Veteran Arab journalist Abdel Bari Awtan says the Palestinian people will keep reaffirming that they will never submit to the Israeli occupation whatever the odds.
The three young men from the Jabareen family of Umm al-Fahem who carried out last Friday’s attack in Jerusalem sent a wake-up call to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president Mahmoud Abbas. He hastened to telephone Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to express his condemnation and his condolences for the two Israeli policemen who were killed.
It also served as a reminder to a billion and a half Muslims worldwide that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, their original qibla, is still under occupation, and that the steadfast people who live around it are giving their lives to resist and to defend it.
We doubt that President Abbas will also call the Jabareen family which gave birth to the three young men and raised them to love Palestine and defend its holy places against the systematic campaign to Judaise them. Nor will he offer them condolences as he does whenever a member of the Israeli army is killed. The job of the PA and its security forces is to protect Israeli settlers, not Palestinian lives.
The attack at the Al-Aqsa courtyard will doubtless trouble the Israeli occupation and the PA alike, due to its scale, the daring shown by the attackers, and their use of firearms to carry it out and kill the two Israeli policemen. It shows that young Palestinians intent on resisting the occupation are developing their methods and no longer relying on individual knife attacks – not least because Israeli troops now routinely shoot and kill them in cold blood regardless of whether there is a stabbing attempt, but merely on suspicion of intent.
Countless young men and women have been killed because they were suspected of possibly carrying a knife, including one who was shown being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while he lay bleeding as an Israeli ambulance crew looked on.
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The Israeli authorities assumed the Palestinian people had surrendered to the occupation because the PA had surrendered, and because Hamas did a deal with the Dahlan wing of Fatah in a desperate bid to get the blockade of the Gaza Strip eased and enable its two million inhabitants to survive. It believed they had submitted to “moderation” and abandoned any further thought of resistance because Arab and Islamic support had collapsed as a result of the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen in particular, and because some Arab regimes now see Israel as a friend and ally who can be relied on to defend them against the “Iranian ogre.”
But the Palestinian people will not surrender to Israeli occupation nor submit to its injustice and racism. They will exercise their right to resist by all means available. The fact that the attackers came from Umm al-Fahem, which was occupied in1948 and is better off economically than the West Bank, is a clear indication in this regard. It reaffirms the unity of the Palestinian people and their commitment to their legitimate rights to liberation, independence, justice and equality, wherever they are located within their homeland or in exile.
The Israeli authorities chose war, and have been blinded by the arrogance of power to their injustice, aggression and oppression against a people who held out an olive branch, and whose leaders gave up 80% of historic Palestine in the hope of achieving peace and co-existence. This choice will surely prove to be Israel’s eventual undoing.
Injustice and the unjust are short-lived by nature, and the surrounding Arab world’s current state of collapse is exceptional and will not last long. Oppressive rulers will fail to suppress their citizens’ genuine patriotic feelings of support for the Palestinian people against the occupation. Israel will never be transformed from enemy to friend, however much they muzzle and intimidate their people, and however hard their media empires and “electronic army” trolls try.
Last Friday’s attack in Jerusalem serves notice that the Palestinian people will not submit to the occupation, nor to its facilitators or those seeking to woo its friendship. The Israelis will one day have to recognise their rights and subscribe to international laws, resolutions and initiatives that can bring peace.