TURNING POINT IN THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE

JOHN M COX coxj at SPAMemail.unc.edu
Mon Oct 16 13:01:40 MDT 2000




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Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 08:29:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: Islamic Association For Palestine <Iapinfo at iap.org>
Reply-To: palestine-net at egroups.com
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Subject: PNet: IAP-Net: TURNING POINT IN THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE  (A must
    read)


       TURNING POINT IN THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE

                  DR. NAJED NASSAR
            Union of Health Work Commitees

                   NASSER IBRAHIM
            Alternative Information Center


     "The extreme violence used by Israel against
     the Palestinian uprising is nothing but another
     attempt to coerce the world into buying into
     its understanding of 'peace,'  namely, a peace
     based on surrender."


Beit Sahour, 16 October 2000:
A few days ago, the Palestinian people experienced a turning point in their
lives.  Their struggle against the Israeli occupation has reached a new
peak. The people witnessed a savage bombardment using tanks, rockets, and
helicopters.  Forty rockets were fired over Ramallah and another 90 over
Gaza and other cities.  Fortunately, no one was killed but numerous people
were injured.  Many buildings were destroyed. The main aim of the Israeli
government is to break the spirit of the Palestinian people.  Barak
announced that this is only a token of what the Palestinians can expect.
The other aim is to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table before
the Arab summit.  In view of what is happening in the Arab World: the mass
demonstrations, the increasing pressure over the Arab regimes, the closing
of the Israeli office in Oman, the explosion of the US battle ship at the
shores of Yemen, the explosion of the British embassy in Yemen too, and the
recall of the Moroccan Ambassador back to Morocco, it becomes more important
for the US government and Israel to defuse the Arab national movement that
is rising.

What is going on at present is a clear attempt to contain the Palestinian
resistance on the national, Arab, and international levels.  The Unites
States is white-washing the Israeli government.  And at the same time the
United States is forcing its hegemony and monopoly on the region.  The
threats given by the US to the Arab states, especially Egypt (Egypt receives
US $ 3 billion yearly from the US) are loud and clear, to ensure that they
dance to the US orchestra.   Robert Fisk wrote in his article from the
13.10.2000:  "This is a story about lies, bias, hatred and death.  It is
about our inability -after more than half a century - to understand the
injustice of the Middle East."   Robert Fisk is right. The media is playing
a dirty role.  They are indeed diverting our minds from the truth. They are
indeed the dispensers of the most obsequious and deformed information.

Given the scandalous number of Palestinian casualties and the increasing
bloodshed throughout Palestine since 28 September 2000, and the numerous
confrontations during the past one hundred years, is there a possibility to
talk about a peace in the Middle East that overrides the legitimate rights
of the Palestinian people?

The Oslo Agreement of 1993 came about in order to quell the Intifada of
1987, and brought with it not only the means to neglect the legitimate
rights of the Palestinian people but also the placebo of self-rule.  The
country was torn into bantustans through the creation of areas A, B, and C,
and the paving of bypass roads to further isolate Palestinian towns and
villages. The settlements increased at breakneck speed.  In addition, the
Oslo Agreement tried to destroy the unity of the Palestinian people within
Palestine and abroad.  Since the signing of the Oslo Agreement, the
Palestinian social and economic situation continues to deteriorate.  The
dividends of (Oslo) peace were not there.

The Israeli government viewed the Oslo Accord as an irresistible opportunity
to coerce the Palestinians to sign a historic agreement sanctioning the
imposition of its policies and programs and so-called "facts on the ground."
With the decreasing momentum of the resistance movement and the increasing
fragmentation of the Arab World, Israel and the United States seized this
opportunity to employ the Israeli-American "solution" to end the conflict.
The Israelis used the imbalance of world powers on the international and
national levels to introduce their plan as the only viable solution.  This
plan is based on the following:

1. the transformation of Arab military defeats into permanent and fixed
Israeli political victories;
2. the rejection of Israeli withdrawal to the borders of 4 June 1967;
3. the rejection of the Palestinian right to return;
4. the claim that Jerusalem is the united and eternal capital of Israel
5. the plan to keep the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza under Israeli
sovereignty
6. the rejection of a sovereign Palestinian state;
7. Israel's complete denial to acknowledge its responsibility for the
Palestinian disaster of 1948.

