When I was studying psychology, I was introduced to the laboratory of human behavior. In one experiment, a poor guinea pig was to learn how hard it can be to die. It was repeatedly given a piece of cheese. When the animal tried to taste the cheese, it was given an electric shock. The guinea pig would go then into frenzy, rocketing himself against the cage in a desperate attempt to escape. After few episodes the miserable animal would be frozen by terror in his cage. His earlier attempts at rebellion were futile, and his rage could not persuade his masters to give him a respite.
A few days later it would die, and the dissection of the body revealed severe internal hemorrhage of the suprarenal, which had been producing serious amounts of adrenaline.
The experiment was about the effects of stress, we were told. You can apply it to the world we live in; human relations, power and powerlessness.
This letter of course is not about guinea pigs, but it is about us, Palestinians. It is about human life, about the politics of arrogance and the “violence” of the oppressed. I feel the duty of writing to you, with the hope that you may see and act.
I am aware, like all of us, of the sad fact of today that only America can decide on issues of the world, even stubbornly and unilaterally insist on polluting it. As for matters of the Middle East, you know very well that Israel is reassured of the American support, the impotence of the Arabs and the silence of the world. So we enter the cage.
The Palestinians are caged on their own land, while the Israeli military marches towards the complete and final ‘victory’. What you are observing from a distance is a Palestinian “violent” reaction to a vigorous Israeli attempt at domination and imposing submission, with or without cheese.
The Israeli plan to achieve ‘victory’ is not very difficult to understand, especially if you belong the club of Israeli generals. The plan is based on the following:
a) Present the Palestinians with offers that they have to refuse, and let them be seen as the obstacle to peace.
b) Incite the Palestinians; make them react violently, so Israel is seen as the victim. The tragedy is that the Palestinians have reacted always as Israel demands as they could not see other none violent alternative.
c) Talk about peace and the future, and let the Palestinians talk about history and liberation.
d) Let the world know that you seek security, while Palestinians are painted as terrorists.
e) Make the world believe that Israel is eager to solve the problem by negotiation while Palestinians are trying to impose solutions under fire.
From that logic Israeli soldiers are projected as defending themselves, and Palestinian children are killed because they are asking to be killed and their families are inhuman.
The same logic means that Israel has no hesitation in demolishing Palestinian homes, while talking about its desire to improve their life.
And Israel has the nerve to seize land on the West Bank and Gaza and tell the world that Palestinians have twenty-two Arab countries while Jews have only one Israel.
Dear Prime Minister,
If the Israeli military is allowed to pursue its final victory it must produce a new exodus which may reach Europe. The Palestinians in Gaza will have to leave, and those who would remain in the West Bank would have to accept Jordan as their state.
To achieve its goal the Israeli military will have only to commit a savage war, and massacres “by mistake!” As at Deir Yassin 53 years ago, Israeli’ defense forces will kill a few hundreds or thousands. They will open the border to Egypt, and Palestinians will flee.
Victory in the eyes of Israeli military establishment is said to be peace and security. But it is not. Clearly and increasingly it is about eating up the rest of Palestine. As you know peace and security for Israel can only be achieved if it abides by the International law and ends its occupation of Palestinian Land.
In America the remnants of the ‘red Indians’ have been reduced to misery on reservations and die at an early age — of stress, of poverty, of powerlessness and defeat. The US administration is prepared to let Israel treats the Palestinians in a similar way. Will Europe simply stand by and watch? Or how can you explain your abstention on the UN human rights commission ruling for the protection of the Palestinians against the brutal Israeli policies of occupation, which are already condemned by your government?
(Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is Human rights activist & Chairman of the board of Gaza Community Mental Health Program.)