We Are All Palestinians

Category: World Affairs Topics: Ariel Sharon, Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine Views: 919

As horrifying as the last a few days in the Middle East were, they were anything but a surprise. There were an expected escalation, with political and military motives, and the outcome was as devastating as ever. But have we learned anything?

While the Palestinian people have never been so clear in their determination to carry on with their struggle, Israel is overwhelmed with uncertainty.

There is a kind of costly obsession possessing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an obsession that he carried around for the last 50 years of his career that there are 'terrorists' and if he gets his hand on them, everything will be okay for Israel.

That is ridiculous! Regardless of whether you call them terrorists or freedom fighters, there is no such thing as a group or groups of Palestinians operating independently from the rest of the Palestinian people whose goal in life is just to make Sharon's life more difficult.

The Israeli people must stop believing in this rhetoric that was handed from one Israeli leader to the other. Yes there are people fighting, but those fighters are a phenomenon that grows and disintegrates based on the level of Israeli aggressions against Palestinians. They are an extension of the Palestinian people. In fact, they are the Palestinian people.

Those so-called terrorists are Palestinians, mostly educated with clear vision of peace and clear direction in life. They are university students, professionals and police officers. They could include men, women, teenagers, and even children. Their use of weapons is directly dictated by Israel: they use firearms and bombs when their villages are invaded by tanks and shelled by F-16s; they throw stones when they are fired at by Israeli troops using rubber-coated metal bullets. It's simple logic. The Palestinian resistance response always indicates the level of escalation inflicted by Israel.

Take for example the recent Israel attacks on two of the West Bank's most impoverished refugee camps, Jenin and Balata. The clarity of the Israeli aggression needs little disagreement. Tens of thousands of refugees lived in these two camps for the last five decades, besieged and denied their most basic rights, including their right to go back to their homes as instated by the United Nations.

As if this ongoing suffering was not enough, the Israeli government, to send a political message to shoot down the accelerating international enthusiasm of a Saudi peace proposal, and a message to the Israeli right wing parties so that they remain in Sharon's coalition, the two camps came under attack. Thousands of soldiers invaded both camps, shelling them by ground and air, destroying hundreds of homes, killing and wounding hundreds.

The same worn pretext was reiterated by the biggest failure in Israeli politics, Sharon, and his extremist cronies: Israel is hunting down terrorists.

What terrorists? Is there a nation on the face of this earth with so little integrity that they would see their land confiscated, sons and daughter killed, homes demolished, rights denied, and they would not fight to regain what has been unjustly taken away from them? It's human instinct. Not only Palestinians, but also Americans, Russians or a people of a forsaken island in the middle of the Atlantic must develop a mechanism to fight back.

And Palestinians are fighting back, what is so outrageous about that? Why do Palestinians have to explain themselves over and over again as if there is shame in resistance? It is not only that resistance is legitimate as a human response to injustice, but also legitimized through clear provisions in international law.

When an invading army began its killing campaign in the camps, the residents took to the streets, resisting; every weapon available, every bullet, every rock and slingshot, every form of resistance available was used. The so-called terrorists that Sharon alleged to be after, suddenly grown to become the entire population of the camps. By the end of the fifth day of the killing campaign, 50 Palestinian deaths and 450 wounded later, we were told, oops, the "terrorists" managed to escape.

But this is not "Al-Qaeda fighters escaped to the mountains so lets go after them" kind of scenario, these are people fighting for their lives, mothers crying over the dead bodies of their children, older men putting their headscarves down and scuffling with Israeli soldiers. These are people who are violated and will do every thing to preserve their honor and dignity.

So was it really a surprise to see a Palestinian detonate himself in Jerusalem, and another fighter kill 10 soldiers in Ramallah, and others blow up a tank in Gaza, and, and, and?

It was so predictable, so foreseen; only naves were shocked. When Israel killed 24 Palestinians, within a day Palestinians retaliated killing 21 Israelis. Of course, the killing of the Palestinians is being dropped from Sharon's and the Israeli right-wingers' memories. For them, the Palestinian response calls Israeli to retaliate for the killing of 21 Israelis, which would eventually provoke further Palestinian retaliation.

If you are getting confused, don't be. The issue cannot be any simpler. To bring balance back to this unbalanced equation, to end the vicious cycle, Israel must obey international law and UN resolutions. Israel must pull its soldiers to the last one out of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem; it must remove its illegal militant settlers form occupied Palestinian lands. Palestinians would have no reason to retaliate then, they would have gained their freedom, and Israel would have regained its security.

But will Sharon, the warlord of Israel resort to such rational and let international law be the referee in this costly conflict? Nope, he has to come back to 'mop up' more 'terrorists' and randomly kill innocent Palestinians.

The ball is now in the Israeli people's court: bring Sharon down, abandon the destructive political discourse adopted by most Israeli leaders, embrace international law, give Palestinians their freedom and reserve the lives of both peoples.

Security and peace can only pass through one road, the road of freedom and justice, not the 'hunt' for the imaginary 'terrorists', and a figment of Sharon's imagination. The Palestinian people are not terrorists, they are just people.

Ramzy Baroud is the president of Palestine Independent News Agency (PINAOnline.com)

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Ariel Sharon, Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine
Views: 919

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