What I said to the Fatah chief who lauded killers
IN A very recent interview, a wellknown political leader from Fatah praised the Palestinian youths who take their knives to the enemy. He called them “heroes” and “shaheeds” [“martyrs”].
I contacted him about this, challenging him in a very direct and harsh text message.
He immediately called me and said that I did not understand his message. He said he supported the two-state solution in the interview and that he was against violence — he supported a peaceful uprising. He said that Pales- tinian leaders had to speak this way if they wanted to be seen as leaders.
That, in a nutshell, is the Palestinian problem and explains why there is still no Palestinian state (in addition to the Israeli stubbornness, fanaticism and unwillingness to get to a solution).
The politician told me to listen to the interview. I did, and this is what I wrote back to him: “I cannot understand how trying to kill a 70-year-old woman, or a 13-year-old boy, or a religious couple coming home from praying, is heroism worthy of praise. In my mind, no violence is worthy of praise, especially against civilians. No, they are not heroes and they are not shaheeds. It is time to stop dying for Palestine and instead to live for Palestine. Someone who praises this is not a good leader of his people. I thought you were better than that.”
I add to everyone: those young people who have “died for Palestine” have died in vain. They did not help Palestine. They did not go to heaven and they are not martyrs. They died as fools for nothing. They achieved nothing. They only added more suffering to their families and to us all.
It is time for Palestinian leaders to understand that this culture of death is the death of their own dreams and their own society. Gershon Baskin is the founder of the Israel-Palestine Centre for Research and Information