Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Holy Vengeance

On Friday, September 10, 2010, Tony Sayegh, a Gazan Christian covert to secularism, submitted charges against the Muslim's most holly book Quran, and the "Holly War Monger", Ismael Haneyya. Memorising Quaran, threaten's the world peace, the shortest ways towards religious war. [Consequentely, the call  of Terry Jones, the Florida Pastor of 50-memberits  to burn Quran is not enough, all Quran memorisers should be burned]

Why??

  • Thousands of youngsters are enrolled in special camps for the purpose of MEMORIZING the Qur'an; Instead of lively debates, critique and analysis, revolutionary theory and practice, etc, this is what Hamas has produced.
  • The problem with political Islam is the fact that it is political!!
  • Arab minorities (to their own right) prefer a pseudo secular dictatorships than a democratically elected Muslim party.
  • The masses are so brain washed and religion is thought of as the spinal chord of their identity.
  • Reformation will not be possible until political Islam fails completely against Israel same way Arab nationalism failed in 1967. Only then will the masses lose faith in it , same way the lost faith with Nasser and Baathism. [So Polital Islam represented by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran should be defeated
  • For things to get better , they must get a whole lot worse (to them it means the liquidation of the Palestinian struggle and the full hegemony of the west over historic Palestine with the Arab regimes blessing Zion. ).
  • There will no changes , because we are in the midst of the Islamic Dark ages. 
Tony's Heros


"Also, guest, you must not be a regular reader of this blog if you think Hamas are Tony's heros". Molly

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In 1236, a Jew convert to Christianity, Nicholas Donin, submitted to Pope Gregory IX listing 35 charhes against the Judaism’s most holy book Talmud.

The list included the insults to Jesus, his mother Mary, Christianity, spitting on the Cross and priests, the Blood Libel, hatred toward Gentiles and even animals and many foolish and revolting tales.

After investigations – The Pope issued a ‘Papal Bull (Holy Directive)’ that all copies of this hateful book be confiscated and burnt in public. The Bull was also sent to the kings of England, Spain, France and Portugal for necessary action as “We are convinced this is the direction God wants us to go,” as Pastor Wayne Sapp has claimed recently why he wants to burn the copes of Holy Qur’an on September 11, 2010.
Under the “will of God” – in June 1242, 24 wagon-load of Talmud and other Hebrew literature, totaling tens of thousands of them were seized and burned in public in France alone. Later the “God’s Will” was repeated on the orders of Pope Louis IX (in 1247, 1248 and 1254 CE), King Philip III (1284), Philip IV (1290 and 1299), the inquisitor Bernard Gui and in Perpignan (1319) and in Vatican (September 9, 1553) on the orders of Pope Paul IV.

Terry Jones, the Florida Pastor of 50-member Dove World Outreach Center, who have been the leading figure in Zionists’ campaign for burning copies of Holy Qur’an on the 9th anniversary of 9/11 – announced on September 9, the cancellation of his plan to fulfil “God’s Will” on 9/11 on the excuse that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has promised to relocate the mosque site, which the later has refuted Terry’s claim.

The modern day Christian leaders headers have sold their souls to the Synagogue of Satan for money and sex – and have turned their hatred towards Muslims.

Young Iranian writer and author, Kourosh Ziabari in his lated article, titled Does Burning the Quran Solve Your Problems?.

What happens if the Muslims announce a plan to burn the Torah? Won’t they be accused of extremism, anti-Semitism, fanaticism, fundamentalism and radicalism?
  • Won’t they become the subject of unending attacks by the mainstream, corporate media of the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and their European allies?
  • Won’t the international organizations collectively condemn the Muslim society and won’t an all-out wave of Islamophobic actions set out to emerge around the world?
  • Won’t the high-ranking politicians and statesmen of countries, who don’t have anything to do with Judaism, condemn this action simply because of their connection and affinity with Israel?
  • Won’t any conscious, cognizant and decent citizen rebuff such an outrageous and disgraceful action?
  • Won’t the international community categorically react to the Muslims community?
The extent of international punishments for insulting the holy book of Jews will be so wide-ranging and across-the-board that the Muslims will profoundly regret their action and instantaneously apologize; however, the question which I posed contains a possibility that never takes place.

Muslims have always paid tribute to other Abrahamic religions and treated their pillars, prophets and holy books with great reverence and respect. Essentially, Islam has put a crucial responsibility on the shoulders of Muslims to respect the other religions, treat with the followers of Abrahamic religions in a brotherly manner and never make a distinction between them.

To be just and fair, Islam has comprehensively advised its followers to pay homage and respect to the beliefs of those who follow other religions and avoid behaving in a way which degrades and subdues them. In the Verse 285 of the Chapter Baqara (Heifer) of the Holy Quran, we read:

 “The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith.

Islam has never hesitated to verify the authenticity and legitimacy of its predecessors and the nations which adhered to the holy books. In the Verse 62 of the Chapter Baqara, it’s expressively stated that those who believe in the Almighty God and do decent acts, regardless of their religion, will be blessed and exalted rightfully:

“Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, – any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

Burning the Holy Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will simply draw an end to the spiritual life of those who have planned such a dirty trick.

I’m sure that no conscious Muslim will do any harm to the evangelical pastor who is going to burn the Holy Quran on September 11, but I’m sure that his spiritual life as a minister will come to a tragic end, because the very Almighty God who has revealed the Holy Quran upon Prophet Muhammad will save His book as well.

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

IOF soldiers wound Bilin activist on Eid day

[ 11/09/2010 - 07:56 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Foreign solidarity activists joined the Bilin villagers in their weekly protest march on Friday against the Israeli separation wall that cut off the villagers from their land, which was confiscated to build the racist wall.

Local sources said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) used teargas and rubber bullets to quell the march injuring a 19-year-old youth, who was hit with a teargas canister in his back. Many others were treated for breathing problems.

The participants' march, which coincided with the first day of Eidul Fitr raised Palestinian flags and photos of the detainees held by the Israeli occupation for organizing the anti wall rallies.

They also hoisted placards denouncing the occupation's colonialist schemes in Palestinian lands and demanding the release of all detainees.

Demonstrators marched in the village streets calling for an end to internal Palestinian differences and insisting on Palestinian constants and condemning the Israeli policy of deportation and Judaization policy in occupied Jerusalem.

They headed to the wall where an IOF unit had closed the main gate to block the marchers from heading to the village lands isolated behind the wall.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace ...

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

"... Now observing 2½ years without a single suicide bombing on their territory, with the economy robust and with souls a trifle weary of having to handle big elemental thoughts, the Israeli public prefers to explore such satisfactions as might be available from the private sphere, in a land first imagined as a utopia. "Listen to me," says Eli Bengozi, born in Soviet Georgia and for 40 years an Israeli. "Peace? Forget about it. They'll never have peace.
Remember Clinton gave 99% to Arafat, and instead of them fighting for 1%, what? Intifadeh."

