I don't blog when I'm yelling at the world. And I had to do a bit of yelling today while watching the unfolding of the Israeli attack on the Jericho prison live on Al Jazeera TV. This is not the first and certainly it won't be the last Israeli act of brutal force that aims at bringing the Palestinians, preferably in their underwear, to their knees and at the same time score some popularity points with an Israeli public for whom the humiliation of Palestinian men in particular means an increased sense of security.
For the Palestinians, the siege today brings up memories of other sieges: Tel Al Zaatar, Beirut, Sabra and Shatilla, Jenin, Balata, Ramallah, Nablus's Old City and others. It is never experienced simply as a single event unfolding at a particular time and place. But rather as a new event that we lived through before. We've been there. We have been killed before like this. Yet, the familiarity doesn't numb the pain; it actually hurts like hell. We even know the outcome. Palestinians lose at the end of such siege: more people killed, more space lost, more air confiscated. "Where should birds fly after the last sky?" Yet,...
The Israelis do not win. Perhaps this is why they keep coming back at us angrier than before. For policy makers and ordinary Israelis, the problem is that the Palestinians do not seem to go away even when they go away. "Those damned Palestinians, who do not exist, they are still here/there no matter what we do to them."
The American media (ABC and the News Hour) reported the news from the Israeli point of view. The reason for the attack, we were told, is that Hamas won and Israel was worried about them releasing the prisoners. The mentioned (with a scowel on the faces of both announcers) that the prisoners refused to surrender. They didn't mention that they were unarmed, that 2 Palestinians were murdered, that 40 were injured. Details. But they did show the Palestinian men in their underwear: "a standard Israeli security measure," they called it. Is it standard measure to prodcast photos of naked prisoners too?
What the news didn't mention is the most dangerous thing: that today Israel ran over international argreements with bulldozers and tanks and in front of the world's cameras and with the world turning the other way (even if that). They don't give a damn because Hamas won. Of course they got some help from some good friends. What options are they leaving the PA but to dissolve itself?
The lowest point for me was provided courtesy of Mohammad Nazzal, the Hamas representative in Damscus. He wins the opportunist of the day award. From far away, he chastized the PA for not providing the security guards in the prison with heavy weapons so they could defend themselves. Luckily, the PA has no heavy weapons (but maybe Nazzal knows about some Palestinian tanks and bulldozers that no one else knows of). But had the beseiged Palestinians fired one shot in the directions of the Israelis, Israel would have slaughtered them live. That would have made great TV for Nazzal and his elks; he could even make a video clip for recruitment. Then he attacked Abbas for not cutting short his trip. Shouldn't someone tell this guy that the elections are over and maybe on occasions like this a bit of decency is not too much to ask?
All the foreigners that were "kidnapped" by the Palestinians were released. I didn't worry about them for a second because I knew they will be fine. The PFLP is not al Qa'eda. The American professor who was detained by gunmen said that he wasn't hurt and that he understands why they did it. He even said that he sympathized. He understood the only meaning that act has: frustration of the weak.
One of the saddest things I heard today was from some one called Abu Nawras, the head of the Jericho security "battalion". He was on the phone with al Jazeerah correspondent describing how the Israeli bulldozer was knocking the walls of the room he's in, getting closer and closer, saying it's only 10 meters away when suddenly he started thanking the world media for showing up to cover the event. I couldn't believe my ears! How low our expectations have fallen that now we thank the world for coming to witness our execution. "Thank you for coming to my massacre, world."
But he was dignified to the last minute. So was Ahmad Saadat. Their act of resistance was simple and as all simple acts of resistance it was immense: "come and get us; we won't come to you." They didn't kneel. Israel didn't win, again.