Beyond Wall and Propaganda: Violence Begets Violence

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Ariel Sharon, Conflicts And War, Occupation Views: 4009

One can hardly overlook the reverberation of triumph in the words of Ariel Sharon's own chief spokesman, Ranaan Gissin on Thursday, January 29. When commenting on a suicide bombing that killed 10 Israelis and wounded others in Jerusalem, Gissin exhorted: "This terrorist attack is the best argument that we can use to defend the sacred right of Israel to exercise legitimate self-defense." 

The Israeli Prime Minister's somewhat eloquent spokesman used the bloodshed in Jerusalem to kick off a major propaganda campaign, targeting Europe and the United Sates. The campaign is aimed at defending Israel's unilateral action of building a separation fence that is thrust deep into the Occupied Territories, annexing much of what many Palestinians have once hoped to be part of their future state. 

Fearing a potentially embarrassing ruling by the International Court of Justice, due on February 28, on the legality of the Israeli wall, the Israeli cabinet vowed on Wednesday to challenge the court's own legal "competence" to rule on the contentious subject. It was followed by a pledge to carry out a "ramified information campaign (to be) conducted parallel to the legal proceedings." 

And now, of course, the "bus bombing vindicates (the) West Bank barrier," wrote AFP, citing Gissin. 

It is needless to say that suicide bombings play well into the hands of Israel, thanks in part to unbalanced and out-of-context media coverage throughout the United States, and to a lesser extent, Europe. Only Palestinians seem to target civilians "in the hearts of their cities." Israel's much higher rate of killing occupied and oppressed Palestinians is vindicated under the banner of 'self-defense.' 

Just one day prior to the Jerusalem bombing, Israeli occupation forces killed 8 Palestinians, the majority of which were unarmed. Most of those killed in the assault on Gaza, were shot at close range, according to hospital reports. Among the wounded was an 11-year-old child, whose left eye was penetrated by a sniper bullet. 

The Palestinian casualties, unlike the case of Israelis, were immediately divided into categories by the media, a stunt that is often used to dilute the revulsion of the Israeli transgression. Some of the Palestinian victims were "militants" belonging to "Islamic Jihad," a "radical Palestinian group", dedicated to the "destruction of Israel" and so on. The Israeli aggression is therefore downplayed, to simply become an immanent necessity, not a choice. 

Palestinian bombings in Israel are hardly rationalized by the fact that they often occur as a response to much more calculated aggressions carried out by Israel, like the raid on Gaza. However, only Israel can vindicate its own inhumanity, its crimes and killings. And when the tide is not turning Israel's way, then a quick cabinet meeting, a press release and decision to launch an "information campaign" in the West, is often all that Israel requires, to maintain its 'moral superiority' over Palestinians. 

But what else does Israel fail to put forth while defending its separation wall? 

The wall is, of course, not erected along the 1967 borders, nor was it designed to shield Israel's border. Its deceiving and all-encompassing line swallows a significant percentage of the West Bank, scores of its towns and villages and thousands of its people. If the idea was shielding Israel, then why rob Palestinians of their land in the process? If the goal is to protect Israelis, then why relocate them into the heart of the West Bank and Gaza, "settling" on stolen Palestinian land, where oppression and violence often compels a response? 

An honest look at the situation truly validates the view point that Israel is only using counter Palestinian violence to further its territorial interests in the Occupied Territories, slowly annexing much of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, under the pretext of security and legitimate self-defense. 

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority's helplessness lingers on. The PA condemned Gaza's incursion and killings, and simultaneously expressed willingness to speed the foreseen meeting between Prime Minister Ahmed Qorie and Sharon. As vehemently, it also condemned the subsequent Jerusalem bombing. It is also enthusiastically training its police force to crack down on militant groups. It remains unable to take a firm stance in which it refuses any talks under this pre-calculated Israeli war on the Palestinians. It lacks a unified Arab front that is able or willing to exert equal pressure on the United States for its support of Israel. 

With the reality on the ground not changing, the future remains bleak; tit for tat remains the name of the game, incompetent, and frankly irrelevant PA, manipulative Israeli politics, and biased American government whose only role seems to further marginalize Palestinians and embrace the policies of Sharon. 

The suicide bombing in Jerusalem was yet another tragedy, provoked by equally tragic carnage in Gaza. The greater tragedy however, was exploiting the bloodshed for political gain, an opportunity for vindication and another round of propaganda, instead of a clear realization that violence will always beget violence, not matter how giant Israel's separation wall is, no matter how well ramified its propaganda campaign may be.

