Palestinian youths confront an Israeli tank with stones near the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank.
True, the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) of 2002 is a continuation of the Palestinian people's decades-long revolt against the Israeli military occupation of their land, which was carried out at several stages, most prominently in 1948 and '67. But one can hardly ignore that the present Intifada is uniquely different from the largely symbolic protests of the 1987 Intifada, or the armed resistance in Lebanon during the Israeli invasion in 1982. Today's Intifada stands somewhere in between, where the resistance remains largely a popular resistance, yet where the methods used to resist have surpassed the traditional stone throwing, although the latter remains a dominating aspect.
Provoking the issue of armed resistance and a people's right to defend themselves are now more significant than ever. Palestinian factions, on one hand, are more actively deliberating a united strategy in their fight against Israel, amid heated discussions on whether Palestinians should or should not resort to violence in their resistance against the Israeli army, which now has reoccupied, almost completely the areas that fell under Palestinian control following the Oslo Accords and related agreements in 1993 onward. Moreover, leading human rights groups, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have recognized suicide bombings as "crimes against humanity", and those who plan or perpetrate them as "war criminals."
Yet, this is not a discussion into the particularities of these claims or any others, but an attempt to clear some of the confusion created by the uniqueness of the current Intifada and the claims and counterclaims made by parties involved regarding the legitimacy of the Palestinian resistance, its legality in accordance with international law.
For long, international law remained unclear on the issue of "people's right to defend themselves", while it granted that right to sovereign states. The use of force is only legitimate in two scenarios, according to the Charter of the United Nations. As specified in Article 51 of the Charter, the use of force is limited to self-defense, or, according to Chapter VII, when the United Nations itself embarks on an enforcement action where it decides that there is a threat to peace.
There were always indications within international law that grant an individual or a group the right to self-defense. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Right's preamble (adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III) of December 10, 1948), reads: "Whereas it is essential if man is not compelled as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."
However, not until the General Assembly 20th session in 1965 where it was recognized, for the first time, "the legitimacy of struggle by the people under colonial rules to exercise their rights to self-determination and independent." More, the assembly invited "all States to provide material and moral assistance to the national liberation movements in colonial territories."
The specified decision has always applied to the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom. But again, intentional misinterpretation of that law compelled the passing of Resolution 3236, passed by the General Assembly in its 29th session in 1974. The resolution recognized that the collective rights of the Palestinian people were fully and properly recognized. The resolution recognized the Palestinian people's right for self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Charter (which, in retrospect gives them the same right of self-defense granted to sovereign states). In addition, it granted them the right of national independence, sovereignty and right of return to their homes. The resolution had further replaced the mere reference to Palestinians as "refugees" or "the refugee problem", and made them a "principal party in the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East."
In 1975, General Assembly Resolution 3375 recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO's), a liberation movement, right to represent the Palestinian people in their aspiration for self-determination, in accordance to Resolution 3236.
Those who still found loopholes in international law to deny the Palestinian people the right to defend themselves had to deal with yet another resolution. Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of 1949, (Act 1 C4), passed in 1977, declared that armed struggle can be used, as a last resort, as a method of exercising the right of self-determination. One can hardly argue that Israel's decades long occupation of Palestinian land, the full-fledged apartheid regime it instituted in the Occupied Territories, the loud violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the seizer of the land, the destruction of property, and most importantly, the refusal to honor nearly 70 United Nations Resolutions amid daily killings and assassinations of Palestinians, acts recognized by the Convention and by leading human rights groups as war crimes, qualify Palestinians, as it always did to fight back using armed struggle.
This is not an attempt to propagate the idea of violent resistance, but an attempt to reconstruct, even briefly, the argument that the Palestinian people's struggle, including armed struggle, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are defended and protected under international law. In fact, "all states (are encouraged) to provide material and moral assistance to the national liberation movements in colonial territories."
What mostly provoked this subject now is the question of the Jenin refugee camp. During my recent book tour, promoting my book "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion 2002" on the East Coast, several Israeli or pro-Israeli students insisted that the Palestinian resistance in the camp was a form of terrorism. During my research, I haven't found one reference in international law that refers to the Jenin fighters who defended the camp until the last man as "terrorists." In fact, I found more than one reference that classifies the Israeli army action as "state sponsored terrorism." This is not a selective reading in international law, but a highlight of relevant resolutions that Israel and its patrons in the United States seem to often disregard.
