ISRAEL WARNS THE WORLD AGAINST PALESTINIAN UNITY

Despite the fact that the two defacto Presidents of Israel and Palestine head off to the Vatican together early next week, the government of Israel is doing everything in its power to sabotage the new Unity Government scheduled to be sworn in by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority today …

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The reconciliation pact, intended to repair a fierce seven-year rift between Hamas and Mr. Abbas’s Fatah faction and to reunite the Palestinian geographic territories under one rule, prompted Israel to halt the stalemated American-brokered peace negotiations on April 24. Now the focus turns to whether the new government can deliver overdue Palestinian elections after six months as promised — and, in the shorter term, whether it can persuade Egypt to reopen Gaza’s southern Rafah crossing and address the fuel shortages and skyrocketing unemployment that have plagued the coastal strip for months.

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Israel Warns Against Embracing Newly Reconciled Palestinian Government

TODAY’S TOON ~~NETANYAHU’S ATTEMPTS TO STOP PALESTINIAN RECONCILIATION

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Altagreer-Hamas-Fatah-conciliation3

WHAT AWAITS PALESTINE IN 2012?

The Palestinian leadership, including Fatah and Hamas, must get its act together in 2012 and make sure it is not going to be another year of futile waiting.
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Palestinians must get their act together in 2012
By Khalid Amayreh
 

2011 was not a particularly bad year for Palestine. In this year, hundreds of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners were able to see the light, having been released from Israeli dungeons and detention camps.

Needless to say, many of these heroes would have spent the rest of their lives in Zionist jails, had it not been for the so-called Shalit deal and Israel’s effective capitulation to Hamas’s conditions for the release of the captive Zionist soldier.

Thanks to the deal, hundreds of Palestinian families, which had lost the hope for ever seeing their beloved ones alive again, breathed a sigh of relief as they were reunited with their children, brothers, husbands and daughters.

Needless to say, Israel had tried every conceivable effort and intelligence act  to locate the captive soldier, but to no avail. After all, Shalit was held under Israel’s nose somewhere in the Gaza Strip for more than 60 months.

This fact alone should make us look with admiration and gratitude to those unknown but heroic soldiers who were able to keep this valuable secret all these months and years.

2011 brought us the Arab Spring, which consigned several tyrannical  pro-American regimes to the dustbin  of history. Some of these regimes, such as that of ex-president Husni Mubarak of Egypt , had been a serious liability for the Palestinian struggle and steadfastness.

For example,  in 2008-09, the Egyptian regime colluded, connived and collaborated with the Zionist entity to murder, torment and vanquish the Gaza Strip, enabling Israel to carry out its Nazi-like  onslaught on the virtually unprotected coastal territory, killing, incinerating and maiming thousands of Palestinians men, women and children.

More to the point, the regime sought effectively to consolidate the criminal Israeli siege on Gaza, by building another concrete wall to make it virtually impossible for Gazans to smuggle even a pack of milk from the Egyptian side of the borders to their starving children on the other side.

Hence, the removal of that regime is considered a great victory for both the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples, for the Egyptians because the corrupt Mubarak regime suppressed human rights and civil liberties in deference to Israeli and American interests, and for the Palestinians because the regime was viewed as a strategic asset for the Zionist regime since it allowed the Zionist entity to savage the Palestinians in exchange for American aid and political protection.

The elections that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt were also auspicious news for the Palestinian cause. The triumph of  Islamic or quasi-Islamic parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, is probably some of the best news the Palestinian cause and people have received in many decades.

True, we don’t expect to see miracles very soon as a result of the Arab Spring. However, there is no doubt that the strategic changes taking  place in the Arab world have confused and unsettled Israel’s strategic calculations in the region.

Israel, which is becoming a fully-fledged fascist state, had probably planned to embark on unthinkable measures against the Palestinians, possibly including genocidal massacres, induced emigration and ethnic cleansing.

However, thanks to the Arab Spring, especially the Egyptian revolution, Israel is very likely to think twice before pursuing its lebensraum policy against its neighbors.

