Forum: Mutual terror has plagued Israelis, Palestians for decades

Mutual recognition of two co-existing states offers the only hope for peace for the two peoples.

“Violence is part of the resistance to occupation. The basic fact is not the violence; the basic fact is the occupation. Violence is a symptom; occupation is the disease, a mortal disease for everybody concerned, the occupied and occupiers.”

— Uri Avnery

By Shabbir Bala / Herald Forum

Uri Avnery was an Israeli politician, formerly a member of a terrorist gang and a soldier and later a fighter for peace. He is the founder of the peace group, Gush Shalom.

In his youth, he was a member of a Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. He fled to Mandatory Palestine from Germany in the 1930s, after many family members were killed by the Nazis. He joined Irgun at a very young age and admits to committing terrorist acts against Palestinians, but disillusioned with the massacres it committed, he quit the group. He later joined the Israel Defense Forces and was injured while fighting in the 1948 war. Here he found empathy for the Palestinians being killed or forced to leave their homes.

From 1965 to 1980 he was a member of Israel’s Knesset, its legislature, and an advocate for peace there. He started writing columns while in the army and later published four books. Notable among them is “My Friend The Enemy” about his friendship with Yasser Arafat. He died in 2018 at age 94.

The violent ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists groups in pursuit of their dream of a Jewish nation on Palestinian land displaced 700,000 Palestinians. Several historians, among them Jewish authors Benny Morris and Aryeh Yizthaki, documented 10 to 70 massacres by the IDF.

Morris cited 800 Arab civilians and POWs killed by the IDF in 24 massacres, while Yizthaki lists 500 killed in 10 massacres. Palestinian researcher Saleh Abdel Jawad attributes indiscriminate massacres in 68 Arab villages by the IDF.

History is witness to the horrific massacres, including murders and rapes, occupation of Palestinian homes and their displacement into refugee camps. This was validated by Jewish scholars like Yosef Nachmani, who wrote: “Where did they come by such a measure of cruelty, like Nazis? … Is there no more humane way of expelling the inhabitants then, by such methods.”

In 1948, 78 percent of Palestine became Israel.

Today, many Western Nations have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization and not a resistance movement. Today, if you call for a ceasefire or speak against genocide, you are deemed anti-Semitic.

Killing of innocent civilians by any group must be denounced and is unacceptable.

What happened in 1948 and what happened on Oct. 7, 2023 are both horrific acts that need to be condemned. What Hamas is accused of doing in October, the Zionists and IDF did 75 years ago to Palestinians.

Avnery once said, “What is the alternative to peace? A catastrophe for both people.”

The events of Oct. 7 and the brutal bombing of Gaza proves him right. Oct. 7 did not occur in a vacuum.

Just follow the 75 years of occupation, refugee camps, a 17-year brutal siege in Gaza, provocations by Israel ministers Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, toxic words of Netanyahu, the settler invasion of Al-Aqsa Mosque and settler expansion and violence in the West Bank and more.

It is indeed a catastrophe for both peoples. Three months of carnage: 1,200 Israelis dead; 25,000 Palestinians dead, more than 13,000 of them are children and women.

Hamas is an ideology, and you cannot kill an ideology. You can kill the leaders, but the idea will stay popular, as long as there is occupation. Hamas’ popularity has soared among Palestinians.

Eventually, Israel and the U.S. and the world will have to deal with the occupation. For peace, they will have to deal with Hamas and come to an agreement of coexistence.

Let’s start with a ceasefire, to be followed by the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel has to decide on the future course of action to live in peace, side-by-side with the Palestinians.

The mountain awaits an “Avnery” to come and deliver for Israel and Palestine.

Shabbir Bala, formerly the owner of Boondockers restaurant, lives in Snohomish.

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