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Edward Said speaks out
"We want an end to Israeli occupation"

May 25, 2001 | Page 16

EDWARD SAID was born in Jerusalem shortly before the state of Israel was formed in 1948 by the forced expulsion of nearly 1 million Palestinians, including Said's family. Living in exile in the U.S., Said has become perhaps the best-known voice of the Palestinian resistance here.

Said talked to DAVID BARSAMIAN, director and producer of Alternative Radio in Boulder, Colo., in an interview for the International Socialist Review. Here, we reprint a brief excerpt of that interview.

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SHARON'S POLICY…is to use what they call "restraint," but what in fact is disproportionate force, including helicopter gunships, missiles and tanks, against a basically unarmed and defenseless civilian population…

This isn't a battle between two states. It's a battle between a state with basically a colonial army attacking a colonized population, using all forms of collective punishment.

Politically, there really isn't any way forward. What the Israelis want is the status quo without Palestinian resistance, and what the Palestinians want is, officially at least, the resumption of negotiations to the point that was reached in the last days of the Clinton administration. But for the people, what they want is the end of Israeli occupation…

All of this is paid for by the United States. All of the oppression of the Palestinians is taken out of the $5 billion that American taxpayers are giving Israel without any strings attached--along with the power to use arms that are meant for defensive purposes for offensive purposes…

Therefore, we should concentrate on constituencies in the United States that are friendly to us, the universities, the churches, the African American community, the Latino community, the women's community…

It's important to learn the lessons in the wider society of the U.S. and liberation movements around the world. We haven't taken advantage of that. There's a lot of good will and a lot of people willing to help us.

Read the full interview with Edward Said in the next issue of the ISR. For a copy, ask your local bookstore to stock the ISR. Or send $4.50 to: ISR, P.O. Box 258082, Chicago, IL 60625. To order tapes or to contact Alternative Radio, call 800-444-1977 or visit www.alternativeradio.org.

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