Palestinian Resistance is Resistance not “Terror”

Rima Najjar
Aug 18, 2020 · 4 min read

I would like to invite you to watch a short video clip released by Israeli authorities of a recent attempted knife stabbing by a Palestinian youth of a heavily armed Israeli soldier.

But let me first describe to you what I see as a Palestinian.

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From a video clip released by Israeli authorities of Incident of a Palestinian man’s attempt to carry out a stabbing in East Jerusalem:

The surveillance camera shows a slim youthful-looking Palestinian in red shirt and mask walking slowly toward a barricade near Bab Hotta, one of the gates of the al-Aqsa Mosque. The barricade cuts into the narrow street in the Old City. The man is later identified as Ashraf Hasan Atallah Halasa, a 30-year-old from Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem.

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Ashraf Hasan Atallah Halasa

Behind the barricade are three Israeli Border Police members and one across from them leaning nonchalantly with his back and one foot against the wall of a building facing the barricade. All are armed with machine guns at the ready.

Palestinians walk past unfazed by this show of “security,” although they may have heard that the previous night, Israeli soldiers had abducted Tareq and his brother, Atef Sbeitan, near the al-Aqsa Mosque.

When the Palestinian man reaches the barricade, he leans over in a quick motion and tries to stab the soldier nearest him. He is quickly gunned down.

An Israeli government site describes the entire Border Police, an arm of the Israeli forces, entering “the West Bank and East Jerusalem [in 1967] to impose order in these newly-conquered regions.” They are still “imposing order” as conquerors and oppressors.

What do I see in the video clip? I see terrorism, yes, a security threat, yes, aggression, yes, violence, yes — against Palestinians.

The shoddy spectacle edited into the video clip to frame the scene as a “law and order” phenomenon is disgusting to me. Here is the bustling, self-important forensic apparatus of the state on display, the collection of evidence to portray the Palestinian with a kitchen knife as the terrorist aggressor against the forces of good.

According to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on Twitter, we should all breathe a sigh of relief; the threat posed by the Palestinian young man was “neutralized.”

And the heavily armed representatives of a brutal state maintaining the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and presiding over its astoundingly cruel judaization of the holy city and erasure of its Palestinian Arab inhabitants and their culture? What of that?

Palestinians and human rights groups have long accused Israeli “security forces” of using excessive force. I am here to accuse Israeli forces of terrorism and all those sworn to defend the security of Israel as collaborators.

As a Palestinian, when I see a video clip such as this one, I do not buy into what the carefully arranged images the Israeli government used are meant to “prove” to the world.

Instead, I see the result of Israel’s existence on Palestinian soil traumatizing the feelings of Ashraf Halasa, a young man from Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem. Why in God’s name is this Jerusalemite in a refugee camp instead of wherever he or his family took refuge from in 1967?

I see an individual who reached a point where he wondered, like Don Quixote, whether his life had any meaning any more. It became very important for him to successfully accomplish something of importance, so he lived out a fantasy. It’s a fantasy Palestinians, including myself, will tell you has helped them fall asleep many a night.

I hear Ashraf saying, as I wrote in a post in 2017: “Look at me. Look at me as I am — a fellow human being. Look at me independently from your Jewish identity and your Jewish suffering.”

And your machine guns.

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Image from my 2017 blog post titled, ‘An open letter to Jews worldwide from a Palestinian Arab

Why is it vitally important for the world to understand that Palestinian resistance, whether armed as in Hamas’ activity against the Israeli military, or unarmed as in BDS activity, is resistance, not terror or criminal activity?

Consider the report published recently in The Electronic Intifada titled ‘Israel lobbyists force Dutch government to suspend funding of farmers’ organization.’ Adri Nieuwhof explains the situation as follows:

Pro-Israel groups have been campaigning to undermine a large Palestinian agricultural development organization by accusing it of “funding terror.”
UK Lawyers for Israel, UKLFI, and Dutch pro-Israel lobby group Center for Information and Documentation Israel, CIDI, have both been calling on the Dutch government to end funding to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, UAWC.
On 9 July, Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister of international trade and development, gave in to the pressure and suspended UAWC’s funding pending the outcome of an external review.

Resistance of oppression, military occupation, annexation and apartheid is not “terror.” That the Dutch and other governments continue to accept this inversion of the truth and any semblance of morality is an injustice that must end.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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