Palestinian resistance must not target civilians

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine Views: 4916

Palestinian resistance factions must desist from targeting Israeli civilians, with or without an officially bargained ceasefire and regardless of the course of action chosen by Israel and its reckless government in response. This decision is imperative if the Palestinian struggle is to safeguard its historic values and uphold its moral pre-eminence. 

For some, such reasoning may come into view as morally inconsistent, one-sided even; after all, the Israeli army continues to target civilians unhindered, so why deny Palestinians the right to retaliate? 

Palestinians possess the legitimate right of self-defense, and the unequivocal right of ridding themselves of a lengthy and vile occupation. These rights are recurrently highlighted in international law and require little debate or intellectual tussling. But it is amiss, for the occupied - who surely possess the moral edge - to utilize the unmerited ways of the occupier. International law makes a clear distinction, as should Palestinian resistance, between occupying military forces and civilians. If Palestinians waver from this crucial line of reasoning, their historically virtuous struggle risks being diluted with moral corruption. 

The Palestinian revolution, with its formerly unrefined armed resistance, sprung from the orchards of Jenin as early as the 1920's. It was, and remains a freedom vow, a cry for justice that has forcefully echoed in universally accepted and time-honored rights and principles. It was certainly not the unscrupulous ways of colonialists or the occupiers that guided that march for freedom. 

Typically, the overall methods used by the ongoing Uprising in the Occupied Territory stand at odds with the ghastly practices of the Israeli government and army. In fact, since their early days of embattling occupation forces, Palestinians aspired to be inclusive, as they longed for equality and insisted on the universal applicability of human rights. 

These values must remain intact. 

But one must also agree, that every nation, and Palestinians are no exception, has a breaking point. It is only human, following decades of disproportionately dispensed suffering, violence and dispossession, that one's determination to attain freedom would partly concede to an overpowering sense of desperation and raw desire for vengeance. To those living in the Occupied Territory, the phenomenon of suicide bombings is not fully alien to the context of reality into which Palestinians are born. Yet, if Palestinians allow Israeli tactics to influence their resistance strategy, then the authenticity of the entire struggle is compromised.

But what if Palestinian factions overcome their sense of dejection and despair and unilaterally halt any attack on Israeli civilians, permanently and unreservedly? 

Alas, even then, the perception held of Palestinians and their struggle is unlikely to change, at least not in the United States, where political propaganda, not actuality, governs public opinion. 

It should come as no surprise then that the Palestinian struggle - out of sheer ignorance, media distortion or religious fervor - was equally and abrasively condemned by much of the Western hemisphere prior to the first suicide bombing against Israeli civilians, less than ten years ago. 

This flawed perspective perpetuates in complete defiance of logic. After all, the conquest of historic Palestine, with all the massacres it entailed, preceded any truly collective Palestinian struggle, whether violent or otherwise. 

The mainstream media, most notability in the United States, has wholly omitted such a fact. As far as Israel (and thus pro-Israeli media and governments) is concerned: the version of history that counts is the one that comprises Palestinian violence. Violence in the Middle East is largely defined by Palestinian attacks; subsequently, "calm" and "lull" in violence is anything that is in between. In other words, Israeli violence may be inundating the Occupied Territory, and yet, if no Israeli casualties are reported, much of the world media perceives this era as an era of "calm". 

The suicide bombing of October 04, 2003 and the more recent one on December 25 of the same year are a case in point. 

Between these two incidents, Palestinian losses mounted. Reportedly, 117 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians, including 23 children; several thousand Palestinians were made homeless as nearly 500 homes and apartments came tumbling down by Israeli army explosives or bulldozers, primarily in the already over-crowded and poverty-stricken Gaza Strip. 

But according to Palestinian-American media critic Ali Abunimah, the corporate media in the US (and in Britain, to a lesser extent) brimmed with regret over the squandered opportunity for peace that the December bombing yielded (keeping in mind that the latter targeted Israeli soldiers, not civilians). 

Newspapers and other media, such as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and CNN dealt a blow to any journalistic integrity when they chose such statements to mark the day of the Palestinian attack: "12-Week lull in Mideast ends," "Mideast quiet shattered", "Attacks broke a lull that had lasted more than two months and raised fears of a slide into violence", "There has been a relative calm since the Haifa bombing (last October)," and so on. 

