It’s time for Israel to accept that as an occupied people, Palestinians have a right to resist – in every way possible.
Long ago, it was settled that resistance and even armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is not just recognized under international law but specifically endorsed.
In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (pdf), as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.
Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) – once described as the collective conscience of the world – has noted the right of peoples to self-determination, independence and human rights.
Indeed, as early as 1974, resolution 3314 of the UNGA prohibited states from “any military occupation, however temporary”.
In relevant part, the resolution not only went on to affirm the right “to self-determination, freedom and independence […] of peoples forcibly deprived of that right,[…] particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination” but noted the right of the occupied to “struggle … and to seek and receive support” in that effort.
The term “armed struggle” was implied without precise definition in that resolution and many other early ones that upheld the right of indigenous persons to evict an occupier.
This imprecision was to change on December 3, 1982. At that time UNGA resolution 37/43 removed any doubt or debate over the lawful entitlement of occupied people to resist occupying forces by any and all lawful means.
The resolution reaffirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”.
A palpable illusion
Though Israel has tried, time and time again, to recast the unambiguous intent of this precise resolution – and thus place its now half-century-long occupation in the West Bank and Gaza beyond its application – it is an effort worn thin to the point of palpable illusion by the exacting language of the declaration itself.
In relevant part, section 21 of the resolution strongly condemned “the expansionist activities of Israel in the Middle East and the continual bombing of Palestinian civilians, which constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people”.
Never ones to hesitate in rewriting history, long before the establishment of the United Nations, European Zionists deemed themselves to be an occupied people as they emigrated to Palestine – a land to which any historical connection they had had long since passed through a largely voluntary transit.
Indeed, a full 50 years before the UN spoke of the right of armed struggle as a vehicle of indigenous liberation, European Zionists illegally co-opted the concept as the Irgun, Lehi and other terrorist groups undertook a decade’s long reign of deadly mayhem.
During this time, they slaughtered not only thousands of indigenous Palestinians but targeted British police and military personnel that had long maintained a colonial presence there.
A history of Zionist attacks
Perhaps, as Israelis sit down to mourn the loss of two of their soldiers who were shot dead this past week in Jerusalem – in what many consider to be a lawful act of resistance – a visit down memory lane might just place the events in their proper historical context.
Self-determination is a difficult, costly march for the occupied. In Palestine, no matter what the weapon of choice – whether voice, pen or gun – there is a steep price to be paid for its use.
On April 12, 1938, the Irgun murdered two British police officers in a train bombing in Haifa. On August 26, 1939, two British officers were killed by an Irgun landmine in Jerusalem. On February 14, 1944, two British constables were shot dead when they attempted to arrest people for pasting up wall posters in Haifa.
On September 27, 1944, more than 100 members of the Irgun attacked four British police stations, injuring hundreds of officers. Two days later a senior British police officer of the Criminal Intelligence Department was assassinated in Jerusalem.
On November 1, 1945, another police officer was killed as five trains were bombed. On December 27, 1945, seven British officers lost their lives in a bombing on police headquarters in Jerusalem.
Between November 9 and 13, 1946, Jewish “underground” members launched a series of landmine and suitcase bomb attacks in railway stations, trains, and streetcars, killing 11 British soldiers and policemen and eight Arab constables.
Four more officers were murdered in another attack on a police headquarters on January 12, 1947. Nine months later, four British police were murdered in an Irgun bank robbery and, but three days later, on September 26, 1947, an additional 13 officers were killed in yet another terrorist attack on a British police station.
These are but a few of many attacks directed by Zionist terrorists at British police who were seen, by mostly European Jews, as legitimate targets of a campaign they described as one of liberation against an occupation force.
Throughout this period, Jewish terrorists also undertook countless attacks that spared no part of the British and Palestinian infrastructure. They assaulted British military and police installations, government offices, and ships, often with bombs. They also sabotaged railways, bridges, and oil installations.
Dozens of economic targets were attacked, including 20 trains that were damaged or derailed, and five train stations. Numerous attacks were carried out against the oil industry including one, in March 1947, on a Shell oil refinery in Haifa which destroyed some 16,000 tonnes of petroleum.
Zionist terrorists killed British soldiers throughout Palestine, using booby traps, ambushes, snipers, and vehicle blasts.
One attack, in particular, sums up the terrorism of those who, without any force of international law at the time, saw no limitation to their efforts to “liberate” a land that they had, largely, only recently emigrated to.
In 1947, the Irgun kidnapped two British Army Intelligence Corps non-commissioned officers and threathened to hang them if death sentences of three of their own members were carried out. When these three Irgun members were executed by hanging, the two British sergeants were hanged in retaliation and their booby-trapped bodies were left in an eucalyptus grove.