Palestinian weakness is once again being fully revealed in the form of the stabbed body of a young Israeli man in the heart of the occupied West Bank. If it was a single individual who decided to kill an Israeli, and found Dvir Sorek, the fact that he acted alone proves that he couldn’t find a place in which to process the natural and justified hatred of the hostile invader and channel it into political thought and action in order to wield influence and upset the balance of power.
Political thought and action require cooperation, discussions and study, a leadership that people trust, an understanding that killing is not a goal, the planning of an entire range of activities against the occupier while examining their feasibility and their chances of success – separately and combined. Success will always be measured by the ability to disrupt the acts of invasion and expropriation. The individual act of killing disrupts nothing, and is an admission of the absence of hope to engender a positive change.
Whether it was an individual or a group of young people working together to kill a settler, their desire for revenge, which may have been gratified momentarily, will be dwarfed by the Israeli acts of revenge once they are found. They and their families and their neighbors will pay such a high price – that it will intensify the hatred and the terrible frustration at the injustice of foreign rule. At the fact that the wicked are prospering. Because even in revenge the Israelis are stronger.
If the individual or the group acted under orders or guidance from higher up – this discloses the detachment of those unknown commanders, whether they are in Gaza, in an Israeli prison, in Istanbul or in a Palestinian town in the West Bank. They will explain their orders by the desire to “scare” and “deter” the enemies and their government, because by doing so they can boast of some iota of reflection and planning.
But they don’t want to know that the Israeli robbery enterprise is such a good deal for the Israelis that fear and killing are not a means of deterrence.
The ideological settlers take into account their own death or that of the dear ones as a price that must be paid, if there is no choice, for redeeming the land and building villas on it for their grandchildren. The Land of Israel is acquired with suffering, a young woman from the West Bank (now relocated) outpost of Migron explained to me. The settlers who came for economic reasons know that they are the favorites of the establishment, almost like the ideological settlers. That’s why the people’s army is recruited to guard the loot and to protect them. They are more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than to be killed by a Palestinian.
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Whoever is responsible for the stabbing of Sorek – whether it is an individual, a local group or a group directed from outside – they will be killed or captured alive and sent to prison for life. Their families’ homes will be demolished. Whoever helps them hide for a few more days will also be punished. They probably took all that into account. From their point of view and that of Palestinian society, they have demonstrated courage. But it’s short-lived active courage. From the moment they are caught it will become passive courage, which will be forced upon them in the hostile and vengeful surroundings of an Israeli prison.
An individual or a local group are motivated by frustration, revenge or a mistaken belief in deterrence: They have chosen not to join their brothers, who demonstrate active courage all the time. Those who with their own bodies are always fighting off the expulsion efforts of the Civil Administration and the settlers, and continuing to live in East Jerusalem. The shepherds and the farmers, those who secretly dig cisterns in order to fill them with rainwater, those who build another room and another story in their homes, those who demonstrate every week against the robbery of their land and their lives, as in Mghayer, Kafr Kadum and Isawiyah.
Those who are courageous all the time are those who restore an agricultural terrace, flatten a dirt road and plant more trees and risk the attacks of the settlers – like those who have been descending recently from the direction of the settlement of Asfar and destroying the orchards of residents of the village of Shyukh. Those who are courageous all the time are those who repeatedly install solar panels, even if the Civil Administration inspectors pounce on them and confiscate them, like a flock of starving vultures. These courageous ones, who stand on the front lines every day opposite the omnipotent army, don’t fall into the trap of frustration and momentary gratification of the desire for revenge.
They desperately need thousands more to join them, even if only once a week. That’s not happening because the Palestinians have despaired of mass, goal-oriented actions. After all, the first intifada, which combined the ongoing courage of hundreds of thousands with planning and guidance, was like that in the beginning, and failed. Israel channeled it into futile negotiations and wrapped the Palestinian leadership around its little finger.
The thousands aren’t joining because for some reason it’s a type of courage that is not appreciated as such in Palestinian society. And because it requires perseverance, as opposed to stabbing or shooting, which are one-time actions. Glorifying killing is repression of the great weakness.
Israel is building for Jews and devouring more Palestinian land with and without an excuse, with and without getting settlers killed, with or without popular demonstrations and weak European condemnations.
And that’s how the number of those in despair is multiplying. For every one of them who is seeking satisfaction in an attempt to kill an Israeli, there are hundreds of thousands who are not doing so. By choice, they do not enter the competition, in the knowledge that the Israelis are far more skilled, talented and successful at the job of killing.