As Jonathan Cook put it, “In the face of the enduring violence of Israel’s occupation, and the license it provides soldiers to humiliate and oppress, ordinary Palestinians have a stark choice: to submit or resist.” They are not going to submit but there is, it seems to me, an urgent need for the Palestinian David to rethink his strategy for resisting the nuclear-armed Zionist Goliath if hope for an acceptable amount of justice for his people is to be kept alive.
Despite the fact that it was provoked by Israel (a fact Western governments and the mainstream media don’t want to acknowledge), I have to say that I think the resort to rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups was stupid in the extreme because it gave Israel’s leaders exactly what they wanted – a pretext not only for a major military offensive against Hamas and punishing the entire population of the besieged Gaza Strip but, also, the opportunity to advance their utterly false and ludicrous claim that Israel has the moral right on its side. (As Rashid Khalidi has pointed out, Israel’s latest war on the Gaza Strip has also obscured the core issues – Israeli “racism, occupation and colonization.”)
The best account I have read of how Israel provoked Hamas was written by Max Blumenthal under the headline Netanyahu Government Knew Teens Were Dead As It Whipped Up Racist Frenzy. Here is part of what he wrote.
From the moment three Israeli teens were reported missing last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military-intelligence apparatus suppressed the flow of information to the general public. Through a toxic blend of propaganda, subterfuge and incitement, they inflamed a precarious situation, manipulating Israelis into supporting their agenda until they made an utterly avoidable nightmare inevitable.
Israeli police, intelligence officials and Netanyahu knew within hours of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens that they had been killed. And they knew who the prime suspects were less than a day after the kidnapping was reported.
Rather than reveal these details to the public, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency imposed a gag order on the national media, barring news outlets from reporting that the teens had almost certainly been killed, and forbidding them from revealing the identities of their suspected killers. The Shin Bet even lied to the parents of the kidnapped teens, deceiving them into believing their sons were alive.
Instead of mounting a limited action to capture the suspected perpetrators and retrieve the teens’ bodies, Netanyahu staged an aggressive international public relations campaign, demanding sympathy and outrage from world leaders, who were also given the impression that the missing teens were still alive.
Meanwhile, Israel’s armed forces rampaged throughout the occupied West Bank and bombarded the Gaza Strip in a campaign of collective punishment deceptively marketed to Israelis and the world as a rescue mission.
The Israeli rampage described by Blumenthal, and which included the arrest of hundreds of Hamas supporters, was the provocation. As Jeff Halper put it, “What is clear is that the military operations had a purpose of their own, that they would have been launched regardless, that they were merely waiting on a pretext.”
Israel’s purpose in making life hell for the occupied and oppressed Palestinians is, as it always has been, to cause them either to give up their struggle and accept crumbs from Zionism’s table or, preferably, abandon their homeland and seek new lives elsewhere. (The headline over Halper’s article was Israel’s message to the Palestinians – Submit, Leave or Die).
In that light there is a case for saying that the best form of resistance is simply more of the incredible, almost superhuman steadfastness the occupied and oppressed Palestinians have demonstrated to date in saying “No” to crumbs from Zionism’s table and staying put on what remains of their land. In other words, their continued presence, their very existence, is a powerful form of resistance. But on its own that’s not enough if obtaining an acceptable amount of justice is not to become a mission impossible.
So to the question.
If violence of any kind is not an option because it assists Israel’s leaders to go on selling their propaganda lies and is therefore counter-productive, what must happen if Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is to be given new and more effective life?
In my analysis there is only one answer to that question. I have said what I believe it to be on several occasions over the past year or more but I’m going to say it again with emphasis.
THE IMPOTENT AND CORRUPT PALESTINE AUTHORITY (PA), WHICH IS VIRTUALLY AN EXTENSION OF ISRAEL’S OWN SECURITY SERVICES, MUST BE DISSOLVED WITH COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE OCCUPATION OF THE WEST BANK HANDED BACK TO ISRAEL.
This would impose significant security, financial and other burdens on Israel but, more to the point, it would make the task of calling and holding the Zionist state to account for its defiance of international law and its crimes something less than what it currently is – a mission impossible.
What I mean is that Israel’s policy and actions in the new situation would make it increasingly difficult for the major powers led by the U.S. to go on supporting Israel right or wrong. If they did they would be exposed fully naked as Zionist puppets, complicit in Zionism’s defiance of international law and crimes. My speculation (am I naive?) is that they would not want to be seen like that.
Handing complete responsibility and accountability for occupation back to Israel would not only concentrate the minds of the leaders and governments of the major powers. It would also enable activist groups of all faiths and none which campaign for justice for the Palestinians to sharpen their focus and be more effective.
With the PA dissolved and Israel completely responsible and accountable for its occupation, the Palestinians could assist the process of refocusing the world’s attention on their claim for justice by demonstrating, peacefully, on a weekly basis, in each and every Palestinian community on the occupied West Bank. The demonstrators would be armed only with banners bearing a simple message – “End The Occupation”. And they would not respond to any Israeli attack with stone throwing or violence of any kind.
Quite possibly Israel’s government would ban such demonstrations, but such a ban would convey its own message to the world, as would a violent Israeli reaction to peaceful Palestinian demonstrations.
Who would speak for and represent the occupied and oppressed Palestinians if the PA was dissolved? Simple. The PLO, preferably with fresh elections to its executive committee.
Quite possibly Israel’s government would then ban and outlaw the PLO but that, too, would convey its own message to the world.
A new strategy for Palestinian resistance as indicated above would change the dynamics of the conflict.
Without such a change I believe that Zionism’s monster child will remain above the law and free to impose its will on the Palestinians, the region and the world.
In that event obtaining an acceptable measure of justice for the Palestinians will be and will remain a mission impossible.
President Obama’s silence on Israel’s latest killing spree – I agree with Ilan Pappe that it’s “incremental genocide” – invites my complete contempt for him. A post by Chris Ernesto with the headline Thank you, President Obama, Love, Israel says all that needs to be said on this aspect of the matter. It is available on