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Violence by Israel is not justification for Palestinian violence
A recent surge in violence by Palestinians against Israeli military, police and civilians is not justified even in the face of increasing terrorism and violence by Israelis against Palestinians. The knife attacks by Palestinians are only undermining the larger interests of Palestinians to achieve freedom from Israeli oppression and statehood
By Ray Hanania
There is no doubt that when news breaks that a Palestinian has attacked an Israeli soldier or police officer, many Palestinians frustrated by continued oppression and brutality from Israel’s occupation and apartheid racism cheer.
But the truth is, there is nothing to cheer in violence, even when the people committing the violence have been pushed to their violent acts by the targets.
Israel continues to engage in a pernicious campaign of racism and hatred that often results in violence and terrorism against Palestinians. The immediate thought is to respond in kind with violence. But that’s not the answer to Palestinian hopes and dreams for freedom. It’s only reinforcing Israel’s vicious violent policies of oppression, brutality, ethnic cleansing and apartheid racism.
Even Israel’s violence is not an excuse for Palestinians to turn to violence. What Palestinians must do is turn to non-violence that not only ends giving Israel “justification” to respond with even more Israeli violence but also discourages individual Palestinians from falling into the trap set by Israel by committing violence, such as knife attacks, that in the end only strengthens and empowers Israel’s continued occupation.
What is missing and is also needed is a strong moral and principled leader among the Palestinians who can fill the void and anger fueled by frustrations as Israel continues to violate international laws, stealing lands to build illegal Jewish-only settlements and launches missile attacks that the biased Western news media describes as “defensive” responses to Palestinian terrorism.
It’s not an easy thing to do to put your emotions and anger in check. It’s not easy to control your desire to respond in-kind to Israelis who are among the most vicious of people when it comes to the abuse and mistreatment of other human beings.
But that’s exactly what Palestinians need to do. When Israel murders a Palestinian, the answer is NOT to murder an Israeli in return. The answer is to be steadfast in peace and hold the moral high ground. In time, the distinctions between Israelis and Palestinians will be clear and the Palestinians can take the moral high ground and show a distinct distance from Israel’s official government policies of hate racism and Apartheid.
By turning to violence, Palestinians are clouding the moral misconduct of Israeli government officials like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the most hypocritical racist of them all Ayelet Shaked who is less of a “Justice Minister” and is the face of Israel’s ongoing government of injustice.
Israel’s extremists have enabled their own terrorists like military medic Elor Azaria who murdered a Palestinian suspect in cold blood as he was on the ground wounded waiting for medical help. Azaria was given a light sentence for his murderous act and Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennette and Shaked are among the Israeli leaders and Israelis who are calling for his pardon. Because to the Israeli government, the murder of a Palestinians is not a crime but a Righteous Jewish Honor.
It’s shameful conduct but responding with violence and knife attacks and using vehicles as weapons only disguises this kind of Israel war crime and prevents these Israeli terrorists from being properly punished under the arm of the Rule of Law.
That’s where justice needs to be sought, in the embrace of the International Rule of Law. Justice is on the side of the Palestinians and Palestinians need to pursue legal action.
Many Israelis are moral and reject the extremism of their government, but Israel’s public population has not done enough. The violence by Palestinians in response to Israeli government terrorism has confused them or given them an excuse to turn away from the tit-for-tat violence that has destroyed the moral fiber of both sides.
There are many Israelis and Jews in the West including and especially in America, where influence on Israel’s government is possible, who would rediscover the moral courage to stand up and confront the racist abuses of Israel’s government. But they can’t do it when Palestinians give the Israeli extremists the weapons to fuel their own continued violent policies.
Suspending all violence, and putting our anger in check may seem like a high price to pay, but it is the most effective means of confronting the growing extremism in Israel driven by fanatics in Israel’s government.
Violence has proven to be ineffective. It may provide a momentary, twisted sense of personal satisfaction to some who are frustrated and who suffer under Israeli oppression to see Israelis suffer back. But that is a short term distraction from reality. There is no longterm benefit from violence.
Palestinians need to stop the violence against Israelis and use a truly non-violent campaign to win back the moral high ground and the support not only of the world but of many Jews and Israelis who have paused their campaigns for justice.
Palestinians can help save Israel from itself, too, but giving moral Israelis and Jews a reminder of why peace is the better option than the ugly, painful and violent status quo.
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American columnist and author. He is a columnist with the Arab News Newspaper and can be reached at email@example.com. Click here to read Ray’s recent column against Palestinian violence in the Arab News Newspaper.)
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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