The Rebellious Youths of Jenin are Not Terrorists

Everybody killed in the cycle of bloodshed - Israelis and Palestinians alike - are victims of the occupation

On 20 June, the army invaded with great force the city of Jenin and killed several of its inhabitants. Today, Palestinians took an act of revenge and killed Israelis in the West Bank settlement of Eli. The cycle of bloodshed continues to turn and claim ever more and more victims, of both peoples. The Israelis killed today in the settlement of Eli, like the Palestinians killed yesterday in Jenin, are all victims of the continued and aggravated occupation.

Those who deepen the occupation and build ever more settlements are guaranteeing the continuation of bloodshed. Those who call for a “major military operation” to defeat the Palestinians are perpetuating  a dangerous delusion. It is enough to remember that this entire occupation, with its 56 years, resulted from what seemed the fastest and most decisive victory in the history of Israel, the defeat of three armies in six days. But all that this victory brought Israel was the perpetuation and deepening of the conflict with the Palestinians, with the army required to repeatedly reconquer the same places, repeatedly invade the same cities and villages – and for all that it did not succeed and will not succeed in defeating the Palestinian resistance.

Only a peaceful solution that will enable the Palestinians to live a sovereign life in their own independent state can bring a future of peace to Israel.

Gush Shalom: This is not terrorism, the city of Jenin is rebelling against the oppressive occupation regime.

The residents of Jenin fight and sacrifice their lives in a just struggle to be a free people in their country. Gush Shalom calls on the soldiers of the occupation army to refuse orders and fill the military prison.

The media reports tell of soldiers fighting against “terrorism”.

The Palestinians who fight, with inadequate arms, against the most powerful army in the Middle East are stigmatised as “terrorists” and their killing is described as an “elimination” or a “liquidation”.  This terminology is nothing but false and ugly propaganda. There is no terror in Jenin except for the terror that the occupation army tries to intimidate the city’s residents. Jenin is a rebel city, a city whose inhabitants have had enough of fifty six years of oppressive occupation and embarked on an all-out rebellion.

While masses of protesters against the Netanyhau government’s anti-democratic “reforms”coup crowd the streets of Tel Aviv, singing the Israeli national anthem and emphasize the words “To be a free people in our country”, a short drive away young Palestinians are ready to fight and sacrifice their lives in a justified struggle to be a free people in their own country. This is a battle that the State of Israel cannot and should not win.

What is happening currently in Jenin is a sign of things to come.The day might not be far when also in Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah the occupation soldiers will encounter stubborn resistance and ambushes of explosive charges.The Palestinian Authority with its security forces would be forced to join the liberation struggle of its people, or it will be swept away and disappear.

In the later 1940s, when Jewish underground organizations were struggling against British rule, Chaim Weizmann — future President of Israel — said “a people do not get their liberty on a silver platter.” This later inspired a famous Israeli poem, often read on memorial ceremonies, where the fallen youths are commemorated as “The silver platter on which Israel got its statehood.” In the present moment, many young Palestinians are ready and willing to be the silver platter on which Palestinian independence will be presented to their people.

However many acts of oppression will be perpetrated against them, they cannot be defeated.

Gush Shalom calls on the IDF soldiers who are required to attack Jenin and the other Palestinian cities to refuse these orders and fill up the military prison. The army gave its brand new military prison, established in the town of Kfar Yona, the name “Neve Tzedek” — “Abode of Justice”. Soldiers who refuse to take part in the dirty work of the occupation can expect little military justice there. But they can help do justice to the Palestinians who strive for their liberty.

Gush Shalom (Translated from Hebrew, the name means "The Peace Bloc") was founded in 1993 by Uri Avnery and colleagues. Read other articles by Gush Shalom, or visit Gush Shalom's website.