The Salon II

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New shellings in Palestine

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli shell kills girl in Gaza:

"'The IDF [Israel Defence Forces] does not target civilians,' a military spokesperson said.

'We regret any damage or injuries to innocent civilian Palestinians, but we do target terrorists who try to injure and kill Israelis.'
"
Back in Africa, a lecturer, who was definitely pro-terror tactics, once asked me what the difference between a Palestinian suicide bomber, and an Israeli (well he did not say Israeli, but that is what he meant) soldier, was. According to this guy, both are fighters in the cause of the freedom of their people, both are devout patriots, both have loved ones, both have an embattled nation to defend, and both are CONVINCED that the locations they are ordered by their superiors to target and/or hit, contribute in LEGITIMATELY weakening the other side. And the person to go on saying that both fighters have committed their lives - literally - to the defense/liberation of their country, thus both can reasonnably expect to die as a result of their "career choices". The lecturer finally said: "There are only 2 differences: death comes faster for one of the two, and at a predetermined date; and secondly, the West has decided that one is more legitimate because they are supposedly a recognized state".

I immediately proceeded to eagerly make the argument that suicide bombers purposedly target unarmed civilians, and that it is universally seen as a fondamentally illegitimate and morally flawed tactic of warfare. And I stand by that point. But then again, when one is talking about Arab Palestinians, launching Kassam rocket attacks on - internationally considered as - illegal settlements on their land, I am not sure I could make that argument. Just because one side has more money, more allies, more weapons, and a strategic position in the region, does not make them any more right, or more entitled to respect, security, sovereignty, freedom and self-determination than the other side. So if one side - in this case Israel - can minimise the death of the innocent civilians they kill as "collateral damage", why can't the Palestinian kassam launchers make the same argument?

I am personally for a "2 viable states" solution, but ultimately it is nobody's responsibility but that of all Palestinians, both Arab and Jewish, to realize that they cannot survive in any peaceful way, without each other's support. I am firmly against suicide bombers, but I am just as strongly against the Israeli indiscriminate invasions of the West Bank and Gaza, with the collateral infrastructure destruction, and more importantly loss of life.

A Palestinian friend, who studied at Ramallah Friends School, pointed out the irony of how one of his classrooms, built with USAID funds, was later destroyed by a US-built mortar shell... a bomb, is a bomb, is a bomb. Israel has no more - and to be fair, no less - legitimacy in that land than the State of Palestine. If the Israelis occupies the Palestinians, the latter have the right to defend themselves by the means available to them (minus the suicide bombers, and direct attacks on civilians). I always wonder how Hoosier from the Whitewater valley would react, if the US federal government decided to give back to the Miami Indians, without fair negotiations, accomodations or compensation, their ancestral lands... It would be civil war, with the Hoosiers in the position of the Palestinians... I wonder...

2 Comments:

  • Shelling a city, just because you don't like where it is, is not legitimate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 AM  

  • Neither is perpetrating homicide bombings against people who simply go out to eat in a restaurant. That is not 'self-defense' as Hamas claimed.

    By Blogger Brian, at 1:06 PM  

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