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Intellectuals Sign Letter Addressing Israeli Intellectuals, Public
Mahmoud Darwish, Edward Said, et al, Palestine
March 16, 2002
The sword has never been and never will be a substitute for the scales of justice. Generals, no matter how
The sword has never been and never will be a substitute for the scales of justice. Generals, no matter how fluent in the rhetoric of murder, will never be able to transform daily military orders into a substitute for the meaning of peace, whether in dictionaries or in global principles that define the difference between co-existence among human communities and the chaos of the wild. Palestinian resistance has no definition other than a national struggle to end the occupation and to achieve freedom and independence. The brutal Israeli military campaign against the Palestinians has no definition other than seeking to perpetuate the occupation—the longest occupation in the 20th century and the last of all occupations in an age that celebrates human rights and recognizes peoples' rights to freedom and self-determination.
And since we all realize that this occupation will inevitably come to an end sooner or later, it is our and your duty to act to shorten the lifespan of this blood-drenched violence and to prevent its claiming of more victims on both sides. The solution is visible and clear: the occupation is violence, and ending the occupation guarantees the peace and security of both sides. However, this current government in Israel wants both occupation and peace simultaneously—that is, it wants us to acquiesce to enslavement in return for refraining from shelling us by air.
It has been evident to us, as to many different sectors in the Israeli public and in the international community as a whole, that the present Sharon government not only lacks any plan for a political solution but also combats any attempts to break the current cycle of murder, by using more murder in an attempt to prevent the exposure of its political and moral bankruptcy.
We have accepted to live and co-exist with you on 22% of the land of our historical homeland on which we will build an independent state and in which we will enjoy, like the rest of the peoples on this planet, freedom, dignity and independence. This vicious war being waged against us has no meaning other than seeking to deprive us of this right, by the use of arms and the violence of murder.
If Israel has any excess of power, that excess would not endow its desire to occupy another nation with the semblance of a just war or with the illusion of
self-defense. And if we suffer, among others, weakness of resources and we lack means of self-defense, such a weakness has never served to weaken a just cause throughout history, nor has it ever stripped it of the moral values that would enable blood to vanquish the sword.
Let us work together to end this vicious cycle of violence. There is no other way except to end the occupation. Only then would peace and co-existence become our joint horizon.
Mahmoud Darwish, Edward Said, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Samih Al-Qassim, Hanan Ashrawi, Hanna Nasser, George Giacaman, Fouad Mughrabi, Ali Jarbawi, Salim Tamari, Hassan Khader, Jamil Hilal, Mudar Kassis, Zakaria Mohammad, Islah Jad, Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Mamdouh Nofal, Samih Shbaib, Rima Hamami, Suad El-Ameri, Yahya Yakhlef, Hussein Barghouti, Izzat Ghazawi, Faisal Hourani
Reprinted from the Palestinian Chronicle.