Such manifest favoritism in reporting gives rise to the argument that the desire to condemn the Palestinian people's struggle is instinctive and utterly fails to consider the disproportionate hurt inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel. 

This argument becomes even more plausible when pro-Israeli pundits in the American media and government, and within the ranks of the noticeably influential lobby groups and think tanks, find Israel's justifications for its senseless violence and occupation of Palestinian land, substantiated, even compelling. After all, Israel will always maintain a level of "moral superiority" over the Arabs, as declared by Douglas Feith, the US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. 

Nevertheless, even with this troubling state of affairs in mind, injustice must not be an invitation to respond with an equivalence of morally degrading acts as those advocated by the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon and its apologists elsewhere. Sharon and his henchmen, of all people, should not, in any way, determine the nature and magnitude of Palestinian resistance. 

To maintain its moral edge, the Palestinian revolution should not evade from its all-encompassing, tolerant and inclusive path, it should not be tainted by the fallacies of the occupier, it should not fall into the trap of fury, racial and religious exclusivity and revengeful acts against civilians. 

True, the U.S. media will hardly acknowledge such a realization. But should we remain confined by media partiality and too concerned over the validating words of some government spokesman? Were these the values that inspired and sparked the current Uprising and the uprisings of the past? Certainly not. 

Countering Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians by lashing out at Israeli civilians, no matter how outwardly satisfying revenge might seem, should be estranged from the everlasting principles of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. These values must remain untainted, wholesome even, so that the will of the people might some day prevail over tyranny and oppression. And it will.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American journalist and editor-in-chief of The Palestine Chronicle online newspaper. His articles were published and quoted in newspapers around the world, including the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian, among others. He is the editor of the anthology: "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion." Baroud is also a researcher for the Qatar-based al-Jazeera Net English.

To buy "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion" CLICK HERE

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine
Views: 4916

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Older Comments:
100, are you running out of names ? Lets cut through the zionist bs, and get to the heart of the problem. Get out of the occupied terrorities, no? Then dont complain about Palestinians doing this and that. Its THEIR country. Israeli terrorists always target civilians, preferable woman and infants.
Bottom line, as long as Jews continue their terrorism, Palestinians will retaliate in kind.

100 are you telling us that bombing an entire building in the middle of the night killing most of the people in the building and injuring the people in nearby buildings just to get one man is safeguarding Palestinian civilians?


100 FROM UK said:
Civilians are not Israel's target. More often than not there is ample opportunity to safeguard them. Israel cannot afford to hold off anti-terror operations faced with civilian shields. Suicide bombers target civilians. To claim it is not too late to 'save the moral high ground' is ridiculous. It is not too late to recognise the sickness, but to pretend that till now it was anything but, and to claim Israelis target civilians, makes thin cover. The article is plain weak on truth.

Civilians should not be targetted? I fully agree if it pertains to children and the elderly. But we all know that the majority of the rest of the the Israelis are in the reserve and on scheduled regular military training to keep the Israeli army superior in it's occupying power and in it's lack of civility. Let us not forget
that "OCCUPATION IS THE WORST FORM OF TERRORISM." Still, targetting civilians, regardless of age, in cities, restaurants, and buses OUTSIDE THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS is immoral, illegal, non-islamic, non-christian, and deviates from the Arab traditional rules of engagement in wars. Sadly, because of the indiscriminate targetting by the Palestinian resistance, The Palestinian cause has lost almost all of the international support it had gained few years ago when the world watched the Israeli army battling the stone throwing Palestinian children with live bullets.

i agree with the article and the comment of Muslimah. if palestinians continue to target israeli civilians, then they are giving very bad impression of their struggle and our religion. this is not to say they must not fight, or be passive. army personnel and those people who have taken oath or who are specifically sent to implement the israeli govt.'s zionist policies - they are those who are legitimate combatants in a war. besides, there are many jews in israel who are fighting for palestinian rights together with the palestinians. if you attack civilians, might you not kill these good people?

The Palestinians unknowingly have fallen for the zionist trap. In the 80's, Israel was looking for legitimacy and was very afraid the world would condemn it like the aparthaid South Africa. The world opinion against South Africa shifted so drastically that western countries were pressured to sanction South Africa, mainly to the credit of the populace. The sanctions worked, and finally the black Africans were given the same rights. Isrealis must have thought they could be next if the world see them as the oppressors. So what did they do? They used the strategy of incitation by making life worst than ever for the Palestinians; killing and injuring the civilian population at random. The strategy worked and the Palestinians fell for it. They started with retaliation against the Israeli civilians, and the rest is history. Consequently, the Palestinians lost their legitimate claims, the Israelis became the victims who were only trying to defend themselves from the Palestinian terrorist groups.