One might find the title of this article "Do the Palestinians Have the Right to Defend Themselves?" a proactive one, as the answer is self-evident. But considering the process of dehumanization carried out by Israel, using the American media, makes the question less ridiculous than it sounds. Palestinians do indeed have the right to defend themselves against the brutal Israeli occupation, especially when the whole world, including their Arab brethren have failed them. Blaming them for using such a right is inhumane, even ludicrous.
Baroud is the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com and the editor of the book titled, "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion 2002".
Because I choose to respect my own dignity you call my tone "haughty". This coming from someone who has repeatedly resorted to using personal insults to denigrate me: Calling me "narrow-minded" "fanatical" "childish" "upstart" "ignorant Ham", "citing pathetic ignorant Jewish rhetoric" etc. etc. Your tone when referring to the Jewish people in general is even more disturbing ("your own greed mischief and selfishness" etc.etc.). I will leave it to each reader to decide for themselves the implications of such statements.
by giving me the replies you did you belittled yourself....everyone else,probably just had a good laugh....I would love to hear WHICH text on the middle east supports your rendition of its history!I would love to see ANY serious arabic scholar agree with your rendition of what happened in Yathrib ( I must admit, I nearly fell off my chair in incredulity concerning this version of events!)..even a SERIOUS non arab one...pls dont cite me jewish rhetoric..its pathetic! (the UN doesnt have a record of what happenend at Yathrib! so impartiality is dificult here i understand)
as for my rude tone...pls do re read your posts..your tone is outrageously condascending, imperious and haughty..its amazing how self rightoeus ppl of your nature are!!
as for your account of the refugee groups...
puhleez...you replies comprised of Jewish/ Zionistic/ Israeli rhetoric which is easily countered by UN data...I am citing my sources to support my claims...I am a scientist by nature..any theroy i produce must be backed up by data...not subjective data..objective! Hence my reference to the UN as a source of the current conflict between the two parties and not the propagandist sources of muslims! I believe the UN and several reputable organisations (Amnesty INtl) also have records to outline the foolishness of both camps!
If the palestinians leave their homeland to settle in another one..any muslim country for that matter....they will lose their home forever! That is why they stay there..not that they are not welcome anywhere else....forget compensation Mr. Weiskop, your ppl didnt even ask nicely... so much for manners!
I must admit your technique for discrediting my arguments is a little bit childish...you obvously were the 'smart' one in your batch!
The only thing i am tired of Mr.Weiskop is trying to find any kind of impartiality in you!
I'll tell you what young man.You are the real TERRORIST .no one needs to be an expert in the history of middle east to realize that.THE ONLY DIFFERNCE BETWWEN YOU AND PALESTINIANS IS THAT YOU HAVE A LICENCE TO PRACTICE YOUR TERRO.PERIOD.GOT THAT!!!!
You attempt to belittle my knowledge of Middle Eastern history, but end up proving yourself as the one lacking in knowledge (not to mention, manners). Now, you challenge me to produce my sources. In this you further embarass yourself since everything I've mentioned are not at all obscure, but rather well-known well-documented commonly known historical facts available in any serious history of the Middle East. Even serious Arabic scholars would not dispute them.
ON second thoughts, dont bother..after this review you wont hear from me again..i am bored and believe i am wasting my time...
Amazing...in all of your retorts the only ones who have ever done anything right have been the Jewish nation, funny...simple logic and social probability would tell you the impossibility of THAT happening! (leaving aside the tonnes of collected evidence against the Israeli nation in the UN) I just wish I had the time to actually collect those references for your inspection. But then like I have said before, ppl believe what they want to...not what it is the truth, even if they saw it with their own eyes! I am not here to convince you, only Allah can do that...
atleast you admit no one wanted to house the jewish nation....I wonder why???? Amazing that! For even after all the horror experienced by your people, not a single nation in the WORLD was sympathetic enough to open their doors to you..WHY NOT? the favoured nation of God? the race of prophets? you WERE, your own greed, mischief and selfishness have reduced you from that exalted station!
if anyone around here in the last few reviews has shown any bigotry its your self righteous hide!
I just read the article on "Do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?" and find it one of the best presentation of facts in this cause. I applaud Ramzy Baroud for his work here and elsewhere. Thanks keep up the good work.
the zionist faction nextdoor. and chow to the
israeli agents trying to shut down this and all
islamic websites, along with their crusader
buddies via CNN, i.e. crusader news network.
Throwing rocks at a an army tank is not defending
oneself. It's stupidity; nothing else.