But wait.

Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don't Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity?

Well, not exactly. Asked in a March poll to name the "most urgent problem" facing Israel, just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty.

Israeli Arabs placed peace first, but among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls "critical for the world" just doesn't seem — critical.

Another whack for the desk. "The people," Heli says, "don't believe." Eli searches for a word. "People in Israel are indifferent," he decides. "They don't care if there's going to be war. They don't care if there's going to be peace. They don't care. They live in the day."..."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 8:15 PM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

US Marks 9/11 Anniversary Amid Tensions over The Holy Quran Burning

Al-manar

11/09/2010 US on Saturday is planning to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks amid high tensions over threats to burn the holy Quran.

A series of ceremonies was planned on Saturday to commemorate the nearly 3,000 people killed when members of al-Qaeda hijacked four planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Centre and another into the Pentagon.

US President Barack Obama, was to attend a memorial service at the Pentagon, while Joseph Biden, the vice-president, was to be in New York, where the names of the victims who died there were to be read out at the so-called Ground Zero site.

These commemorations were overshadowed in the ninth anniversary of the September attacks by a Florida pastor's plan to burn the holy Quran in order to "send message" to the Muslims. But on Thursday the Rev. Terry Jones offered to scrap the plan if an Islamic center being built two blocks away from Ground Zero was relocated.

On Friday Jones confirmed that he had "no plans to go ahead with the event" after pleas from the Obama, the Vatican and several other world leaders warning of a catastrophe for Western-Muslim relations.

He said he had received assurances delivered by a local Florida imam that the Islamic center will be relocated.

However, the New York planners of the center have said they did not speak to the Florida imam, and would not be moving their project.

Jones is in New York on Saturday where he said he will meet the imam of the center Sheikh Faisal Abdul Rauf to discuss plans for building of the new mosque.

The pastor's plan sparked international condemnations against the “aggressive” act. Thousands of Muslims all over the world took to streets to protest against the threat.

About 2,000 people rallied late Friday near Ground Zero in New York to support the building of a mosque there.

Protestors, many holding lighted candles, said those trying to stop construction of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center were demonizing Muslims and undermining fundamental US rights.

Many nations have separately called on US President Barack Obama to take strong action against the move. Others denounced this act like the UN, EU, Vatican, Obama who urged respect for other religious faiths.

Quran Burning “A Step in the Direction of Hatred”

10/09/2010 An anti-Islamic preacher backed off and then threatened to reconsider burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him Thursday with a promise to move an Islamic center and mosque away from New York's ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a deal.

The Rev. Terry Jones generated an international firestorm with his plan to burn the holy Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and he has been under intense pressure to give it up. President Barack Obama urged him to listen to those better angels and give up his stunt, saying it would “endanger” U.S. troops and give “terrorists” a recruiting tool.

Standing outside his 50-member Pentecostal church, the Dove Outreach Center, alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved.

Hours later, after Musri and the leader of the New York mosque denied such an agreement, Jones said Musri "clearly, clearly lied to us."

"Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision," Jones said. "So as of right now, we are not canceling the event, but we are suspending it." Jones did not say whether the Quran burning could still be held Saturday, but he said he expected Musri to keep his word and expected the imam in New York to back up one of his own men.

But he said Thursday afternoon that he prayed about the decision and concluded that if the mosque was moved, it would be a “sign” from God to call off the Quran burning.

Two days before the previously planned Florida-based church's plan to burn the holy Quran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, more condemnations and voices shouted against this “aggressive” act.

The OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Thursday expressed grave concern over the plan, describing the move as "a step in the direction of hatred."

Many nations including India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia and Pakistan have separately called on US President Barack Obama to take strong action against the move.

Others denounced this act like the UN, EU, Obama, Vatican.

Massive demonstrations have been held in many countries against the US church's plans. Thousands of Afghans marched through a small town northeast of Kabul on Thursday, chanting anti-US slogans to protest against the Quran-burning plans. There have also been several protests in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

The Afghan president said Friday the US pastor "should not even think" of burning the Quran, as Indonesia's leader said nothing less than world peace was at stake.

In a turbulent start to the festival of Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims worldwide mark the end of the Ramadan fasting month, radical Florida evangelist Terry Jones issued a heavily conditioned offer to call off his event.

"We have heard that in the US, a pastor has decided to insult Qurans. Now although we have heard that they are not doing this, we tell them they should not even think of it," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said. "By burning the Quran they cannot harm it. The Quran is in the hearts and minds of one-and-a-half billion people. (But) insulting the Quran is an insult to nations," Karzai said in an Eid message.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono lashed out anew against Jones and his tiny evangelical denomination a day after calling on Obama to intervene. "This threatens peace and international security. This is something that endangers harmony among religious people," Yudhoyono said in a nationally televised address marking the end of Ramadan.

"I'm of course aware of the reported cancellation of the deplorable act by Terry Jones. However, none of us can be complacent until such a despicable idea is totally extinguished," he said. "Therefore I continue to urge the government and people of the United States to ensure the prevention of such an incomprehensible, irrational and immoral act."

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Meanwhile, the Palestinian Idiot mocked Haneyya's call to prepare 40000 memorisers of Quran cosidering it a call for religious war.



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Boycott leadership: solidarity with French activists

Press release, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, 9 September 2010

The following press release was issued by the secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee on 9 September 2010:

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, strongly condemns the decision taken by French authorities to prosecute people of conscience for calling for a boycott of Israeli produce. These state-sanctioned forms of repression amount to active support for Israeli violations of international law and have serious implications on political freedoms in France and across Europe.

On 13 September, five members of the group "Boycott 68" will appear in court charged with "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence" after distributing leaflets asking shoppers to boycott Israeli products ("Halte aux procès politiques contre les défenseurs du droit!" BDS France). Last year, Sakina Arnaud was fined 1000 euros for attaching a "Boycott Israel" sticker to a fruit juice carton. Arnaud will appear in court again on 24 September to appeal the decision. The campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005, is a nonviolent, just and effective way of pressuring Israel to comply with international law and end its institutionalized discrimination and violence towards Palestinians. People of conscience all over the world, including many progressive Israelis and Jews, engage in BDS campaigns as a form of solidarity with an oppressed people, suffering under Israeli occupation and apartheid. BDS is based on unambiguous respect for international law and universal human rights; as such, it is categorically opposed to all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The BNC is therefore deeply troubled by state-sanctioned smear campaigns against BDS activists.

