Israel has forced its rule via an illegal military occupation of Palestinians for 33 years now. The result is resistance. Many times, minority factions of the resistance have acted inhumanely. However, this does not justify Israel”s oppressive and brutal occupation.
Two weeks ago, the deadly, barbaric, inhumane results of 53 years of displacement, and 33 years of Israel”s illegal occupation and oppression were revealed to the world. Suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa resulted in the death of 25 civilians. No decent person could possibly refrain from condemning such an act.
For obvious reasons, the Israelis should condemn this horrific act. Their citizens should not be in a position where they fear getting on a bus or going to a mall. Nor should the Israeli government ever feel that they always need be in a self-defense mentality. However, just as occupation does not justify suicide bombings, suicide bombings do not justify occupation and oppression. Israel”s self-defense mentality is a direct result of its occupation and barbaric tactics. We also cannot forget that the recent suicide bombings are a result of Israel?s assassination policies, resulting in the poorly targeted extra-judicial killings of dozens of Palestinian resistance leaders, as well as dozens of innocent passersby. On November 23rd, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon escalated the conflict with the assassination of a senior Hamas leader.
The Palestinians should condemn such an act because they do not support the killings of any innocent civilians, whether they be Israeli or Palestinian. Furthermore, suicide bombings are a phenomenon that catch the world”s attention and do nothing but hurt the just Palestinian cause. Suicide bombings make up a minute fraction of the resistance, yet they receive the most attention. As already stated, the occupation and oppression do not justify suicide bombings, but they more than justify other forms of resistance. In fact, resistance is a natural result of occupation and oppression, and just as we see it in Palestine, we have seen it in South Africa against apartheid, in the U.S. against British imperialism, and in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
The current mass military assault launched by Sharon in his new war against the Palestinians (not against terrorism) will do nothing but hurt the fragile stability of the region. Killing the Palestinians with military might has been a policy practiced by the Israelis for decades, yet it has not yet resulted in peace. Common sense would tell us that it would not work now either.
The Israelis are attempting to portray an image whereas Yasser Arafat has full control over the terrorist operations. They are blind to the fact that their oppression and occupation could possibly anger the indigenous population. It seems now that the Israelis are threatening to remove Arafat from the equation. Oh well. Arafat is a corrupt and poor leader of the Palestinians. However, removing him will not change the troubling situation on the ground for the Palestinians or end the resistance. Israel holds the key for this.
Let us keep it very simple. Fact: the Israelis have illegally occupied the Palestinians for over 33 years now. Fact: this occupation has brought with it unimaginable oppression, resulting in the lowest standards of living for Palestinians. Fact: the recent conflict has resulted in the killing of 800 Palestinians 150 of them children. Just two weeks ago, 5 children were killed in a Gaza school by a bomb planted by Israeli occupation forces. Fact: Israel have just launched a massive war that has brought even the criticism of her own Labor party. Now, how would one expect the Palestinians to react? Unfortunately for the Israelis, the Palestinians will never accept slavery, will never stand by while their land is being taken from them, while they are forced into refugee camps, and while they are killed and deformed by Israeli bullets and shells. It is time for the U.S. to open their eyes to this, and end their support of Palestinian suffering in the wake of the American-funded Israeli occupation.
LSA senior Paul Saba is president of the University”s Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.