Friday, January 5, 2007

Gestapo in Ramallah

A Great Comment
By Khalid Amayreh
Ramallah, The Occupied West Bank

"On Thursday, 4 January, the Israeli occupation army carried out another provocative foray into Ramallah, killing at least four Palestinian civilians and injuring and maiming more than 20 others. During the Gestapo-like incursion, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers opened fire rather wantonly on Palestinian civilians and stone-hurling youngsters. Moreover, Israeli army bulldozers crushed Palestinian cars, storefronts and vegetable and fruit stands in downtown Ramallah in a manner befitting the German Wehrmacht.

Undoubtedly, the criminal raid, which took place as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert himself was meeting with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak at Sharm al Sheikh, ostensibly to promote peace, constituted a brazen provocation not only to the Palestinian and Egyptian leaderships but also all international efforts aimed at reviving peace talks in the region. Indeed, only a few weeks ago, Olmert said in his much-celebrated speech in southern Israel that he was extending a hand of peace to the Palestinian people. And now, he is sending his murderous army on yet another rampage of murder and terror in the heart of Ramallah, not far from the headquarters of President Abbas with whom he had an ostensibly cordial meeting less than two weeks ago.

Does Olmert really think that sending his Gestapo-like soldiers to spread death and terror in our crowded streets in Ramallah and Nablus and other Palestinian population centers is the way to demonstrate his and his people’s desire for peace?

The Palestinian leadership, especially lately, sought to give Olmert and his government the benefit of the doubt, despite all the clarion misgivings about the Israeli premier and his criminal attitudes.

Chairman Abbas did laud Olmert’s speech last month and agreed, probably under British and American pressure, to meet with the Zionist premier in his own home where he pledged to deliver a package of “good will” gestures to the Palestinians, including a promise to remove roadblocks and checkpoints, free some prisoners and release a $100 million dollars of our imprisoned tax money which Israel is withholding in order to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas. However, ever since that fiasco on 27 December, the Israeli government has neither removed roadblocks, nor released prisoners and has refused to release our money.

And now we are affronted once again by this pornographic rape of Ramallah’s city center in broad daylight which reminds us of what happened in Jericho last year, when Israeli occupation troops raided the town’s central prison and abducted several Palestinian detainees, including PFLP leader Ahmed Sa’adat.

To be sure, these criminal provocations by Israel carry certain messages to the Palestinian people and their leadership.

The first message is that Israel remains unchanged and her leaders lie as often as they breathe and that their words and pledges and promises carry no weight and are devoid of any veracity and credibility, which really underscores the futility of believing let alone relying on promises and undertakings made by Israeli leaders.

The second message is that Israel remains a bellicose and murderous state with which genuine peace is impossible. Indeed, how can these recurrent acts of brigandage and criminality be reconciled with Israel ’s purported desire for peace and principled acceptance of a viable Palestinian state? This is a question that had been asked thousands of times and is being asked again in light of Israel ’s enduring and unrelenting criminality.

The sinister Israeli raid in Ramallah on Thursday should really prompt the Palestinian leadership, including the PLO executive committee and especially President Abbas, to rethink the present discourse vis-a-vise the moribund peace process which Israel uses as rubric to murder our youngsters and rape our towns.

Indeed, with Israel apparently hell-bent on eviscerating the PA of whatever semblance of substance of authority there is, and there is not that much anyway, the Palestinian leadership must stop acting as a state when there is none. Our leadership must meticulously re-evaluate the continued existence of the PA structure, especially if it becomes sufficiently clear this ramshackle and fragile existence doesn’t really serve our paramount national interests.

We must stop deceiving our people by clinging and clutching to an authority that lacks any semblance of authority.

Yes, Israel wants to kill every dignified Palestinian who dare raise his hands in the face of the Israeli occupation. And it makes no difference if the “targeted Palestinian” carried out the “terrorist act” five, ten, or even twenty years ago.

Another point I would like to make is that the Israeli raid in Ramallah came as our own militiamen were killing each other in cold blood in the streets of Gaza ? The disgrace of what is happening in Gaza really transcends reality. Indeed, if we are so bent on spilling our own blood with our own hands, why should our enemies be any more merciful toward us.?

Shame on us. "

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