Palestinian "Civil War" and the Israeli Chocolate Ration


This phrase is not in the dictionary of the Palestinian language, the Prime minister of this occupied country told us. There is no such thing as civil war. No such thing as factional hatred, no such thing as hatred no such thing.

There is no such thing as bombing family homes, the Prime minister of Israel has told us and the President of the U.S.A. has told us there is no such thing as misguided precision bombs, no such thing as murdered civilians and broken families and hatred and more hatred that grows from these events. There is no such thing as fear in the Israeli society, the Palestinians tell us, as the Jewish citizens wonder when their security will be threatened again. The Israeli army tells us that there is no such thing as injustice at checkpoints, no such thing as giving freedom to 18 year old boys in Hummers who terrorize Palestinian villages. There is no such thing as a history for the Jewish people or their past of suffering … No such thing as the Holocaust … No such thing.

Words that are torn to shreds in the reality of conflict. In the reality of the hatred that is being born out of every misguided precision bomb, out of every crude rocket launched, out of every hour spent at a checkpoint waiting for that 18-year old boy to finish his cigarette.

There is hatred born also from the failure of the leading people who say “no such thing” to recognize that there is such a thing and that this thing is the death knell of their country.

Was it not the absolute warning for everyone when three young children in Gaza were gunned to death in a car on their way to school, that things have gone far too far already? Here in Ramallah the President of Palestine sits and watches in horror the daily bloodbath of Iraq and says we are not in danger from that reality. The Prime minister in Gaza watches children murdered and his own party member executed and says we are not in danger of civil war.

“Our country is not in threat of civil war”, Haniya said.

“Iraq is not in the middle of a civil war.” Malakiya has said. It is still suffering the “birth pangs of democracy”.

In every human’s feelings there looms the reality of the bloodshed in Iraq civil war, although the phrase “civil war” seems to continue to stick on the cuffs of academics who have helped by their inaction to orchestrate this country’s sorrow.

Let these people kill themselves in civil conflict that is not yet civil war

Menawhile the people are dying, the children, the fighters, the civilians who dare the market places to buy food for their families

On the day when the three sons were murdered in Gaza, the city of Ramallah, a Fatah stronghold, erupted. People took to the streets and there was incessant gunfire.

Men roamed the main areas of the city with their faces uncovered and their guns on show. A shrine was set up at Al Minara in the center of the city to the three boys. Gruesome photos of their little tortured bodies were enlarged and on display every where and in fury I locked myself inside my house.
How dare this tragedy be used for political ends? How dare Fatah use this event to further its own attempts to overthrow the government they have never wanted to accept?..

There was incessant talk of war. All the PA security men were shining their guns ready to use them against an enemy that cannot annihilate them with one air strike.

And then I was also angry with myself for blaming them for this show of frustration and for their shooting in the air and for their chanting.

Is it a wonder at all that they respond like this?

Is it a wonder that a people who have been totally repressed and humiliated for decades start to seethe with the wish to fight in such provoking circumstances?

Israel and in the past nine months the rest of the Western World, have created this powder keg of anger and hatred and yet continue to represent the situation in terms that are both unfair and untruthful.

In fact there are so many untruths in this conflict that it is hard to find even a half truth any more.

Not only is there “no threat of civil war”, but there is actually supposed to be a “cease-fire” in this region at the moment.

If you lived here you would understand the exact opposite. There is no cease-fire and a very real threat of civil war born from decades of this terribly unjust occupation and nine months of economic strangulation.

While some of the root causes of civil unrest are the same here as in Iraq there are also some major differences that could as soon save this country as lead to its destruction. The difference here to Iraq is that the line between the opposing factions is purely political. There is no blood involved. It is not family or tribe or religious affiliation. It is political choice. But the problem in this, as the majority of people here tell me, is that if a conflict were to escalate it would not be contained to political factions but could end up involving brother against brother because political support is often diverse within the family itself.

And this type of infighting is not possible even in Iraq.

“In my family alone” a police officer told me “you have all three parties. I am Fatah, my sister is Hamas and my father is DFLP. Of course there will be many people who will withdraw their political support if it comes to a war. But not all.”

When I asked him if he would fight he said “Of course.”

And as for the cease-fire, when I first heard news of it I wanted to write then to say to the international community not to accept Israel’s “chocolate ration”. Not to accept sentimentality in place of morality. Not to accept.

The people of Gaza and the West Bank beg you not to accept.

I didn’t write, hoping that the world would not accept. Why should they be grateful that Israel withdrew to a border inside which they should never have entered? Why should they be grateful that Israel is not killing a family every single day instead of absolutely irreconciled to the fact that they killed so many in their Beit Hanoun massacring?

But the trend continued in this case as it has in the past.

Israel invaded and slaughtered and the spectators gasped a little. Israel withdrew and “made concessions toward a cease-fire” (concessions that were “all on their side”) and the international community was pleased and relieved.

Big Brother reduced the chocolate ration by 30 per cent and then gave an increase of 15 per cent and the people were grateful.

There has never been a cease-fire. Not in Gaza and definitely not in the West Bank. For a full list of casualties, of injuries of arrests and killings since the cease-fire was proclaimed look at the Maannews agency which has listed some 87 violations on the side of Israel since the cease-fire was internationally applauded. I can not bear to rewrite them all again.

But let me add just one point. As I write news is coming through that the High Court of Israel has overturned the case against targeted killings.

So assassinations are legal again.

Every one knows how many victims targeted killings can leave in their wake. If you live in Ramallah or have lived in Nablus or Jenin you well know the degree of horror that a targeted killing generates. You will never forget the sight of undercover Special Forces walking down main streets and opening fire seemingly indiscriminately. And the aftermath of these actions. The anger and sorrow. The funeral and rallies. The poster added to the covered walls. These are things you will never forget.

And these killings are now legalized.

And do not violate the cease-fire.

It is not easy here at present. People you love, the city you love, the brothers you love, the resisters and the students you love are all facing an absolute abyss. An abyss created by a world that is learning to live in fear instead of in hope. An abyss that no amount of hopeful imagination seems to be able to find the bottom of, although this is a game we sometimes indulge in. “Who can think of a solution”

“But please Eliza!” a friend from Nablus confided one evening about two weeks ago. “My problem is as deep and bottomless. The girl I love” I smiled. No my dear friend! That abyss is not bottomless! And I can help you find any amount of solutions as imaginative or as realistic as you like! He was incredulous at my smiling. Listened to my advice like a child and rang me just over an hour ago to tell me that it worked! He hopes to be married within the year,”situation permitting”.

Love always finds a way! I am glad for him. His life has been made tragic enough by this occupation; he has lost a brother and an uncle in the armed resistance and has spent some years in an Israeli prison himself, although he is only 23. I am glad to know that he can still love. And that love creates hope in the ruins of this country.

Hatred, swollen here by years of gorging on the atmosphere of fear and lies, in the end only destroys.
But does it destroy itself as well along the way?
Or just everything that is in its path?

And must this include truth?

There is no such thing as No such thing as no such thing.

There is no such thing as bombing family homesno such thing as murdered civilians and broken families and hatred and more hatred.

There is no such thing …




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