Well, give them some damn weapons,tanks,m16,f16 etc..and they'll show what stupitidy is really like....
If someone sees something like that and says nothing they are just as guilty as the person doing it in the first place..
Accomplice they call it.
In regards to the article...
I think both zionists and Arabs need to really look up the definition of defence in the dictionary...
I think about 75% of what either do can not be defined as defense...
I believe any group has a right to DEFEND itself, as long as that defense goes in line with the definition of defense.
Legal arguments mean little to me, philosophical arguments are particularly to my liking...
I look forward to hearing from you about the response your sister-in -law gets from her employers.
You ask:"Have you heard of Yathrib? What did the Jews of that city do? Were they conquered?"
Yathrib was the former name of Medina. It was home to several Jewish tribes. When these Jews refused to accept Islam they were turned on by Muhammad and his followers. They were massacred and their property stolen for Islam.
You ask: "What happened to the original Jews of Israel, pre-Islam or for that matter post-Islam?"
Following the Roman conquest of Israel in 70AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem including the Second Temple, building an altar to pagan gods in its place. They killed much of the Jewish population, driving the rest into forced exile. To ensure that Jews would not return, they burned and salted the fields making farming impossible. They also forbade the use of the name Israel, renaming the country "Palestina" (after the ancient Philistines, already extinct by then)in an attempt to disconnect the Jews from their homeland.
You ask: "Did all the Arabs who were forced out of their homes paid?" "Are you familiar with the exodus of the Iraqi Jews?"
The 1948 war caused two groups of refugees: Palestinian Arabs fleeing the war, and Jews who were expelled from Muslim lands,(eg Iraq etc.). The numbers of refugees were about equal. NEITHER refugee group (Jew or Arab)has been compensated. However, whereas Israel quickly absorbed the Jewish refugees, the Arab countries refused to absorb the Arab refugees, they still languish in refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon etc. to this day, unto the third generation. Also, the 1948 war that led to these refugee problems was started by the Arabs who are, thus, ultimately responsible.
You ask: "Name me a single nation who was prepared to house the Jewish people after WWII despite having suffered so badly."
Quite right. Not one. Precisely why a sovereign Jewish state of Israel is ess
oneself. It's stupidity; nothing else.
You can break a window or a head with a rock. You
can't do jack to a tank with one.
It's sad to see kids sent out in harm's way to exhibit
such stupidity. Better they should be in school.
Debate is always tit for tat...for every stat you or i bring, each will have a counter stat....the truth however doesn't require stats......it is self apparent..just like Allah! Whether you believe in Him or not, it is immaterial to His existence!
Furthermore my semitic loving opponent, I would love to see you form two sentences which does not stink of the hatred you feel towards muslims...
In todays day and age, a growing number of modern muslims are thinking and self analysing. Your jibing, insolent and intellectually LACKING comments will and have been ridiculed on this forum. Funny, by muslims and non-muslim alike...
John...you are a dinosaur of the 60's, with your self righteous, head in the sand way of thinking..
iviews allows anti muslim comments posted by your prehistoric hind! So why should it not allow ppl of the anti jewish kind...I think you would call this 'Freedom of Speech' but then again i am, as YOU would say, just an ignorant muslim!
iviews (and ALL the ppl(inc John)of this forum) ...keep it up! Salaam to all.
Anyway, on your post 10906 you accuse my sister-in-law and I as being anti-semitics. I apologize if the tone of my post appeared as an attempt to arouse an anti-semitic sentiment; it wasn't my intention. As the matter-of-fact, my brother and sister-in-law own an apartment (flats) one of which they gladly rented out to an Orthodox Jewish family so that they could live near the Temple and other members of the congregation.
However, I had to to respond to Sam Hill's post because, like some of the many ignorant, Rambo- mentalitied Americans, he posted views that are offensive to Muslims (how could've Iview permitted it? I wonder) saying: "I hope the Jews kick your..."
What came to my mind, at the time, was, "why are Jews always getting away with it???" "It's because they know how to,..." and my sister-in-law's conversation came to mind as a classic example. Did my sister-in-law make this up? I doubt it because she was only mentioning it within the family, and not broadcasting it to the public. Well, I "broadcasted" it here to present to the Sam Hills of this site a more balanced view.
As to why she hasn't reported it to her superiors (post 10908)? I don't know. I do know that most of her superiors are Jews, and she has enough trouble just keeping up with the demands of the job and getting by the office politics. As for me, I don't know details. i.e. the names, loan numbers, etc. to refer to.