The end of 2011 also brought the Palestinian people much closer to national reconciliation and unity.

Hamas agreed to join the PLO and all the sides agreed to form a government of national unity, release political prisoners and hold elections for the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as for the Palestinian National Council.

What is especially important is that the psychology of the Palestinian people improved significantly during 2011 despite unrelenting Zionist aggressions and provocations.

None the less, there is much to be done in 2012. The National reconciliation must materialize on the ground and ordinary Palestinians must feel its tangible effects.

However,  It is probably  unlikely that true national unity between Fatah and Hamas will  be achievable unless the PA and the Ramallah regime end the  ignominious cooperation and coordination with the Zionist occupation army.

Indeed, the security coordination has been  a sad chapter in recent Palestinian history and it  must be ended sooner than later.

Moreover, with the unmitigated theft of Palestinian land continuing at the hands of the Zionist regime, the PA should have the courage to declare the end of the mendacious peace process.

Yes, dismantling the PA infrastructure may not seem easily done as said. However, if it becomes clear that the existence of the PA militates against and hinders the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, then Palestinian leaders must not flinch from  embarking on dissolving the PA. After all the establishment of an independent  Palestinian state is the  raison d’etre of the PA itself, as PA official Sa’eb Erikat said on several occasions.

In any case, the Palestinian leadership should stop playing games with the fate and destiny of the Palestinian people and cause.

We have indulged in futile political games too much and for too long, and must therefore come to the hour of truth.

And reaching the hour of truth should also mean a realization that the creation of a viable Palestinian state on the West Bank, one with Jerusalem as its capital, is no longer a realistic option given the phenomenal spread of Jewish colonies.

Hence, the Palestinian leadership, including Fatah and Hamas, must get its act together in 2012 and make sure it is not going to be another year of futile waiting.

THE ‘NO-DEAL’ PALESTINIAN PRISONER LEFT BEHIND

Page by page, Marwan Barghouti’s anti-war tome walked out of prison

Joseph Dana

A Palestinian artist finishes a portrait of jailed Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti on a cement barrier near the Israeli-controlled Qalandia checkpoint, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. AFP
*A Palestinian artist finishes a portrait of jailed Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti on a cement barrier near the Israeli-controlled Qalandia checkpoint, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. AFP
Fadwa, Marwan Barghouti's wife, photographed in 2005 as she is briefed by a security official on her arrival at the El-Tufah checkpoint in Khan Yunes in the southern Gaza Strip. She believes that her husband
*Fadwa, Marwan Barghouti’s wife, photographed in 2005 as she is briefed by a security official on her arrival at the El-Tufah checkpoint in Khan Yunes in the southern Gaza Strip. She believes that her husband “is the natural leader of the Palestinian people … [they want him] to lead them in their fight against occupation”. AFP
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Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza celebrated the return of their loved ones last Sunday as the final wave of prisoners were released in an exchange between Hamas and Israel. However, one prisoner was notably absent. Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader known by many Palestinians as the “prince of resistance”, remains behind bars in Israel despite promises from the Palestinian leadership that his freedom would be secured through the exchange of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. On the eve of the prisoner swap, Barghouti released a 255-page book, written secretly behind bars and smuggled out via lawyers and family members, detailing his experience in Israeli jails.

Barghouti is a figure of towering reverence among Palestinians and even some Israelis, regardless of political persuasion. Yet, he was reluctant to begin a life in the political spotlight. In fact, the Israeli occupation came to him, his long-time friend Sa’ad Nimer noted during a long conversation in a dank Ramallah coffee shop. When Barghouti was just 15, living in the small village of Kober just outside Ramallah, Israeli soldiers shot his beloved dog during a military sweep of the village. From that moment on, Nimer said in a haze of nostalgia, the occupation was a personal issue for Barghouti.

