NO BOLT FROM THE SKY
NO BOLT FROM THE SKY: "The burning and killing of the Dawabsha family, which led to the martyrdom of the infant Ali and inflicted severe burns on his parents, was no bolt of lightning from a clear sky," writes Hani al-Masri in the leading Palestinian daily al-Ayyam.
It was one of a series of crimes committed by the occupation army, a consequence of the Israeli government's schemes and policies, and a result of the settlers' mounting attacks that have reached a total of 11-thousand over the past ten years.
The occupation forces have killed over 30 Palestinians in field executions during the past few months alone. These include Minister Ziad Abu-'Ain while planting an olive branch and the youth Leith al-Khalidi who was taking part in a protest near 'Attara checkpoint against the Duma crime [in which the Dawabsha family was attacked].
What is new is that the crimes that the occupation army and the hordes of settlers are committing have become more savage, and are now clearly preplanned. On numerous occasions, they have increasingly been carried out by terrorist 'Price-Tag' organizations. These are well known organizations that publicly declare their aims, claim responsibility for their attacks, display their power, occasionally dress in identical uniforms, leave their signature at the venues of their attacks, and spare nothing from their assaults; trees, stones, churches, mosques, the 1948 territories, or the various parts of the West Bank.
In Gaza, the occupation army has taken it upon itself to commit the ugliest forms of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the three [2008/12/14] recent wars of aggression it has waged on the Strip. Thousands of martyrs have fallen in these wars, and many times more were wounded in addition to the destruction of tens of thousands of homes and various institutions.
What renders such collective and ongoing crimes possible is the fact that they have been allowed to occur without confronting any means of deterrence or accountability. They are a natural product of the fact that Israel has headed firmly towards greater extremism, aggression, racism, and violence. In fact, the participants in these crimes, statements and attacks against Palestinians – specifically in Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque – are not small numbers of isolated individuals. They include thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of attackers, and are often headed by party leaders, rabbis, Knesset members and ministers. In fact, there are now ministers who can compete with the most extreme, such as Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, who has called for the extermination of the Palestinian people, and especially Palestinian mothers because they give birth to terrorists and snakes.
The problem, in other words, is not one of extremist terrorist individuals. The problem is that of a terrorist state that is heading towards greater extremism. It is a state that has spawned more extremist groups and individuals, including the settlers. The latter have increased in number and have become more powerful; they have infiltrated Israel’s various ruling institutions, and are beginning to sense their power. This is why they will continue to escalate their attacks, reminding us of what the armed Zionist gangs used to do before the establishment of Israel. They have intensified their attacks against the Arabs for a specific and clear reason, namely, to push them to leave the land. Therefore, the aim behind the new campaign of aggression is not merely revenge and intimidation; it is the same old aim, namely, to drive the Arabs out by pushing them into isolated and disconnected blocs surrounded by settlements, military camps and checkpoints under continuous harassment, while waiting for the appropriate moment to expel them.
What is happening in the Arab region, the marginalization of the Palestinian cause, greater Israeli extremism, the revival of the doctrine of the right to 'the whole of the land of Israel,' the Palestinians' weakness and divisions, their failure to implement any measures that would deter the settlers confining themselves to denunciations, condemnations and complaints to international institutions – all these factors have whet the extremist Zionists' appetite to complete what they have failed to achieve so far by expelling the remaining Palestinian population and Judaizing what remains of the land, absolving the occupation state of its responsibility for taking any step that would deter these extremists.
It would be very dangerous to exaggerate the differences between the extremists, whether settlers or others, and the government and army. For the threat that we face is not only from the settlers, but from the ongoing Zionist colonial project that remains alive and has yet to be shut down, hatching all forms of fanaticism, extremism, and terrorism. It is that project that has released the genie of extremist settlers from the bottle; and only when that genie began to threaten the other Jews who disagree with it and kill them, did the government begin to denounce Jewish terrorism.
