August 12, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 253

The PA Press Agency (WAFA) Calls to Use Stones Only and Refrain from Attacking Civilians Inside Israel

August 12, 2001
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 253

In the last week the political editor of the Palestinian Press Agency (Wafa) has called three times to refrain from suicide bombingsand mortar shell attacks, and return to the popular Intifada with stones only.[1] The calls were published in the PA’s daily, Al-HayatAl-Jadida as well.[2]

Wafa and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida are official sources of the Palestinian Authority, and they represent an official PA position.

In his first article the political editor of Wafa focused on the distinction between an Intifida with stones and shoes (that were thrown from the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jews praying at the Wailing Wall) and one using suicide bombings and mortar shells:

"The Intifada had a magical impact on the world’s public opinion. It’s first weapon, "the stone", was and remains the most influential in making the world see the Palestinian people’s inalienable right…"

"We must develop this basic issue because it pushes Sharon and his theoretician, "General" Shimon Peres, to terrorist insanity. An Israel with a criminal image weighs on the world’s public opinion, even that of its closest ally, the US."

"Therefore we must assort… our methods and our priorities, and not be dragged into a counter reaction, carried away by [so-called] heroic (mythological) stories, which turn the world away from us."

"The Fateh movement was right to disavow a public statement threatening the US. It is a movement with a long political history and a great and unique experience in the struggle [against Israel] and it does not let emotions penetrate its lines. It was founded in order to realize political goals, and declared that it would not adopt the ways of bandits."

"Therefore, the Fateh movement must confront Sharon’s massacres in front of the eyes of the world, without reacting in an agitated or confused manner, using a logic that will achieve our national goals."

"Calculated action is (vital) for us and this is what must motivate us. We must demonstrate patience towards the American position, which witnesses the slaughter of our people with American weapons and technological means, and continues to [issue] cold and neutral statements that pass equal sentences on the barbaric terrorist and the victim."

"We have struggled greatly in to gain the world’s recognition of our national identity. Our people have paid in rivers of blood to realize this goal. Some may find this difficult to hear, but these things come from a proven fact, namely that the Palestinians will not determine the battle no matter how large the number of Israeli casualties and the threats made against Europe and the US…"

"A vigorous political and human infiltration into the heart of the world for the sake of (our) inalienable rights is our primary and fundamental weapon. This infiltration will be made possible through the use of the stone, the civil disobedience and the resistance to the occupation at the (Israeli army) check points and near the settlements, and not in the heart of Israel’s population centers, nor by shooting mortars. Our goal [must be] to tie the world with the victim and with the disaster that the Palestinians are going through. Agitated positions or distorted reactions destroy this goal."

"We think that Sharon, yesterday in Nablus, and before that in Fari’ah, did his stupidest deed - Sharon has no political program except one of terror whose goal is the destruction of the Palestinian people. As such he fits the image that has begun to form in the world’s view. This embarrasses the Americans, his closest allies, and makes them think twice before returning to a position of indifference, which is one of the biggest mistakes of the Bush Administration. Sharon exploited this indifference in order to carry out insane terrorist acts against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority."

"Sometimes it is hard to listen to logic in a time of tragedy or disaster, but we the Palestinians have succeeded in biting our lips and acting according to a logic that puts our national interest above all. [As far as we are concerned] Sharon can continue in his anger and escalate his abusive and insane reactions even if they are like a barbaric murderer that kills about ten people per day. We will not stop, but we will choose our means and the weapons of our struggle, first and foremost the unstoppable stone."

Several days ago there was a rare and tragic event that gave one of the strongest messages: A flood of shoes on the heads of the occupation soldiers from the esplanade of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There were no stones there so shoes took their place.

