A Palestinian Response to Israeli Brutality (c. 1984)


‘Palestinians think that Western perspectives of terrorism are absurdly distorted. They believe that the West judges the issue with much emotiveness but but with little understanding of its context. Moreover, its view is almost entirely one-sided. A guerilla with a gun is more “newsworthy” than an air-force pilot spraying napalm over a refugee camp, but is he more of a terrorist? The eleven Israeli athletes who were killed at the Munich Olympics are remembered all over the world, but how many people recall the four hundred refugees who were  killed in the Israeli vengeance raid three days later?

No people are naturally terrorists, least of all the Palestinians who have no military tradition of their own, and it is futile to condemn them without examining what has led them to use violence. As any Palestinian will say, the propulsion comes from a combination of frustration and desperation. Sami al-Karami, a Palestinian living in Canada, has explained: “The non-violent methods are very beautiful and very easy, and we wish we could win with these methods. Our people don’t carry machine-guns and bombs because they enjoy killing. It is for us the last resort. For twenty-two years we waited for the United Nations  and United States for liberty, freedom, and democracy. There was no result. So this is our last resort. This is the only to get back to Palestine.” This insistence on the failure of the international community is widespread among Palestinians. They point out that since 1947 the UN has ostensibly been in favour of an Arab state in Palestine and that since 1948 it has voted annually for the repatriation of the refugees. In both cases it has failed to implement its own resolutions and the Palestinians feel that as the international community has ignored them, they have no special obligations to the international community.’

Extracted From: Dispossessed: The Ordeal of the Palestinians, by David Gilmour – Pages 159-160 – Sphere Books Limited, re-print 1984. (Originally published by Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd 1980).




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