Blaming the Victim

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: International Law, Occupation Views: 5280

The main fallacy of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the last 12 years has been the complete omission or the indefinite postponement of fundamental Palestinian demands - demands sustained and cemented by international law and most recently by the July 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice.

The problem lies in the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, Palestinian and others. It has invited a legacy of violence and counter violence that has claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis. It has systematically and intentionally destroyed any chance for peace. It insisted to punish the victim for the sins of aggressor.

Palestinians are victims, and their rights, security and welfare should be the priority of the international community. Israel has no right to demand security from its victims; it lost that right the moment it breached international law when its tanks rolled onto Palestinian land.

Unfortunately, however, it is as if the opposite were true. This dreadful habit of blaming the victim has also defined US foreign policy and media discourse for years: Only if Palestinians would unify their security forces, clamp down on terrorism, reform their political institutions, cease incitement and put down their weapons and become more democratic. Only then could they become worthy peace partners. But even then, Israel is under no obligation to do much, since democratic or otherwise, the mere existence of Palestinians is problematic.

This is not an exaggeration. The fact that the birth rate among Palestinians is higher than that of Israelis is termed a "demographic bomb", a problem in the eye of Israel that must be countered by any means necessary, including the fencing off and the caging of Palestinian towns and villages to keep the unwanted multitudes of people out of Israel's domain, while keeping Palestinian land.

The occupied territories make up 22 percent of the size of historic Palestine. But much of the little remaining has been stolen throughout the years, ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian inhabitants to make room for Israeli settlements, all illegal under international law.

Arafat's death on Nov. 11, 2004 has indeed "revived hope." But by hope Israel and its friends mean the hope of returning to the Oslo which has yielded nothing but a few symbolic gestures to the Palestinians. 

Israel's real motives behind the impetus in the peace process are anything but a secret, and thus must not be seen as a Palestinian construct. While Israel is congratulated for its courage and "painful compromises" in deciding to "disengage" from Gaza, Israeli officials spoke openly of Israel's dishonest objectives of wanting to partially withdraw from Gaza to simply strengthen its grip on the West Bank.

Strangely enough, it was this repugnant Israeli ruse that was translated (thanks to Israel's friends in the media and in the US administration) into an Israeli gesture of good will. As revolting as the Israeli government's intentions are, they supposedly placed the ball in the Palestinian court. Palestinians are now expected to reciprocate for an illusion deprived of any substance or value.

A just peace is indeed possible, but not according to the current standards, which the Palestinian Authority has sadly accepted. If the two-state solution is to work, Israel must dismantle all of its settlements from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and withdraw to the June 1967 borders in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338. Palestinian refugees must be given the choice to return to their land in accordance with UN Resolution 194. The Israeli wall must come down in accordance with the ruling of the International Court of Justice of July 2004.

Israel must also accept its responsibility for Palestinian dispossession and suffering for the last five decades. 

The international community must do all it can to ensure the implementation of the law it helped draft.

Palestinians on the other hand, must continue to create alliances among peace forces around the world, including Israel itself, and under no circumstance should they forfeit their right to defend themselves.

Shortly before his untimely death, Palestinian-American Professor Edward Said wrote in Al-Ahram Weekly: "So far all we hear is that Palestinians must give up violence and condemn terror. Is nothing substantive ever demanded of Israel? Can it go on doing what it has without a thought for the consequences? That is the real question of its existence: Whether it can exist as a state like all others, or must always be above the constraints and duties of all other states in the world today. The record is not reassuring.

Ramzy Baroud is a veteran Arab-American journalist. A regular columnist in many English and Arabic publications, he is editor-in-chief of and program producer at Aljazeera Satellite Television.

He is also the editor of the anthology: "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion."

