Thursday, December 8, 2011

Keeping the David vs. Goliath Option Open

While I oppose Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s call for armed resistance, the mere threat of some form of resistance needs to be part of the Palestinian strategy to achieve parity with Israel. This lack of parity that describes the current state of affairs in the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians has led the Palestinians to capitulation to the demands of Israel. Meshaal understands this disparity in power, “When there is such an imbalance of power (between Israel and the Palestinians) negotiations become a process of daily humiliation.”

What I oppose with Meshaal’s armed resistance, though, is that Israel’s military superiority is so disproportionate to that of the Palestinians that making that the only option is not practical in time and circumstance. Hurling rockets at Israel civilians when Israel’s fighter jets, tanks and well trained army can wreak havoc upon the Palestinian population will not achieve a military victory. While Palestinian resistance fighters may provide a sense of parity with Israel, armed resistance will only cause an increased disparity in equities.

The infrastructure of Palestine, in both the West Bank and Gaza, is dismal compared to that of Israel and the gap will only continue to widen as long as the conflict continues. The ability of Palestinian children to become educated and contribute to the betterment of Palestinian society is hindered as long as Israel continues its inhumane blockade of Gaza and its apartheid system of walls and military checkpoints in the West Bank.

The need for an end to the occupation and for peace is of paramount importance. The continuation of the status quo, i.e. the dominance of Israel over Palestinian culture, economics and political affairs, is a plus gain for Israel and a negative loss for the Palestinians. As long as Palestinians are dominated, Israel will continue to “humiliate” the Palestinians daily.

An armed resistance, using rockets, only perpetuates the occupation. The argument that Israel uses to perpetrate a military assault that kills thousands of Palestinians while it loses a handful of its citizens is that no country will allow a neighboring country to launch rockets against its citizens. In the US, politicians, in defense of Israel, repeatedly state that if Mexico would launch rockets upon Texas, the US would take over Mexico in one swoop. This analogy strikes at the conscience of American citizens and allows Israel to disproportionately launch a ground assault and a massive airstrike at the Palestinian population of Gaza without retribution. It also allows Israel to have a veto shield against any anti-Israeli UN resolution.

I am sure that Meshaal’s supporters will point to the Vietnam War that America was entangled with and lost for a comparison with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, that war was totally different. It was a war fought half a globe away from the US while Israel is within minutes of Palestine. The North Vietnamese army was better supplied than the Palestinians will ever be; they had the military equipment and the familiarity and advantage of the terrain. The American people in a consciences’ effort marched in US streets and students protested on university campuses against the war. There are no mass demonstrations in Tel Aviv or any other Israeli cities. The conscience of Israel is asleep.

Resistance need not be in the form of an armed struggle and by no means should any struggle be directed at civilians. I have advocated in my blogs at that the option of the stone is a viable option that needs to remain on the negotiating table. In biblical terms, it symbolizes the David and Goliath story in reverse against Israel.

The stone brings parity in that it tells the Israelis that lack of progress on the political front leads to resistance on the resistance front. The stone option is an option that all Palestinians can participate in. Woman and teenagers were an integral part of the first Intifada. While Israel will try to prevent the press to cover its cruel and inhumane response to children throwing stones against tanks and helicopter gunships, it cannot—not with the world wide web where anything anywhere can be instantaneously be broadcast to the entire world through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other internet medium.

Confronting Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions are also excellent options to pressure the Israeli businessman to petition his government to end the occupation of Palestine. Palestinians and other socially conscience individuals need to continue to speak out wherever and whenever they have an audience whether in the print media, on television or radio or the internet. Palestinians need to confront Israelis everywhere and anywhere and expose their arrogance in their belief that they are superior to the Palestinians; their intransigence in refusing to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian lands and their immoral prolongation of its apartheid system of occupation of the Palestinian people and land.

Palestinians are not in Vietnam and they are not Vietnamese. They do not have jungles to hide in and wait to fight the Israeli army. Palestinians have to adapt to their terrain, their environment, their circumstances and the world around them. They need to take advantage of their growing numbers, the emerging media outlets, and the morality of their cause.

The David in the Palestinians needs to confront the Goliath in the Israelis.

(  © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed.  Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)

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