Most of the cases against solidarity activists have been brought following pressure from Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l'Antisemitisme (BNCVA) with assistance from other pro-Israel pressure groups and are part of a wider campaign of attacks against Palestine solidarity activism. "Altogether, we have filed over eighty similar complaints, everywhere in France," the President of BNCVA boasted recently ("Soutien d’eurodéputés à des militants français poursuivis pour avoir appelé au boycott d’Israël," Le Pays, 9 September 2010). The BNC has previously criticized the French Prime Minister for making unfounded and inflammatory insinuations about the movement to boycott Israel. According to activists, police regularly demand the names and addresses of those present at BDS demonstrations. The BNC is astounded that the authorities in a country that has historically contributed so much to the development of the principles of citizenship and human rights would succumb so easily to the demands of the Israel lobby and curtail political freedoms so blatantly.

French MEPs Jacky Henin and Nicole Kill-Nielsen recently spoke out against the repression of Palestine activists. "In that case, justice is used for political purposes," said Henin ("Soutien d’eurodéputés à des militants français poursuivis pour avoir appelé au boycott d’Israël"). The BNC hopes that these comments will enrich the debate in France about the repression of those who stand in solidarity with Palestinians.

The actions taken by French state bodies to shield Israel from legitimate criticism and opposition show the strength of the BDS movement on one hand, but also reduce the possibilities of a just and lasting peace, present a serious threat to freedom of expression, and bolster Israel's impunity in violating human rights on the other. The failure of the French government to end its complicity in maintaining and protecting Israel's violations of international law and Palestinian rights, let alone to hold Israel accountable for these violations, calls into question France's compliance with its own obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice against Israel's wall and colonial settlements. Its active repression of principled activists who attempt to remedy this failure is reprehensible.

The BNC warmly salutes all French BDS activists due to appear in court and is inspired by their stated intention to step up their campaigns in reaction to this repression. We call upon the French government to:

  • Drop all charges against activists engaged in nonviolent, morally commendable solidarity campaigns aimed at challenging Israel's grave violations of international law and official French complicity;
  • Take measures to ensure that France's rich history of political freedom is maintained and that freedom of association and freedom of speech are not curtailed in this shameful way again;
  • End France's complicity in maintaining Israel's occupation and apartheid and hold Israel accountable for its persistent violation of international law.
The BNC also calls upon people of conscience and international solidarity groups to:a

  • Send messages of support to the activists due to appear in court by email at campagnebdsfrance A T yahoo D O T fr
  • •Write to the French embassy in your country demanding that these charges be dropped and condemning France's repression of basic freedoms and civil rights.
Editor's note: this release was originally published with one of the French MEPs' names listed incorrectly. This version of the release has been corrected.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Artists for Gaza is Jazza

Please circulate this message as far as you can. We want to pack the Scala with music lovers and people who care!!!
http://jazzaproductions.squarespace.com/events/
For the musicians who support for the long suffering people of Palestine, silence is simply not an option.” Robert Wyatt 2010
Jazza Music Festival 12th & 13th October 2010
@ The SCALA, 275 Pentonville Road
London, N1 9NL
020 7833 2022
As a response to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Palestine, a group of artists have for some months been planning a festival that will bring together luminaries from all areas of music to raise awareness, support and funds for the people of Gaza. As with the devastation that besets Palestine, the JAZZA Festival will not be a one off event but will travel to international venues. Only with the final liberation of the people of Gaza will the JAZZA Music festival stage it's final act, in Gaza itself. Please show your solidarity and solidarity by booking tickets for and spreading the word to friends and supporters.
Tickets £20 per night
TUES Oct 12th 7.30 *BOOK HERE*
WED Oct 13th 7.30 *BOOK HERE*
JAZZA Festival 2010 marks the official album launch of the much anticipated release of Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen’s album ‘For The Ghosts Within’ (Domino Records). The concerts on both evenings will feature acclaimed vocalist - Cleveland Watkiss, Ros Stephen & the Sigamos String Quartet and the Orient House Ensemble. Also appearing Northumbrian folk stars The Unthank sisters, specially formed super-group the Jazza All-Stars featuring Seb Rochford, Peter King, Oren Marshall and Alex Garnett, virtuoso oud player Nizar Al-Issa, singer-songwriters Rory McCloud, Sarah Gillespie feat’ Gilad Atzmon & Palestinian hip hop artist Shathayah(Ramallah Underground)

JAZZA Music Festival is organized in association with the Free Palestine Movement, leading advocates for the humanitarian rights of Palestinians and the right of free access throughout Palestine.
Tuesday 12th October 2010
Nizar Al-Issa
Sarah Gillespie Quartet
The Unthanks Sisters
Robert Wyatt/Atmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensembe , Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss - vocals.
Wednesday 13th October 2010
Shathayah (Ramallah Underground)
Rory McCloud
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensemble , Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss - vocals.
Jazza All-Stars featuring Peter King, Seb Rochford, Alex Garnett, Oren Marshall & Gilad Atzmon


The Photo before the Storm: Peace Talks Already Failed


A picture is not always worth a thousand words. The recently released photographs of Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Washington during their first direct talks in many months certainly don’t say anything new.

It was the status quo at its best, a mere procession of regional and US leaders before hungry cameramen. The leaders promised “not to spare any effort” and praised the undeniable altruism embedded in the very concept of “peace”. Israeli Prime Minister repeated the martyr-like emphasis of past Israeli leaders regarding the “painful” compromises and sacrifices required to defeat the many obstacles standing before them. Mahmoud Abbas – with his expired presidency over a corrupt Palestinian Authority - smiled, shook hands and spoke unconvincingly about his hopes and expectations.

Jordanian and Egyptian leaders also attended. Their presence was purely an endeavor to mark a difference between this event and the last failed attempt at reaching a peace agreement. When late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israel’s Ehud Barak were herded into Camp David under the auspices of then President Bill Clinton, Arafat was left to fend for himself without any Arab backing. This left Barak, fully backed by the US, with all the cards. The process was a mockery then, as it is now.

Today’s badly staged talks are actually much less promising than the ones of July 2000. Barak had a considerably serious mandate, while Netanyahu runs a discontented coalition of largely rightwing fanatics. Arafat, although his popularity had dwindled, also represented a moral authority and a unifying figure among all Palestinian factions, including Hamas. Abbas, on the other hand, sits on the helm of hugely discredited and ineffectual band of contractors and self-serving politicians. More, Abbas operates with an expired mandate, and his cabinet members are handpicked to replace the democratically elected government of Hamas, whose members are either under siege in Gaza or held in Israeli prisons.

Needless to say, this latest round of peace talks is seriously lacking in legitimacy and goodwill.

Firstly, Israel has no interest in guaranteeing any positive outcome. It is hell-bent on carrying on with its colonization of the already disconnected West Bank and East Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s government intends on speeding up such efforts once the temporary settlement construction freeze expires, only a few days after the second round of negotiations resume on September 14-15. On the very first day of talks, Israeli troops also invaded parts of northern Gaza and expanded the so-called buffer zone by around 300 meters.

