It’s possible that there are more distortions and lies printed about Israel and Palestine than there are about any other conflict. The first example: For something like thirty years, most Arabs, including Palestinians, have accepted these principles, stated by Chomsky as his own basic assumptions in ‘Fateful Triangle’:
‘The first of these is the principle that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are human beings with human rights, equal rights; more specifically, they have essentially equal rights within the territory of the former Palestine. Each group has a valid right to national self-determination in this territory. Furthermore, I will assume that the State of Israel within its pre-June 1967 borders had, and retains, whatever one regards as the valid rights of any state within the existing international system.’
The fundamental argument of the Zionists is that they must occupy the West Bank and Gaza, because the Palestinians do not accept this principle. They argue that because the Palestinians do not simply want them to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, but instead want the State of Israel to cease to exist, Israel must continue to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. This is obviously absurd. Struggling for survival is different from struggling to maintain a military occupation. Today it is the Palestinians who are doing the former and Israel that is doing the latter.
A second example of distortion is of exactly what is going on in Palestine. Oh, the suicide bombings and the deaths of civilians are clear enough on the one side, and even the Israeli state terrorism is sometimes presented (in a sanitized form, of course, with careful use of the passive voice, words like ‘retaliation’);. What is invisible, as in every conflict in the world, is the people.
And it’s not just the Palestinians who are being massacred who are invisible, including those who are brave or hopeless enough to face fully-armed soldiers with rocks (as in earlier in the intifada) or tanks and helicopters with guns (like today). Now it’s also the Jews who are resisting the occupation. It’s the 387 Israeli soldiers, so far, who have refused to serve in the occupied territories, saying:
“We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country. We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society. We, who know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end. We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements. We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them.” (http://www.couragetorefuse.org/)
It’s the activists from the Center for Rapprochement between Peoples who are, at the time of this writing, “still in Bethlehem now, they are staying in the refugees’ camps in Bethlehem area trying to provide a grassroots international protection for the Palestinians in a time when the Official International Protection for the Palestinian People is absent and even Blessed by the United States’ Administration.” (http://www.rapprochement.org)
Jewish activists like Neta Golan who, writing from inside the Palestinian Presidential Compound, wrote that: “State terrorism and terrorism are two sides of the same coin of occupation. One cannot exist without the other and neither would exist without their foundation, which is occupation.” Internationals like Jose Saramago who visited and condemned the occupation and Jose Bove who is being deported for participating in the solidarity movement. The Israeli military is now shooting these nonviolent activists with live bullets. You don’t shoot nonviolent peace activists because you’re afraid of suicide bombers. You shoot them because you are afraid of peace.
Indeed, the best tactic that Sharon and the warmongers have is making sure these people stay invisible, and the best weapon they have for doing so is the War on Terror. The War on Terror doctrine, coming from Washington itself, says that the retail terror of suicide bombers must be responded to by state terror and mass reprisal against the innocent. It says that anyone who is against state terror and mass reprisal against the innocent must be a terrorist themselves, and therefore these peace activists are terrorists who are fair game.
There is a reason for these distortions. It’s not only that there is a systematic program of state terror going on. Western media can ignore state terror, and routinely do so for other places. For Israel, though, they go to great lengths to make sure not that North Americans don’t know what’s going on, but that North Americans get the wrong idea about what is going on. Why? Because North Americans can make a difference here, and a decisive one.
Israel cannot maintain the occupation without US support. US support cannot be maintained if there is a strong movement in solidarity with Palestine that will not believe the lies and that will support a more just solution to the conflict.
There are more just solutions. A two-state solution has an independent, viable Palestinian state without settlements or checkpoints and full contiguity and control over local resources in the West Bank and Gaza, and an independent, viable Israeli state in Israel proper. A binational Palestine in which Jews and Arabs share full and equal citizenship rights is another option that gets farther away with each massacre. In either case, the military occupation has to go. So do the checkpoints. So do the settlements. And the right of return, which is a right and not a fantasy, should be guaranteed too. (http://www.zmag.org/content/Mideast/hanafi_right-of-return.cfm)
The issue is the occupation, and the way to end the occupation is by protecting the Palestinians, their movements, and the Jewish and international activists who are accompanying them; supporting the growing numbers of soldiers who are refusing to serve in the territories; and pressuring US and Israeli authorities to end the occupation and the murders that are being committed for that occupation. That’s the task for activists. To cut through the lies and to make these things happen.
Solidarity activists are putting out updates constantly, including contact information for various authorities. If you want to respond to these urgent actions, go to:
Pressure the authorities, go to demonstrations, and most importantly, talk to people.