This is the only context in which to understand the reaction of Israel’s government, army and secularists against the burning of the infant baby in Duma. The goal is to calm the situation down and prevent any international denunciation of Israel, and to contain and prevent any broad reaction on the part of the Palestinians. This is in addition to the more important aim; namely, the concern that Jewish terrorism may target Jews stemming from the coincidence between the Duma crime and the stabbing of Jewish homosexuals by an extremist religious Jew. This has led the secularists to fear for themselves, as well as for the future of their state. In other words, behind the strong Israeli reaction to the Duma crime is not sympathy for the Palestinians’ suffering, but the fear that Jewish terrorism may target the Jews themselves. What may confirm this is the extremists' reaction to the Israeli president's statements in which he denounced the arson in Duma. They referred to him as a stinking traitor, and as the president of the Arabs, threatening him with a fate similar to that of Rabin, and adding that another Amir [Rabin's assassin] will come and sweep him away.
The Palestinian reaction to the crime was stereotypical, not to say muted. It was confined to statements urging the Israeli government to deter the settlers and hold them accountable, despite the fact that this government in particular is one of settlers par excellence and the most extremist government since the establishment of Israel. The Palestinian reaction also included referring the crime to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Security Council, despite the fact that the former process takes many years, whereas we need immediate deterrent measures, while the Security Council is blocked from adopting any deterrent measures against Israel thanks to the U.S. veto that prevents any measure against Israel despite its ongoing crimes and continuous threat to security and stability in the region and the world.
The PA’s reaction included a demand for the PLO Central Committee's resolutions to end security coordination with Israel and reconsider the relationship with the occupation to be implemented, while stressing its commitment to preventing any confrontation or any violent Palestinian reaction, with all that this entails in terms of the highest degree of security coordination with the occupation forces – which is what actually happened.
What distinguishes the official Palestinian reaction is that its first concern is to avoid any confrontation, especially an armed confrontation that such crimes may elicit. And on the factional level, the reactions were emotional; issuing threats left, right and center, insisting that the martyr infant Dawabsha's blood will not be cheap, and threatening to declare war, react in an earth-shaking manner, and burn the ground under the occupation's feet, etc.
The policy of avoiding confrontation, which has been imposed on the Palestinians by their leadership, is the shortest path to a domestic explosion, anarchy and a security breakdown. It will only sustain and expand the crimes and aggressions against the Palestinians, and lead to armed resistance, which will become the only reaction that satisfies the people’s emotions.
There is no alternative to pursuing a confrontation on every level, and in every dimension and form, provided that its long- and short-term aims are specified, and it is led in a well-considered manner, and can deter the settlers and extremists by adopting immediate measures. Most important, is the official, popular and political adoption of self-defense and protection committees to confront the settlers' attacks in the areas exposed to such attacks with the participation of all Palestinian shades of the spectrum and forces.
In this regard, the PA should place all its resources and security agencies in the service of its supposed fundamental raison d’etre, namely, to provide citizens with security and safety. When these protection committees deter the settlers and inflict losses on them, it will aggravate the disagreement between the extremist government and the more extremist settlers. It will also drive the Security Council and other international institutions, including the ICC and the Court of Justice, to address Palestinian claims and demands with the concern they deserve.
The second step is for the Palestinian reaction to adopt popular resistance in all its forms, in word and deed when it can, and in the heart. This includes the campaign to boycott and divest from Israel, until it is ostracized, held accountable, and punished.
But the best possible reaction to the Duma crime would have been to move immediately towards national [Fateh/Hamas] unity, including an invitation to the PLO's Temporary Leadership Framework, and the formation of a national unity government on the basis of the common denominators and of a new vision and a roadmap to implement that vision. This vision should include the foundations, aims, and values that unite the Palestinians, and the rules and forms of action and struggle.
Since such unity is not possible from above, thanks to the groups that have a vested interest in the existing split and in ensuring that it spreads horizontally and vertically. Popular initiatives and steps can be taken from below, by forming popular committees and local leadership frameworks with the participation of the largest number of forces, members of society, and social institutions.
"These should take it upon themselves to manage the conflict with the occupiers while at the same time exerting pressure on both sides of the split, forcing them to comply with the people's will and interests by achieving unity," concludes Masri.