A natural leader with admirable charisma and an unwavering hatred of Israeli occupation, Barghouti has been an active political leader since the early 1980s. At age 18, during one of his early stints in an Israeli prison for political organising, he was elected the prisoner representative, a task which required him to unify competing political affiliations of prisoners and negotiate with Israeli authorities. The appointment foreshadowed a long career of uniting Palestinians regardless of political agenda.

Despite his vocal support for the two-state solution and attempts at reconciliation with Israeli civil society, Barghouti has remained a puzzling and aggressive figure for Israel. “When Marwan got out of jail the second time [in 1982 at age 23], the Israelis did not know what to do with him,” said Nimer, who is the director of the Free Marwan Baghouti Campaign based in Ramallah. In the early 1980s, Barghouti was a primary organiser in the Shabibia movement, a Fatah-based student group that campaigned for better education standards in Palestine. The movement, still active in the West Bank, was a primary organising vehicle of the First Intifada.

While not overtly against the occupation, Barghouti’s early political activity was understood by Israel as a threat and he was deported to Jordan under extraordinary circumstances. According to Nimer, “Jordan was not taking deportees at the time, so the Israelis just put him on a helicopter and dropped him into the middle of the Jordanian desert, desperate to get rid of him”.

From Jordan, Barghouti helped organise the First Intifada, relaying messages and tactics to Palestinians, mostly aligned with Shabibia, in the West Bank. After the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1994 he returned to the West Bank as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the parliament of the Palestinian Authority, and embraced the peace process wholeheartedly.

During his time as a PLC member, he maintained a tough stance on corruption inside Palestinian politics and won himself many enemies in the upper echelons of power in the West Bank and Gaza. Unlike many of his colleagues in the PLC, Barghouti was never appointed to public office and derived his political capital directly from the people who consistently provided him with strong electoral results.

For Kadoura Fares, the current president of the Palestinian Prisoners Association and former member of the PLC, Barghouti’s pragmatic approach to peace during the 1990s demonstrated his overarching desire to end Israeli occupation at all costs. “We had a meeting with Israeli officials in Jerusalem in 1996,” Fares told me in his comfortable Ramallah office adorned with paintings of the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish. “I was very worried because of the negative reaction of many Palestinians towards meeting with the Israelis, but Marwan calmed me down. He told me that it was the time for peace and we must pursue it despite the public pressure. He would always say that there is a time for peace and a time for resistance. It was a time for peace.”

When Oslo collapsed and the Second Intifada engulfed Israel and the Palestinian territories in violence, Barghouti embraced armed resistance. He assumed a leadership position in Fatah’s armed wing, coordinating attacks against the Israeli military in the West Bank and Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv. It is for these activities that Israelis understand Barghouti as a terrorist leader. His friends and colleagues maintain that his support of armed resistance as a vehicle to achieving an end to occupation was in line with the popular sentiments expressed on the street at the time.

“He got credibility for supporting armed resistance from the Palestinian street,” recalls Laila Jamal, a member of the Palestinian Authority’s media department from the village of Salfit in the central West Bank. “During that time, we saw the occupation in action and everyone supported armed resistance. He understood this and acted in line with the popular sentiment.”

Barghouti was arrested by Israeli forces conducting sweeps in Ramallah in April 2002 while he was a sitting member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was quickly transferred to Israel for trial in a civilian court on multiple counts of murder including authorising and organising an attack in Tel Aviv in which many civilians were killed, attempted murder and membership in a terrorist organisation.

Citing the illegitimacy of the Israeli legal system over occupied Palestinians, Barghouti refused to accept the charges or stage a defence in the Tel Aviv court. During the drawn out proceedings, he delivered impassioned and researched speeches arguing that the court and the practices of the Israeli military in the West Bank were illegal under international law.

He never recognised the authority of the Israeli court system from his first statement to the judge in which he proclaimed, “I am a political leader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, elected by my people. Israel has no right to try me, to accuse me, judge me. This is a violation of international law. I have a right to resist occupation.” Dismissing the allegation, Israel charged him with five life sentences for murdering Israelis and 40 years imprisonment for attempted murder, which he is currently serving.

