Assassinations incompatible with peace
by Mazin Qumsiyeh
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
©2004 San Francisco Chronicle
As the 14th best-funded army in the world, Israel could have arrested the quadriplegic and partially blind spiritual elder of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). But history shows that such extrajudicial executions (200 so far) create instability and a cycle of revenge that serves Israel's colonization efforts.
Israel's assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin removes any doubt that political Zionism is incompatible with peace.
Political Zionism started in 1845 with a British feasibility study for Jewish colonization in the Mideast to further British interests in weakening the Ottoman Empire and to establish connections to colonial holdings in India. The adoption of this political (as opposed to religious or cultural) Zionism by a small but very influential segment of Ashkenazi Jews in Europe was deemed crucial for success. Zionism remained marginal among Jews until it capitalized on the atrocities of World War II.
Early advocates of Zionism did not shy away from using the term colonization to describe their activities or to describe the use of violence to achieve their goals.
Before 1917, Palestinian Christians, Muslims and Jews coexisted in relative harmony. Violence between 1917 and 1949 resulted in the establishment of a Jewish state. Israel rejected international law by adopting exclusionary laws that prevent refugees from returning.
The wall being built in the occupied territories with the explanation that it keeps Palestinian suicide bombers from attacking Israelis is not separating Israel from the occupied areas but is surrounding Palestinians in small cantons to force them to leave.
Just as South Africa shed apartheid, Israel must shed Zionism and become a country for people of all religions rather than a country for and by Jews. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (including the right of refugees to return) provides the most logical road map to peace. The American public can no longer afford to allow our government to keep supporting violence and war against the will of the international community. Only then will we begin to rectify injustices and bring peace at home and abroad.
Mazin Qumsiyeh is co-founder of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (al-awda.org).