WANTED – A new strategy for Palestinian resistance

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.

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