"O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be Just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do." Qur'an, Al-Ma'idah, verse 8.

It pains me that those who have followed the path of revenge at all cost have done so in the name of Islam and told those poor young people that they would be martyrs. It is tragic that many young people died doing injustice to others and themselves and believed they were pleasing Allah. I abhore their leaders for straying them away from Islam and using them for their stupid tactics that have only made life worst and caused more deaths.

Don't they see that Isreal has always broken ceasefires by targeting their leadership? Why would they want to incite them? They want them to retaliate the only way they know, suicide bombing.

Mr Baroud remember the Oslo accord,during this period the resistance was muted but our Palestinian brothers end up losing more land,
Non voilence would play right into the hands of
Sharon ie that he broke the will of the Palestinian people.Non voilence will not work against racist Jews, their intentions are to steal all the land of Palestine. Thomas Jefferson one of the foundling of America used to firebomb the Brittish in their fight for freedom,in the end America was born.I wonder if Mr Bush would refer to Mr Jefferson as a terrorist, hmmm.

here is an interesting read for those who care to read it:

Quite the opposite "Paul Morland." Its the Askhenazi jewish terrorists who have been murdering Palestinians for over half a century. Say hi to your "John Norman" identity for me.

Assalamu alaikum. There would seem to be at least some reasoning for attempting to label all Jewish citizens of Israel as settlers. However, with all due respect, I think that doing so would prove counterproductive to attaining freedom for at least that portion of Palestine that the United Nations has said belongs to the Palestinian people.

I personally would imagine that in being compelled to rely upon only Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for assistance an oppressed people might possibly forget that sometimes Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) wills that help comes from outsiders who have become sympathetic to an oppressed people's struggle. Is it not essential to the Zionist cause that no distinction is made by Palestinian activists as to the side of the Green Line on which a Jewish immigrant resides?

In addition, there will almost certainly be at least some settlers who will refuse to leave - even if Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) wills that Palestine attain true statehood. Has any thought been given to levying special taxes for "alien residents" or implementing "selective employment opportunities" for Palestinian citizens - as an alternative to resorting to mortar rounds and bullets - for recovering land which has been confiscated from the Palestinian people?

It is my hope that Palestine will one day be free. May Allah will that it be so (Ameen).

over 80% of israelies are in the reserves but i do agree they should fight with honor.

this is very difficult :(

Palestinians (although of course they were not called that at the time) have been massacring Jewish civilians since the 1920s Hebron massacre, long before the existence of Israel, never mind the occupation. They and their Arab allies have been expelling and dispossessing Jews since 'evacuation' of Jews from the ancient Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and subsequent banning of Jews from their holiest places in 1948 / 1949. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Jews have been expelled and dispossessed from other Muslim countries. The self-righteous and histrorically ignorant tone of this article fuels the world view which drives suicide bombers to continue massacring the innocent.

Take your disgusting idea's to the zionist, palestinians have every right to fight back an evil nation which aims for the destruction of not only the palestinians but the whole muslim community. Listen, when your abused in front of the world and nobody dares to say anything, you have the right to accomplish your goal by any means neccessary. When palestinian civilians are killed its okay but killing israeli civilians is a crime, this is exactly what they want you to say and it's a shame that you became their puppet.


This is a wonderful article by Mr. Baroud. This article shines
wih insight and forward thinking.

Islamically this is very important in terms of defining the
course of Islamic resistance in Occupied Palestine. It is time
that the resistance factions rethink their tactics and do not
corrupt their just and moral struggle by violating not only
international law, the code that gives the Palestinian
struggle its legitimacy in the world, but most importantly
Islamic Law.

May God Almighty let those who stand for Justice from the
camps of Jenin and Rafah to the cities of Bethleham and
Ram'Allah be guided on the Straight Path.

Finally an article that addresses the problem.

Killing the Jews with the same vile and hate that they show Palestinians is UNISLAMIC.

Islam has laws and strict rules that govern EVERYTHING...including WAR!

