Friday 5 September 2008

Violence explained in Palestinians' own words

Source: Contra a corrente blog
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", George Santayana

"It may be a mistake to look too deep into Palestinian poverty for the roots of Palestinian violence. For most violent Palestinians we need not conjecture as to the motivation for their violence because they’ve explained it in their own words. Here is an excerpt from the Palestinian National Charter, July 1-17, 1968:

"Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit. [Note that this would include the present-day country Jordan, 70 percent of the land of the original British Palestine, split off and handed to Emir Abdullah in 1923.]

Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.

Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war.

The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations; particularly the right to self-determination."

Hamas has a web site where they explain their goals:

"Hamas is a Jihadi movement in the broad sense of the word Jihad. It is part of the Islamic awakening movement and upholds that this awakening is the road which will lead to the liberation of Palestine form the river to the sea.

[Settlement with the State of Israel] should not be allowed to happen because the land of the Palestine is a blessed Islamic land that has been usurped by the Zionists; and Jihad has become a duty for Muslims to restore it and expel their occupiers out of their land."

Hezbollah also has a web site where they explain their objectives:

"Because Hezbollah’s ideological ideals sees no legitimacy for the existence of "Israel" a matter that elevates the contradictions to the level of existence. And the conflict becomes one of legitimacy that is based on religious ideals… And that is why we also find the slogan of the liberation of Jerusalem rooted deeply in the ideals of Hezbollah. Another of its ideals is the establishment of an Islamic Government…

Hezbollah also used one of its own special types of resistance against the Zionist enemy that is the suicide attacks. These attacks dealt great losses to the enemy on all thinkable levels such as militarily and mentally. The attacks also raised the moral across the whole Islamic nation…

Hezbollah also sees itself committed in introducing the true picture of Islam, the Islam that is logical. Committed to introduce the civilized Islam to humanity."

Note that if we take seriously the words of the Palestinian fighters, we can ignore 99 percent of the journalism and punditry to which we are exposed. The guys with the guns have explained very clearly why they are fighting and under what conditions they will lay down their arms. Their reasons for fighting and their conditions for peace have nothing to do with day-to-day events."

From Philip Greenspun's essay "Israel" in Those Who Forget The Past by Ron Rosenbaum (Random House 2004)

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