Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Gaza and Lebanon, A Turning Point in Resistance to Israeli Occupation

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Gaza and Lebanon, A Turning Point in Resistance to Israeli Occupation

Article excerpt

The two latest operations of Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups against Israeli occupation forces-the "distracted illusion" at Gaza's Karm Salem Entrance on June 25, and Hezbollah's "truthful promise" on July 12-represent a turning point in the Arab population's relation to Israel, particularly among Palestinians.

Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last year, Palestinians living in miserable conditions in their besieged collective prison have been isolated and forgotten. Nor did our fair and honest parliamentary election help end the crisis-resulting instead in an international economic and political boycott against us. Firing primitive missiles and capturing an Israeli soldier was a last resort against Israeli atrocities and international complicity and indifference. Unfortunately, it was effective in gaining the world's attention-Western and Arab diplomats moved quickly to mediate the liberation of the Israeli soldier.

Liberating its "kidnapped" soldier, however, was but the pretext for an Israeli operation planned months ago. The goal of the latest invasion of Gaza is to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government after a six-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare failed to do so.

This is precisely the tactic Israel is now using in an effort to destroy Hezbollah, after the Lebanese dialogue failed to contain the resistance movement. In fact, Israel is implementing the Israeli-American vision of the "New Middle East," whose birth-complete with pangs-was announced in late July by secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice: a "new Middle East" that is completely submissive to the region's colonial powers.

It is not true that the resistance invites Israel to kill us. Israelis kill Palestinians whether we resist or not-we need only demand, mention, remember or even yearn for our lost rights. They kill us to sever all connections between us and what they have stolen from us. They kill a picnicking family on a Gaza beach and people seeking refuge in Marwahin. Israel wants, and has always wanted, all Palestinians and their supporters to disappear so that the true story of Palestine will fade into oblivion.

In Gaza as well as in Lebanon, Israel uses disproportionate fire power in response to resistance operations. Using primitive arms and a limited number of freedom fighters, the resistance captured occupying Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them for imprisoned freedom fighters, along with boys, women and very ill and old prisoners. But Israel responds with huge armies, employs sophisticated weapons-many supplied by the U.S.-and enjoys the immunity of a computerized headquarters from which they can direct their killing of civilians-again, many of them children, women and the elderly-and destroy civilian infrastructure, including electrical stations, bridges and roads. In Palestine, Israeli troops arrested our elected legislators and threatened them with illegal trials.

The reason Israel is so quick to use its massive and destructive arsenal is that its real objective is to destroy Gaza and crush Lebanon, and all those who sympathetize with the resistance to its occupation. The horrors we have seen on television-of civilians blown apart, children vaporized in their homes, and whole families crushed under the roofs of their houses or killed by Israeli missiles while trying to flee in their cars-are deliberate Israeli tactics intended to terrorize the public, turn it against the resistance, and extinguish opposition to plans for the "new Middle East."

The humiliation suffered by Arab nations following Israel's rout of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance in the 1967 Six-Day War resulted in a psychological complex that has been passed on to younger generations. This complex has paved the way for many years of victimization, depression and, finally, with Oslo, a complete and formal surrender in Arab relations with Israel. For decades Israel has encircled and neutralized many Arab regimes, unilaterally imposing its vision on the land of Palestine. …

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