It provides more legitimacy who justify their indifference by stating that the war between Arabs and Jews is a religious war, which has lasted for thousands of years and will continue for eternity.

It would strip Palestinians of their political assets which are embedded in international law, and which identify Israel as an occupier, an aggressor, and Palestinians as an independent, yet occupied and victimized nation.

The greatest danger by far is that such an argument indirectly supports Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's theory, that the violence in what he perceives in the "Judea and Samaria" is an Israeli affair, and any international intervention violates Israel's sovereignty.

Palestinians have no army. They only possess a police force, whose numbers and range of power were dictated by Israel as a result of the infamous Oslo accord of 1993.

The Israeli army and Jewish settlers have been on the attack for over six months, killing 420 Palestinians, injuring and maiming nearly 18,000. During its war, Israel has upgraded its military tactics from the use of live ammunition to the use of explosive HVM bullets, as well as rockets and guided missiles.

The fact that most of Israel's victims have been civilians, or that Jewish settler's are disguised as a civilian population does not warrant the use of the term "civil war".

It is a war, in fact a one-sided war, launched daily by a man whose history of war crimes narrates a dark and horrifying fate that still awaits Palestinians, and by a colonial nation that shares very little with Palestinians, whether in history, roots, language, culture or religion.

Those who bombed KhanYunis refugee camp a few days ago, and used illegal gas against Palestinian children in Bethlehem are not my people, not my neighbors, nor are they part of my nation.

So it is imperative that we immediately cease from referring to Israel's war as a civil war, because it is not. 


Ramzy Baroud is a columnist for and lives in Seattle, Washington.




  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation
Views: 883

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