By Rima Najjar
Israel, a rogue state if ever there was one, pursues its “security” as a Jewish Zionist entity on all of Mandate Palestine through demonizing Palestinian Arabs, whom it has long subjected to a racist campaign that defines their resistance, both violent and non-violent, as anti-Semitism on the one hand and as terrorism on the other.
Thankfully, Israel’s cover for its exploitation of anti-Semitism to serve unconscionable Zionist ends has finally been blown. However, the connections between pro-Israel organizations and Islamophobia (Palestinian Arabs happen to be mostly Muslim), as well as Israel’s PR campaign to paint Palestinian resistance as terror, are still not widely discussed. Complicating the Palestinian situation is the fact that Israel’s dirty tactics are wedded to legitimate global concerns about terrorism.
Inadvertently playing along with Israel’s designs, Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, is initiating a new campaign called “Deadly Exchange” to challenge “the deadly falsehood that violence against some communities will create security for others.” Its laudable goal in this campaign is to end the US-Israel police partnership, but the underlying premise is that Israel’s “security” claim is as legitimate as the security claim of any other nation, and it is only its method of combating legitimate security threats that is at fault.
The image of the Palestinian Muslim Arab as an anti-Semitic terrorist has been assiduously cultivated by Israel. This image is given credence by the extremist actions Israel itself has provoked Hamas into committing in the past. Since Israel’s assassination of Hamas’s legendary leader Mahmoud Abu-Alhunoud on Nov. 23, 2001 and Hamas’s retaliatory suicide bombings in Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel has conducted (along with Washington and the complicit US media) an all-out assault on Hamas as a militant national movement.
Discrediting the legitimacy of Hamas was all part of Ariel Sharon’s strategy, not only to demolish Hamas, but also to isolate Arafat. So, for example, the Israeli terror attack on a Gaza neighborhood on July 23, 2002 killed seventeen non-combatants (including nine children and Hamas’s leader Salah Shehadeh) and injured 170. That provoked a retaliatory attack by Hamas on the Hebrew University cafeteria on July 31, killing seven and injuring a dozen people.
Israel’s repeated and ongoing provocative acts, especially in judaizing Jerusalem, in propaganda by various far-right groups attempting to violate the status quo at the holy sites, in extrajudicial assassinations of Hamas’s leaders, have all driven Hamas to extremes (in the form of a rash of suicide bombings directed at Israeli civilians) that Hamas is now trying to moderate, targeting instead Israeli police and soldiers rather than innocent civilians.
Not so Israel, which continues to regard even a stone-wielding child or a Palestinian youth with a keyboard and access to the internet as threats to its “security”, a security shamelessly supported by the Palestinian Authority itself – also in the name of “peace” and “law and order”. The very existence of Palestinians is a “demographic threat” to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
The mainstream media hardly ever question the presumption that violence by Palestinians against Israel is anything but a criminal act. Take for example the violent incident that occurred in Jerusalem earlier this year. A Palestinian driving a vehicle in illegally annexed and occupied East Jerusalem plows into and kills several Israeli soldiers and causes collateral injury to others. In reporting on the story, The Guardian includes the following information for the reader with no comment: “The UN security council joined other world leaders in condemning the attack. ‘The members of the security council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Jerusalem.'”
As far as the UN security council is concerned, there are no distinctions to make between such an attack on Israeli police in Jerusalem and a similar attack on police in any other city in the world, never mind the 1978 United Nations General Assembly Resolution reaffirming “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle.”
Since before the “war on terrorism” in the West even began, the very concept of terrorism has been reduced by Israeli propagandists into an arena whereby Palestinian armed resistance by individuals or Hamas or any other militant Palestinian group is automatically regarded as terror. In a catch-22, non-violent Palestinian resistance, on the other hand, is dubbed as “incitement to terror”.
The depiction of Palestinian armed resistance as terror prevails despite the fact that there is considerable disagreement on the meaning of “terrorism” as there appears also now to be considerable disagreement on the meaning of “anti-Semitism”.
In 2011 Waleed al-Meadana, a Palestinian refugee from Jaffa forced to live in Gaza, wrote a piece that was published in Mondoweiss titled, “Thanks, my enemy. I love Palestine.” At the time, he was a 21-year-old Palestinian lecturer at the University College of Applied Sciences (UCASGaza) – I hope he is well and alive today.
In that piece, he expresses the sentiment that Israel’s brutality only makes him love Palestine more. He wrote, “You call me names? You call me ‘terrorist’?!! You step on me; you fuck me; you steal my land; you abduct my child; you rape my wife; you lock up my brother; you kill my father, and you call me a ‘terrorist’?? Is it because every time you strip me naked I scream?? Is it because every time you smash my bones I cry?? Is it because I shed tears for my younger brothers every time they hear your bombs?? Am I a ‘terrorist’?? It is my pleasure then, call me a ‘terrorist’!”
Framing Palestinian resistance as terrorism or any other kind of criminal activity makes it easier for Israeli snipers in Palestinian neighborhoods and generally in the West Bank to shoot to kill or maim,
Such framing of Palestinian resistance as terror (now aided by new Israeli legislation) also makes it easier for Israeli armed forces to kill Palestinians without fear of prosecution.
In 2016 alone, more than 1,000 unarmed Palestinians engaged in protests or demonstrations were shot by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel paints an ugly picture of Palestinian Arabs, while simultaneously legitimizing vigilante terror by Jews in the West Bank. Israel’s “security” claim against Palestinian “terror” does not hold up to scrutiny, because it is based on the illegitimate Zionist claim to Palestine as a Jewish state.
“The Jews are our misfortune” was the Nazi pronouncement emanating from virulent anti-Semitism that led to disastrous consequences, but the phrase is literally and objectively true in Palestine, where the Zionist Jewish entity is ensconced, actively practicing a brutal settler-colonial regime. Palestinian resistance against Israel is neither driven by anti-Semitism nor by “Islamic” terror.
– Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributed this article PalestineChronicle.com.