Palestine: What’s Really Going On
by Sam Hamod
August 28, 2003
The parable of the 3 bulls:
Once upon a time, there were three bulls, one black, one tan and one white; they were friends and defended one another.
One day, the lion came down from the hills, very hungry and attacked them; but he was repulsed as they stood back to back and warded him away with their triangular defense.
The lion thought and thought this, as he grew hungrier and hungrier to eat the bulls.
Finally, one night, he crept among the bulls and said to the white bull, “Oh, the black bull is dirty, and if you allow me to eat him, I will spare you and the tan bull.” He did the same with the tan bull.
The next day, the lion came down the hill and when attacked, the white and tan bull broke ranks, allowing the lion to devour the black bull.
The lion was gone for a month, but one day he became hungry again.
This time, he said to himself, “I shall do the same trick again, turn them against one another, then take advantage of them.” So, he did. This time he went only to the white bull and said, “Oh, the tan bull is dirty, if you let me eat him, I will leave you, oh noble and pure white bull, alone.” The white bull thought it over that night.
The next day when the lion came, the white bull dropped his guard and allowed the lion to defeat and devour the tan bull.
Of course, you know what happened when the lion became hungry again and the white bull was all alone—the lion devoured him in a wink.
* * *
The same thing is happening in Palestine. Sharon and Bush have told Mahmoud Abbass to arrest the Palestinians they want arrested and to destroy Hamas and the Al Aqsa Brigade and to cripple Fatah. Abbass has promised to do this. Israel has even given Abbass a deck of cards of Palestinians to arrest or kill; at the same time, Israel is trying to kill these same people.
This is exactly like the 3 bulls. Abbass is to do the dirty work of destroying any and all Palestinian resistance to Israel, then when the fighters are all gone or locked up, Israel will tell Abbass to go to hell. If he complains, they will either ignore him, lock him up, banish him or kill him—as they want to do with Arafat. My feeling is the Mossad will assassinate him and blame it on "the militants, the extreme Islamist terrorists!"
I am not justifying the killings that Hamas or Al Aqsa use against civilians; I believe that is wrong. But, I cannot allow or justify the Israeli killings of Palestinian children, women and men, the tearing down of their homes, hospitals and schools and their arbitrary grabs of land and the building of their fence that will take even more Palestinian homes and land. Two evils do not make a right, but so long as Israel continues its brutality, there will be brutality in response from Palestinians for the sake of survival.
Thus, any Palestinian in his right mind, who cares about his family or his people or his country, will look upon Abbass’ orders with anger and dismay—and will not follow Abbass’ lead. To do as Abbass wants would be the end of any hope for Palestine as a state or for Palestinians to remain in their own homeland. Thus, the Palestinians are caught between a rock and a hard place--trying to work with Abbass, but knowing he is doing the bidding of Sharon and Bush, which is against their primal interests.
Unfortunately, the American media has not seen the situation for what it is. Sharon is like the lion, after he devours one bull, he wants the next, then the next—just as he keeps making demands on the Palestinians while not giving in to any of their demands. What he has done is theatre, showing by acting and rhetoric that he’s allegedly doing something, while in fact, doing little or nothing from his side. But Sharon, by making demand after demand, is upping the ante for the Palestinians at such a rate that they cannot possibly fulfill these demands. In the meantime, Sharon is building his fence of barbed wire and cement, building more settlements, tearing down more Palestinian homes, violating UN sanctions by keeping more Palestinians from food and water, bombing more villages and killing more leaders, and demanding more money from America to prop up his war economy of attack, attack, demand, attack, demand and attack.
On the other hand, he has the Palestinians appealing to America for help, but they get little or nothing in return except empty words and condemnation from America. Meanwhile, Abbass is doing what he can to rein in the militants who are the last weapon the Palestinians have against the brutal Israeli war machine. But I'm sure even he is aware of the paradoxical situation he is in. The question is, will he be a champion for the Palestinians or for the Israeli/US gambit?
Of course, the American media plays its part for Israel and Bush well. They highlight the few Israelis who are killed (and I agree, this killing is wrong), but show little sympathy or regard for the hundreds of Palestinians killed or maimed for every Israeli killed. Again, two wrongs do not make a right, but the U.S. media is so pro-Israeli that they make it appear as if only the Palestinians are wrong, not Sharon and his killers.
A friend of mine from Ireland told me he had the same theory. I told him I agreed, but that he’d seen the same play enacted in Ireland when the Irish were made to do the dirty work of the British in stopping the fight for freedom. He agreed, he’d seen the same play, with different actors, but the same brutality and colonialism.
So, the next time you hear Israeli or American demands on Palestinians to control their fighters, remember the story of the 3 bulls.
If you were a Palestinian, what would you do?
Sam Hamod was the editor of 3rd World News (D.C.); professor at Princeton, Michigan & Iowa; Director of The Islamic Center of D.C.; he may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org