For many years Israel and members of the International community have claimed that Palestinians “do not take responsibility for themselves. All they do is whine, accuse Israel of everything and make suicide bombings.” That’s what we have heard. Now, when those false claims have expired, Israel’s arsenal of claims is replaced quickly.
Today, the Palestinian government is building state institutions, a stable society, a stronger economy. Furthermore, according to Israeli officials last year was the “quietest” security-wise since 2000; no suicide bombings took place. Palestinians have expanded the circle of non-violent actions in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Bilin’s model of non-violent protest was copied to Naalin, Sheikh Jarrah, Nabi Saleh and Deir Nezam. Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, choose to jointly hold weekly demonstrations as part of the popular, lawful resistance to the illegal occupation.
But instead of accepting the legitimate, peaceful actions, Israel is annoyed. What Palestinians are doing goes against all conventions that Israel likes to present to itself and the world, and that’s why occupation forces choose to suppress those non-violent demonstrations in the most violent means.
The Israeli government does not accept the Palestinian government plan to establish Palestinian state institutions and end the occupation; it calls this unilateral. One might think that the government of Israel wants to establish the Palestinian state itself and Palestinians pull the rug from under her feet by doing it themselves.
The Israeli government is not happy with the peaceful, law-abiding campaign of the Palestinian government to boycott settlement products. How dare people who live under our control go against products produced on the land we stole from them and gave to settlers, against International Law? How dare the Palestinian government raise its head, work to strengthen the Palestinian economy and find solutions to Palestinian unemployment?
The Israeli government even complains that Palestinians file suits against her in the Israeli courts. Does Israel not believe in the use of its law to demand justice? No, the Knesset will make sure to pass a bill which bypasses the court decision. The Israeli government neither wants the Palestinians to use International courts to demand justice. Their attitude is – Palestinians have no right to use the law against us. It is just not proper.
When pro Palestinian activists make peaceful protests at Israeli representatives’ lectures, they are accused of anti-Semitism. The Israeli government is furious that some movements in the world are leading active campaigns for boycott and sanctions on Israel for being an occupying power against International Law. Again, they portray and label theses activists as being motivated by anti-Semitism and hatred.
The Israeli government distributes a report, complaining to diplomats that Palestinian textbooks contain the term “violence of the occupation”, saying that this is simply intolerable incitement. Occupation? Violence? Where? Who? God forbid that we should speak the truth.
The truth is that when Palestinians act in a legitimate, non-violent way, it deprives Israel of the security excuse that Israeli governments have always used, and ruins its effective campaign of dehumanizing and demonizing Palestinians.
Well, my suggestion to the Israeli government is to dedicate its next meeting to formulate a work plan with very clear rules and instructions, how it expects people living under brutal and criminal occupation for many decades to behave. If not by acting legitimately, then how?