Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAMAS, Let the People Storm the Ghetto Walls Now! What Are You Waiting For? Enough Pleading and Empty Speeches.

A Repost of a Comment, First Published on November 23, 2008

By Tony Sayegh

Hamas, after a brilliant move last January when it demolished the ghetto wall in Rafah and allowed hundreds of thousands of Gaza Palestinians to breathe freely just for a few days and to get badly needed supplies from the Egyptian side, fell in the trap and allowed itself to be fooled by the treacherous Pharaoh. At the time I warned precisely against this trap. I said that the Pharaoh needed time to absorb the popular anger and to tighten the siege even more. He would make empty promises to Hamas, which he never intended to keep.

Alas, the naivete of Hamas and the lack of its revolutionary vision even surprised me. In a few days, Hamas fighters were working together with the Pharaoh's troops to seal the Gaza ghetto all over again! They even herded the Palestinians still on the Egyptian side back into the ghetto; all for an empty promise!

Hamas was fooled again when Egypt supposedly "mediated" a "calm" agreement with Israel. The Pharaoh told Hamas to go along since the crossings would be open if Hamas accepted. Hamas foolishly accepted, when in reality Israel never accepted to open the crossings; it was a Pharaoh lie to get Hamas to go along.

Here we are, six months after Hamas accepted the "calm," and Palestinians in Gaza are dying "calmly" in record numbers due to starvation, non-existent medical care, no fuel, no electricity, etc.

The Pharaoh has tightened the siege even more to prove to his masters in Washington, that he is more Israeli than the Israelis. His goons in the Sinai have been working directly with officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to use the latest technologies to locate the few tunnels the Palestinians managed to dig under the ghetto wall to get a drop of fuel or a loaf of bread, and to blow them up on top of those inside, or to kill them with poison gas, like rats.

And what is Hamas doing? More promises, more pleading with the likes of the Pharaoh and that rotten king of Saudi Arabia, who has more pressing concerns such as arranging conferences with his Israeli new allies, about "religious tolerance!"

A few internationals have shown more boldness, courage and imagination, than Hamas and all the Arabs and Muslims combined. They bravely, in their little vulnerable boats, broke the naval siege on Gaza, and showed the way! Compare that with the pathetic attempt of some Egyptian sympathisers a couple of months ago who attempted to organize a convoy with some supplies to enter Gaza through Rafah. After a lot of fanfare and publicity, the Pharaoh's "security" put a stop to that attempt. Many of the cars and buses were not even allowed to leave Cairo! The organizers meekly complied and acquiesced!

As to the rest of the Arabs, they appear not to give a damn. For them 1.5 million starving Palestinians do not live in Gaza, they are on another planet. Their primary concern is how the bourses in Riyadh, Dubai, Kuwait, etc are doing.

So what is to be done now? Admittedly, it is harder to topple the ghetto wall now than the first time; the element of surprise is gone. This point was of strategic significance and the ineptness and naivete of Hamas squandered the opportunity. Since surprise can't be accomplished this time around, the opposite strategy should be followed. Have a massive effort to organize hundreds of thousands, on a pre-announced date, to storm the wall at Rafah and topple it by force. Yes, there will be deaths, but hundreds have already died and more will die "calmly". Why not die in a dignified way and also force the the entire world, not just to take note, but to accept the reality that the Palestinians are not going to take it any longer! This world has no conscience left, so all the pleading and begging will be to no avail.

A part of this massive campaign should be a grassroots effort on the Egyptian side to mobilize massive support for the breakout and to neutralize the anticipated repression by the Pharaoh's troops. Massive media effort is needed to focus the attention on this breakout.

Hamas, in the past, threatened to storm the crossings into Israel. That is not the right strategy; the focus should be Rafah to highlight the role of the Pharaoh and to simultaneously mobilize Egyptian popular support. Last January, the Pharaoh was facing a wave of discontent in Egypt, which could have been used to mobilize support for the breakout, but that did not happen. There is still huge amount of discontent with the regime in Egypt, which should be built upon. Alas, the strongest opposition to the Pharaoh comes from the Muslim Brotherhood which is not a revolutionary movement, but relies on "elections" to reach power; precisely the same route Hamas took.

Do it soon; there is no other way. The lives of hundreds of thousands are in the balance.

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