Sun. Apr 14th, 2024
By Abdullah M. Abu Shawesh

There is a big difference between facts and fabricated propaganda, and we must all make sure that the information we are exposed to is correct, especially with new technologies, which can be considered a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there is tons of information that invades our lives every minute and can be easily accessed, and on the other hand, not allthis information is reliable and is often fabricated for the sole purpose of brainwashing recipients and fueling political polarization.

We, the Palestinians, have been and continue to be the ultimate victims of this fabricated information that has shaped the Western conscience for a long time. Even among the countries where we used to enjoy support, this support sometimes came from emotional, shared history, or religious feelings, rather than primarily from historical knowledge of the roots of the problem or its legal merits and political background.

I can say with confidence that the Palestinian issue is still shrouded in a lot of false and distorted information around the world. In this way, the Zionist movement succeeded a long time ago, even before the establishment of the State of Israel, in convincing the world to believe and embrace its propaganda, especially in Western countries. The Zionist movement has used many slogans to mobilize people around the world, and one of these slogans that I would like to address is that they are fighting Palestinian terrorism and that everything in this war is legitimate.

Israel’s use of the words “terrorist” and “terrorists” came after September 11, when the American President declared a war on terrorism.  Israel jumped into the boat, rode the wave, and began regurgitating the word terrorism and terrorists, just like the word anti-Semitism, while its supporters were blindly repeating its claims like parrots. Before that, it was the Israeli occupation categorizing us and calling us saboteurs, and the guerrilla operations carried out by the Palestinians were called sabotage operations. Today, the new Israelis generation does not remember these terms, as the term terrorism is the phrasing that dominates global discourse.

Not only this, Israel launched a campaign and it is still igniting it, accusing Palestinians of glorifying the terrorist and paying anyone who killed a Jewish person, referring to the social allowances that the Palestinian Authority paid to the political prisoners and freedom fighters’ families, and also to the other victims of the Israeli occupation, especially the Martyrs’ widows and orphans, which we do and will continue to do. When we check the validity of the Israeli claims and examine them under the lens of international law, we will come up with one result, and that is that all of these claims are false and have no legal validity to them. Yes, we embrace the families of the political and freedom fighter prisoners for the following reasons:

First: We have the full right to resist the Israeli occupation and this is granted by international law. Israel, as an occupying power has obligations under the Geneva Convention to protect the Palestinian people which they do not do. Therefore, all the discussion about the right of Israel to defend itself is devalued and baseless under international law. This means that the Palestinians’ resistance of the Israeli occupation is not only legitimate but also legal under international law.

Second: Without exception, all Palestinian prisoners were subjected to torture and ill-treatment during the investigation phase, and they were all forced to sign confessions extracted from them by force and violence, which we cannot accept under any circumstances as legal confessions. In this case also we did not acknowledge the Israel judicial system trials.

Third: By accepting the Israeli claim that these political prisoners and activists are terrorists, this would mean that we accept and recognize the Israeli narrative, also embracing and encouraging the Israeli judicial system, which stands entirely in the service of the occupation regime. Can any sane person accept the narrative and claims of such persecutors and oppressors?

Fourth: The majority of those prisoners are breadwinners and their families depend on them to survive. By not lifting their families from the mercy of the street we would not only be betraying them, but we would also be pushing their widows, orphans and dependent elderly family members to beg on the streets which for sure will lead to other socioeconomic problems.

Leaving aside the modern nonsensical and false claims that we are killing the Jewish people because they are Jewish, another manner of Israeli propaganda to mask the truth. We the Palestinians have nothing against the Jewish people, nor Judaism itself, about which I will soon write to prove this fact.

When it comes to glorifying terrorists, this is a specialized Israeli field in which no one can compete. One very famous example is the deceased Menachem Begin, head of the Irgun military gang before the establishment of Israel, who was responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 and the killing of 91 innocent people, most of them British. Begin was wanted by the British Mandate as a terrorist, and then he was honored by Israel and sat on the proverbial throne. He reached the top of the political pyramid in Israel by becoming Prime Minister. If we want to write about the Israel terrorism, we need to appoint a team of full-time and specialized researchers to uncover all that is related to this topic, and it will certainly take a long time for them to finish their work. There are enough examples of cases of Israel touting and honoring their terrorists that this could be a long-term full-time job for this hypothetical team. Here I would like to highlight two examples of the official Israeli policy of glorifying the terrorist.

Shlomo Ben Yosif who was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Palestine in 1937, joined the Argon gang and was arrested after he attacked a bus full of Palestinian civilians in Safed City with hand grenades. He was convicted and hanged in 1938. Today Israel officially considers him a martyr and many streets are named after him in Israel.

Eliyahu Hakim and Iliaho Ben Zuri were appointed to assassinate the British State Minister Lord Moyne in Egypt on 6 November 1944, and unfortunately, they succeeded with this terrorist act. They were arrested and convicted and hanged to death in Cairo. In 1975, and in a prisoner swap deal, Israel took their remains and buried them with full respect in a military funeral in the Heroes Memorial Square in Jerusalem. UK expressed regret that Israel honors the killers and portrays them as heroes. There is even a song to glorify their terrorist act. Many squares, streets and bus stations are named after them. Former Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar went so far as to issue official instructions to schools directing children to write letters of sympathy to the families of these terrorists on the occasion of their commemoration.

Embracing the Palestinian victims of the brutal Israeli occupation, such as political prisoners, Martyrs widows, orphans, the disfigured and the disabled, is not only legitimate, but also a moral duty that we will not stop. We know that we face great pressures to abandon them, but we cannot accept that and we will continue to embrace our heroes and victims regardless of the occupying state’s attempts to discredit them. If they “the Palestinians prisoners” are terrorists, then by default the Israeli occupation is a charity mission.

Abdullah M. Abu Shawesh is the Ambassador of the Embassy of the State of Palestine to Nigeria

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