The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and Moral Duty

By Jabr, Samah | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2003 | Go to article overview

The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and Moral Duty


Jabr, Samah, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


The overwhelming and ceaseless atrocities of Israel's government leave most Palestinians with little opportunity to reflect on the moral aspect of our resistance. Most often our reactions to events are immediate, instinctive and emotional. The few who still manage to consider the moral, political and strategic aspects of our struggle may find themselves all but stymied by the contradictions, the lack of choice, and the damage done by war to both reason and conscience.

How can Palestinian resistance be fairly assessed, then, with due consideration given to the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The occupation of Palestine is based on a 19th century ideology that denied the very existence of the Palestinian people and pursued a colonial agenda asserting divine claims to a "land without a people." In response to this "theo-colonial" aggression, the Palestinian resistance adopted the strategy of "a protracted people's war" to regain recognition as a dispossessed, rather than "nonexistent" nation.

To this day Palestinians still have no state or armed forces. Our occupiers subject us to curfews, expulsions, home demolitions, legalized torture, and a highly imaginative assortment of human rights violations. No justifiable comparison can be drawn between the level of official accountability to which Palestinans are held for the actions of a few individuals and the responsibility for the systematic and intense violence against the entire Palestinian population practiced with impunity by the state of Israel. The American media call our search for freedom "terrorism," thus casting the Palestinian in the role of the international prototype for the terrorist. This has shaped Western public consciousness and resulted in an international bias that tends to describe instances of violence against Palestinian civilians in neutral language, reducing Palestinian losses to mere faceless statistics, while using emotional language and visuals to describe Israeli losses.

This distortion of the Palestinian resistance has clouded all reasonable dialogue. Many of our efforts to defy the arbitrary rules of the occupier are reflexively dismissed as "terrorism," and we are always expected to apologize for and condemn Palestinian resistance-despite the lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism, and the fact that the right to self-determination by armed struggle is permissible under the United Nations Charter's Article 51, concerning self-defense.

Why is the word "terrorism" so readily applied to individuals or groups who use homemade bombs, but not to states using nuclear and other internationally prohibited weapons to ensure submission to the oppressor? Israel, the United States and Britain should top the list of terrorism-exporting states for their use of armed attacks against non-combatants in Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and other parts of the world. But "terrorism" is a political term used by the colonizer to discredit those who resist-as the Afrikaaners and Nazis named the Black and French freedom fighters, respectively.

There also is a trend among those who oppose Palestinian resistance to use the term "jihad" as a synonym for terrorism. In doing so, they reduce the meaning of jihad to mere death. Jihad is a rich concept which includes struggling against one's lesser self, the effort to do good deeds, actively opposing injustice, and being patient in times of hardship. It is not about violence against God's creatures, or not fearing death in defending the rights of God's creations. Violence can, however, be a rational human's means of defense. When a woman reacts violently when threatened with rape, that is a form of jihad.

Moreover, jihad is an Islamic value-and not all Palestinian fighters are Muslims. The reason why young, sincere altruistic Palestinians blow themselves up is a secret they take with them to the grave. Perhaps it is the strange fruit of revenge growing in the fertile soil of oppression and occupation, or their profound protest against merciless cruelty; or a desperate attempt at attaining equality with Israelis in death, since it is impossible for them in life.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and Moral Duty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.