Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer in YNet: ISIS and the Palestinians are not the same thing

By Yariv Oppenheimer is the secretary-general of Peace Now. This article appeared first on November 20, 2015 in Ynet.com T

he Paris attacks cannot justify for a minute our ongoing control of the Palestinians and do not make the vision of a bi-national state any better for Israel.

If the Islamic State members could, they wouldn't hesitate to hurt Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas too and behead him. As far as the radical Islam created by ISIS is concerned, the Palestinians and their leadership are heretics too.

The terror offensive in Paris has nothing to do with the Palestinian struggle, it does not represent the entire Arab world, and the attempt to link it to the terror striking us Israelis may sound good, but it is not in line with reality. Radical Islamic terror is also directed at those sitting in Jordan, Egypt and Ramallah who see Israel and the Western world as allies.

From the moment it learned about the terror attacks, the Right's propaganda machine has been working ceaselessly. The message is simple and clear: The terror is the same terror, the Arabs are the same Arabs and the sea is the same see. The attempt to gain a political profit at the expense of the dead and wounded in Paris hasn't stopped. One can rejoice and mock the European desire to find a solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Beyond how ugly this looks and is interpreted, we are essentially talking about nothing less than cheap demagogy. The attack on Paris does not justify for a minute our ongoing control of the Palestinians and does not make the bi-national state vision any better for the State of Israel.

ISIS fighters. 'From the moment it learned of the Paris attacks, the Right's propaganda machine has been working ceaselessly. The message is simple and clear: The terror is the same terror, the Arabs are the same Arabs'

 Even if we really try, the settlements and the occupation in the territories will not become legitimate thanks to radical Islamic terrorists who strike in the heart of Paris. The world will continue to see Israel, and rightfully so, as the spearhead against terror and will continue to give us military, intelligence and diplomatic aid. Neither will the world agree to support the continuation of the occupation, the settlements and our control of the Palestinian people under the disguise of a global war on terror.

Terror is disgraceful and illegitimate

Before the wave of talkbacks washes through this article too, I would like to clarify that terror is a disgraceful and illegitimate thing and must be rejected completely. There is no justification, not even a struggle for national independence, for taking a person's life and hurting innocent people. Terrorism can be condemned all day and all night, but in order to neutralize it we must study its motives and deal with its root causes.

The brutal attack on Paris is driven by a clash between democratic values which raise the banner of equality, freedom and fraternity, and radical Islamic values which stand for imposing Islam and killing out of religious faith. Compared to the ISIS terror, the Palestinian struggle Israel is exposed to, which also includes illegitimate terror attacks, is basically driven by the national Palestinian aspiration for independence and liberation from the Israeli occupation.

Only several weeks ago, Military Intelligence chief Major-General Herzl Levy said that the current wave of violence broke out due to the tensions around the Temple Mount, the murder of the Dawabsheh family and the Palestinian public's feeling of frustration in light of the absence of a political horizon.

The reality in which the lives of thousands of Israelis are in danger on a daily basis could change. The Palestinian leadership and the majority of the Palestinian public are in favor of dividing the land and accept the two-state solution. Their struggle is not driven by a desire to destroy the West or Israel, but by a desire to live in dignity with rights and national independence, as any other people is entitled to.

Nonetheless, we must not disregard those who see the attacks in France as a wakeup call to the Western world and Israel in the war on radical Islamic terror. ISIS, al-Qaeda and their likes are radical organizations based on an extreme religious ideology, which sees the war on democratic and Western values as its goal. This argument, which is mainly voiced by the Right, deserves special attention.

The fundamentalist radical Islam is a significant enemy we must act against in every possible way. In the Western world too, there is a war between radicals and moderates, between those who believe in peace and those who believe in a religious war.

eing in the heart of the danger, deep in the Middle East, we must understand that and act accordingly. If we keep refusing to end our control of the Palestinians, the moderate ones who support coexistence will lose hold and their number will be reduced. We have the power to fight the radicals to the bitter end, but complete the struggle and win it by signing a pact with the moderate ones.

As long as we fight for universal values of equality, freedom and fraternity, the entire world will stand with us and we will find partners in the Arab world as well. But for values of controlling another people, losing democracy and an occupation, we will find ourselves - as usual - alone, in a bleeding rearguard battle which has no chance of succeeding.

 

Yariv Oppenheimer is the secretary-general of Peace Now. This article appeared first on November 20, 2015 in Ynet.com

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