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Lying Down Weapons Not an Option

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  • ummyakoub
    For Palestinians: Lying Down Weapons Not an Option By Ramzy Baroud - June 28, 2003 Before we get worked up over the title, we must understand the distinction
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2003
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      For Palestinians: Lying Down Weapons Not an Option

      By Ramzy Baroud - June 28, 2003

      Before we get worked up over the title, we must understand the
      distinction between terrorism and the right to resist.

      The universal understanding of the targeting of innocent civilians in
      order to achieve political gains as a form of terrorism can hardly be
      argued. In fact, when applying this truth to the Arab/Israeli
      conflict, it is clear that the Palestinian people have certainly been
      the ultimate victim of terrorism for the last 55 years.

      Israel uses a false parallel to deliberately confuse the world
      community. It equates a suicide bombing inside Israel, to the killing
      of Israeli soldiers or armed settlers in the Occupied Territories.
      It's those same soldiers and settlers who are credited for the
      killing of 2,563 Palestinians and the wounding of tens of thousands
      in the last two years alone.

      Israel refers to a Palestinian who arms himself to defend his family
      and neighborhood as a "terrorist", the same terminology it uses to
      describe an individual blowing himself up in a crowded Tel Aviv
      street.

      Those unable to comprehend the suffering endured by the Palestinian
      people are likely to fail in understanding the motives of a suicide
      bomber, within the wider context of the Middle East conflict. Still,
      they ought to at least recognize the Palestinian people's right to
      defend themselves in the Occupied Territories, invaded and reinvaded
      by the Israeli army for the last 30 years.

      The Universal Declaration of Human Right's preamble (adopted and
      proclaimed by General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III) of December 10,
      1948), reads: "Whereas it is essential if man is not compelled as a
      last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human
      rights should be protected by the rule of law."

      Additionally, the General Assembly in its 20th session in 1965
      recognized "the legitimacy of struggle by the people under colonial
      rules to exercise their rights to self-determination and
      independence." Over a decade later, Additional Protocol I to the
      Geneva Convention of 1949, (Act 1 C4), passed in 1977, declared that
      armed struggle can be used, as a last resort, as a method of
      exercising the right of self-determination.

      While one can argue, out of his/her concern for the Palestinian
      people, that Palestinians should refrain from the use of armed
      resistance, the point remains that Palestinians are only exercising
      their legitimate right to resist if they wish to use armed struggle.

      On the other hand, suicide bombings that target civilians are clearly
      not sanctioned by international law. While it is understandably
      condemned, those concerned for a lasting peace in the Middle East
      must go beyond verbal condemnations and cutting of funds to analyzing
      its roots and causes, a process that would always lead back to the
      illegal Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

      The distinction between terrorism and the right to resist must be
      restated now, more than ever. The Road Map peace initiative, proposed
      by the United States and endorsed by a few others, demands that the
      Palestinian Authority crack down on Palestinian movements that resort
      to armed struggle.

      Such a demand is bewildering, considering that an equal demand of an
      Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories is yet
      to be made. Moreover, while Palestinian groups are engaged in
      ceasefire talks with the PA's Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, Israel has
      pulled out all of its tricks to disable any possible truce. Since the
      Israeli cabinet has hesitantly agreed to accept the general outlines
      of the Road Map (with 14 reservations that almost completely deprive
      it of any meaning), scores of Palestinians have been killed and
      assassinated at the hands of the Israeli army.

      Even the false hope that Israel would in fact cease the building of
      Jewish settlements on Palestinian land has now evaporated. The
      Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday, June 24,
      an alarming remark made by Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon while
      addressing his cabinet, saying: "They (the Jewish settlers in the
      Occupied Territories) can build in the settlements, but they should
      not talk about it and go out dancing every time they get a building
      permit. Let them build without talking."

      It is under these conditions that the United States, Europe and the
      UN expect Palestinians to lie down their weapons. Expecting such an
      action by Palestinian groups at a time that none of Israel's deadly
      policies have yet been tamed, is similar to asking Palestinians to
      surrender completely, an expectation that Palestinians vehemently
      refuse.

      Israel's success in equating resistance to terrorism is one of the
      important factors that drive many to believe that by forcing
      Palestinians to lay down their arms, while still under the
      suffocating grip of the Israeli army, the secret formula for peace in
      the Middle East will be been attained.

      Palestinians have the right to defend themselves and are bound to
      adhere to that right. Israel has no right to forge lists of
      conditions regarding Palestinian resistance, when it continues to
      blow up cars filled with innocent passengers in Gaza, under the
      pretext that it is "fighting terror".

      Whether armed resistance is a viable strategy or not, this is beside
      the point. Palestinians have the right to resist using whatever
      humble means available to them, because it is them and them alone who
      must collect the scattered body parts of their loved ones, every time
      Israel goes on another assassination frenzy.

      Resistance and terrorism are two completely different values and it's
      not Israel who has the right to impose its definition over the
      Palestinian resistance. In a better world, Israeli leaders would be
      facing international justice and would be tried for state-sponsored
      terrorism. But since we don't live in this better world as of yet,
      let us at least refrain from scolding Palestinians for fighting
      back.

      *Baroud is the editor-in-chief of Palestine Chronicle
      (www.palestinechronicle.com) and editor of the anthology
      titled: "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli
      Invasion," now available at www.PalestineBooks.com
      _______________________________________
      http://www.iap.org E-mails: iapinfo@...


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