As for Abbas, the problem is compounded. His power is truly feeble in comparison to Israel’s political supremacy both in Tel Aviv and Washington, and also its near total control of Abbas’ own domain in the West Bank. Knowing this, one cannot be both realistic and still hope for ‘painful’ Israeli concessions. Still Abbas continues to hang around. He might feel he has no other option, as his absence would both chip away from his miniscule political worth and risk raising the ire of Washington, his greatest sustainer.

But even if the one-year-long talks miraculously yield an agreement, Abbas will not be able to sell this agreement to his own people. The aging leader is barely capable of uniting his own party, which is no longer the main player in Palestine’s political milieu. Today’s Fatah is a different Fatah to the one under Arafat in 1993. Its corruption has grown to the extent that it now functions as a self-serving welfare organization, whose members get richer through international handouts and business monopoly orchestrated by Israel.

Equally significant is the fact that yesterday’s ‘enemies of peace’ have become the legitimate parties that should actually be involved in any substantial talks with Israel. They are dismissed because they insist on a paradigm shift in how talks with Israel are conducted. They argue that any meaningful talks – especially between vastly unequal powers - must take place with a clear frame of reference, involving an even-handed third party, and predicated on the concept of ‘justice’ - not Kissinger’s deceptive ‘peace process’. The talks must also guarantee the welfare and security of the Palestinian people in the interim, through a long-term truce guarded by the United Nations. Peace talks held at gunpoint while the population is forcibly starved and besieged hardly promises any positive outcome.

What we can be sure of is that that the halfhearted peace attempt will garner nothing good. If an agreement is somehow concocted, it is doomed to fail. The Palestinian people, the absent but real party in any lasting solution, will simply not allow it. The Palestinian collective has the tendency to watch charades to their end, and then react at the opportune moment to defeat them. Almost every Palestinian revolt in the past has resulted from similar processes, the Second Palestinian Uprising of 2000 being the most pertinent example. When Arafat was being humiliated and forced into submission to US-Israeli diktats, Palestinians of all parties and from all sections of society rose in anger. Israel understood the revolt as a Palestinian attempt at extracting concessions and used unprecedented violence to quell their revolt. Many thousands were killed and wounded, and the rest is history.

If violence spirals this time around, it promises to be much worse than before. Those who cling to resistance in Palestine have been bolstered by the success of Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. More, they are emboldened by their political legitimacy as a result of the democratic elections of 2006. Predictably, Netanyahu will not shy away from interpreting Palestinian protests as a conspiracy to intimidate Israel. The problem with violence is that once it reaches a new threshold, it rarely retreats to old parameters. What took place in Gaza at the hand of the Israeli army in 2008-09 was frighteningly genocidal in its scope. Future violence is likely to stay within this category.

To avoid this, Washington’s strategists really need to reconsider the long-term consequences of their government’s policies. Obama’s choreographers might succeed in getting a few leaders to stand in perfect order before a crowd of reporters, but they will fail to contain the political chaos that will ensue when the talks fail, as they surely will.

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on Amazon.com.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Haneyya: 40,000 memorisers of Quran will graduate in answer to Quran burning

[ 10/09/2010 - 04:49 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Prime Minister of the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ismail Haneyya, condemned the call by Pastor Terry Jones burn copies of the Quran in the State of Florida, adding that his government's response to this call is to prepare 40,000 memorisers of the Quran.

Haneyya said during his Eid sermon that the Zionist project is waning and that victory of the Palestinian people is closer than they think.

He added that the PA in Ramallah has committed three sins during the month of Ramadan; the first of which was going to direct negotiations with the Israeli occupation, adding that those negotiations were rejected and that no one has been mandated by the Palestinian people to negotiate on their behalf.

He said the second sin was their war on religion and mosques and said that such a policy is widely rejected by the Palestinian people.

As to the third sin, he said it was the pursuit of resistance fighters in the West Bank, stressing that the Palestinian people reject such policies and that his government rejects the security coordination between the PA and the Israeli occupation.

He congratulated the Arab and Islamic Umma and the Palestinian people on the occasion of Eid and he sent a special greeting to the families of martyrs, captives and the injured as well as those whose homes were destroyed by the Israeli occupation.

He called for visits to the families of martyrs, the injured and captives to enhance feelings of solidarity and to bolster the steadfastness of those families.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

US HAMAS POLICY BLOCKS MIDDLE EAST PEACE

Via SNIPPITS and SNAPPITS

 Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas Political Bureau

Please read this in conjunction with the article posted an hour or two ago:

HAMAS: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

By Henry Siegman

September 4, 2010

 


Introduction

Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions.

Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the "road map" and other previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed.

Israel's government believes that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance. What hope there is for the bilateral talks that resume in Washington DC on September 2 depends entirely on President Obama proving that belief to be wrong, and on whether the "bridging proposals" he has promised, should the talks reach an impasse, are a euphemism for the submission of American parameters.

Such a US initiative must offer Israel iron-clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time must make it clear these assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza.

This paper focuses on the other major obstacle to a permanent status agreement: the absence of an effective Palestinian interlocutor. Addressing Hamas' legitimate grievances ~ and as noted in a recent CENTCOM report, Hamas has legitimate grievances ~ could lead to its return to a Palestinian coalition government that would provide Israel with a credible peace partner.

If that outreach fails because of Hamas' rejectionism, the organization's ability to prevent a reasonable accord negotiated by other Palestinian political parties will have been significantly impeded.

In 1948, the PM of Israel stated the they would not settle until all of Israel was taken over by Israelis and that all other agreements were invalid. After all God had given them all of Palestine.

If the Obama administration will not lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation, Europe must do so, and hope America will follow. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can guarantee the goal of "two states living side by side in peace and security." But President Obama's present course absolutely precludes it.

Obama is owned by the primarily Jewish bankers of Wall Street and is surrounded by Jews. His Chief of Staff is a militant Zionist from an "upstanding" (By Israeli standards) terrorist family. What chance does an inexperienced man have to pull off such a coup? If ever such a coup came about, the idea he brought it about would be a media created illusion.

Road to nowhere

Peace talks at an impasse

The Obama administration has reversed the trajectory of previous administrations' engagement with the Middle East peace process. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush avoided dealing with the issue in the early stages of their presidency. President Clinton pursued a peace agreement far more seriously than did President Bush, but not until the closing days of his second term.

By contrast, President Obama addressed the issue aggressively virtually the day after he took his oath of office. He appointed Senator Mitchell his personal Middle East peace envoy, delivered a historic speech to the Arab and Muslim world in Cairo, and presented Netanyahu's government the toughest demand for a freeze on all further Israeli settlement enlargement in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem ever made by any US administration ~ and all within the first year of the first term of his presidency.

