We quite rightly call on the peoples of the world to renounce terrorism as a tactic to further their cause while, quite wrongly, we simultaneously undermine other peaceful, legal avenues where these same people can address their grievances.
This refusal to embrace justice unleashes further lawlessness into the world as sure as if we pull the triggers or lit the fuses ourselves. If we do not commit ourselves to peace and the rule of law, we are by default committing ourselves to further conflict and violence.
The War on Terrorism is effectively over. No self-respecting country is going to want to be associated with any bandwagon with such blatant double-standards as evidenced by the U.S. administration’s inaction during Israel’s violent rampage against Palestinian civilians these last weeks.
The goodwill towards America in the world in the wake of 9/11 could have been harnessed to achieve mighty things for humanity. Instead, we have seen it squandered to further the political goals of the right-wing of America’s political establishment and the pro-Israel lobby.
This waste is a larger version of Israel’s similar waste of the initial goodwill that Oslo released among Palestinians.
People have rightly noted that the phrase “cycle of violence” is inappropriately used to describe the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict because it obfuscates the underlying imbalance of power and destructive colonial agenda that actually perpetuates the conflict.
But there is definitely a cyclical action going on here. It’s a cycle of ignorance.
Nigel Parry lived in Ramallah and worked at Birzeit University during the transition from Israeli occupation of the town to Palestinian autonomy, 1994-1998. His photodiary from the period can be found at nigelparry.com/diary. Parry is one of the four founders of The Electronic Intifada. Adapted from a nigelparry.com mailing, 1 May 2002.