FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s the Occupation

by Sam Bahour And Michael Dahan

RAMALLAH, Palestine

In the wake of the horrific suicide bombings in Israel over the last 48 hours hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made his address to the nation as he simultaneously increased, by yet another step, Israel’s part of the violence in the ensuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Sadly, no end is in sight and it is likely to get worse, much worse. If this statement sounds like a broken record, it’s because it is.

The suicide attacks, brought on by the deplorable Israeli policy of yet another state sanctioned extra-judicial assassination of a Hamas member last week, have brought Israelis and the Palestinians to the brink of total war. Unfortunately, neither Israel nor the US Administration has come to their senses to realize that, after 34 years of military Israeli occupation, the burning question is not why was there was another suicide bomb attack, but rather, why there are not more?

Some things in life are either right or wrong. Slavery and Apartheid were wrong. Not wrong until African Americans proved their worthiness of freedom. Not wrong until South Africans reached the brink of annihilation.

No. These historical flaws were not partially wrong; not debatably wrong, they were outright outcasts to humanity, each worthy of abrupt termination. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem joins these ranks, albeit this historic wrong comes during an era of media clips, political spin, and satellite TV. Nevertheless, the time has come for the world community to bring Israeli occupation tumbling down, and with its fall will be the start of the end of the breeding grounds that suicide bombers feed upon.

More and more voices are being heard within the Israeli leadership to either kill Arafat or to remove him from the area, and to ‘topple’ the Palestinian Authority. Most Israelis are now firmly convinced that there is absolutely “no partner” for peace, nor is peace possible. Naively, the Israeli public is taking security refuge in the graphic missile attacks on Palestinian cities while forgetting that for each missile fired into Palestinian neighborhoods more and more potential suicide bombers make the decision to take innocent lives while taking their own. Destroying Arafat’s helicopters will not bring hope to the growing number of Palestinians who have equated life under occupation to death.

The Israeli side must realize that the solution for the occupation is not, nor can it ever be, more occupation, more bombings, and more state assassinations. It is the occupation itself and the closures and the resultant levels of poverty, unemployment and utter despair that provide a fertile ground for the recruitment, deployment and support of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. It is the senseless death of children and adults that are feeding the flames of hatred on both sides.

As the legitimate elected representative of the Palestinian people, Arafat must make sure that his voice and intentions are clear, and that there is a national, not only personal, strategy for working toward a negotiated agreement. It is up to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to convince the Palestinian and Israeli public that there is indeed hope for an agreement, that there is indeed a future neighbor on the Palestinian side. Much of the action needed to make this conviction a reality are the same issues that are being called for by Palestinians themselves, the establishment of rule of law, accountability of decision making and collective leadership –in other words, concrete progress toward the competency to establish a viable state. Occupation being 100% wrong does not give credence to chaotic, non- transparent development and solo leadership.

The only way to break the brutal circle of violence is to end the occupation immediately, unilaterally if need be, institute a peacekeeping force in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and to begin to dismantle the settlements. The only solution that we can see is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the lines of the 1967 borders, with a capital in East Jerusalem, and to work toward a just, fair and creative solution for the right of return for the Palestinian refugees. The occupation, as such, is evil. Further occupation as being proposed now by senior decision-makers on the Israeli side would only increase that evil, raise the stakes on both sides, and the past 48 hours will repeat endlessly.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American living in the besieged Palestinian City of Al-Bireh in the West Bank and can be reached at sbahour@palnet.com. Michael Dahan is an Israeli-American political scientist living in Jerusalem and can be reached at mdahan@attglobal.net

More articles by:

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail