Op-Ed by Naji Dahi
June 29, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Occupied people not only have a moral right to resist the occupier, they also have the legal authority to do so. Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank have taken resistance to Israeli occupation to a whole new level: they are using snakes. As the Middle East Monitor reports,
“Catching snakes, a popular hobby among some Palestinian youths, has turned into a new tactic to fight back against Israeli occupation troops during the weekly clashes that break out in the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. With repeated raids and clashes on Fridays, local activists and youth have become more innovative in repelling the soldiers. The latest of these means is catching snakes from the local area and placing them where Israeli soldiers and snipers often hole up during clashes.”
This recent tactic follows the failure of many others used by Palestinians to gain freedom and independence from the Israeli occupation. The Palestinians tried armed struggle during the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. They tried the relatively peaceful 1987 Intifada and the violent 2001 Intifada. They tried recognizing and negotiating with Israel and even then, failed to regain their sovereignty.
Despite all of these methods, Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and continues to place the Gaza Strip under a very tight siege. In the West Bank, more than 43% of the land has been confiscated and will be given up to build illegal Jewish settlements. In Gaza, the siege is so tight that some observers have referred to it as the world’s largest open-air prison.
So how did the use of snakes as weapons of resistance start? According to the Middle East Monitor’s report,
“Weekly clashes in Silwad town began around 18 months ago, after a farmer was assaulted and beaten by a group of settlers. Local residents responded by burning down one of the settlers’ kiosks near the town…After this, daily clashes broke out and have now turned into weekly clashes at the western entrance to Silwad, where the Israeli army maintains a permanent presence.”
After that, someone developed the bright idea to use snakes. According to one activist,
“’This all started without planning where a number of young people caught snakes and had fun with them, and after puzzling over where to put them they decided to place them on the concrete blocks that the Israeli soldiers and snipers lean against, or on the ground near the same area…After seeing the soldiers’ reaction and their shock at the presence of snakes near them, and their backtracking and fear of being close to the snakes, the youth felt ecstatic and their morale was increased.’”
In a famous 1965 speech, Malcolm X said, “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” It seems the Palestinians are taking his statement to heart and resisting occupation “by any means necessary.”
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