Oh and this is the 'generous offer' Bill Clinton tried to push on the Palestinians:
With Britain out of Palestine, the Jews proclaim the area as the Jewish state of Israel. Arab armies invade
Zionist colonies and reclaim some Palestinian villages. The Arab state of Palestine is split into
three parts: some is taken and incorporated into Israel; the Gaza Strip is held and governed by Egypt;
and the West Bank of the Jordan River is held by Jordan. The UN had proposed that Jerusalem and other
holy places become an internationally governed entity. During the fighting, Jerusalem was divided into
Israeli West and Jordanian East.
Members of the Irgun and Haganah Zionist military organizations detonate car bombs, shell and destroy
Palestinian villages and neighborhoods, and build large weapons arsenals. Palestinian irregulars strike
back but cannot match Zionist resources and organization.
Irgun and Stern Gang massacre 245 Palestinian inhabitants of Deir Yassin, a village near Jerusalem.
Over 725,000 Palestinians are driven out of their homeland or flee the fighting that accompanied the
establishment of Israel. By 1950, more than one million Palestinians live in UN-supported refugee
camps in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan.
John Norman: you make me laugh...
conspiracy theories? you upstart....your ignorance is only matched by your hatred for the muslims, which I might add is what possibly blinds you.
if the muslims find any Jew or non Jew for that matter not believing the funding received by Israel pls do forward this URL. It is not absolute proof but it will sure put the fly in the ointment!
As to Solomon: your grasp of histroy is slight. Have you heard of yathrib? what did the jews of that city do? were they conquered? what happened to the original jews of Israel, pre-Islam or for that matter post Islam? what is the ARAB jewish population of israel? is it their ancestors who owned the land which was 'bought' from the arabs in the late forties to create Israel? did all the arabs who were forced out of their homes paid? are you familiar with the exodus of the Iraqi Jews? name me a single nation who was prepared to house the jewsih ppl after WWII despite having suffered so badly? you ignorant Ham! Understanding of Middle east history? you dont even want to go there...
Israelis = Zionists
American = Washington clowns (anyone who translates this one as the whole nation is a polished idiot).
Peace to all (even to the idiots)
My sister in law works for a large bank in a department that reviews and tries to recover bad loans. She's always observed first-hand that the Jews in her department handshake with their Jewish clients and come to a quick agreement to recover only pennies on a dollar, while the non-Jewish clients aren't given such benefits.
Where do you think the money goes? You're right if you said Israel. And of the losses that the banks get to write off, who do you think ultimately pays for it? You are right, it's the American taxpayers like you and I. Pain in the butt, isn't it????
Today we have the most powerful nations in history, but the weakest men in charge of them---men who are either stuck in a veritable bog of ignorance or who flounder in a sea of naivete.Your unprincipled coverage of the issue has no doubt convinced those that have no perpective on history in the middle east.Its sad you cannot put your talents to more useful pursuits like reading the holy scripture,may I suggest you commence your study straight away.
Remember "the Holy One of Israel"is in complete control of events. It is He who "deprives the intelligence the chief of the earth's people,and makes them wander in a pathless waste"(Job 12:24 ).And it is He who" brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plan of the peoples of no effect" (Psalms 33:10 ) If your not inpressed with those truths...look at the united nations or the powerful nations in the west...have they the answers your looking for ?
Why are your people in other people land, they wouldn't need to do this. Don't think Israelies are superior people. They just show pretty picture to hide their evil.
While I agree that there must be a place for Palestinian self-defence in the face of harsh military aggression, I believe the limits of such action can only be deciphered by taking into account the vulnerabilities of all peoples involved in this conflict. Social dynamics on the ground and in the psychological realm are far too interwined to not focus upon their mutually influential relationship.
Well this is all I have to say.
What sort of warped logic allows the author to deny Israel the legitimate right to defend itself from the scourge of suicide bombings? The IDF entered Jenin to attack the terror groups operating from there, after a particularly deadly serious of suicide bombings. Whether the terrorists in Jenin shoot back or not doesn't determine their status as terrorists. That status was determined by their involvement in the planning and execution of suicide bombings.
When will the Palestinians learn that if they don't like the consequences of wars, they shouldn't initiate them?
When the Arab States and the Palestinians finally recognise that they have flouted the will of the international community since 1947 by attempting to destroy a member of the UN, they will ghave taken a large step towards restoring peace in the area,