Neither Netanyahu nor his ministers, who are suffering from hysteria as a result of the courageous Palestinian prisoners staging a hunger strike, have hesitated to call the prisoner leaders murderers.
The Israeli racism machine has not stopped making proposals characterised by severe cruelty and disgrace, such as the suggestion made by Israeli Minister of
Intelligence and Transportation, Yisrael Katz, to execute prisoners. Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, also suggested that the prisoners on hunger strike are left to starve to death, which is what happened with the Irish activists led by Bobby Sands.
With the same degree of disgrace, the Israel Prison Service decided to build a military field hospital that allows it to use the internationally prohibited method of “force feeding” because civilian doctors and their union refuse to commit this crime against the prisoners.
The brave Marwan Barghouthi does not need anyone to defend him. His article in the New York Times skilfully put the occupation in the docks, and he never killed anyone with his hands. The most important question here is: Who did? What is the record of Israeli leaders themselves? Those who are honoured in some international forums and are even awarded peace prizes.
Wasn’t Menachem Begin a murderer, responsible for the Deir Yassin massacres, as well as the other crimes committed by his organisation, Irgun, such as the bombing of the King David Hotel and the killing of Brits, Palestinians and Jews?
Furthermore, he and Yitzhak Shamir added to their record the assassination of the UN mediator, Count Bernadotte, and other international diplomats.
Didn’t the former Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, use his hands and weapon to kill Kamal Nasser, Kamal Adwan, Abu Yousef Al-Najjar and his wife in Beirut? His unit also assassinated the Palestinian leader Abu Jihad in Tunisia.
Wasn’t it Shimon Peres who ordered the Qana massacre, killing women and children in a UN shelter in Lebanon?
Didn’t Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni and Barak all commit war crimes during the successive attacks on the Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of thousands of martyrs, including hundreds of children? A file of these crimes is now on the ICC’s table.
Do we need to remind the Israeli ministers of Ariel Sharon’s past in the Qibya massacre in 1953, killing the Egyptian prisoners in 1967, and in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which surpassed all other massacres in atrocity in 1982.
The Palestinian people have not and will not forget.
However, the world must remember. It is its duty to support the struggle of the prisoners who are practicing the most peaceful forms of struggle and the noblest form of popular resistance by staging a hunger strike. This is the only weapon they possess while trapped in Israeli prisons.
On Friday, we participated in a demonstration in the Jerusalem villages near Ofer Prison. We tried hard to raise our voices so that the prisoners inside would hear us, although they don’t need to hear us to know that their entire nation is behind them.
We had young boys with us who were born and lived their entire lives, like their parents, under occupation, oppression and discrimination.
These boys are not in need of incitement to become fighters. Their lives and suffering drives them to this, but their presence reminded us that the future generation of hope and victory is growing and maturing, despite the oppression, torture and attempts to spread frustration and despair; despite the escape of those who grew tired of the burdens of the struggle.
The Palestinian fighters are not killers, they fight for freedom and they create life and hope. They are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their people’s freedom.
I bet the majority of Israeli ministers think of no one else other than themselves, their position and their future wealth.
That is why we are optimistic and they are pessimistic, drowning in their racism.
Translated from Arab48, 23 April 2017.
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