Since his conviction, Barghouti has done what he knows best; actively campaigning for the reunification of Palestinian political factions. After the 2006 Hamas-Fatah split, which resulted in bloody infighting among the factions, Barghouti organised a prisoners’ campaign with members of Hamas, Fatah as well as PFLP and DFLP that called for immediate reunification. According to those close to him, like Fares, his work on Palestinian unity is a reason why so many Palestinian politicians are afraid of his freedom and a possible reason why he was left out of the recent prisoner swap.

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If there is one experience that has the potential to unify the Palestinian people, it is the experience of being a prisoner in an Israeli military jail. Barghouti’s new book, One Thousand Nights in Solitude, is, at its core, a book about dealing with the Israeli prison system as a Palestinian. Reading like an instruction manual for coping with the experiences of interrogation and prolonged detainment, the book breaks new ground in the underreported subject of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian political prisoners.

Israel’s military court system has processed roughly 750,000 Palestinians according to the Red Crescent, but exact numbers are hard to obtain. In fact, any sort of exact information about Israel’s military jail system is difficult to find given its role as one of the primary Israeli mechanisms of controlling Palestinian dissent and nascent resistance to the occupation.

According to a recent expose by the Israeli liberal daily Haaretz, military courts have an astonishingly high conviction rate of 99.74 per cent. Many Palestinian defendants are put through a programme of psychological and physical torture that often results in coerced testimonies necessary in the maintenance of a high conviction rate. Haaretz has also released reports seemingly confirming the widespread belief that torture is widely used and that Israeli military judges are often aware that information used in tribunals is obtained through psychological and physical torture.

“He is trying to create a civil resistance inside the military prison system,” said Majad Abdel Hamid, a young artist and political activist in Ramallah. “If all Palestinians refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli military court system, Israel would be in big trouble. This is partly what the new book is about.”

Kept in solitary confinement for an extended period and put through various periods of psychological and even physical torture, Barghouti’s book details the tenacity required to not wilt under such difficult conditions. In the first chapter, he describes in verbose language how Israel used various interrogators to coerce information out of him regarding senior Fatah leaders in the West Bank. This common procedure was extremely tough on Barghouti since, in the words of Sa’ad Nimer, “they wanted information tying Yasser Arafat to terrorism and they never got it from Marwan”.

Following a political career best understood as leading by example, Barghouti sets out to demonstrate how Palestinians can achieve a meaningful non-violent resistance against the military court system. In addition to the practical information of surviving within the Israeli prison system, he details his arguments for Palestinian political unity as a means of resistance to Israeli occupation.

The book devotes great detail to his three years housed in a tiny cell (measuring one by 1.5 metres) in solitary confinement. It is from this experience that the title, One Thousand Nights in Solitude was born.

Fadwa Barghouti is a carefully appointed woman who has spearheaded her husband’s awareness campaign since the beginning of his current imprisonment. From the same village of Kober, Fadwa is a distant relative of Marwan, sharing the same fourth-generation great grandfather. Sitting in her comfortable office overlooking the Muqata compound where Yasser Arafat was confined by Israeli forces at the height of the Second Intifada, Fadwa remains confident that her husband will be released soon, but is visibly upset at the recent failure by Hamas to gain his freedom. “I know why he was not released,” she told me sipping sugary tea, “but I am not going to tell you.”

Sitting under the ubiquitous photo of her husband surrounded by Israeli prison guards with handcuffed hands held high, she glowingly reports that he is using his time in prison to enrich himself intellectually.

He is a ferocious reader, consuming books in English, Arabic, Hebrew and French on topics ranging from French colonial rule in Algeria to the latest biographies of the former US president Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister. He also has a deep respect for the work of Paulo Coehlo and the Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Liebowitz. Additionally, Barghouti has written two books and completed his PhD from the University of Cairo entitled, The Legislative and Political Performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council and its Contribution to the Democratic Process in Palestine from 1996 to 2008. His doctorate, like the recent book, was smuggled out of jail one page at a time and took years to complete.

