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 It's Still "Occupied Palestine" - Student Article:

                     OCCUPIED PALESTINE

                       By Rabie Masri*

           "If 'Peace' has come to represent the
           process through which the Palestinian
           people continue to suffer then I will
           not hesitate to make War my motivation
           and that of my people in Occupied Palestine."

Who gave up Occupied Palestine for "Israel"? There is a war that has been taking place for the past 52 years, not in the Middle East alone but around the world. A war that can be perceived as being at the core of this continuous oppression of the Palestinian People and the utter arrogance of Israeli politics and politicians. I am not referring to the war of 1948 nor any war that followed but a war that has never ceased to exist. We are all aware of its existence but to what extent are we aware of its influences?

Before I specify what I intend to, I would like to ask the following question that has often been asked by Arabs and that is considered self-defeatist, when it may be at the essence of their current defeat. How can the state of "Israel" be recognized as being legitimate by the International community and the Jewish people themselves?  That is, how can the creation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who, today, total over 4 million and continue to live in refugee camps under horrible conditions, be legitimate?  How can the massacres of Deir Yassin, Kufr Qassem, Sabra and Shatila, The Ibrahimi Mosque and many more be legitimate?  How can the ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes be legitimate? How can the constant discrimination faced by the Palestinians of 1948, referred to by the world as "Israeli" Arabs,
be legitimate?

The questions are numerous and lengthy, however, the answer is short: None are legitimate.

The state of "Israel" is a state that was created for the Jewish people, the essence of its existence and survival is for it to exist as a Jewish entity, of which stems the obvious need to ensure a majority of Jewish inhabitants within its borders. Therefore, it is not conceivable for the state of "Israel" to give back the Palestinians their basic rights, of which the right of return and the right to compensation for their losses. This, to the Israeli government, would lead to the destruction of the State of "Israel" as a Jewish entity. Moreover, in order to ensure its physical existence it needs to ensure its existence within the minds of others; friends, potential friends but more importantly the Jewish communities within its borders and beyond, the main sponsors of the state.

To go about this process of legitimizing itself in the minds of people and nations it has raised a war that I will be referring to as the 'War of Rhetoric', as opposed to the rhetoric of war which is a quite familiar term. Tthrough the 'War of Rhetoric', "Israel" has made "Legal" the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes. It has made
the Cana Massacre an "Unfortunate Incident". Ariel Sharon, a war criminal, responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres, a "Minister" in its government. It has called those who fight against its oppression "Terrorists". It has signed a "Peace" process but continues its process of war. It is always "Defending" itself when attacking unarmed civilians. It has named its army, which indiscriminately shot and killed scores of children during the Intifada, the "Israeli Defense Forces". It referred to the Occupation Zone in Southern Lebanon as the "Security Zone" and the unsafe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as the "Safe Passage"...etc.

At the origin of this "War of Rhetoric" is of course the realization by the Zionist movements that the existence of the State of "Israel" can only come with the non-existence of the "Palestinian State". A realization that Arabs themselves gained from the Zionist movements at the outset of the conflict and a realization that they have lost in the 'War of Rhetoric' that these very same Zionist movements have raised against them. The Arab nations and the Palestinians continue to be defeated in the "War of Rhetoric". One would wonder whether their losses on the battlefields lead to their losses in the "War of Rhetoric" or might it be the opposite.

Due to all the losses the Palestinian people have suffered they have come to believe
that there is not much left to lose and thus making concessions might bring them back some of their rights. However, the Palestinians are not conceding material wealth, which they do not possess, they are conceding their basic human rights and contrary to the blind beliefs of the "Peace" process supporters, this will lead to heavier losses.

The word "Israel" has been put between quotation marks in this article due to my realization of the above-mentioned. I do not see the need to recognize the State of "Israel"; a state that has not even recognized my people as human beings entitled to their basic rights. If I, as a Palestinian, refer to Occupied Palestine as "Israel" than I have accepted and legitimized the refugee status of my people, I have stripped my people of their identity and rights and have done so to myself. Would you do that to yourself? Even worst, would you do it to an entire people?

We often hear of the "Peace" process in the news, a term that also needs to be put in
quotations, because the reality on the ground, in Occupied Palestine, is far from any Peace.  However, if "Peace" has come to represent the process through which the Palestinian people continue to suffer then I will not hesitate to make War my motivation and that of my people in Occupied Palestine.

 * The author, a recent graduate of McGill University with a degree
   in Electric Enginneering, can be reached at Rabie@MiddleEast.Org

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