Despite the seemingly upbeat political and media analysis coming from all
corners, violence will not come to an end in Israel and Palestine until Israel
ends its military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East
Jerusalem. 'Violence', be it used to describe legitimate resistance by a
people under an illegal, military, foreign occupation, or be it state-
orchestrated activities that violate International Law, United Nations
Resolutions and defy outright humanity, are natural components to foreign
The Palestinian people are forced to live under an illegal, Apartheid-style,
Israeli military occupation that has survived for 34 years now, while the world
continues to turn a blind eye. It seems that the world of nations in general,
and the U.S. in specific, still cannot comprehend the magnitude of the
historic injustice done to Palestinians.
Until Israeli occupation ends, neither U.S. President Bush, nor Israeli Prime
Minster Sharon nor does Palestinian Authority President Arafat have the
ability, individually or collectively, to totally stop a people resisting, albeit at
times in non-conventional and sometimes unacceptable forms, the illegal
presence of a foreign army on their lands. Expectedly, the desperation level
inherent in the resistance will continue to attempt to match the brutality of
the occupation itself.
Instead of realizing the window of opportunity opened by the Oslo Peace
Accords and the historic concession made when Palestinians politically
recognized Israel's right to exist and forfeited 78% of their original land in
return for a lasting and just peace, Israel has opted to continue its failing
attempt to master the age-old colonial project of occupation.
To list the number of failed Israeli strategies aimed to bring the Palestinian
people into total Israeli submission would require volumes. The invasions,
the bombardments, the settlements, the racial discrimination, the
massacres, the political arrests, the torture, the collaborators, the
prohibition of natural growth of Palestinian cities, the economic control, the
unleashing of fighter jets on civilian populations, the collective punishment,
the besieging of cities, the tank blitzes, etc. All of these are living objects of
the history books for future generations.
However, the most recent Israeli strategy, which will fail as well, is worthy of
special note since it is one that the world is blindly following, occupation by
media blitz and language wizardry.
The Israeli occupiers have successfully lured the media to take interest in
every one of their cabinet meetings - some political meetings, some security
meetings and some closed 'kitchen' meetings. They have succeeded, to
date, to allow every Israeli politician and spokesperson represent the official
Israeli establishment and have created a leadership of media individuals,
armed with thirty second sound bites, in lieu of strategic State leadership.
Furthermore, the mastering of 'talking peace and acting war' has taken on a
new meaning in Israel. Straight-faced politicians, journalists and diplomats
have actually come to believe that Sharon's broken-record demand for total
cessation of Palestinian 'violence' is a realistic prerequisite before ending
Israeli aggression against Palestinian cities and returning to the negotiating
For over one year, world leaders have racked up frequent flyer miles rushing
to the region while actually believing that Sharon's obsession with the 48
hour timeframe is a sign of hope, instead of reading it for what it really is, a
two-day extension of occupation, and thus, a legitimate recipe for continued
After 54 years of failing to destroy the Palestinian Right to Exist, Right to
Return and Right to Statehood, one would have hoped that Israel would have
learned by now, albeit at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and Palestinian
blood, that there is no justification for occupation, none whatsoever. Instead,
Israel has excelled once again by launching this ingenious style of
occupation - an occupation by media, by words, by spokespersons. This
style of occupation is meant to drown out the traditional means of Israel's
brute force that continues every day and attempts to make occupation seem
somehow understandable, necessary, flexible and logical.
It seems that international media, the world community and the United
States, even the post-September 11th United States, is just unable to come
to terms with the reality that occupation -- be it by fighter jets, house
demolitions, tanks or media blitzes -- is still occupation and Palestinians will
continue to resist it by all means available to them, as sanctioned by the
Charter of the United Nations.
If I were not living in the midst of this chapter of the Palestinian nightmare, I
may have been led to actually believe the public statements that the current
Israeli government actually has a plan, or desire for that matter, for a just co-
existence with Palestinians.
Sadly, in the ongoing cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians,
another chapter of false hope is being raised. The solemn reality is that
occupation, in all its forms, must end as a precondition to a lasting peace
agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. Without this real movement in
the Middle East Peace Process, the world will continue to be jerked from
one meeting to another, from one announcement to the next, each time
losing interest, losing hope and losing their own morality.
October 27, 2001
Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American living in the besieged Palestinian City
of Al-Bireh in the West Bank and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org