In addition to maintaining public and international pressure on Palestinian and Israeli leaders for the release of her husband, Fadwa has had to raise her family without a father. One of their three sons is now living in the United Kingdom while completing his higher education. His other two sons and one daughter live in the West Bank and are known in Ramallah for their active social lives and lack of interest in Palestinian national politics. Fadwa’s dedication to her husband is demonstrated in the romantic language used to describe his meaning to the Palestinian people.

“Marwan Barghouti is the natural leader of the Palestinian people,” Fadwa said. “In opinion polls, he is regularly shown to be the choice of Palestinians because of his adherence to the two-state solution, his fight against corruption and for the rights of women and democracy. The people want Marwan Barghouti to lead them in their fight against occupation.”

Palestinians are exhausted from the emotional and physical toll of the Second Intifada. Most express dismay at the infighting that has plagued the political establishment since the 2006 fallout between Hamas and Fatah but offer little solution for dealing with it. There is also a sense that the political establishment is no longer working in the interests of the people despite the highly popular attempt to achieve statehood recognition at the United Nations earlier this year, which Barghouti supported from jail.

“I think what is needed now from the leadership is to have honesty and self-reflection. In a way, this is one of the strengths of Marwan Barghouti in that he is honest with Palestinians. He doesn’t b******* us. We are sick and tired of Palestinian leaders who [do],” said Majd Abdel Hamid, who is part of the March 15th youth movement that demanded reconciliation of political factions earlier this year after the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia reshaped the Middle East. He does not support any Palestinian political party, like many in the March 15th movement, but believes that Barghouti has the power to open a new chapter in the Palestinian national struggle if only he is released from jail.

Dancing around the subject of the recent prisoner swap, Fadwa Barghouti remains confident that the current political leadership is afraid of a free Barghouti. For five years she was told by Fatah and Hamas leaders that her husband’s freedom would come in the form of the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But, at the last minute, a month before the controversial deal between Hamas and Israel was signed in Egypt, Barghouti, along with nine other senior political prisoners, were dropped from this list.

“I believe that there was a weak attempt in the prisoners swap to free my husband,” Fadwa said, asserting that securing her husband’s release was indeed possible. “I am talking about the Palestinian leadership of Hamas and Fatah. The people have been demanding his release for the last 10 years and they simply ignored the people’s will.”

Indeed, Marwan Barghouti is often cited as a potential replacement for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Barghouti along with Kadoura Fares and Mohammad Dahlan threatened to begin an independent party called Al-Mustaqbal (The Future) in 2005 after Abbas offered Barghouti second place in Fatah despite clear indications that Barghouti would win national election. Ultimately, according to Fares, Barghouti felt that a second party would harm Palestinian unity and ran on the Fatah party ticket, securing a seat in the PLC as a Fatah member.

Due to the belief that Barghouti would be part of the recent prisoner swap, the grassroots movement to free him has lost momentum in recent years.

But, according to Fadwa Barghouti, things have changed and with the release of his new book there are renewed efforts to pressure the Palestinian leadership to negotiate his release. The Free Marwan Barghouti campaign is planning to stage several demonstrations in March under the banner that Palestinians refuse negotiations with Israel without a free Barghouti to lead them.

“The pressure is on the politicians, all the politicians, to release Marwan if they want to move forward with negotiations with Israel,” Fadwa told me. “Palestinians want their leader to move them forward and the political establishment will have to deal with this reality in the new year.”

Whenever discussions arise about Marwan Barghouti in Israel or Palestine, one name is unavoidable: Nelson Mandela. In the 1990s, dovish Israeli politicians and political thinkers such as Uri Avenry began calling Barghouti Palestine’s Mandela. The comparison is not without merit: both leaders have refused to swear off armed resistance, both have spent long periods of time in jail, unwilling to cooperate with authorities, and both have enjoyed a unique loyalty from their people that has transcended political affiliations. Israeli society will continue to see Barghouti as a symbol of the violent Second Intifada, but after his inevitable release, they will likely be seeing him sitting at a negotiations table working to end the conflict and dismantle the Israeli occupation.

