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We love life, but we love our land more

They claim that our Palestinian youth who are resisting Israel’s occupation sanctify the “culture of death”. They see them going to their deaths, but they are desperate in falsifying such a claim.

They do not realise that given the conditions of displacement and suffering to which Palestinians are subject, they — we — are one of the most “life-loving” nations in the world. Many of our youth, both male and female, survived their heroic resistance operations; others did not, while some of the martyrs did not intend to stab soldiers. However, if we look closely at the neo-fascist Zionist hatred of everything Palestinian, Arab or even human, we find that Israeli soldiers have killed young Palestinians and then placed knives near their bodies; many were shot merely because the soldiers suspected that they might be going to stab someone. This is extra-judicial execution based on suspicion of intent and nothing else.

Yes, our people love life and they live on the hope of liberating their land and living happily and freely, just like other men, women and children all over the world. However, if sacrificing oneself is the only way to get rid of the occupation, then most of our people would sacrifice their lives for the sake of their land, their people’s national rights and the happiness of future generations of Palestinians. Since the successive occupations of their land, especially since the foundation of the state of Israel, the Palestinians have been open targets. Our enemies have an insatiable appetite, and they would love to kill or wipe out all Palestinians. Hence, they hope that the sea will swallow Gaza; they are annoyed every time a Palestinian is born; and they even wish that the word “Palestine” could be erased from the dictionaries because it reminds them of their confiscation of the land, their colonisation, their founding myths and the fact that today’s new-borns will grow and fight them for the rights of their people. As such, the Israelis realise that they are only here for a short while.

The Palestinian mother is one of the most loving and protective for her children. Even so, the poet Al-Khansa, who loved her children and made them cry for the rest of her life with the poems she wrote, can still make whoever reads them cry. She sacrificed them for a noble cause. For the past hundred years, Palestinian women have suffered national oppression, deprivation and unbearable suffering due to the occupation of their land. Nevertheless, they do not prevent their children from carrying out acts of resistance against the Zionist enemies of history, humanity and life. Palestinian mothers cry blood and tears for each child who is martyred, and live their entire lives in sadness; if they could, they would give their own lives instead. The Palestinian mother is first and foremost a mother, so please spare us the desperate and miserable claims that these mothers raise their children with the culture of glorifying death; that they push them to carry out suicidal acts of resistance; and that they ululate and celebrate after they are martyred.

It was the not the Palestinians who created “suicide operations” or what we call “martyrdom operations”. Throughout history, there have been many examples: the original “assassins”, the Hashishin of the Ismailis; the Japanese Kamikaze pilots; Soviet soldiers during World War II; even Biblical Samson, who destroyed the temple and himself in the 11th century BC.

Those who live under an occupation the aim of which is to expel the Palestinians, steal their land and humiliate and oppress them, understand that it is virtually impossible to bear the inhumane methods of the cruel Israeli occupier. Israelis are, quite simply, killing us in cold blood.

Those who describe the struggle of the Palestinian people and their current popular intifada as born out of “desperation” and “frustration” are the ones who are both desperate and frustrated; they are not part of our people or our nation. They do not know what the struggle for liberation is or the methods of popular resistance because they are ignorant of the facts and context. If other nations need one resistance group, we need ten due to the exceptional nature of our circumstances: illegal colonial settlements and settlers; the Judaisation process; displacement; and a Zionist neo-fascist enemy intent on ethnic cleansing. What do you expect us to do when they burn our children, destroy our homes, desecrate our holy sites and uproot our trees? Should we shower them with roses? If you are unable to fight, then allow us to fight them while you remain silent in sight of the fragrant, pure and holy blood of the Palestinians. There is no living or joy under the occupation, just as there is no life or coexistence between the human body and a malignant disease.

I do not believe that the non-violent resistance adopted by Ghandi against the British occupation of India is suited to our struggle; that policy also caused much instability, turbulence and bloodshed. It led to massacres in India, as well as imprisonment and clashes in the streets between the people and the forces of the British Empire. The strategy of popular resistance, keeping the enemy up at night, breaking all of its laws and turning its occupation into a losing project both in the demographic sense (by killing occupation soldiers) and the economic sense (by making it costly), are all factors that contribute and make up an effective intifada in light of a historically-unprecedented enemy. What is expected of our people when the occupying army, groups of settlers and undercover police continue to attack them? What is expected of us, especially in the face of the field executions that Israel has adopted against our people?

What brings the Palestinians at home and in the Diaspora some comfort are the wonderful demonstrations occurring in Europe and around the world in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. All call on their governments to stop their support for Israel and to stop justifying its continued human rights violations in Palestine. Standing before the Israeli and US Embassies, the demonstrators demand justice for Palestinians, an end to Israeli incursions of Al-Aqsa Mosque and an end to settler violence. A boycott of Israeli goods and institutions is also demanded.

Unfortunately, we are, by and large, missing Arab demonstrations of solidarity in the majority of the Arab capitals, even though protests are the very least that can be done. Yes, the Arab elites and various political groups have held conferences in solidarity with our people, and although we appreciate this, it does not amount to a fraction of what the rest of the world is doing. Our intifada is in need of Arab solidarity and support in various forms, including political, financial and moral. Statements are nice, but we need action on the ground.

It is important to note that defending Palestine against Zionism is also to defend the Arab future and the future of each of the Arab countries. This is because Israel’s tentacles have affected Arab lands across the region, from the north of Iraq to the south of Sudan; from the shooting down of the Libyan civilian aircraft to the attack on Hammam Al-Shatt in Tunisia; the assassination of Abu Jihad; exporting the cotton problem to Egypt; destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor; attacking targets in Syria; assassinating Ghassan Kanafani and three other martyrs, Kamal Adwan, Kamal Nasser and Abu Yousef Al-Najjar in Beirut; the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai; and much more. The Arabs are mistaken if they believe that the enemy’s project is limited only to Palestine; if they do, then they are obviously not reading history and do not know the nature of the Arabs’ enemy from the ocean in the West to the gulf in the East.

All glory to our people who insist on expelling the occupiers from their land and restoring all of their rights, with no exceptions, and all immortality to our martyrs. Indeed, we will not die; rather we will eliminate death from our land. We do not sanctify the “culture of death”; we love life, but we love our land more.

Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 25 November, 2015

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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