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: Ariel Sharon, Conflicts And War, Occupation
Views: 4009

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Older Comments:
Congratulations Samir Alawi! Did you try to contact Ariel Sharon and tell him about your opinion about Yassir Arafat(I don't think Sharon thought so highly about Arafat as The Greatest Thug? I think that title he reserves it to himself)? Ariel Sharon would be also very interested on your mental defecations about how Arab leaders bring shame on their citizens untill somebody (maybe like yourself), takes them out! What a beautiful philosophy! You could contact George Bush too, this cowboy spirit is becoming harder and harder to find these days. I wonder, were you riding the white poney when you felt like posting a comment or this is just the way you are? I feel sorry for you, the article was beyond your capabilities of discerning higher concepts. Even an argument comming from a Zionist would have made more sense and it did, if you look from their side of the fence, but you my friend are not on top of the fence as you would be expected to be, but rather under it. R.I.P.

One of the problems with the parliamentarian form of government is that public projects require various 'arrangements' to be made, between members of parliament, in order to secure public funding. Israel's wall is an example of how the process works. In order to fund an (enormously) expensive public project, initially in the interest of better assuring public security, the wall also needed to serve the interests of those primarily interested in increasing the amounts of land held by their constituents. As it turned out, the wall was made to do so by placing it well within the boundaries of the Occupied Territories.

While we are on the subject of confiscating land that belongs to someone else, how is it that an atheist can claim to have been given ownership, of anything, by something in which they don't believe (without lying)? All the same, my guess is that the wall will be completed sometime before eventually being torn down - presumably after having been made to serve (to some extent) the interests of the Knesset Members who supported its construction.

Jordan and Gwendolyn Marshall, I say to you Jazak-Allahu Khairan (May Allah reward you for the good) you have shown by knowing the truth about what the government of Israel is doing.

Truly, American's like yourselves are what America such a wonderful place.

I agree that the Israelis are using the actions of the suicide bombers to further their cause by utilizing the American media. Through this outlet they have been able to potray and justify a one sided story. However, the real issue to me is the fact that the state of Israel has refused to acknowledge thier crimes against the Palestinians both Christians and Muslims alike. I pray that the middle east can see peace but peace can only be achieved if and only if the Israelis give back the land that they stole back in 1967 and also dismantle all illegitimate settlements. Enough said

Mr. Baroud did a wonderful job of breaking down the tragic
cycle of violence that has plagued both Palestinians and
Israelis. The most significant point made in this reference is
that Israeli violence is sanctioned by the state while
Palestinian violence is carried by irregular guerrila militias.

K2 FROM USA said:
Why this constant focus on Palestine and Israel? Are there no other Muslims suffering in the world that deserve equal attention?

The palestinian issue sounds more like a nationalistic issue and less Islamic issue. It's about land not religion. They build casinos and then talk about Islam.

Even in times of war the Quran forbids the killing of unarmed women and children. Yet they continue their suicide bombings.

If Ramzy baroud is so aganst israel's "unilateral" action in building the wall, perhaps he should encourage the palestinians to offer their assistance.

Salamu Alaikum,

When the biggest of all thugs, Yassir Arafat, hording up his victims' money in his personal banks and ordering killers to kill the innocent, then the Israelis will take him seriously. How in the world can we expect the Israelis to honestly deal with this criminal when he pays his wife $100,000.00 per month to live in Paris along with her daughter while at the same time millions of Palestinians are living next to their feces. It is time to deal with him as he is too old to do anything for the people of Palestine. Some Arab leaders will always bring shame upon their citizens until the latter rise up and take them out. Enough is enough!

I just pray that someday, the truth of the situation as presented in this article becomes mainstream and REALIZED by the majority of the American population, Insha'Allah.

Americans have the flexibility and freedom to rationalize the events in the occupied territories, and they have the ability to interpret the events which take place on the ground with a clear mind. They have the means at their disposal to understand the TRUTH, that Israel exploits human suffering and death in the region in order to further their political agendas. They have the ability to see past the one-sided interpretation of the situation by the mass media and other special interest-groups, because the American people can make a change in our world...not through blameless finger-pointing, but through their love and kindness for others.

Let the free-thinking American population come to realize this, because they can, and they will, Insha'Allah.

Let us Muslims also around the globe, be true in our Iman and hold on firmly to the rope of Allah by submitting to His will and His commands.

The picture shows 'hatred' as one of the elements in the cycle.

I do not blame this site for publishing the hate-filled racist rants of people like Ahmed, who describe Jews as slime emerging from rat holes and calls for their ethnic cleansing. After all, that is free speech.

But I do blame this site for advertising sales of racist texts such as the Proctocols of the Elders of Zion, revealed as a forgery decades ago and perhaps the seminal text justifying genocide.

IViews needs to decide whether it is on the side of a dialogue or of hate mongering. It cannot be both.