Palestinians kill Israeli and call it Jihad, or just or whatever...but on the contrary it's HARAM.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) practice strict discipline on the battlefield, he prohibited the killing of the innocent and there are even laws protecting the environment in the area where the war is being fought.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians have taken on the tone of the Jew, acting like a Jew but yet claiming to be Islamic in their struggle, their actions and everything else.

Palestinians will now and forever be disregarded by the international community because the respond with all the hate and vile given to them by the jew.

More importantly, the sick bida that has flowed from the mouths of the criminals that consider themselves leaders of the islamic community in that area has currupted and stained what was a righouts cause by justifing HATE AND EVIL!

The shia leaders are more guilty of this than anyone...making up rules and laws that overshadow the sunnah of prophet muhammad (saw) that pretain to warfare.

Yes, the Jews are unjust and inhuman in their actions and treatment of the Palestinians....but a true Jihad would be fight them back while remembering the Sunnah and behaving like a Muslim...NOT A JEW!

As is evident in the responses to this article, this Ummah is well on it's way to thinking like, and behaving like the JEW....lacking humanity and selling out their beliefs for REVENGE and blinding HATE.

I agree with the "proxized" writer of this article, but at the same token-

1. The zionist regime must NOT oppress Pal's civilians. "...OPPRESSION IS WORSE THAN KILLING..."

2. The Zionist regime must NOT engage in collective punishment- blowing up suicide bomber's family homes in the name of preventing suicide attacks. How Zionistic!!!

3. The Zionist regime MUST NOT build the OPPRESSIVE WALL separating Palestanian family members ; this is another tactic for zionist to grab land. They call themselves the CHOSEN PEOPLE. They must grab the CHOSEN land (Palestine) with complete disregard for Palestanians. They say it's written in their HOLY BOOK to claim the land. Extermely Zionistic!!!

4. The Israeli civilians must NOT support their the extremist gov't. They have been brainwashed to believe that Israel is NOT occupying Pal's land. Very sad.

5. The U.S. civilians must remove the neocons from its gov't and stop funneling money to the Zionist regime.... The Neocons will destroy America. Need proofs? How many billions have you (the people of USA) spent this week trying to protect your roofs from missilized airplanes? .....Why ask why? Try Bud dry until you pass out!!! No need to question your gov't's deeds!!! Very sad.

The USA has the great satanic gov't. It must be dismantled. It's full of evil doers. The funny thing is that they call claim themselves to be the peacemakers & the drunken U.S. public seems to believe it. It's very Sad.

The solution to all the world's problem is to remove the evil doers from the U.S. gov't. That's the only solution. They are abusing power exactly like Saddam.

It's time someone put Bush, the neocons, the Zionists and the Middle eastern Kings and Queens (who have been proxized) on Trial. DON'T TAKE PLEASURE ON SADDAM'S CAPTURE. There are plenty of Saddams in the USA, Israel, and in the whole World. People just need to GROW UP to see it.


Murtaza Sayeed and Rosetta: While many palestinians may have been moved out after WWII I am pretty sure If you want to go back to the beginning it was Israeli land. What Palestinians should do is stop whinning and start doing. That is what the Jews do. They throughout their history have experienced probably 100X the oppression that the Palestinians have but they keep their heads up and come back every time.

Alisaleh: All Wars... really? I thought for sure you would implicate Isreal in your statement. Inclusive statements are almost always wrong as is yours.

MS: violence will never be the answer. There are many ways to solve problems without violence. One must work hard and do good things. No people have endured more discrimination and violence than the Jews since the beginning of time but they keep coming back and within one generation often can be found at the top of what ever society they are living in. They are hard workng and GOd's people but also should not use violence. They know how to work best for their own and how to succeed. The palestinians have something to learn from them. They should be willing to assimilate into their society and yet keep their faith. Only by fitting in can they hope to succeed.

To all who implicated violence was OK: I thought Islam is a peaceful religion that promotes peace?

The article, from it's very premise, is based on flaws. FIrst off, does one recognize a people that comes into your land and kicks you out? If a family came into your house and kicked you out of several rooms, be they civilians, would you not fight them out? It is a different question when dealing with letting them live peacefully with you as long as they didnt try and takeover the house or any parts of it (as was the case for hundreds of years before the advent of zionism). Also, taking into consideration the fact that every Israeli civilian man or woman must serve for 2 years in the military, are those citizens innocent?

