While the Israeli government and pro-Israeli organizations would like to draw parallels between Israel’s experience in political, social, and economic instability, with current (and justifiable) anti-terrorist sentiment within the United States, the reality of the situation is far from being solely rooted in terrorism.
Clear to all who study the history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, this attempted correlation is nothing more than an effort to strategically exploit the fears and suffering of the American public in order to ensure the continuance of Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian society with little or no third party intervention.
In seeking to justify Israeli policy toward the region’s native Palestinians, pro-Israeli activists have wrongfully labeled many organizations and individuals who seek to overcome the Israeli government’s initiatives aimed at systematically clearing the disputed territory of its native Palestinian population as “terrorists.”
To everyone’s misfortune, this erroneous label has been utilized in order to derail much needed dialogue between sympathizers of the Palestinian issue, hard-line supporters of the Israeli government, and all in between. With the horrendous acts of Sept. 11, 2001 still fresh in the minds of the American public, it seems as if all pro-Israeli activists have to do is inaccurately equate the actions of Palestinian suicide bombers with al-Qaeda operatives to ensure that the core issue at hand – Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and people – is not addressed on college campuses, or in other vital forums for learning. Sadly, such organizations and individuals perpetuate the myth that Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine is justified and mandatory to protect against Palestinian suicide bombers.
This, however, is proven false solely by the fact that the first Palestinian suicide bombing occurred in 1994, 27 years after the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip first began. In attempting to understand why pro-Israeli activists would want to cloud the issue of the occupation with one of its symptoms – suicide bombing – only one likely conclusion can be drawn. Perhaps they fear that any violations of international law and human rights that Israel openly partakes in will draw worldwide attention, or God forbid, possibly even criticism.
Since Sept. 28, 2000, Israel has extra-judicially assassinated 539 Palestinian militants, killing 244 civilians in the process. Note that the practice of assassinating the political leaders of any group, whether friend or foe, is titled “exporting terrorism.”
Currently, the state of Israel illegally possesses nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and refuses to allow international inspectors to examine its nuclear facilities. These are all crimes which the U.S. alleged as the rational behind the war on Iraq. In addition, Israel forbids the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homes even though UN Resolutions 194 and 3236 label this return an “inalienable right,” and continues to occupy and build settlements on Palestinian territory despite UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 446.
Furthermore, Israel continues to construct a wall segregating Palestinians from Israelis, as well as Palestinians from other Palestinians, despite declarations from The International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the UN General Assembly that the wall is illegal and should be torn down immediately.
Lastly, the Israeli government imposes a clear system of apartheid, in which Israelis drive on “Jews only” streets while Palestinian Muslims and Christians are forced to use colored license plates to distinguish themselves from the privileged Jewish population.
Though I am not offering a justification for the practice of suicide bombing or any other violent act, I am explicitly stating the source of this violence. Since Sept. of 2000, 3,805 innocent Palestinians and 1,017 innocent Israelis have been murdered as a direct result of the violence stemming out of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian land and its people.
Israel violently oppresses the Palestinians, while Palestinians are sometimes forced to violently resist this oppression. While some frustrated observers are quick to succumb to the notion that this crisis is an equation without a solution, I disagree. It is clear that the only effective solution to the conflict is to end the occupation. All other issues, including suicide bombings, are derivative.
Nadeem Muaddi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.