Sunday, August 26, 2007
A Great Comment
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem
"On 17 August, the Guardian published a small article by Colin Shindler, a self-styled Israeli peace activist in which he berated Hamas for not talking to the Israeli “peace camp.” Shindler argued that Hamas ought to engage peace-minded Israelis very much like the PLO, which he said assiduously cultivated Zionist and non-Zionist adherents.
Well, to begin with, the so-called Israeli left has always adopted mercurial, vague and hypocritical stands regarding the Palestinians and their enduring plight. The hypocrisy was a necessary tactic to blur the inherent contradiction between the ugly reality on the ground and the pretended leftist ideals.
Indeed, as Palestinians are being tormented, killed, decimated in ways reminiscent of Nazi oppression of Jews during WWII, the so-called Israeli left, including the bulk of the so-called peace camp!!, played deaf, dumb, and looked the other way as if the pornographic oppression was happening on another planet, not next door. Eventually, the Israeli left, or the bulk of it, chose to be more faithful to Zionist ideals of racism, particularism and colonialism than to the universal ideals of justice, and human equality.
Hence, I can say that the Israeli left, with a few exceptions, is a big farce and has little if any to do with true leftist ideals. The rubric may be leftist in name, but the heart and mind are fascist to the core.
It is true that Fatah and the PLO sought assiduously to cultivate Zionist and non-Zionist adherents for peace. But it is also true that the PLO got absolutely nothing in return, save a police state without a state, a shameful entity very much like the Jewish councils or (Judenrate) at the Warsaw Ghetto. Fatah went too far in appeasing Israel. It violated the civil and human rights of its own citizens for Israel's sake. It established "state!! security courts" to torment and persecute dignified Palestinian critics of the disgraced Oslo process, all for Israel's sake. It led a regime based on corruption, nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, and graft, and Israel and the West kept silent.
In fact, the PLO acted and served very much like a quisling entity vis-a-vis Israel ....all in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the occupiers. But it never did receive such a certificate. Instead, Israel continued to treat Arafat and cohorts, not as equal peace partners, but as "agents" and "collaborators." And when Arafat dared say "No," he was liquidated.
So, what is Hamas supposed to do in light of such a dismal experience? Re-enact the same farce? Repeat the same failure? Commit the same sins?
Fatah was stripped or stripped itself naked of all "bargaining chips" and of all national dignity before even sitting down with the Israeli leadership. It recognized Israel in return for nothing. It revoked the National charter in return for nothing. It persecuted the Palestinians in return for nothing, just as the herds of Mahmoud Abbas’s “security forces” are doing in the West Bank these days to Palestinian Islamic activists.
Israel never recognized a Palestinian state. Israel never agreed to treat Palestinians as true, equal and dignified peace partners. Instead Israel insisted all along on treating the PA as vanquished supplicants who must beg for everything from drinking water to travel permits.
So, again, Is Hamas supposed to walk in the same path again to appease the Zionist left? Is Hamas supposed to behave as “Judenrate” to demonstrate its sincerity about peace?
As to the issue of recognition, Palestinians have every right to ask themselves the following question: Why should we recognize Israel when Israel doesn't recognize us? Besides, Israel has no recognized borders, so which Israel are we supposed to recognize? Indeed, some Kookians (followers of messianic Jewish Rabbi Avraham Kook) consider Beirut as part of Biblical Israel, so is Hamas suppose to recognize the Lebanese capital as part of the state of Israel.?
It is really an expression of ill will on the part of the Israeli peace camp to indulge in vague phrases such as "right of self-determination for both peoples"? Well, what is that supposed to mean in real terms? And why doesn't the Israel peace camp say in concise, unmistakable language that Israel must leave 100% of the occupied territories, including 100% of East Jerusalem? Indeed, the Israeli peace camp must decide if the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are "occupied" or disputed" territories, instead of indulging in prevarication, equivocation and double-talk.
Besides, why is Israel’s so-called peace camp so hostile to the central issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Is trying to perpetuate the extirpation of these miserable Palestinians from their ancestral homeland compatible with sincerity about peace?
Finally, the Israeli camp should have realized a long time ago that the problem impeding peace is not Hamas. Israel had many years without Hamas during which it could have reached a dignified peace deal with the Palestinians. However, instead of doing so, Israel chose to build more and more Jewish-only settlements to the point of making the prospect of the two-state solution very remote if not outright impossible. In short, Israel can't kill the two-state solution and then blame Hamas for the absence of peace.
In truth, Israel uses Hamas as a Hasbara asset to justify the continuation of the occupation. This is my honest impression."