TEL AVIV – Following the terror attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market, Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam published an article claiming that while the Palestinian armed struggle must be “ever-present,” spontaneous acts such as the Tel Aviv shooting warrant a reexamination of their benefits.
The oped, authored by columnist Hani Al-Masri and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), explains the distinction between organized resistance and spontaneous action – the latter exemplified in the latest wave of violence characterized by stabbing, car-ramming, and shooting attacks.
“The reason for these actions,” writes Masri, “is the occupation, as the mayor of Tel Aviv said.”
Reacting to the Sarona attack, in which two Palestinian gunmen shot dead four people and injured 18 others, the city’s mayor Ron Huldai said the “occupation” was to blame.
Masri warns that while spontaneous acts of terror are part of the “guaranteed right” of Palestinians to engage in armed struggle – and indeed, are effective because Israeli security forces cannot easily prevent them – they nevertheless cannot be committed in a vacuum and certain rules must apply in order for the acts not to be viewed as “criminal.”
“In this stage we should mainly use armed resistance to defend ourselves from the aggression of the occupation soldiers and the hordes of settlers who are armed to the teeth, and to resist the repeated military aggression against the Gaza Strip and the daily hostile acts by settlers in the West Bank,” writes Masri.
He continues by saying that harming civilians is a legitimate course of resistance since Israel is an “imperialist racist settlement entity in which everyone is a soldier.”
However, acts of terror cannot be indiscriminate, asserts Masri. One must “take into account” the presence of Israeli Arabs and “Jews who oppose the Zionist enterprise or who are fighting to defend Palestinian rights.”
Furthermore, in order to preserve the “just nature” and “moral superiority” of the Palestinian people, attacks should not target children.
Masri concludes that the lack of any real Palestinian leadership has left it up to the people to take action. He outlines his concerns that the political situation will leave a vacuum that runs the risk of being filled either by terrorist organizations or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, by collaborators with Israel.
Until a better alternative is found, Masri says, spontaneous acts of armed resistance are “better than nothing,” because they “contribute to keeping the Palestinian cause alive.”