The political DNA of Israel’s ruling parties contains an element which prevents them from disagreeing with the theory that that which is not realized by force can be realized by even more force.
When Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner in a successful operation carried out by Palestinian gunmen, I thought that the time had come to hold negotiations for a prisoner exchange. Thousands of Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israel, including women and minors. The kidnappers’ demand that women and minors be released in exchange for information about the condition of the Israeli prisoner was a starting point for negotiations. The Israeli government’s statements that it was dedicating its efforts to bringing the prisoner back home were merely propaganda, because if the Israeli government was serious about saving the kidnapped soldier’s life it would have started negotiations that could help build a bridge of understanding and ultimately lead to a prisoner-exchange agreement.
The problem is that the Israeli government does not actually want to save the prisoner’s life at all. Quite the opposite. It has used the kidnapping of the soldier as an excuse to declare war on the Palestinian Authority and to once again invade Gaza and shed the blood of innocents, which will ultimately endanger Giald Shalit’s life.
This also applies to the settler, Eliyahu Asheri. Instead of negotiating his release, the occupation forces undertook military operations which only sped up his death. Even though every settler is a liability in the eyes of international law and a party to war crimes (the Rome Agreement), he did not deserve to die. Murder in general, especially murder without trial, should meet with strong opposition from anyone who cares about human rights. I have no doubt that the Israeli occupation authorities, which have killed thousands of Palestinians without trial, are also responsible for the death of Eliyahu Asheri because they refused to negotiate. This fact does not, however, excuse his Palestinian kidnappers from their obligation to keep him alive.
The Israeli refusal to negotiate with terrorist organizations is nothing but a feint because the Israeli government itself is a terrorist organization in its treatment of the Palestinian people. The slogan “occupation is terrorism” is not just a chant raised by demonstrators, but an expression of reality.
The arrest of Palestinian members of parliament and government ministers is another example of the Israeli occupation’s stupidity. Israel did not invent imperialist oppression. Anyone who knows even a little about the history of the struggle against the British occupation will sadly ask himself how the fools in the Israeli government can repeat the actions of the British Empire. The arrest of Palestinian leaders is a carbon copy of the British Empire’s Black Saturday, and it is symbolic that this also occurred at the end of June. On June 29, 1946, the British arrested the leaders of the Jewish settlers in a move by the empire to suppress the Jewish rebellion. Several members of Israel’s first government were among those arrested, and they were sent to detention camps in Latron and Rafah. (Ben-Gurion succeeded in avoiding arrest because he was outside Israel at the time.) “I do not and will not consider the attack of June 29, which rages on, a failure or a disaster,” Moshe Sneh, the local head of the Haganah at the time wrote to Ben-Gurion. “On the contrary, this attack has shown that the regime thinks our forces are a threat, which is why it concluded that it must destroy this force. Political logic requires us to make a show of force again after June 29 in order to prove that our force has not been broken and that our desire to use it has not been shaken.”
Leaders of the Palestinian resistance make similar statements now.
Anyone who still believes in the independence of the judiciary is in for another shock. The Attorney General approved the arrest orders, and a group of judges signed the arrest orders that gave the green light to arrest Palestinian MPs. When the government is oppressive, the judiciary becomes a dirty agent. The Israeli judiciary is no different from its counterparts in dictatorships elsewhere.
I do not think that this attack on the Palestinian people will end the anti-occupation movement. Quite the contrary, it will shore up the movement’s courage and support, just as Sneh wrote to Ben-Gurion in 1946. We know how this ends. The British left and the state of Israel was established. In that regard the Palestinians—who are looking beyond the torrential rains falling from the black cloud of Israeli occupation—have a reason to hope that they will get their state in the end.