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

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: International Law, Occupation
Views: 5280

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Older Comments:
Hogan asks "why we can't get it together?"
Well that is the question of the millenia. And once that question is answered that will be the end game. The millenia will belong to us.
But we will not claim it as conquerers. Rather as care takers. For that is what we Muslims are supposed to be. We are supposed to be the "vicegerents" or "Khaliphah" of Allah on earth. Every victory to everyone on this earth is a trust. And once we accept that responsibility, we will know that the only right thing to do is be united under God and help each and every one of our Human brothers. Aameen

There is one thing I can't figure out. Granted the Israelis in their mad dash for land and resources have trampled on human rights, and with help from the Americans knock off Palestinians and Muslims at will, whether in Israel or outside Israel. My question is that there are at least about 100 million Arab Muslims and 2.5 Billion Muslims of other ethnicities. Why are you all still the victims? Why are you not doing anything about it collectively? Why man if 10 million Arabs decided to pee in the direction of Israel, Israel would be no more. Why can't you guys get it together?

The people of the Middle East don't want to be involved or get involved with their own brothers/sisters. Yes, Israeli must accept the blame and responsibility for thier actions and US not to interfer with this. The problem is that Israeli want more land and for free.

what can the palestinans do to protect them selves as long as the zoinnests are there theyre gonna keep on killing us they dont care about a peace plan or anyhthing theyve been talkin about it for a decade and this whole peace talk thing is just a big excuse for the killings to the palestinans i dont blame the palestinans for being "suicide bombers" or whatever they wanna call it omg they dont even kno wat theyre talkin bout. they should call them marytar bombers gosh they need a dictionary and bush and his clan are NO better. indeed bush is going to run america into the ground. i think they should just do wat they said wat theyre gonna do instead of just waste a decade talking about it. thanku

One can not blame the zionists, they are and will stay the way they are we most conquer or adapt to there tatics or always remain in the same struggle. Allah blesses the one who is patient.

If our government poses to champion democracy, help the suffering and fight oppression and such totalitarian governments that torture and murder its people like Saddam did, then not only must the US invade Israel and free the Palestinians, but it is in the awkward position of the 'OOSS' "Oppressive Occupier Succeeding Saddam" in Iraq. So how do we Americans intend to address this point? I know, "Aww gee wiz shucks ..sorry". The tired people of Iraq have gone from one murderous lunatic despot to another. The irony of it all is just too much and the hypocrisy so painfully and outrageously blatant that one would have to be a block of concrete not to appreciate. We will go down in history as a bandit nation, as murderers, thugs and petty thieves stealing by force what belongs to others. I thought raping, pillaging and looting of medieval times was over with by the 15 century. I guess all these Christian values and the years it took for us to develop some semblance of a civilized nation was all a big fraud.

As long as the Zionist entity is allowed to view its value and importance as trumping that of the people it deals with, there will never be peace. There is a grand conspiracy that was born in 1836 with the Zionist declaration againt Palestine. Notice how no matter which leader they employ or which type of government is in power (leftist or from the right) the rhetoric and actions are the same? They refer to the West Bank and Gaza as 100% as if to wipe out of history the remaining lands of the Muslims. Every Muslim death at the hands of Zionists is an act of defense and when it is indefensible, it is a mistake whereas any act of defense on the part of Muslim Palestinians is automatically an act of terror. However, the arrogance of their ways will be their undoing. The Zionists feel that they will be powerful forever that they can take and not give that they can kill without being held accountable. Subhan Allah, they, themselves, are ensuring that the fire of rage keeps burning in the Muslims' hearts. I only pray to Allah (swt) that I am alive to witness the day when ex-Israeli leaders will be put on trial in an Islamic court (after being kidnapped by Islamic Secret Service agents from their safehavens) to stand trial for crimes against humanity. This will happen. The Zionists will make sure it does.

The roots of all these problems in the middle east stem from that EVIL, CRIMINAL, Warmongering, jewish state; and as long as that despicable state is there, there won`t be any peace. Period !!. Everythinking individual can easily tell the engineers of the World`s sufferings.