The present Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation stems from this
reality.  At the same time, "final status" negotiations are continuing in
Washington to pass the final agreement with the help of a strong American
lobby.

The new uprising of the last days has served to remind us of the simple fact
that the conflicts and explosions occurring from Gaza to Nazareth and the
Galilee and the Triangle, are nothing but a concentrated and significant
expression of Palestinian resistance to Israeli oppression.  In addition,
they are a sign of the intense anger of the Palestinian people toward the
so-called facts on the ground that Israel is trying to impose by force.  In
short, the Intifada is the Palestinian response to Israel's calculated plans
to deny the rights of Palestinians and to force them to abdicate their
legitimate political aspirations and expectations.  For these reasons, the
Oslo Agreement was a failure, even from the beginning, as it was used as a
tool to break the Palestinian will and force an attitude of surrender.

Within the present context of violence and bloodshed, and taking into
account its historical, political, and psychological dimensions, we must
re-articulate the facts and the equations in order to reveal the situation
for what it is.  How can we explain the disproportionate violence of the
Israeli army, with its concentrated use of rockets, combat helicopters, and
tanks?  How can we explain the open confrontation on the part of
Palestinians and their readiness to die?  How can we explain the explosion
of Palestinian people in the cities and villages of 1948.  What are the
consequences of the mobilization of Arab peoples in various cities of the
Arab World?  What is the meaning of the signs of solidarity that we see in
Europe?

These questions and others situate us squarely in the midst of a complex
picture whose clarity must be restored once again, given the distortions
that have been revealed since Madrid.

Of critical importance is the necessity to expose Israel's "understanding"
of peace, namely, the exclusive imposition of its will and strategy to
obliterate the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.  Israel's terms
of reference are power, terror, and unconditional U. S. support.  Any
Palestinian attempt at resistance and refusal to bow to Israel's will must
therefore be met with raw force and violence.  This fact explains the
political imbalance of the so-called peace process and reveals that the goal
of the process is to impose surrender rather than peace.
Israel attempted to impose a political settlement without taking into
consideration the reality of the historic confrontation.  Implicit in this
reality are the historic roots, memory, civilization, and national depth of
the Palestinian people.   In other words,  the logic of force and imbalance
of power are unable to annihilate the rights of this people or its vision.
This is what Jacques Chirac meant when he condemned Israel's policy against
the Palestinian people, saying, "You cannot face the feelings of a people
with tanks."

The extreme violence used by Israel against the Palestinian uprising is
nothing but another attempt to coerce the world into buying into its
understanding of "peace,"  namely, a peace based on surrender.   Any attempt
to reject this notion will be faced by destruction, rendering the
Palestinian people impotent in front of the cycle of defeat and surrender.
Peace, according to Israel, turns out to be a continuation of occupation and
oppression.

The Palestinian people have lost their trust in the ongoing peace process.
After waiting seven years, they found themselves even more stifled and
paralyzed by Israel's "facts on the ground."   The Palestinians have fought
for over 50 years to defend their rights.  At a certain stage they found
themselves dealing with a peace initiative, but toward what end?  Not only
were they asked to give more concessions than they could reasonably give,
but the reality of the situation was finally revealed:  the peace process
for the Palestinian people is, in fact, a process of selling out..  The West
Bank and Gaza were torn apart into areas A, B, and C.  The bypass roads
fragmented cities and villages and transformed them into bantustans.
Settlement activities are increasing as a consequence of this "peace
initiative."    Prisoners have become a bargaining chip in order to
blackmail Palestinian leaders during negotiations.  Jerusalem was simply
removed from the equation.   Millions of refugees and displaced persons have
lost hope of ever returning, and have succumbed to the bleak reality that
the Palestinian refugee camp is no longer a temporary but a permanent place
to stay.  Finally, nothing has changed in the treatment of the Palestinian
people, in terms of movement, borders, house demolitions, etc.

