I love being falsely accused on this blog. Really, it is one of my favorite things. I have been repeatedly accused by Reno for not condemning Palestinian violence. Perhaps I have not written the statement, “I, Adam Cleaveland, wholeheartedly condemn Palestinian violence.” Perhaps that is what some need to actually read, and see. In a post from this summer, I asked readers to imagine they lived in the situation of the Palestinians and ask themselves what they would do. Within that, I wrote: “I am in no way supporting suicide bombers…” Apparently, that is not concrete enough.
Personally, because of my Anabaptist-roots, I am against violence of any kind. I condemn the killings, midnight-raids & attacks, child-abuse & imprisonment and all violent acts committed against the Palestinians by the IDF, the Israeli Government and the settlers. I also stand against suicide bombings, attacks and all violent acts committed against Israelis by militant groups and Palestinians…
…but that is not to say that I can’t understand why violence may seem like the only option for Palestinians. When a violent act is committed against Israel (like the recent killing of 3 Israelis in the West Bank), Israel collectively punishes the entire West Bank (which, I would argue, is a form of violence against innocent people, taking away rights, etc.) with additional checkpoints, roadblocks and city closures (exits from Bethlehem and Hebron have now been closed, see article here). And this is acceptable to international (American) readers. It makes sense. Israel is simply protecting herself.
However, when Palestinians respond (read respond = not initiate) with violence because of Isarel’s illegal military occupation their land, it is interpreted as terrorism. That is not fair.
Are there times when Palestinian violence is wrong? Yes. Are there times when Israel’s actions, in responding to suicide bombings, is understandable? Yes. There are no clear answers. Those wanting to become involved with this issue have to live with the paradoxes and tensions that those who live in the West Bank and Israel deal with on a daily basis. Incidentally, if you are interested in some stats as to who has suffered more because of the violence, I think the BBC gives a fairly balanced report here.
I am against violence. However, after spending the summer in Palestine, I can understand what might lead one to act violently against Israel (I wrote some about Palestinians stone-throwing here). And therein lies the difficulty.