But it has been all downhill since. The settlement freeze Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to turned out to be a sham, the proximity talks a monumental waste of time. President Obama's most recent encounter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6, at which he felt constrained to express admiration for the seriousness of the commitment to a two-state solution of a man who has shown nothing but disdain for the idea, has triggered despair throughout the region deeper than was experienced during the disengaged Bush administration.

Bilateral talks cannot succeed

The US administration has announced the launching of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and that the parties have agreed to place a one-year limit on these talks. But nothing much beyond spin to sustain the illusion of continued American "engagement" can be expected from this administration until at least after the November congressional elections, if then. That interregnum provides time for a reconsideration of this administration's Middle East peace strategies that have been undone with humiliating ease by Netanyahu at every turn.

Such a reconsideration must begin with a rejection of the notion that a Middle East peace accord can ever be reached by the parties themselves, with the US role limited to "facilitation."

Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that left to their own devices, negotiations between Israeli governments ~ that believe resorting to overwhelming military power is the solution to every political and security challenge ~ and a powerless Palestinian adversary can only result in the enlargement and completion of Israel's colonial project in the West Bank, notwithstanding American "facilitation," or "bridging proposals," as this administration prefers to call it.

Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the "road map" and other previous Israeli- Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed.

A two-state solution will remain beyond everyone's reach because even the most hardline Israeli governments are convinced that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance by Israel. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnations of their colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international measures that would sanction their illegal behaviour.

AIPAC would bring America down over such a thing.

If it is to succeed, a US effort to rescue the two- state option must be prepared to offer Israel iron- clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time make it clear that such assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Credible Palestinian partner lacking

Which brings us to the other major obstacle to a permanent status agreement ~ the absence of an effective Palestinian interlocutor, due to the bitter internecine divisions between Fatah and Hamas, divisions that have been fostered and deepened by US and European support for Israel's determination to exclude Hamas from Palestinian political life and to bring about its demise.

It should be clear by now that this policy has only strengthened Hamas, and that it has retained the ability to torpedo any Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement it is not party to.

America and Israel also use the Divide and Conquer technique in Palestine because Israel has no intention, in the long run, of doing more than owning all land between the Litani and the Nile. Israel wants all Palestinians dead or gone.

This view, shared by virtually every Middle Eastern political and security expert, was expressed concisely as the conclusion of a recent essay on the subject in Foreign Affairs: "Hamas is here to stay. Refusing to deal with it will only make the situation worse: Palestinian moderates will become weaker, and Hamas will grow stronger. If the Obama administration is to move its plans for peace forward, the challenge of Hamas has to be met first."1

As argued in this paper, a more balanced approach to Hamas, addressing legitimate grievances, could lead to its return to a Palestinian coalition government that would provide Israel with a credible peace partner. If that outreach fails because of Hamas' rejectionism, its ability to prevent a reasonable accord negotiated by other Palestinian political parties will have been seriously undermined.

The misreading of Hamas

Hamas' democratic mandate


Mahmoud Abbas's rule does not extend much beyond Ramallah. Although Fatah was unopposed by Hamas (or by any other organized political party) in the local West Bank elections of July 17, the party is so dysfunctional and unpopular that its candidates were in danger of losing to local unaffiliated candidates, causing Abbas to call off the elections at the last moment.

By contrast, Hamas is not only the effective ruler of Gaza, but the only political party that received a democratic mandate for its rule from the Palestinian electorate in the 2006 election that rejected Fatah.

The Oslo accords declared Gaza to be an inseparable part of Palestine, and obliged Israel to provide an unobstructed territorial connection linking Gaza to the West Bank. That provision was reinforced by a formal Israeli-Palestinian agreement (the Agreement on Movement and Access) in 2005 for the free movement of people and goods between these two areas, brokered by James Wolfensohn, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's special envoy for Gaza disengagement, an obligation Israel violated even before the ink on the document dried.2

Israel leaders have repeatedly stated that Israel is accountable to none and will do what they please in these matters. They say none can judge them although they can judge any as they please.

Hamas was denied its electoral mandate and excluded from the West Bank because Fatah conspired with Israel's government and the Bush administration to carry out a putsch by Mohammed Dahlan's militia forces in Gaza to overthrow Hamas. The attempted putsch was pre-empted by Hamas in a bloody manner.3

But the way Dahlan's forces had previously dealt with Hamas' members that it had imprisoned (or the way Abbas' Fatah has dealt with them in the West Bank since) should not leave anyone with false illusions about the treatment that awaited Hamas had Dahlan's putsch succeeded.

Hamas' obsolete charter

But can Hamas be engaged by Israel, or by the US, while it adheres to a charter that is racist and anti- Semitic, and explicitly commits the organization to the violent expulsion of Jews within Israel's internationally recognized pre-1967 borders?

While the government of Israel does not have a charter promising the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the confiscation of their land, it has been doing exactly that ~ regularly and systematically.

These confiscations and expulsions began even before Hamas existed, yet no one in the West demanded Israel be quarantined, or even that it be denied continued massive American financial and military assistance.

More to the point, Hamas has made it abundantly clear that its charter ~ like the PLO's charter which Arafat famously dismissed in 1989 as "caduque" (obsolete, expired) well before it was formally annulled ~ no longer represents Hamas' ideology.

Its various proposals for a long-term hudna (ceasefire) with Israel, if it were to agree to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, clearly contradict its charter.

A more direct repudiation of the charter's anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic diatribe came from Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas' political bureau, in an interview conducted by the Jordanian Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sabeel in July (translated into English by the Afro-Middle East Centre in South Africa).4

Meshal was asked whether Hamas' resistance was directed "against Zionists as Jews or as occupiers."
Meshal replied, "resistance and military confrontation with the Israelis was caused by occupation, aggression, and crimes committed against the Palestinian people, not because of differences in religion or belief."
He said that although "religion is a cornerstone to our lives … we do not make of religion a force for engendering hatred, nor a cause or a pretext for harming or assaulting others, or grabbing what is not ours, or encroaching on the rights of others" ~ referring, of course, to the Israeli settlers' invocation of the Bible to justify the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Contrast this to the declarations of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the leader of the most important Orthodox political party in Israel, during a recent Sabbath sermon:

"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from the world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians." In a previous sermon in 2001, he told his followers: "It is forbidden to be merciful to [the Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable."
Not a single member of Israel's cabinet condemned Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for these pronouncements.

Such statements are met by the great majority of Israelis with support and approval.

Recognising Israel


At a press conference in April 2008, Meshal stated that within the context of a Palestinian coalition government of which it was a part, Hamas would authorize Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority to conduct peace negotiations with Israel.

