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The Greens on Why It is Ok to Murder

The Green Left Weekly never fail to disgust me with their selective moral posturing and abhorrent views. This time, they have published an op-ed justifying the suicide bombings and terrorism.

PALESTINE: Al Aqsa Intifada: ‘Why should our youth accept oppression?’
BY RIHAB CHARIDA

The emergence of the Al Aqsa Intifada (uprising) in September 2000 was inevitable. For years before, Palestinian population centres remained enclosed by a strict Israeli military cordon. The Palestinian people were being denied the most basic human rights. They watched as Israel, the colonial-settler state, ate away at their land to build illegal “settlements” inhabited by Israeli colonists. They watched as Israel’s armed forces murdered their sons, daughters and their hope for a future.

They watched as Israel demolished their homes, uprooted ancient olive trees and deprived them of access to their natural resources, such as water. They endured as the Israeli army entered their homes in the dead of night to seize their sons, jailing them indefinitely. They listened as the Western media called them barbaric, bloodthirsty “terrorists”. They listened to empty, unjust “peace” talks.

They watched and watched, and listened and listened. Then, on September 28, 2000, the Palestinian people erupted in resistance to Israel’s inhumanity and injustice. It was the first day of the Al Aqsa Intifada. The day was inevitable.

The Al Aqsa Intifada was sparked by a provocative visit by war criminal Ariel Sharon to the Al Aqsa mosque, escorted by 3000 Israeli occupation soldiers (courtesy of Ehud Barak who was then Israel’s prime minister). The purpose of his visit was to build a tunnel around the mosque. Although Sharon’s provocation sparked the uprising, the reason for it was the build up of years of suffering under Israel’s occupation during the so-called peace process.

Inevitable
In a recent visit to Australia, Dr Rita Giaccaman, director of the Institute for Community and Public Health at Bir Zeit University in Palestine, explained: “The Al Aqsa Intifada began as a spontaneous but inevitable consequence of the crushing of the aspirations of the population.”

Since 1967, Israel has year after year tightened its grip on the Occupied Territories – the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – making daily life near impossible. Land continued to be confiscated for the purpose of expanding the Israeli state, poverty was constantly on the rise, while the standard of living steadily decreased.

Giaccaman continued: “In 1967, we fell under Israeli military occupation. It took us a good 10 years to realise that this occupation was going to last. The initial feeling, even among Israelis, was that this was a temporary occupation and that [Israel was] going to move out. But pretty soon, Israel began to discover that there were many economic and other benefits of occupation, including the control of water and other resources that are found in the West Bank and Gaza. It became an economic necessity, and so the occupation dragged on year in year out.”

Today, the brutality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine continues unabated. More than 3.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, many of them refugees expelled from other parts of Palestine in 1948 and 1967, continue to suffer under strict military curfews and sieges, arbitrary arrest and house demolitions. Since the Al Aqsa Intifada began, more than 2100 Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli army and paramilitary settlers.

Israeli military checkpoints and road closures between Palestinian population centres in the Occupied Territories deny the Palestinian people the right to move freely within their land. The Israeli by-pass road network, which links the settlements to each other and to 1948 Palestine (Israel) is for the exclusive use of Israeli Jews.

The West Bank and Gaza are in effect separated into apartheid-like bantustans, controlled by Israel’s occupation forces. As Giaccaman explained: “We cross the West Bank in four hours by car and pass 160 checkpoints. To avoid them, we have to walk dirt tracks, under the gun, sometimes being shot at with rubber-coated steel bullets or with tear gas. Not only do they steal our ability to drive, they also steal our time. A 15-minute drive now takes 2-3 hours. Also they steal our dignity, because what they do at the checkpoints is hold up students, they might even beat them up, just because they’re trying to get to school or university. As a teacher of some of these students, I get very frustrated and if I stop to defend them, I will get held back and I will miss my class. If I leave them there, I would’ve betrayed my students.”

Palestinian youth
Seventy per cent of the Palestinian population is under the age of 30. Giaccaman explained that the occupation not only holds Palestinian youth in a constant state of humiliation and defeat, but also deprives them of any future. “They rebel against their inability to dream. They have lost their ability to dream. They have lost all hope…Why should they graduate from high school? There are no jobs, and over 60% of the population is unemployed. They are living under siege and under curfew.”

“Just think, if you were them, what would you do?”, Giaccaman asked. “When a little child of 10 throws a little stone at a huge tank and survives it, their wounds are healed.”

Giaccaman also spoke of what are called “suicide bombings†by the Western press. “Suicide is about an individual act conducted in shame and desperation. And yes our [Palestinian] youth are sometimes desperate, but that is not all there is to it. These youths, having been incapacitated, use the weapon of the weak. That’s what happens. Do you blame them? I understand it and I think people here in Australia need to understand it from that perspective.”

The Al Aqsa Intifada is the latest chapter in the history of Palestinian resistance and their aspiration for independence. The first popular resistance movement began in the 1920s when the Palestinian people discovered that the British colonial rulers had promised their Palestine to the Zionist movement to become a national Jewish homeland. Palestinian workers rose up against the British in a series of widespread protests and demonstrations.

Again in 1936, Palestinian workers undertook the longest strike in history. The general strike lasted for six months, and was met by violent opposition and repression by the British forces. The strike was a fight for freedom and independence. The strike was also in protest at the mass Jewish migration into Palestine for the purposes of establishing a homeland there. The strike cost the lives of many Palestinians.

Palestinian resistance against the establishment of the Zionist state, and since then against the occupation of Palestine, has been steadfast.

Giaccaman rejected Israel’s attempt to justify its occupation and repression with lies claiming its measures are for the sake of Israel’s “security”. “It has nothing to do with Israeli security; this is about the annihilation of the Palestinian population and culture”, she declared.

The Palestinian resistance is a direct result of the occupation of Palestine and the denial of Palestinians’ human rights. The Al Aqsa Intifada, as with past popular uprisings, was born from the Palestinian people’s aspiration for freedom and national independence. The popular uprising has the support of the majority of the Palestinian people, as the whole community desires self-determination.

“The Al Aqsa Intifada was started by a community of kids, who have responded to the continued violation of rights that cannot be accepted by anyone in the world”, said Giaccaman. “Why should our youth accept it?

“To us Palestinians, community is of the essence. We hurt in it, we heal in it. We have been put into a situation in which we have been collectively traumitised. We have lost repeatedly our history, our identity, our values and our land”, Giaccaman said.

For this the Palestinians will continue to resist.

Appalling.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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