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Firas Al-Atraqchi: Betraying Palestinian People

Betraying The Palestinian People

By Firas Al-Atraqchi*

Time to condemn suicide bombings.

A bus from Gilo, carrying school children office workers and Israeli soldiers was blown to shreds as it wound its way south of Jerusalem Tuesday morning.

Police reports indicate the blast claimed by Hamas had killed 19 and wounded some 40.

The suicide bombing comes on the eve of U.S. President Bush’s announcement of a “vision forward” for peace between Palestine and Israel. It is believed that Bush will announce his support for a Palestinian state, albeit an ‘interim Palestinian state’.

Palestinian Authority officials claim that the suicide bombings play directly into the jaws of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"The Palestinian Authority condemns this attack. The only beneficiary of this (suicide) operation is (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon and the occupation. Israel will use this operation to escalate its aggression against the Palestinian Authority,“ said Palestinian Information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.

“This operation will only help Sharon's steps, especially in building this wall along the West Bank."

A quick study of North American media reveals that the images of dead children, scorched body parts, and wailing Israeli mothers incenses the public into a raging hatred and resentment of all things Arab, Palestinian, and Islamic.

Consequently, the questions pose themselves: Are these suicide actions legitimate? Are they in the best interest of the Palestinian people? Do they protect the Palestinian people? Have they moved the Israelis to surrender? Have these actions captured the sympathy of the international community? Is the world more in tune with Palestinian tragedies and aspirations?

Unfortunately, the answers are one and the same. An unequivocal no.

After nearly two years of the status quo, Palestinians are beginning to question their leaders.

“With the failing of the military operation and the continuance of Palestinian resistance, the debate in Palestine reemerged concerning attacks on Israeli cities that target civilians. The missions, according to many Palestinian politicians and scholars, bring more detriment to the Palestinians and their image worldwide than benefit.” Muntaser Hamdan - "Martyrdom Missions": To What End? A Growing Debate in Palestinian Society

The Holy Quran is very clear on the subject of war, defense and resistance. The killing of children, women, the elderly, the sick and disabled, and the clergy is strictly forbidden. While Palestinian resistance is legitimate, suicide bombings are not. While Palestinian defense of their homes and children is legitimate, suicide bombings are not. While the killing of invading Israeli soldiers and armed settlers is legitimate, suicide bombings against civilians are not.

The civilians on the bus were not armed. They were not on their way to kill Palestinians or occupy land. This is not the way to go about securing freedom and human rights.

The suicide bombings have done little to despairingly nothing to gain Palestinians any rights or securities. Indeed, the Palestinian people are worse off today than they have been in 35 years of illegal Israeli occupation. The economy is pitifully non-existent and all Palestinian cities are virtually under Israeli siege.

Dialogue, negotiations, international support and understanding take a bloody beating every time suicide bombings succeed. Bush was set to announce a framework for increasing the chances of peace. Indeed, the Bush Administration has dramatically failed to listen, let alone address, Arab and Palestinian grievances. However, each suicide bombing is fodder for the Nazi policies Sharon believes he was born to implement against the Palestinians. Each attack on Israeli civilians makes Sharon more belligerent, arrogant, and homicidal.

“Sharon pointed to no Israeli-Palestinian deal for at least 10 years and talked of a hundred years struggle with Arabs. Warning of Egyptian and Saudi duplicity, he informed the senators that removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq would be the best way to deal with Palestinians.”

Robert Novak – “Sharon and the Senators”

At the site of yesterday’s bombing, Sharon asked the press “what Palestinian state…what state are they talking about”. Uzi Landau, Israeli Housing minister spoke more bluntly: “There will be no Palestinian state.”

Suicide bombings have resulted in vicious retaliatory attacks against the Palestinians, raising the death toll day after day. Suicide bombings have made Palestinians the scourge of anti-Arab plots and Islamic bashing. Suicide bombings have made the word “Jenin” sound like “Disneyland” in the western press. No one remembers the horrors committed in Jenin. The suicide bombings have ensured that the victims of Jenin are firmly buried six feet under, their secrets and the truth about Israeli atrocities with them.

Do Islamic Jihad and Hamas really work for Palestinian aspirations? No. Most Arabs know that Hamas was the bastard brainchild of Israeli strategists who wanted to thwart Arafat’s growing influence in Gaza and the West Bank during the first Intifadha of 1987-1993. Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, was in Israeli prisons until a botched Israeli assassination attempt in Jordan embarrassed then Prime Minister Netanyahu into releasing him.

Are we to believe that the Israelis would so easily give up someone they consider a threat? Or is that because they considered him a threat to Arafat and Palestinian aspirations? Is it farfetched to conceive the notion that Hamas, formerly funded by the Israelis, is slave to Israeli whims? Is it also farfetched to believe that Yassin may have been recruited by the Israelis to undermine the Palestinian people? Are the Palestinians being betrayed?

Hours after the suicide attack an Israeli Government statement indicated that the re-occupation of Palestinian land was inevitable:

“Against terrorist acts, Israel will respond by capturing territories of the Palestinian Authority - these territories will be held by Israel as long as terror continues.”

Right smack into the hands of Sharon who is loathe giving up an inch of what Israel captured since 1967.

Texas Representative Tom DeLay (an ignorant politician if we are allowed to be generous in considering his intelligence) believes that the Palestinians should give up their legitimate struggle against occupation and become Israeli citizens. On MSNBC’s Hardball With Dave Matthews, DeLay refused Matthew’s persistent questions about a Palestinian state. DeLay does not believe there should ever be a Palestinian state, much to Matthew’s disgust.

What gives DeLay the right to squash Palestinian aspirations? Your friendly neighborhood suicide bomber and the cowards behind him/her, that’s who.

Unfortunately for the Palestinian people, the world will now lend a deaf ear as Israelis continue to blast their way through homes and refugee camps, murder innocent civilians, and increase their stranglehold of Palestinian lands.

Crimes, such as those committed by Moshe Niseem, an Israeli bulldozer driver, will be whitewashed by the latest suicide bombing. His statement in Ydiot Ahranot newspaper (“I didn’t even feel pity for anyone and I was ready to wipe out anyone in the camp so that none of our soldiers (who my heart ached for with pity) would get hurt. I didn’t care about what I destroyed for in the end I left them a soccer field to play in”) will be forgiven by the world.

Time to confront those who claim to fight for Palestinian rights while systematically undermining those very rights. Time to uncover Islamic Jihad and Hamas for who they really are, their hidden agenda, and who really funds them.

Time to condemn suicide bombings (propagated by Islamic Jihad and Hamas) that target Israeli civilians. Time also to condemn Israeli policies of occupation, humiliation, and systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

* - Firas Al-Atraqchi, MA, is a Canadian journalist living on the Pacific coast

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