By Miko Peled
“On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.” -Bob Dylan.
The lines of this great poem by Bob Dylan reverberate as Israel continues its assault against innocent Palestinians, unarmed and with nowhere to go while Gilad Shalit, a French Jewish boy who innocently decided to serve in Israel’s army of terror is still held captive.
While the life of Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian resistance fighters from his army post is precious, and while all who value human life should hope for his release, it is clear that the mass killings of innocent Palestinians executed by the Israeli government have nothing to do with securing his freedom.
As thought the killings were not fruitless enough, in a move that was planned long before the kidnapping, the Israeli Army carried out the arrests of elected Palestinian officials in the West Bank, and tried to connect them to Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping.
In an odd chain of events, the Israeli Attorney General planned these arrests to be carried out by the army, in territories that are illegally occupied by Israel. This in itself raises several questions:
1. Are the elected officials of a foreign government not protected by immunity?
2. Why is the Israeli army executing arrests for the Attorney General?
3. What jurisdiction does the Israeli Government have to arrest elected officials of another nation?
The answer to all of these questions is simple: no one takes Palestinian sovereignty seriously. Furthermore, Israel and the US care little whether these officials were elected democratically or not. The only thing that matters is that they are Palestinians and as such they are subject to the whims of Israel. The Palestinian Authority is a fig leaf that allows Israel to present itself as willing to make peace with Palestinians on the one hand, while on the other hand allows it to blame the Palestinians for not being the right partner for peace.
Here are some examples of how the Palestinian Authority is being played by the Israeli government: People in Gaza are starving – it is the PA responsible. There is internal strife among Palestinians – the PA that is responsible. There are no peace talks, and there will never be a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, once again it is the PA responsible. It used to be Arafat’s fault, then Abu Mazen and now it is Hamas. It is time to admit that the emperor has no clothes: as long as there is a Palestinian Authority Israeli terrorism will always have a scapegoat and the Palestinian people will never be free.
But let us return to Gilad Shalit. He is not the first, nor will he be the last pawn Israel has cynically used to justify its brutal assaults against Palestinians. The 1982 invasion of Lebanon that resulted of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian deaths was blamed on the attempted murder of Israel’s Ambassador to the UK. To justify its latest assault on Lebanon Israel used the abduction of two soldiers by Hezbollah (they too have to date not been released even though Israel has pummeled Lebanon and spread millions of cluster bombs over that country). Interestingly enough, the cynical practice by Israel to use Jewish victims to justify its brutality works; it has brought Israeli society and world Jewry, to support brutal attacks against innocent, defenseless people over and over again. Jews around the world are all comfortably numbed by Israel’s claims to being “the most moral army in the world” fighting to keep Arab terrorists at bay.
There are two scenarios under which Israel will stop its attacks against the Palestinian people. The first and the one most likely to occur given Israel’s new cabinet appointment of Avigdor Lieberman, is a complete end to Palestinian existence. Israel and its evangelical Christian ally the US want to see the total destruction of Palestinian cultural, social and political existence, albeit for different reasons. To achieve this end they justify the use of any means including subjecting over 3 million people to a brutal military occupation, starvation, killing of innocent men, women and children and arrests, torture and assassinations of local political leaders. This may take several decades to complete but according to the militant Zionists in power today, it is well worth the wait.
The second scenario is more complicated. It calls for the end of Jewish hegemony over Palestine, or “The Land of Israel”. In this scenario the two nations will live under one political umbrella. Neither side will have complete political hegemony over the land nor will they have control over one another. The two nations will enjoy national sovereignty, cultural independence and religious freedom, all of which will be protected by a constitution. There will be a one-person one vote in which Israelis and Palestinians will elect the legislative and executive branches of government.
The most common argument against the creation of one democratic political entity in Israel/Palestine is that Israel will never agree to it. The fact is that Israel has become a chauvinistic, militant Jewish State and as such it never had, and presumably never will agree to a political compromise with the Palestinian people. However, Israelis represent only a little more than half of the population under Israeli rule. Census reports show that there are approximately 5.5 million Israelis and 4.5 million Palestinians living under Israeli law. It is a state that provides safety and democracy only to its Jewish citizens and no two nations can expect peace under these conditions
Gilad Shalit is one Jewish boy that is being used as a pawn in Israel’s game. But he is not the only one. Every child in Israel is a pawn in the dangerous game that Israel is playing. The excuse of security for the Jewish people is keeping millions of Jewish children from a life of peace and security in their homeland. Jews and Palestinians are being held hostage by a militant Israeli agenda that is becoming more extreme each year. Stopping the Jewish extremists who govern Israel is the only way to free Gilad Shalit, along with thousands of Palestinians who were kidnapped and are being in held by Israel.
-Miko Peled is an Israeli living in San Diego.