Resistance is logical, correct and an internationally recognized right. The rest is just propaganda, useful for the oppressors, not the victims.
Day after day, unabated since the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections that took place last January, the usual anti-Arab and pro-Zionist elements – disguised as journalists and analysts – forecast a bleak future for the Palestinians under the rule of Hamas. At the same time, the usual Mafiosi, disguised as political leaders in favor of the ‘peace process’, threaten and blackmail the Palestinians for choosing a political project that does not fit Israel, US and EU agendas in the Middle East.
Some say that now ‘terrorists’ have power, Muslim fundamentalists are likely to increase their links with other extremist groups and governments in the area. Western powers demand Hamas to give up violence, recognize Israel, and hand over its arms, when Israel is occupying Palestinian land, stealing and destroying Palestinian resources, killing, maiming and imprisoning thousands of Palestinians and making life unbearable for all of them.
The core of the Palestinian problem is conveniently put aside. Once and again the blame is put on the Palestinians. Now it is Hamas’ turn (a ‘terrorist group’), two years ago it was Arafat’s (himself branded a ‘terrorist’), five and fifteen years ago it was the second and first Intifadas (Palestinian ‘terror’), twenty five years ago it was Arab intransigence towards Israel (‘Nazi Palestinians’), sixty years ago it was that Palestinians did not accept the partition of the land between them and the Jews (‘blood thirsty Arabs’).
At the beginning of the twentieth century Palestine was a British mandate. Colonialism was still widespread. The Queen presented the Zionist movement with the opportunity to settle in that land although it was not hers (Balfour Declaration). Zionists took advantage of the offer and eventually established there the state of Israel in 1948. At this time around 750.000 Palestinians who lived there were made refugees. Zionists took by force a land that was inhabited by Palestinians.
Since then things have only deteriorated for Palestinians as Israel has stolen yet more land, preventing the refugees from returning to their homes and impeding the exercise of their rights. Since 1948 Israel is permanently in breach of international law, particularly violating United Nations (UN) resolutions and Geneva Conventions, which mean the international community is also responsible for the Palestinians fate today as it was at the beginning of the conflict.
The Palestinian problem is usually presented as a complex political issue, with religious, historic and cultural ramifications. In fact, what has being taking place in Palestine can be easily explained without technicalities: land robbery together with native population expulsion in 1947 and 1948, more land occupation in 1967 and never ending brutal repression of its population in order to make the Palestinians abandon their land for good or, failing this, any hope of ever recovering it and enjoying their national and human rights.
In spite of this, for many people in the West -obviously not for people in the Middle East and other subjugated areas- it is the Palestinians who are responsible for the violence and the lack of peace in the zone and beyond. So, the victims are blamed for not acquiescing to their dispossession, the ethnic cleansing and the harsh repression.
Few people seem to pay attention to the fact that neither land occupation nor the exploitation of its resources can take place without the violence by the occupier. The history of colonialism is the history of the violence by powerful and aggressive nations against defenseless ones. Israel is neither the first nor the only country taking advantage of its overwhelming power: remember the tanks and the fighter planes against stones and home made rockets? This unparalleled imbalance shows which side is terrorizing he other.
There is no moral equivalence between the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed. It is one thing to attack others and another thing to defend oneself, especially when the forces are so disparate in all respects. Palestinians, as it happens with any other population under occupation, have a right to resist, which is recognized by international law and this is superior to ‘peace processes’, ‘Oslo agreements’, ‘road maps’ and any other political tricks detrimental to the weakest party.
Palestinians have no place in their own land because Israel wants it for the exclusive settlement of Jews. That is why it is necessary to make life unbearable for them: assassinations, imprisonment, concentration camp-like living conditions, lack of justice and hope, continuous humiliation… so they finally give up and leave for good. It is a slow motion genocide or more precisely a Palestinian Holocaust, a fitting and underused word today for what is going on in Palestine and the Middle East. This may pass unnoticed in Western media, only when the victims react out of desperation, they appear in front pages under the ‘terror’ headlines.
Lately, the ‘Islam factor’ has been added by Western propagandists, so this religion has become part and parcel of the ‘war against terror’. Oddly enough, Jewish and Christian two thousand pound missiles launched in Gaza crowded neighborhoods are not the products of religious fundamentalism. The victims are either collateral damage or ‘wanted terrorists’, never the target of cruel and pitiless Jewish and Christian extremists against innocent Muslim people.
There was a Palestinian liberation struggle well before political Islam, before pan-Arabism and before communism. Simply put: no people want to be deprived of their land and become a slave or refugee population. Resistance is impeccably logical, morally correct and an internationally recognized right. The rest is just propaganda, useful for the oppressors but not for the victims.
Curiously enough, some left wing people in the West are unhappy with Hamas victory. Some are shy to show support, let alone joy for the elections results. No left, no green, no social-democrat or liberal party in Europe and in America has been able to prevent the massacres in Jenin, Rafah, Hebron, Jabalia… none of them has been able to take those responsible to court. Should Palestinians wait for another 50 years to get protection from Western left wing parties?
Leftist parties may miss Fatah running the Palestinian Authority, but the liberation struggle with Fatah was going towards more and more Palestinians being killed, imprisoned and living under the poverty line, while more and more Palestinian land going under Israel control and this with the blessing of the international community for the sake of the ‘peace process’.
The left asks for dialogue between the parties, but it does not say about what exactly Abu Mazen could be talking to Sharon. It simply asks Sharon to show restrain and Abu Mazen to give up Palestinian rights. This is hardly a dialogue, this is the imposition of the powerful over the weak. The left should demand Israel to comply with international law: end the occupation, return the land, free the prisoners, allow the return of the refugees, apologise and pay compensations for all the damage caused since 1947. Later on, the left could ask both Israelis and Palestinians to give up their arms, for mutual recognition and even start folk music exchanges.
Fed up with the robbery of land and the violation of their rights by Israel, together with the ensuing corruption of their own leaders, the Palestinian people voted them out of power, a clearly democratic, peaceful and leftist option. Rather late, after 40 years of occupation, a true leftist would say, but it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (the lies of the peace process), it is quite difficult to fight two enemies at the same time: the Zionist and the internal (the collaborators in the government).
Fortunately, things have turned around last January. Now it is time to support Hamas. The majority of the Palestinians voted for Hamas. The mockery of the peace process is finished. To hell with the donors’ money, this is mainly devoted to pay the acquiescence of the rulers and the salaries of the security forces, in fact fictitious but harmful jobs.
A time of hope has arrived for prisoners, widows, orphans, poor and oppressed people. It is also a time of uncertainty, the fight could turn even harder and deadly. Threats already launched by Israel and some powerful countries leave room to foresee the price Palestinians will have to pay to achieve their national aims.
-Agustin Velloso teaches Comparative Education at the Spanish Distance Learning University, in Madrid. He has published "Palestinian education: a national curriculum against al odds" (International Journal of Educational Development) and "Sanctions, War, Occupation and the De-Development of Education in Iraq" (International Review of Education).