Dear Palestinians: Remember Mandela

Dear Palestinians,

These are the words that defined Umkhonto Wa Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress.

“Our men are armed and trained freedom fighters not terrorists.

We are fighting for democracy—majority rule—the right of the Africans to rule Africa.

We are fighting for a South Africa in which there will be peace and harmony and equal rights for all people.

We are not racialists, as the white oppressors are. The African National Congress has a message of freedom for all who live in our country.”

They must ring a bell, they sound oddly like your own don’t you think?

You speak of Israeli Apartheid, and many are loth to agree, so try learning the most fundamental lesson from Nelson Mandela’s ANC and its armed wing: the murder of innocents is never legitimate, and the world that was supportive of you yesterday is less so today, and will be less so tomorrow.

Just as it was after Munich, when although Arafat’s violence was supported for a time, he crossed a line he never recovered from.

Don’t fall prey to your own self righteousness I beg of you, you’re destroying any right you have by doing so, and the world that was supportive yesterday, was supportive during Protective Edge, is less supportive today, and will be less so tomorrow.

All these European nations, trying to weigh in and say: we believe you are better than the Israeli administration portrays you, and we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt are busy rethinking their vote to come. They were supportive yesterday, they are curbing their enthusiasm today, and what will they vote tomorrow?

They won’t vote for leaders who call for the murder of civilians behind their donor-funded desks at the Fatah Central Committee, and indeed the murder of their own citizens. They will not vote for a country whose leaders have no control over their population, and no authority except when they call for violence.

You speak of Apartheid, so learn from the one who fought it, and ironically was trained by Israeli Special Forces to do so.

It’s when the ANC renounced the killing of civilians that their struggle gained in credibility, and it was Nelson Mandela‘s calls for appeasement, and not Marwan Barghouti’s calls to resistance by any means necessary, that led to the 1990-1994 transition and eventually to peace.

Do you want a Third Intifada? Are you mentally retarded? I’m serious. Are you idiots? I’m asking because if you are, it’s a huge relief.

Neither Intifada has done you any good; they have been a step back for you each time. Right now you are justifying land grabs in East Jerusalem, you are justifying the occupation and you are demonstrating to the world that Hamas rockets are not legitimate resistance but callous provocation and attempted murder in its purest form.

Yesterday I was supportive; today less so, and tomorrow depends entirely on you.

About the Author
Mame Bougouma Diene is a civil servant on permanent vacation even when he works 70 hours a week, who also blogs for the Times of Israel in French. He's French-Senegalese American, loves Israel and the Middle East, would really like to see an end to this intractable mess in his lifetime.