Terrorism is a tool used by the militarily strong, not just by the weak
Hasan Breijieh is a Palestinian activist and spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He participates in weekly protest activities against the Israeli military presence in the West Bank (aka occupation), the illegal Jewish colonies turned into townships on stolen Palestinian land (aka “settlements”) that choke off Palestinian villages around Bethlehem and elsewhere, and the illegal Apartheid wall that Israel has constructed, much of it on Palestinian lands.
The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a Palestinian leftist political party, a member of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Like the Palestinian Islamic political party Hamas, it is classified as a terrorist organization by both the United States and Israel.
Hasan Breijieh was quoted recently in Mondoweiss in his capacity as a spokesperson for PFLP responding to an Israeli statement accusing Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) who is currently “administratively detained” — i.e. imprisoned by Israel on “secret evidence” without charge or trial.
In her latest arrest, Khalida Jarrar was seized in a pre-dawn Israeli military raid from her family home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on July 2, 2017.
“Jarrar was arrested,” says the Israeli spokesperson as quoted in Haaretz, “following her involvement in promoting terrorist activity through the PFLP and without any connection to her being a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.”
Hasan Breijieh’s matter-of-fact response, as reported in Mondowiess, is: “Israel’s statement is false. Khalida’s work within the PLC as an elected member of the legislature is as a representative for the PFLP party — the two are explicitly linked.”
As usual, it is Israel’s “official statement” about Khalida Jarrar, rather than what Hasan Breijieh says, that gets the coverage in the mainstream media, and is generally presumed to come from a “legitimate” source, whose veracity is not seriously questioned.
Israel’s strategic framing of this picture of Palestinian Arabs as terrorists, even members of the Legislative Council such as Khalida Jarrar, was intensified after 9/11, when global security fears regarding “Islamist terror” began to proliferate. After all, most, if not all, Palestinian Arabs are Muslim.
One of Israel’s most effective steps in framing Palestinian resistance as terror was mounting a successful case that designated both Hamas and PFLP as terrorist organizations. In doing so, Israel drew on an already existing general syndrome in the United States, in which some people’s humanity is somehow obscured from view while that of others is always in full view in the media.
Way back in 1985, for example, two terror killings took place in the same week, one of an American Jew (Leon Klinghoffer, killed by four Palestinian hijackers on board of the cruise liner Achille Laura) and the other of an American Palestinian Arab (Alex Odeh, killed by the Jewish Defense League in a bomb explosion mechanism attached to his office door in southern California).
Odeh’s life, though no less peaceful and gentle than that of Klinghoffer’s, was virtually ignored by the national media at the time. Not so Klinghoffer’s.
Again, during the 2014 Israeli onslaught on Gaza when Israel was obliterating whole Palestinian families, there was nevertheless a need for a website called “Humanize Palestine”, which included statements like: “Iman Khalil Abed Ammar was just nine years old. She was killed on 20 July in the Shujaiya massacre along with her brothers, four-year-old Asem and thirteen-year-old Ibrahim.”
Why are such websites needed? Because, as Steven Salaita says (commenting on a Canadian poll regarding Omar Khadr’s law suit settlement for being held and tortured at 15 in Guantanamo Bay): “People like Omar Khadr — brown, scary, deviant, foreign — are grown at birth, deprived by faith and culture the opportunity of ever being innocent.”
The pattern of dehumanizing Palestinian Arabs and/or deliberately obscuring their humanity are factors that have facilitated Israel’s project of designating Palestinian resistance movements as terror organizations.
Terrorism is defined and understood as such by its motivation as well as its violent nature and targets. If one removes the “human” part of this definition (human motivation), one is left with sociopath violence “committed to Israel’s destruction”.
To Israel and the United States, Palestinians have no cause (no motivation) to resist violently or otherwise; their sole motivation is an animus against the Jewish state to be explained by their savage nature. They have no fundamental human rights that either state recognizes.
Israel, on the other hand, has a “right to exist as a Jewish state” (or so Israel and much of the Western world keep barking at Palestinians) and a right to terrorize Palestinian populations openly, proudly and fiercely - a right the Jewish state has been exercising for 70 years with total impunity.
But, in fact, it is the Jewish state that is a terrorist entity.
Here is a definition of political terrorism as expressed by George Lopez and Michael Stohl that exactly fits Israel’s actions: “the purposeful act or threat of violence to create fear and/or compliant behavior in a victim and/or the audience of a threat.”
Israel has used terrorism as defined above to “establish” itself in part of Palestine in 1948, to occupy the rest of Palestine and annex East Jerusalem nineteen years later, and to brutally maintain the subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Terrorism is a tool used by the militarily strong — like Stalin’s terror regime in Russia — as well as the militarily weak. The militarily strong have various ways to terrorize — military raids, torture, imprisonment, siege, home demolitions, collective punishment, and “mowing down” people.
Hasan Breijieh knows all about that first hand. He has a brother, Imad, who joined the ranks of thousands of Palestinian “martyrs” — i.e., he was killed in one way or another by Israeli forces. He has a mother whose indomitable spirit has recently won her a seat in the local council in al-Ma’sara village, Bethlehem. It’s worth listening to her, a Mother Courage explaining the human motivation behind Palestinian resistance.
“I have decided to continue to resist until the last breath. And to continue to urge people to resist and teach my children resistance, and to instill resistance in their milk . Resist, there is nothing for us but to resist. Peaceful resistance .. any opportunity you have, resist. And the least you can do is resist peacefully. This is what’s in our hands, to expose to the world. The civilized world, what is called the civilized world, is concerned about the smallest of injuries. If a thorn pricks someone, anywhere, they say human rights. The UN says, run to the rescue, there are human rights. Until it comes to the Palestinian people, then no human rights, no UN, nothing. Since 1948, we have had UN resolutions, and today we want to demand these resolutions, and to resist, and through this peaceful resistance, we expose the occupation army and the other side. Today in Europe, they started to think, a little bit, that there is a people, that the Palestinian people exists. Like this guy who is running in the American elections, he says the Palestinian people is a myth. We are a people here. We live here –they say that they were here 3,000 years ago since our lord Jacob — but we were here 7,000 years B.C. We came before them; our roots are firm. We, this land … we are from this land. Look at our dark hue and look at the soil; you will find that the soil is our color. We know every blade of grass; they don’t know anything; they only know to carry weapons and steal. They steal our water; they steal our blessings everywhere.”
Israel, not Hamas or PFLP, is a terrorist organization — a deadly one that has secured funding in US military aid to the tune of $38 billion for the next ten years. The Jewish entity means to use this obscene funding against an unarmed (for all practical purposes) people in order to continue to dispossess and subjugate Palestinian Arabs for the sake of its bogus and unconscionable “right to exist as a Jewish state”.
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.