U.S., Europe back the occupier 
and punish Hamas

From an Al Jazeera article, posted 2/23/2006 6:50:00 PM GMT

Hamas’ landslide victory in last month’s election was apparently not enough, and the group is now being demanded to adopt Fatah’s unsuccessful approach to win global support. But the growing international pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel and give up anti-Israeli attacks must be placed in its proper context.

Hamas was elected on a political platform which the international community can accept or reject. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who claims that he was also democratically elected a year ago by the same Palestinians who chose Hamas, but on a different political view, opposes Hamas. So does Israel, the United States and Europe. 

Hamas insists it has a right to resist Israel as long as there is occupation, but so does Fatah. Abbas, who often backs this right, is trying to convince the Palestinians not to exercise it. He is demanding his people to engage in non-violent resistance, although he has done absolutely nothing to back or even define this valiant non-violent struggle of the Palestinians, who desperately try to save their lands from the Israeli bulldozers.

Moreover, Hamas has observed an informal truce with Israel for more than a year, while many Fatah splinter groups didn’t, despite Abbas’ efforts to persuade them to do so. The strange thing is that while Hamas is neither carrying out anti-Israeli attacks nor threatening to do so, it still is blamed. On the other hand, Israel, which continues to kill Palestinian civilians and carry out targeted killings on a daily basis, is not being pressured to renounce violence and end its aggression and occupation. 

Failed approach

For years, a massive propaganda, led by Israel, has been trying to place all the burden and the blame on the Palestinians. Now, this force wants to punish the occupied, while the occupier is free to commit more crimes and pay no cost. It is time for those who backed this failed approach to abandon their bankrupt and counterproductive policies.

According to an article on The Jordan Times, Israel now is trying to convince the world, as it did years ago with the PLO, that it has no partner to negotiate with, insisting that it won’t negotiate with anyone who denies its “right to exist”. If this is the case, why did Israel refuse for the past five years to negotiate with a Fatah-led government? "The election of Hamas candidates cannot adversely affect genuine peace talks, since such talks have been non-existent for over five years," Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote in the Washington Post.

The implementation of the two-state solution hasn’t been hindered by Hamas’ resistance or its refusal to recognize signed agreements with Israel. The main impediment to this solution is Israel’s refusal to recognize the rights of the Palestinian refugees and its 400,000 settlers who are scattered across the occupied West Bank, in a calculated manner to block any future Israeli withdrawal.

After Hamas won the elections, Khaled Meshal, the group’s political leader, announced that Hamas is ready to end armed resistance and reach a compromise with Israel if the Jewish state commits itself to full withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Hamas' readiness to reach such a solution is a disaster for Israel, which has no interest whatsoever in leaving the occupied territories. Last week, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his government’s determination to annex all of the Jordan Valley, in addition to all major settlements. These plans are backed by a vast majority of the Israeli public.

Hamas’ willingness to accept an Israeli withdrawal only from the 1967 occupied territories is in fact an explicit recognition of Israel. On the other hand, Israel’s refusal to end the occupation and its expansion of Jewish settlements indicates its total rejection to the Palestinians’ right to statehood. Moreover, Hamas didn’t indicate that it wants to cancel existing agreements, but said that it will respect the deals that serve the Palestinians. Isn't this the only responsible position a government should take? Every new government has the right to review the policies of its predecessors; otherwise it would be pointless to hold elections and change the government.

Israel and its supporters consider Hamas a “terrorist” organization that is not party of the Palestinian political process. Because this view is wrong, everything based on it is wrong. Hamas has been elected to lead the Palestinian Authority which recognizes Israel, which has an elected President who is favored by Israel and its staunch allies. The group also shares the same legislative council that includes other Palestinian parties, including a sizeable portion of Fatah. It is not normal to demand fresh legal commitments (or recognition for that matter) from every newly elected government.

Blind eye

Israel and the United States have already taken steps to withhold funds from a Hamas-led government. But Hamas’ isolation will only alienate oppressed and innocent Palestinians. Israel and its allies want the occupied to guarantee the security of the occupier without acknowledging that the occupation is wrong and illegal. They want the Palestinian resistance to stop - not to make peace - but to make room for more anti-Palestinian attacks. And finally, they want renewed recognition while Israel doesn’t recognize any borders and freely seizes Palestinian territories whenever it wants.

The issue of recognition is in fact confusing. Which Israel should the Palestinians recognize? Is it the one that existed before June 4, 1967, or the one with the new illegal settlements, the one which Israeli leaders themselves define differently every day?

Punishing Hamas for its election victory, and punishing the Palestinians for exercising their democratic right is wrong, irresponsible and not conducive to peace and security. Israel and its allies overlooked one of the major lessons of history. Peace and eradication of violence can better be achieved by removing injustice. This means confronting the unjust and protecting the oppressed.

Turning a blind eye to injustice and occupation, and pampering the occupier, as the “civilized” governments in the U.S. and EU are doing, will sure lead to further bloodshed in the occupied territories and deepen the growing rift between them and the Arab and Muslim world. 


Leonardo Daga's Warehouseâ, http://leonardodaga.insyde.it
Send any Comments to: leonardo.daga@gmail.com