If an accord were reached, he said, Hamas would agree to have it submitted to a Palestinian referendum and, if approved, would abide by the outcome even if Hamas itself were opposed to the accord.5 (This arrangement was also part of the agreement reached in Mecca for a Hamas-Fatah unity government that fell apart.)

Shortly after the press conference I told Usama Hamdan, a leading member of Hamas' political bureau, that a Palestinian government cannot sign a peace agreement with Israel and still maintain that it does not recognize it. Hamdan agreed, and told me that Meshal agreed as well. He noted that since state-to-state recognition is a governmental responsibility, not a function of individual political parties, Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel does not prevent a government of which Hamas is a part from granting that recognition.

He noted that Israeli governments ~ including the current one, whose prime minister claims to want a two-state solution ~ have included political parties that oppose Palestinian statehood, and no one has suggested this disqualifies these governments as partners for peace negotiations, or made them candidates for sanctions of the kind imposed on Hamas.

Israeli contradictions


Israel's government undoubtedly rejects that distinction between political parties and governments as sophistry, and considers those who advance it as peddling pro-Hamas propaganda. But it is a distinction that Netanyahu himself must invoke to explain the contradiction between his declared acceptance of a two-state solution and the formal opposition to a Palestinian state of his own Likud Party.

Indeed, not long after Netanyahu made that two-state declaration, most of his cabinet ministers formed a parliamentary caucus in Israel's Knesset, called the Land of Israel Caucus, whose goal it is to defeat their own government's effort to allow a Palestinian state in any part of Palestine in the unlikely event it were to try to do so.

(It is not difficult to imagine how Netanyahu would have reacted to a "moderate" Palestinian government made up of parties dedicated to the denial of Israeli statehood.)

More recently, in a TV interview with Charlie Rose, Khaled Meshal stated that Hamas will end its resistance activities when Israel ends its occupation and accepts a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 border.

This reverses Hamas' previous commitment to a struggle to recover all of Palestine. Israelis and their supporters in the US ridicule anyone who credits such statements, pointing out that in that same interview Meshal insisted on the Palestinian refugees' "right of return," which he knows no Israeli government will accept.6

Apparently they expect Hamas to concede that right ~ one that Abbas and Fatah also demand ~ before negotiations have begun.

But they do not similarly ridicule Netanyahu's declared support for a two-state solution even when he attaches conditions everyone knows no Palestinian leader would ever accept.

Defenders of Netanyahu insist he must be left with negotiating room for the compromises he will have to make, but apparently believe Palestinians do not deserve that same consideration.
It is this feigned Israeli ridicule of any Arab opening towards Israel that sank King Abdullah's peace initiative of 2002 offering to normalize the relations of all Arab states with Israel; "feigned," because

It is not scepticism of Arab seriousness that is behind Israeli leaders' dismissal of Palestinian or Arab states' outreach to them, but the fear that it may be sincere, and would therefore compel serious Israeli responses that would expose Israel's real positions on final status.

That exposure is something Netanyahu has so far refused to risk, for it would prove that the territorial and security constraints he intends to impose on Palestinian sovereignty amount to a continuation of Israel's occupation under some other name. It was Netanyahu's refusal to provide that information to Obama when they met at the White House on March 23 that precipitated the crisis in Israeli-US relations that Obama sought to diffuse so humiliatingly at their meeting of July 6.

Hamas ~ pragmatic and opportunistic


But it is not only Israel that has ignored significant changes in Hamas. The United States and Europe have done so as well, insisting that Hamas must first accept conditions for engagement designed by Israel expressly to preclude the possibility of their acceptance.

There is no reason for the US to continue to support these conditions. Obama has not imposed similar conditions for talks with the Taliban. To the contrary: he is encouraging the return of the Taliban to a coalition government with President Hamid Karzai even as they are killing American forces and Afghan civilians. Is the Taliban's ideology more congenial to Obama than that of Hamas, many of whose leaders and adherents are university graduates, and who encourage rather than forbid and punish the education of their daughters?

Questioned by his interviewer in Al-Sabeel about the "marginalisation of women's role in political and social life," Meshal stated that this marginalisation "does not come from the text and spirit of the Sharia," but is the result of "cultural backwardness." He declared that Hamas will not allow "the ages of backwardness or the weight of social norms and traditions that stem from the environment rather than the religious text" to distort Islamic concepts, "especially since the environment of Palestine is not a closed one but a historically civilized one, enjoying plurality and openness to all religions, civilizations and cultures."
A recent report7 revealed that the view that US policy towards Hamas is based on a serious misreading of the movement is shared by senior intelligence officials at US Central Command ~ CENTCOM.

In a confidential report to CENTCOM's commander, General David Petraeus, these intelligence officials questioned the current US policy of isolating and marginalizing Hamas and Hizbullah, and urged that Washington instead encourage them to integrate with their respective political mainstreams.
They reject Israel's view that Hamas is incapable of change and must be confronted with force.
They maintain Hamas is pragmatic and opportunistic, and that failing to recognize its grievances will result in our continuing failure to get it to moderate its behaviour.
At the heart of Hamas' grievances is the double standard that Israel, the US and Europe apply to the entire range of issues the peace talks are intended to resolve.

Hamas' leadership maintains that what distinguishes its movement from Fatah is its refusal to swallow this hypocrisy.

It insists on absolute reciprocity, especially with respect to the Quartet's three conditions for removing the political quarantine against it.

These conditions require Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, accept all previous agreements with Israel, and renounce violence. Yet these three obligations ~ every one of them ~ have been regularly ignored and violated by Netanyahu and preceding Israeli governments.

"Do as we say, not as we do, cockroaches," is the Israeli stance as it has been from the Nakba.

Settlements violate agreements


While insisting on Hamas' recognition of Israel (a requirement to which Netanyahu has added the demand that Palestinians also declare Israel the legitimate national home of the Jewish people), Israeli governments have refused to affirm a Palestinian right to statehood anywhere within Palestine's borders. That right has been rejected not only rhetorically but by the creation of so-called "facts on the ground," ie, Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank, intended to prevent a Palestinian state from ever coming into being.

The argument that the settlements are necessary to assure territorial adjustments required for Israel's security has no credibility. The settlement enterprise long ago exceeded the most expansively defined Israeli security needs.

It was not Israel's Peace Now but former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who, while still in office, ridiculed such claims. Olmert said that for Israel's military and security establishments, "it's all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories (sic) and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless." He added, "Who thinks seriously that if we sit on another hilltop, on another hundred meters, that this is what will make the difference for the State of Israel's basic security?"8

Palestinian rights not recognised by Israel


Netanyahu's acceptance of a two-state solution, which has not been taken seriously by anyone in Israel, is not based on his recognition of the Palestinian right to national self-determination. Netanyahu led the successful opposition to Ariel Sharon's effort in 2002 to prevent the Likud's executive committee from declaring its rejection of a Palestinian state, thus precipitating Sharon's departure from the Likud to the newly-formed Kadima party.

