I am sitting in the iconic Cigar Bar of the American Colony Hotel here in East Jerusalem. As I watched the coverage this morning of today’s suicide bombing on the very bus #14 I rode on Jaffa Street last August I am moved to make this humble request of you:
Please say to everyone you know….Yassir Arafat cannot ‘stop the terrorism’. Nor can any other Palestinian leader. Even in the totally unlikely event that Hamas would say “OK, we’ll not send any more suicide bombers,” there are at least two other organizations that would then send them. In the even more unlikely event that the other two or three ‘militant’ Palestinian organizations would discontinue sponsoring suicide bombers, others would emerge.
What has to be understood is this:
There will be no cessation of suicide bombing as long as Israel continues to occupy the West Bank. Any young man or woman–ultimately every child or grandmother–can turn her/himself into a deadly missile by strapping on a bomb belt that is readily available anywhere in Palestine for $110. The situation there is not very dissimilar from what we experienced in Viet Nam….vastly superior military might will not/cannot prevail against millions of non-military people willing to die for their country.
You will hear endless pontificating by Israeli leaders about their rocket firings into cars, houses, and now even the populated streets of Gaza. They say that there is a critical difference between their rocket firings and Palestinian bombings.
PLEASE DO NOT BE PERSUADED BY THAT. Sure there are Palestinian terrorist. And there are also Israeli terrorists.
But there is one major difference. Palestinians are being occupied; the Israeli settlers are hostile occupiers.
My heart is close to bursting over this. Please, this hell in the ‘holy land’ is not something we ‘professional tradents in religion’ can allow ourselves to turn away from; nor should any freedom and justice-loving American citizen try to look the other way. We attempt to ignore this situation at our own peril.
Everyone needs to see this most complicated and seemingly insoluble situation as something they can personally, positively influence. Talk the truth with your family and friends. And, if you are a religious or business leader my personal plea is that you use whatever influence you have to become and agent for change in Israel/Palestine .