Self-criticism Is the Way for Intifadah to Regain Momentum

After four years of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian Territory and the heroic defence of the Palestinian people against this aggression, a frank and honest opinion must be voiced to reinforce our people’s steadfastness and ranks to give momentum to Palestinian self-defence through a popular and unarmed uprising that appeals to the world community for help in ending the Israeli occupation and the establishment of the independent state.

To avoid misunderstanding, it should be first confirmed that resisting the Israeli occupation is not only a legitimate right legalized by the charter of the United Nations, but it is also a national, humane and ethical duty.

Moreover self-defence is also a human right that is blessed by mother nature to preserve life and has developed during the evolution of society to become a natural law of justice to judge conflicts.

That said, we have to pronounce truth though it hurts in order to be wiser, and to restore to our national struggle its rightful image that has been distorted by the Israeli as well as by the misled world propaganda machines, which have converted our besieged, detained and suffering people from a victim into a terrorist.

Israel, which practices systematic and ongoing state terrorism against the entire Palestinian people, subjugates them to war crimes, confiscates and colonizes their land with settlements, has been converted into a victim of “Palestinian terrorism.”

Of course we and all know that the resistance of the Palestinian people against the Israeli aggression and its ongoing collective destruction and killing is not terrorism. However we have to be aware that our world image is contrary to the truth: that the Palestinians are resisting the worst colonial occupation in human history.

We would like the Palestinian citizen to know that the hostile media agencies have misled the world public opinion to believe that the Palestinians are the ones who are invading the Israeli territories and besieging Israeli cities.

How did that happen while the cause of the Palestinian people is a just and rightful cause and while the United Nations resolutions (which Israel refuses to implement) demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 (to the borders of June 4 of that year)?

In order to carve out a clear path that restores clarity to the true nature of things on the ground in the Middle East and in Palestine in particular, we have to admit to ourselves first then to the world that mistakes were committed during the process of confronting the Israeli brutal aggression on our people, land, institutions, trees and homes.

We conceive the First Mistake to be what some of our brothers have done to transform the massive popular protests demanding freedom and independence into demonstrations infiltrated by armed and masked people, to make the world wrongly believe those peaceful demonstrations were militarized.

Of course those demonstrations were not militarized. The participation of those masked people with their arms in that stage of the popular Intifadah changed the positive momentum into a negative one internationally.

To make a bad situation worse, the militarization of the Intifadah has gradually distanced the masses, who constituted the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators, and pushed them to the seats of onlookers watching the members of the organizations who carry arms and wear masks.

Many opportunistic leaders tried to exploit the new development for selfish reasons, forgetting that militarization destroys the popular protests and their goals.

The Second Mistake was targeting Israeli civilians.

This was a grave mistake. The government of Israel and its occupation army have been, and still are, the ones who target Palestinian civilians.

When we were mobilizing the world public opinion against the crimes of the Israeli army and its targeting of Palestinian civilians, we were scoring political victories. But when some of the Palestinians began to target Israeli civilians on buses and inside entertainment sites and restaurants our image changed up side down, and through ferocious media campaigns the Palestinian was transformed into a terrorist and the Israeli into a victim of terrorism.

The Third Mistake was the launch of the so-called rockets on Israeli residential communities.

Israeli propaganda has widely promoted and inflated those shells and created a make-believe they were developed missiles while in fact they are no more than fireworks that do not have much effect on the Israelis.

However the Israeli government and the occupation army used what they had inflated as a pretext to commit collective war crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip. These war crimes persist and have claimed the lives of more than 120 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more (since September 28).

These crimes are being committed amid international and regional silence, because the Israeli government has exploited those ineffective fireworks to make the world believe that Israel is the victim of a Palestinian aggression, as if the Palestinians are besieging, raiding and destroying houses in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba!

The truth is that the Israeli deceit and distortion of facts have largely succeeded in transforming the image of the Palestinian into a terrorist and that of the Israeli into a victim, to the extent that the Israeli chief of staff had described a criminal racist platoon commander who emptied an ammunition clip into the body of 13-year-old Palestinian girl (Iman Al-Hams) as one who “acted logically,” because the commander took her school bag for an explosives bag, before he was suspended by the occupation army on Wednesday after soldiers from the platoon told Israeli media the commander ignored their pleas to stop.

Now, after this experience that has cost us dearly (and of course cost Israel as well), we assert that the resistance to the schemes of the occupation to grab the land of the West Bank and to destroy the Gaza Strip should be escalated as a legitimate duty and right.

But, we have to immediately stop committing mistakes, which means that:

– We have to restore to the popular Intifadah its strong momentum by preventing any militarization phenomena and prohibiting masked people from appearing in popular protests.

– National factions have to draw a clear plan to make such protests incessant, massive and all-embracing demonstrations, with unified slogans demanding freedom and independence, and raising only one flag, the flag of Palestine, to avoid the exploitation of the popular momentum by any single organization.

People will have to return to the struggle process, for the majority is the people and not the members of the organizations.

– To confine the resistance by other means to military targets, i.e. to target the occupation forces wherever they are, with the armed settlers inclusive, for they are occupation soldiers too.

– To immediately stop all operations that target civilians.

– To immediately stop launching shells on Israeli territories.

– To launch a wide media campaign, without the familiar threats used by some spokepersons, to highlight the truth that Israel is committing war crimes, that the Israeli occupation has forced the Palestinian people into a large concentration camp, that the goals of the occupation are very far from seeking peace and implementing the United Nations resolutions, that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to grab 58 percent of the West Bank area and that he is committing an unprecedented crime in colonial history, namely to destroy the Gaza Strip before leaving it.