- When I asked Abou Salem what was the difference between
the 1987 Intifada and the recent al Aqsa Intifada, he answered:
"police are Palestinians, ambulances are Palestinians, and
the dead are always Palestinians" "True, every day
the report of the Center for Human Rights at Gaza gives a growing
list of names of new casualties with their age (average 22 years
old), origin (most of them from refugee camps) and the place
where the bullet killed them (head and heart). 140 killed, 4000
wounded, sometime heavily wounded. The Israeli army claims the
death of 12 Israeli Arabs, 9 Jewish soldiers and 2 Druzes"
Terrible, "no comment!"
The two Intifada revolts have the same origin: humiliation,
because nothing is worse. The first revolt was to obtain negotiations,
then the Oslo agreements were signed; the second one is originating
from despair and from long lasting daily violence.
When I arrived in the country on September 1995, I could see
some hope thanks to the first applications of the Oslo agreements:
"Gaza and Jericho first" in May 1994 and the historical
return of Arafat. It was the beginning of a Palestinian State
on 2/10 of the area of historic Palestine, e.i. Cis Jordan and
Essentially, for the six last years, it appears that the Oslo
agreements are inefficient in giving their rights to the Palestinians.
I was a new comer, but looking only at the events during the
first months of 1996, I began to understand that the Peace process
was not doing well: Itzak Rabin was assassinated, a new display
of the Israeli army out side Palestinian cities, deadly terrorist
attacks claimed by the Hamas group, the first legislative elections,
the changes of majority in the Israeli parliament.
Taba, Oslo 2, Charm-el-Cheikh and Wye Plantation summit meetings,
Erez, Camp David
- all of these summits and camps brought only contempt,
disregard for the word given and blackmails that progressively
reduced the Oslo promise to some "humanitarian adjustments".
Most of all, they eclipsed the normal ground of the negotiations,
the UNO resolutions.
Who cannot see that the logic of the military occupation in the
territories has never stopped? The extension of the colonies
and their network of roads have isolated the Palestinian cities
and villages, making their life more and more difficult.
El Aqsa Intifada is an open war against civilians with tanks
and helicopters. UNO can condemn once again Israel, "It
is strictly a bilateral affair between Israeli and Palestinians.
It was impressive to be under a bombing attack on October
12. Beyond the emotion, it was like being in a bad "Rambo"
- One sees that the Oslo agreements protect the people against
nothing. It is" either you give up or we run over you
". Bombing and punitive attacks were used to characterize
the Iraq war, it is probably the same weapons that killed the
first Iraqi and Palestinian children.
Baghdad and Gaza airports are controlled, the economy is strangled,
properties are ruined. They are two peoples that are directly
or indirectly abandoned by the nations.
Both are dying
The confrontation of today, which has extended for the
first time to Galilee and the Israeli Arabs, is occurring only
in the Palestinian Autonomy Territories. Seven years after the
Oslo agreements, signed in the face of the world and of Washington,
what are the Israeli doing in a
country which is not theirs?
Seven years after the signature of the Oslo agreements, in this
very moment, an army can destroy with impunity the splendid oasis
of Gaza, devastate the gardens, remove the water pipes, and pull
out palm and olive trees under the motivation that "terrorists
could hide there and attack them!". Fear, trees! that
reminds me of the biblical story of the Genesis when humanity
discovers its nudity. Even though a man would be the best armed
and the strongest, God reveals to him that the other, vulnerable
one, is also a man.
All the refugee camp of Chateh is full of the clamor accompanying
the funeral of one of their martyr. The crowd screams, facing
the one who is now silent but terribly present, with his exposed
body, covered with blood and enveloped in the Palestinian flag.
I managed to hear the fascinating song of the muezzin, disappearing
and then covering up again the noise of the crowd: "certainly
don't believe that those who are killed in fighting on the path
of God are dead: they are alive" sourat 3, 169
I still remember the taxi driver saying a moment ago after drawing
on his palm hand a minuscule territory: "Palestine is dead"
Their cry will still be directed against the vetoes of UNO, their
empty hands will be looking for a large lump of justice and peace.
Georges Vimard, priest at Gaza
Thanks to the chat
space of the Partenia web site, you can react to this text, answer
the following questions and discuss with Salim, Ala Nizar, Elias,
and some French speaking students of Gaza.