While this is the undeniable reality, Palestinians are asked to accept this
"peace" that is accompanied by violence and oppression.  Palestinians have
no other choice than to remind the world of this reality and to reveal the
devastating consequences of deceit. The recent provocation of Ariel Sharon
when he entered the Haram a-Sharif, claiming it was a "normal" visit of a
"normal Jew" is nothing but a stupid move. But it was fuel enough to ignite
the minefield.

Within the context of this tragic reality, Palestinians were again painfully
reminded of their experience, their suffering, their stolen land.  They were
reminded of the "peace" that has been talked about ad nauseam but that
remains an elusive dream.  They were reminded of their former cities and
villages and their present-day refugees….

The only option available to them was to enter into confrontation and resist
occupation.  Peace without Jerusalem is not peace.  Peace without land and
the right of refugees to return is not peace.  Peace without an end to
occupation and the removal of settlements is not peace.  Well aware that
confrontation means death, Palestinians find themselves in front of the
choice to die surrendering, or to die resisting.  This is the reason that an
unarmed people can choose to face Israeli soldiers and be ready to die.

The Israeli occupation, moreover, has attempted to confine the conflict in
terms of its own understanding of the balance of power and how to use it
politically in the course of imminent elections.  Sharon continues his
provocation tactics in order to convince the Zionists that he is the one to
lead them, and Barak responds with an even stronger extremism.  Both are
engaged in a competition to win the support of the extremist party.  Within
such a context, peace doesn't have a chance. ( the US presidential
candidates behaved in a similar manner, competing who can be the better
servant of Israel)

The killings of the past days are racial killings.  For this reason, the
Palestinians in Nazareth, Akka, Haifa, etc., have stood up to affirm their
presence and their Palestinian nationality.  The Intifada of the
Palestinians from 1948 is not only an Intifada of solidarity but an Intifada
for themselves.  The Palestinian uprising confronts the world with the truth
of what Israel is and the racist policies that are its foundation for
survival.

Until now, more than 100 people have been killed and 3,000 injured.  Where
is it going to lead?  And how far are we going to go?  The Intifada might
stop, and the process of negotiations might be brought back on track.
Israel and the U. S. might even be able to impose new agreements, but that
doesn't mean that the conflict is over.  It is going to lead to a new cycle
of Israeli violence and Palestinian resistance.  Israel must reassess its
calculations and realize that even its war cannot coerce the Palestinian
people to surrender.  The United States must also reassess its position
regarding its biased support toward Israel and recognize that it cannot
guarantee its personal interests in the region without guaranteeing the
personal interests of the Palestinian people.  The Palestinian Authority
must also redo its calculations and learn from its previous lessons that the
policy of continuous concessions only serves to increase the appetite of
Israel and increases the situation of despair and mistrust among the
Palestinian people.  They all must be aware that the Palestinian people will
not accept a peace without justice.

As long as Israel insists on imposing its terms and conditions on key issues
(refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, etc.), and continues its policies of
terror and killing and denying the legitimate rights the Palestinian people,
it is only a matter of days, months, or years when the Palestinian people
will stand up again to face Barak's tanks, airplanes, and fascist tactics.
But even these tools of violence will not defeat the feelings and
aspirations of the Palestinian people.  The Israeli occupation of
Palestinian lands is the sole reason for all the bloodshed and suffering
that is happening now.

Taking all this into consideration, the Palestinian people have no other
choice but to  continue their resistance to the Israeli occupation until it
is over.

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     Proudly Serving Palestine and Al-Quds     ooooooooooooooo
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