As long as Israel's government refuses to delineate its borders and to recognize the right of Palestinians to a state of their own east of the 1967 lines, Hamas will reject demands that a Palestinian state of which it is a part recognise Israel. As noted above, Netanyahu refused to indicate his government's definition of Israel's borders even in the privacy of his meeting with President Obama at the White House on March 23.

The second Quartet condition is that Hamas abide by all previous Israeli-Palestinian accords. Clearly, neither President Obama nor the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, believe Israel has abided by this obligation, or they would not have demanded that Israel halt all further settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Israel's violations of previous accords have not been limited to borders and settlements, but include the "road map" and the Oslo accords' provisions that the future status of Jerusalem can be determined only by agreement between the parties, not by unilateral fiat, as Netanyahu's government seeks to do.

Non-violent alternative lacking

As to the third condition, renunciation of violence, Israel again is as much in violation of that requirement as is Hamas. On virtually every Israeli measure whose legality has been challenged by the Palestinians ~ eg, the confiscations of Palestinian territory for Jewish settlements, the expulsion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of a security fence on Palestinian territory ~ Israel has prevailed because of its unrestrained resort to violence to subdue or eliminate Palestinians who stand in the way.

Palestinian Jerusalem before Nakba.

As a sovereign state, Israel enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence, but only within its own borders. It has no greater claim to a right to resort to violence to implement measures – such as the transfer of its own population to territories under occupation – that are clear violations of international law, than does its subject population.

It is not reasonable, to say the least, to expect that Palestinians would renounce violence and rely instead on their occupiers ~ who covet their land and are frantically settling their own population on it ~ to serve as judge and jury of their grievances. The demand that they renounce violence without being provided a credible non-violent alternative, such as a third-party monitoring authority that is empowered to adjudicate grievances from both sides, is neither defensible nor implementable.

Hamas' religious agenda
What surprises about Hamas' rule in Gaza is not the visible increase in public religiosity ~some of it undoubtedly out of fear of Hamas' authorities ~ but Hamas' relative restraint in imposing such religious behaviour on Gaza's population, especially when compared to certain other Islamic regimes in the region.

That restraint, and Hamas' formal commitment to democratic governance notwithstanding, there is no greater danger to democracy ~ or to any kind of civilized existence ~ than the toxic combination of religious zealotry and xenophobic nationalism.

That holds as much for Israel as for Islamic movements and regimes. When the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepared their onslaught on Gaza, the chief chaplain distributed to the soldiers religious literature authored by nationalist rabbis from the settler community, instructing them that Palestinians must be considered descendants of the Biblical enemy of the ancient Israelites, the Amalekites, whom God wants utterly destroyed.

The pamphlet stated it is a sin to show compassion towards Palestinian civilians, including children. What impact that "religious" literature had on the appalling disproportion of Palestinian civilian casualties in that operation, including large numbers of Gaza's children, we will probably never know.

To be honest, Israelis have never cared one way or another for permission or allowance to kill Palestinians. They do it daily with impunity.

Hamas not an al-Qaeda proxy
Israel would like the world to believe that Hamas is nothing other than a terrorist enterprise, and that Hamas' "resistance" is in the service of a global Salafist effort to defeat the West and restore an Islamic caliphate. That is a lie intended to place Israel in the vanguard of a Western war on "global terrorism", in order to justify its demand that the West make allowances for the illegal measures it claims it must resort to if the terrorists are to be defeated.


LIE LIE LIE LIE and hope they eventually believe it if repeated often enough.

In fact, Hamas does not share al-Qaeda's goals, or its hostility to the West and the US. It has consistently rejected al-Qaeda's urgings that it target American and Western interests, limiting itself instead to the Palestinian national struggle, for which it would like American and European support, understanding how critical that support is to the achievement of Palestinian national aspirations.

Opposition from more extreme anti-Western jihadist factions and would-be al-Qaeda supporters within Gaza has been brutally put down by Hamas, for ideological reasons no less than the threat these factions pose to Hamas' hegemony.

In his interview in Al-Sabeel, Meshal rejected violence for its own sake, or as dictated by ideology or religion. He argued violence may be necessary for pragmatic reasons, because "negotiations and peace require a balance of power, for peace cannot be made when one party is powerful and the other weak; otherwise this will be surrender." Those who are forced to negotiate out of weakness and on terms that disadvantage their rights "are the ones that will pay the price of the negotiations," he said.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its parent body, it has little in common with a Salafist purism that calls for a literalistic Islam insulated from modernity and from a modernizing pragmatism that seeks to adapt Islam to the modern world.9 Predictions of its likely behaviour when Palestinian statehood will have been achieved can no more be based on its behaviour during a revolutionary struggle against a powerful occupier than the Yishuv's10 resort to terror during its pre-state struggle was an indication of its comportment after the founding of the state.

Jewish terror
The targeting of Arab civilians by Jewish terror groups in the 1930s is documented in painful detail by Benny Morris, Israel's leading chronicler of the Jewish struggle for a homeland in Palestine. In Righteous Victims, Morris writes that the upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 "triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension to the conflict."

While in the past Arabs had "sniped at cars and pedestrians and occasionally lobbed a grenade, often killing or injuring a few bystanders or passengers," now "for the first time, massive bombs were placed in crowded Arab centers, and dozens of people were indiscriminately murdered and maimed." Morris notes that "this 'innovation' soon found Arab imitators."11

That there may also have been yet untold Israeli violations of international law well after the establishment of the state too incriminating to be revealed seems evident from Netanyahu's recent decision to restrict access to government archives on subjects that include, according to a Haaretz editorial entitled "A state afraid of its past,"12 expulsions and massacres of Arabs during and following Israel's War of Independence.

Zionist terrorism does not condone Hamas' terrorism.

But its history serves to make two points: the inevitability of such abuses when non-violent paths to the achievement of legitimate national goals are denied, and the fallacy of the Israeli claim that a state that comes into existence by terrorist means must inevitably become a terrorist state. The leaders of the two major pre-state Zionist terror organizations, Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, became prime ministers of what Israelis like to believe is "the only democracy in the Middle East." (Not that there are many other democracies in the region, but Israeli democracy increasingly stands on the most fragile of foundations.)

There is no democracy there. Israel is a zionist/Bolshevik state that pretends to be a democracy before a western world that knows nothing about such definitions.

The Israeli charge that, unlike the Zionists who abandoned past excesses once they achieved statehood, Hamas continued its terror assaults on Israel even after Prime Minister Sharon withdrew every Jewish settlement and settler from Gaza is disingenuous.