This picture had much more influence than that of mortar shells. The main thing is the [degree of] impact and the result [achieved] distance and not the size of the stone."[3]

A few days later the political editor of Wafa reiterated his position:

"We do not want to be dragged into reactions of panic which incite the masses, rather, we want to make it clear that fear has no place in our hearts …"

"The goal of our commentary was and remains to emphasize our choice of peace and to clarify the Palestinian position …"

"The option of peace means the option of coexistence between two states: there is no escape from each one acting to protect and defend the security of the other. Therefore, we stand behind our word that attacks in Israel serve neither our political position nor the highest interest of the Palestinian people."

"Another interesting thing is the storm that the commentary prompted. We are in favor of the freedom of expression and its sanctity, but we stand here facing a raging debate raised by the Arab television channels in which even the presenters intervene [in our affairs]!! We cannot stop people from saying things, and we wouldn’t do so even if we could. But we believe that a debate must have rules that are laid down by precise political interpretation using the necessary data."

"The Arab spokespeople who have become addicted to the Arab television channels must recognize the Palestinian situation.... We do not need those who want to [dictate] to us the rules [of how to act]. These people are not physically present [in the place of] the confrontation and the disaster which the Palestinian people lives through every day…"

"We are the ones who sacrifice our pure blood and pay the price every day. We know best what we need to do, and if there is anything we need, it is moral and material support… As for the struggle with the stone and the shoe, and even with arms, for defense against the occupation soldiers and settlers - we know best how to use them. Therefore, we ask the [Arabs, who speak in the T.V. channels] whether they support [our methods] or oppose them, not to be swayed right or left by fanaticism…"

"In effect, we are competing [with the Israeli government] for the world public opinion and the Israeli pubic opinion. We have no other choice but co-existence and peace with a solid base: two states which respect one another’s sovereignty."

"With this in mind, the mortal Palestinian attacks on [Israeli} citizens must stop and [public opinion in the world and in Israel], will begin to lose sleep over the official Israeli terrorist military actions as awful crimes."[4]

On August 6, 2001, the political editor of Wafa published his third, entitled "A Test of Awareness, Wisdom and Brains", in which he does talk anymore about his prior distinction between arms and stones, but rather about the distinction between Israeli citizens [within Israel] and the "occupation", namely, settlers and soldiers:

"The confrontation yesterday in Deir Al-Balakh [Gaza], in which Israeli forces, including ten tanks, three armored cars, two tractors and dozens of Israeli occupation soldiers, infiltrated hundreds of meters into Palestinian controlled territory, was at the center of the Palestinian [struggle] against the occupation and the settlements, using all sorts of weapons, above all the shoe and the stone, without [harming] Israeli citizens… Israeli citizens were not the target, they were the base that can be changed. We must communicate to them and inflitrate their consciousness in order to clarify our positions and pure intentions, first and foremost peace as an irrevocable strategic option …"

"There is no contradiction between the call to stop the actions against citizens and the call for the most extreme action against the occupation. If we conduct our struggle with such clarity, we will always gain points with the Israeli public opinion and with that of the world. No one in Israel or the world will denounce or criticize [us] and we will realize the legitimate right to resist the occupation."

"We perservere, [although] we pay the price of perseverance with our blood while the Israeli Prime Minister, his foreign minister and his secretary general carry out terrorist acts using American missiles. Our perseverance will lead the Israeli government to a dead end that even the theoretician Shimon Peres won’t be able to get out of, as much as he manipulates his propaganda…"

"Therefore, …we aspire to spread peace between us and others and not to continue in struggle and war. The spreading of peace will come first by clarifying our goals and the points of departure of our war and our legitimate [armed] struggle. We must make Sharon confront the world’s and Israel’s public opinion by exposing his terrorist policy."

"What is true for the Israeli public opinion is true for American and European public opinion as well."

"We are facing a test of awareness, wisdom and brains, and we will discover that in this test we have at our fingertips the most influential weapons, which overpower all other weapons including the atom bomb and mortar shells."[5]

[1] Wafa, August 2, 2001, Wafa, August 4, 2001, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 6, 2001.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida August 3, 2001.

[3] Wafa, August 2, 2001

[4] Wafa August 4, 2001.

[5] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 6, 2001.

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