Saturday, June 30, 2007
Comment by Khalid Amayreh
"Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Western-backed emergency government in Ramallah, has been acting lately as if he were the head of a free government of a sovereign state. Indeed, his recent behavior shows that he is very much detached from reality, the reality of the omnipresent Israeli occupation which in all honesty renders the very talk about a Palestinian “government” silly and ridiculous.
How else can any honest person relate to a government that is completely devoid of sovereignty, authority, power, freedom and jurisdiction, a government whose very existence depends almost completely on the will of the foreign occupier.
Needless to say, a government as such should at least humble itself before the Palestinian people, thoroughly tormented by 40 years of a Gestapo-like repression exacted on them by the children, grand children and great grand-children of the holocaust. After all, the last thing Palestinians need is an additional layer of oppression and persecution by a government that is very much at the Israeli occupier’s beck and call.
Last week, Fayyad summoned and warned some 800 Muslim religious leaders that his government wouldn’t tolerate incitement in mosques and that preachers should stay out of politics. Well, how can anybody living under this hateful Israeli military occupation stay out of politics? Doesn’t politics directly and indirectly affect every conceivable aspect of our life? Aren’t the water we drink and the bread we eat affected by the Israeli occupation’s polices and practices? Where is Mr. Fayyad living? In the Bahamas? Or in Alice’s Wonderland?
Moreover, Fayyad has no right to interfere in matters of religion since a preacher, like a journalist, is only answerable to his conscience. As ordinary Muslims, we know that a preacher’s ultimate moral reference is the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammed, not western whims and dictates imposed on weak and fragile governments whose very “legitimacy” comes from western acceptance, often at the expense of alienating and even persecuting their own masses.
Besides, since when do we Muslims receive orders and instructions from the West as to what should and shouldn’t be said during our Friday sermons? Would American preachers or Jewish rabbis tolerate the slightest Muslim interference in their respective homilies and sermons? Didn’t the West stand solidly behind Denmark against Muslims protesting the vilification of the Prophet of Islam in a Danish newspaper?
More to the point, as a Muslim, Fayyad should remember that the ultimate maxim governing preaching in Islam is what is known as “Al-amr bil-Maruf wa-nahy anil Munkar” or the propagation of virtue and prohibition of vice. This means that a preacher is religiously and morally obliged to call the spade a spade whenever the need arises. Yes, he should do so politely, tactfully and above all wisely, but never the less, he shouldn’t flinch from saying the right thing, even at the expense of displeasing the government, or, indeed, the Israeli occupiers and oppressors. In any case, Fayyad is advised to refrain from interfering in the affairs of mosques. Palestine, after all, is not Turkey in 1924 and he is not Kemal Attaturk.
Fayyad’s other folly is his decision to ban all weapons and militias in the West Bank , apparently in order to ensure the rule of law. Again, the western-backed premier is at loss as to what he can possibly do and what he obviously can not, given the fact that the entire West Bank, including his own office and home, is under the tight control of the Israeli military occupation. On Thursday, 28 June, Israeli army troops, backed by armored vehicles, rampaged through the streets and neighborhoods of Nablus, terrorizing local Palestinians and vandalizing their property. And Fayyad’s government “forces”, which America and Israel would want to see hound and decapitate Hamas, were seen nowhere to repulse the murderous invaders.
Hence, one is prompted to ask if a government that is totally powerless to provide minimal protection for its citizens against the Nazi-like occupiers has any right to strip freedom fighters of whatever means they have to defend themselves. Yes, firearms and other weapons in the hands of thugs and gangsters, many of whom claim to be affiliated with Fatah’s Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, should be confiscated immediately. But the pure and legitimate arms of freedom fighters must not be touched as long as a single Israeli soldier or settler continues to walk within the confines of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Resistance to a foreign invasion is after all more than an intrinsic right, it is a noble national duty of the highest order.
Finally, Fayyad, if he wants to succeed in his job, should descend from his ivory castle in Ramallah and listen to ordinary Palestinians. He should listen to their grievances and views concerning the national burden, including his own government. This is a thousand times better and more redeeming than receiving yellow-smile compliments from hypocritical western officials who babble about democracy and human rights and civil liberties while playing deaf and dumb in the face of Israeli crimes against our people."