I was against suicide bombings and feel it hurts the Palestinian cause, but after I realized what was happening in the occupied territories by "settlers", it was crazy. Watch the vide Jenin Jenin to understand.


Unilateral honor seems preferable to bilateral terror. I think that the author, Ramzy Baroud, has suggested a much more likely means of attaining freedom for the people of Palestine.

If you are committed to martyrdom then why not at least consider dying with a camera in your hand (documenting an atrocity) rather than a detonator? What do you think: would a government that is brought into power through the murder of civilians be more or less likely to murder civilians - as a matter of government policy?

Insha'Allah Palestine will be free.


This article is a disgusting portray of secularism in our Palestinian society..A westernized thinking writer claims to be a Palestinian! basically transmitting the thoughts of his teachers...This is how they are and how they look..Enough of attempting to please the superficial western ideology slaves..Heed the call to our reason of greatness Islam.

I have always liked Mr.Baroud's articles, however he needs to understand that Palestinians dont have much of a choice in the matter. They have been under systematic occupation and dispossesion for almost 60 years. I doubt you would ever tolerate such treatment on your person.
Israel being a brutal jewish terrorist state presents with an odd definition of "civilian," where all Israeli's serve in the military and overwhelmingly support Israeli's barbaric policies.
It defies common sense to ask Palestinians to be non-violent and be picky when Israeli's are given carte blanche to do as they please with the world collectively turning a blind eye. Therefore Palestinians have a full right to resist jewish terror.

All this problems started with Eypt prime minister who signed the agreement in 1949. Like how stupit he was to do that? I'm sorry to say this but look at the results what is going on right know. Everyperson in palestian have the right to save their land which belong to them along time ago. I don't blame the suicide bomb because who is going to help these people. Not muslim countries. I wounder where is the help of muslim countries together

Thank God someone finally addressed this issue.
I am a Muslim and I am pro liberation of Palestinians and Palestine, however, killing of innocent Israeli civilians has overshadowed the spirit of Palestinian Intifada and their cause to their liberation.
I believe that in order to defeat Zionist oppressive behavior does not mean to behave like Zionists.
An Israeli child who is killed in a suicide bombing is as innocent of a Palestinian child who is killed by the Zionists. No difference!
Except that every time an Israeli civilian dies, Zionists have more excuse to oppress more Palestinians and make their case the world community, that they are killing Palestinians for the self defense and defense of the Israeli people.
What Palestinian people, I believe, need is a good and honest leadership who is faithful(a good Muslim), fears Allah, honest, and someone who will not betray his people at any cost!
Only through patients, consistency, trust in Allah, and a moral and legitimate resistance will Palestinian people be able to win their freedom and their land back.

2:45 "And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones,"

MS said:
What kind of Palistenian this author is? Is occupation of Palistine a military occupation only? Is the occupant of Palestine Israeli military only? Had it been the case then yes Mr. Ramzy you would have been correct in your stance. But you are wrong Mr. Ramzy. This occupation is supported/funded/backed by majority of Israelis.

The pity is Palestinians don't have any Muslim and International support. How should they defend themselves against huge Military incursions? You suggest that they should not do suicide bombing but you never suggested what else they should do to protect these unlawful incursions/assaults/killings? What else they are left with after such a horrific mistreatment by their occupants?

I completely agree with the author's perception of the Palestinian resistance. The Palestinian people should desist from harming innocent Israeli civilians as it's the Israeli army not the Israeli civilians that are killing the Palestinian civilians. If it continues the way it is now, there can be no permanent peaceful solution to this years of vexing problem. Remember that Allah is with those who act with patience at all times especially at times of adversity. With 'Power' so severely misbalanced between the Opressive Israel and the weak Palestine, there is no other option but to remain calm and be hopeful, unless Other Arab nations who are sitting pretty while their Palestinian brothers and sisters are being persecuted, their chidlren murdered, dying due to hunger while they enjoy in their lavish palaces. Woe unto those Arab nations while they watch their brothers and sisters getting maimed and killed.

The hypocrisy of the US Media is quite well known, the more we condemn them, the less they are condemned. They have been deceiving the US people and will continue to do so as long as the media is controlled by the pro-Israeli hardline Zionists. Wake up! American people and and boycott the media's campaign of misinformation, lies and deception. Shame on you CNN, FOX, NBC and shame on all the misreporting and misleading US Media.