The dishonesty of that comparison lies in its implication that with the withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinians achieved their goal of statehood and independence in a part of Palestine.

Not only the West Bank, but Gaza has remained under Israel's occupation, for it has been surrounded by the IDF on land, sea and air, and subjected to an Israeli campaign of de-development that has completely devastated what had remained of Gaza's economy. The stability that Hamas has achieved in Gaza despite Israel's relentless efforts to bring it down is at least as impressive as what the Palestinian Authority (PA) has achieved in the West Bank, given the vast European and American resources endlessly poured into the PA's treasury.13

Breaking the stalemate

Political Islam cannot be ignored
Having decided to join the Palestinian political process in 2005 and won a free and fair democratic election (the first in the Arab Middle East) in 2006, Hamas is surely as legitimate a stakeholder in the Israel-Palestine conflict as is Fatah, the party that lost that election. A peace accord that ignores legitimate stakeholders cannot hope to succeed.

But there are fundamental reasons for changing Israeli and US policy towards Hamas that go well beyond Hamas' capacity to prevent a peace accord reached only with Abbas.

Political Islam has emerged as the dominant religious, cultural and political movement in the Arab world and in much of the larger Islamic world. Most Muslim governments recognize this reality and have come to realize that competition with political Islam "can neither be suppressed nor ignored."14 Israel is a Middle Eastern country, and cannot expect to achieve security by conducting an endless war against political Islam. Its misguided effort to do so is not a sustainable national policy.

However, the long term goal for the creation of Israel is not so much for the creation of a jewish nation so much as the destabilizing of the Arab world culminating in the destruction of both.

If the unresolved Israel-Arab conflict is not to bring the region to more radical instability and deeper conflict that will inevitably exact a heavy price from America as well, the Obama administration must lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation. I

f Obama cannot provide that leadership, Europe must do so, and hope America will at least follow. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet ~ not even American-sponsored parameters ~ that can guarantee the goal of "two states living side by side in peace and security." But President Obama's present course absolutely precludes it.

* Henry Siegman is president of the US/Middle East Project (USMEP), an independent policy institute. He is also a research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Programme of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Mr. Siegman has published extensively on the Middle East peace process and has been consulted by governments, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Major studies directed by Mr. Siegman for the Council on Foreign Relations include Harnessing trade for development and growth in the Middle East (2002), and Strengthening Palestinian public institutions (1999), conducted on behalf of the European Commission and the government of Norway. In 2002, he directed a study commissioned by the US Department of State and the US National Intelligence Council on the implications of "viability" for Palestinian statehood.


Posted by Noor al Haqiqa at 8:52 AM

River to Sea Uprooted  Palestinian

Friday, 10 September 2010

Divestment: from the campus to the streets

Mohammad Talaat, The Electronic Intifada, 8 September 2010

 



Following a sharp increase in divestment efforts across North American college campuses last spring, this academic year promises an even greater number of initiatives. The success and near-success of efforts at several campuses last year, coupled with Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this summer, has inspired new efforts among peace and justice activists to target companies that profit from and abet Israel's apartheid regime.

Perhaps the largest divestment initiative is taking shape in California. The California Israel Divestment initiative is seeking to put a ballot measure to California voters that requires the state pension funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), to divest from companies enabling or profiting from Israeli occupation and systematic violations of Palestinians' human rights. Although not a university-based effort, it is being led in large part by faculty members and students. Their goal is clear: faced by stonewalling from university administrations, the case is being taken directly to California voters.

Students from the University of California (UC) and California State (CSU) campuses are coordinating a major drive to collect the 440,000 signatures required for the ballot initiative, and the list of volunteers keeps growing. The initiative has already received the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Professor Noam Chomsky, a number of other public and religious figures, and CalPERS and CalSTRS members.

Meanwhile, campus divestment efforts continue to grow in number and scope. University administrators, typically beholden to conventional donors and afraid of the "anti-Semitism label," have moved to limit the "damage" of the mushrooming boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Hampshire College, for instance, sold its State Street fund but publicly denied that it was motivated by divestment from Israel. Some other administrations have tried to ignore the issue, wishing it away. However, these attempts have only backfired.

The response of the University of California (UC) administration to campus divestment initiatives is a prominent example of how desperate the status quo forces are, and the shrinking moral and intellectual ground under their feet.

Last spring, student governments at two UC campuses introduced measures calling for divestment from companies profiting from Israel's occupation and war crimes committed during its winter 2008-09 invasion of Gaza. In response, UC President Mark Yudof, together with the chair and vice-chair of the UC Board of Regents, issued a formal "UC Statement on Divestment" which rejected the singling out of Israel, even though the bills exclusively focused on US companies providing material support to Israel's illegal occupation and documented war crimes. The statement also referred to the pain the divestment initiatives brought upon the Jewish community, despite the strong support that the bills received from local and international Jewish individuals and organizations. The statement ignored the 41 student organizations, 86 UC faculty members, not to mention five Nobel peace laureates, who publicly supported the resolutions. In addition to attempting to minimize the scope of the divestment initiative's support on campus by its dismissive language, the statement declared UC opposition to considering any divestment measures to the regents unless the US government declares that the state in question is committing genocide.

However, the notion that an academic institution can follow a socially responsible investment policy only after the US government has made a finding that acts of genocide -- no less - are taking place goes against UC's legacy and the values of citizen-led democracy and activism. It ensures inaction in the name of unspeakable horror and surrenders human conscience and responsibility to the calendar and temperament of American politicians. After all, Washington has yet to make a determination on the Armenian genocide of the First World War!

According to this policy of deference to the US government, UC would have found it unacceptable to divest from companies supporting the Nazi occupation of Europe and the extermination of civilians in death camps prior to the US declaration of war -- or even the official recognition of genocide after the war ended. Moreover, had Yudof been UC President in 1986, he would not have voted to divest from companies supporting South Africa's apartheid regime when the UC Regents memorably did, to ground-breaking success. As an academic and presumed defender of free speech, the UC president should be protesting this policy, not advocating it.

These proclamations by university administrators aim to empty academic conscience and activism of any substance, and to reduce them to empty slogans and colorful parades. The policies they advance are a thinly-veiled effort to incapacitate university campuses from leading any effort to challenge racism and social injustice. As autonomous actors, universities and independent citizens should retain the right to influence the policy of their government. If what is going on in California is any indication, authoritative attempts by campus administrations to muzzle or stonewall the exercise of this right on campus will likely result in their constituency taking their activism to the street! It is this right that faculty and students alike will be exercising this academic year and every year on campus and off campus, until Israeli apartheid is dismantled.

Mohammad Talaat is Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Cairo University and a UC Berkeley Alum. He currently is on academic leave in the San Francisco Bay Area.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian