Equating Resistance to Occupation with Terrorism

During the Cold War, East Germany played a significant security role with all the international communist organizations that worked with Moscow. Berlin was a place to train these groups in espionage work for Moscow.  There, they were also taught how to organize all kinds of political and military activities.  After the collapse of the USSR and communist East Germany, it was found that the head of the espionage department in East Germany (Marcus Wolf) was a double agent who actually worked for Israel.  In turn, Israel asked that he be pardoned and granted him political asylum.  It is interesting to note that Wolf was responsible for training and directing Palestinian communists, some of whom hijacked civilian airplanes and were responsible for a variety of attacks in European cities.

Israel's history is full of examples in which its agents tried in many ways to sabotage relations between Arab countries and the West. Before the Suez Canal crisis, in 1954, Israeli agents tried to destroy American interests in the area to push the US into a confrontation with Egypt and to support its combined aggression with France and Britain against Nasser (the Navon scandal).

Israel realized that by signing peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority it would be difficult for these governments to go to war again.  Sadat was right on the mark when he said that the war in 1973 was “the last of the wars with Israel.”  Yet, he was only right when applying this to the Arab governments but not when it came to Israel. These treaties did not stop Israel from continuously waging wars against Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and the rest of the Arab world. It followed naturally that these wars resulted in the formation of popular movements to resist Israeli occupation and its brutality.

The Lebanese resistance movement confined its operations to occupied Lebanese land and against the Israeli occupation force and its agents. This strategy was very successful in countering Israeli propaganda in the West that tried to brand the resistance as terrorism. The strategy also resulted in mounting internal pressure by ordinary Israelis against their government to end the occupation. The success of the Lebanese Resistance had a stunning impact in the Arab. It was the spark that re-ignited the second “Intifadah” in occupied Palestine.

All of these events made Israel realize the danger of the continuation of the Palestinian Intifadah and its potential of turning into an all out resistance movement against the occupation. Sharon (the icon of contemporary Israel's terror) failed miserably in fulfilling his promises to stop the Intifadah in 100 days, even though that period coincided with a lack of Arab support for the
Intifadah and a complete lack of international condemnation of Israel's barbaric acts against the Palestinians.

One of the main obstacles Israel was facing prior to the terrorist attack on September 11 was the refusal of the US to brand certain countries and organizations as terrorists or supporters of terror. But now, the discussion in the media has changed from whether some Arab countries should be bombed to details of when they should be destroyed and how! 

There are many questions in the Arab World regarding the “Bin Laden” phenomenon. It is puzzling that he and his group, since their inception, did not concern themselves with the Arab-Israeli conflict, but rather fought alongside the US against the USSR in Afghanistan!  It is also puzzling that, during the Cold War, era the US encouraged the use of the terms “Mujahedeen” and “Jihad” to describe the freedom fighters (Hollywood even used these terms positively in its Afghan related war movies), but now “jihad” is synonymous with “terror”!

The Palestinian people, who are separated between those inside the occupied land and those in the Diaspora, do not need further divisions within the Palestinian Authority between those who want to go back to negotiating with Israel and those who want to continue the Intifadah, and between a legitimate resistance movement that confines its operations against the occupying
forces and groups that have no red lines in their activities. 

Two different and opposing views and strategies seem to divide various groups in the occupied Palestinian land.  It seems that each of these groups has overestimated how far it should go in its struggle. The first group has gone too far in agreeing with Israel, and the second group has gone too far in the places, timing, and targets of its resistance actions. 

Most of the Arab leaders and diplomats praised US Secretary of State Colin Powell for his “vision” regarding the Middle East (although that vision lacks clarity!).  In this vision, Mr. Powell referred to the “occupation” of Arab lands by Israel. By the mere use of the word “occupation” the US admits that Israel is an occupying force and, therefore, the people under occupation have the legal right under international laws to fight their occupiers. 

Do people under occupation have the right to fight for freedom? Isn't American history full of support for liberation  movements against occupation? Wasn't American Independence won after resisting and fighting the British occupation?

Israel has tried to convince Americans and the West that Palestinian resistance is terrorism and similar to what happened on September 11, and that, therefore, its fight against the Palestinians is similar to America's fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  The US should feel insulted and should reject such a ludicrous claim.  Such a false comparison would suggest that the US was a colonizing power that would want to bring settlers to Afghanistan; similar to what Israel is doing in the West Bank and Gaza. It would suggest that the US would occupy Afghanistan for 35 years and would deprive the Afghans of their freedom; like  Israel has been doing for the past 35 years.

President Bush said he was surprised by how much the United States is disliked in both the Arab and the Islamic Worlds. The US must realize that ordinary Arab and Muslim people admire the US and its citizens, but that the problem lies in US foreign policies towards them, especially over the past 30 years. A look back at the period of the 1940-1950’s clearly shows that
when the US policies were guided by the principles of its interests, the Arab and Muslim Worlds were close to the US.  One outstanding example is the position taken by President Eisenhower in 1956 when he strongly condemned the aggression that was committed by the trio  Israel, France and Britain against Egypt.

The US-Israeli marriage sits at the core of the problem that has tarnished the image of the US in the Arab and Islamic Worlds.
As a result, the US has become isolated in many international meetings and organizations; most recently in South Africa when the entire world, except the US, condemned Israel's racist policies.

The question now is whether the US will decide to continue with its current policies of blindly supporting Israel or decide that Israel must not be above the law and must obey international laws like the rest of world!

(Al-Hewar Magazine Editorial - January 2002)

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