After the statehood campaign in the UN that failed to achieve independence, Palestinians are left with a power vacuum and a tough road to reconciliation. Now, more than ever, a leader is required to bring Palestine’s political factions together. When asked who might be the leader to open a new chapter in Palestinian politics, Kadura Fares paused, and took a long drag from his ever present cigarette, “it is not necessarily one individual who can do that with the snap of his fingers. Abu Mazen tried, he did a lot, but it was not enough, but I do think that Marwan could be the person.”

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NEW YORK TIMES FEARS SHALIT DEAL WILL HARM ISRAEL’S SECURITY

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While applauding the fact that Shalit is now home with his family, a picture of gloom is painted regarding the Palestinian prisoners that were released in yesterday’s swap. In today’s editorial, the New York Times makes it clear what their position on Israel is, basically, the hell with Palestine. Their concern for Abbas and his ilk and total negation of the FACT that Hamas was the Party elected by the Palestinian people shows a total disregard for the hopes and aspirations of those people … Now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has compromised with Hamas, we fear that to prove his toughness he will be even less willing to make the necessary compromises to restart negotiations. And we fear that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Fatah faction, who were cut out of the swap altogether, will be further weakened.
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Perhaps the time has come for the New York Times and other pro zionist news outlets to reexamine the situation and present the facts, rather than their distorted opinions and lies.
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Gilad Shalit’s Release

We share the joy of Israelis over the release of Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit, who was held by Hamas for five years. We will leave it to the Israeli people to debate whether the deal — which includes the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners — will make their country safer or lead to more violence or more abductions of Israeli soldiers or other citizens.

We are already concerned that the deal will further thwart an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, the only real guarantee of lasting security for both sides.

Now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has compromised with Hamas, we fear that to prove his toughness he will be even less willing to make the necessary compromises to restart negotiations. And we fear that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Fatah faction, who were cut out of the swap altogether, will be further weakened.

Both Mr. Netanyahu and Hamas were looking for a political win after Mr. Abbas grabbed the international spotlight — and saw his popularity soar — when he asked the United Nations last month to grant his undefined country full membership.

Mr. Netanyahu twisted himself in an ideological knot to get this deal. Only five months ago, he wanted to cut off tax remittances to the Palestinian Authority and urged the United States to halt aid because Mr. Abbas tried to forge a unity government with Hamas, which controls Gaza.

One has to ask: If Mr. Netanyahu can negotiate with Hamas — which shoots rockets at Israel, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence and, on Tuesday, vowed to take even more hostages — why won’t he negotiate seriously with the Palestinian Authority, which Israel relies on to help keep the peace in the West Bank?

Mr. Netanyahu’s backers claim that his coalition is so fragile that he can’t make the compromises needed to help revive peace negotiations. But he was strong enough to go against the grief-stricken families of those Israelis killed by the Palestinian prisoners he just freed. “I know that the price is very heavy for you,” he wrote to them. Why can’t he make a similarly impassioned appeal for a settlement freeze for the sake of Israel’s security?

The United States and its partners should keep trying to get negotiations going. Mr. Abbas should see the prisoner swap for what it is — a challenge to his authority and credibility. The best way to bolster his standing is by leading his people in the creation of a Palestinian state, through negotiations. As for Mr. Netanyahu, we saw on Tuesday that the problem is not that he can’t compromise and make tough choices. It’s that he won’t. That won’t make Israel safer.

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IS HAMAS ASSUMING THE ROLE OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY?

UPDATE  Sent By Paola Pisi @ Uruknet

good news from Gaza: Abu Yazan got released & he just arrived home after 3 days of illegal arrest by hamas authorities.

 

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When Hamas and Fatah supposedly reconciled their differences a few months ago it was hoped that there would be a new breath of Freedom in the Palestinian territories. Instead, we seem to be witnessing more of the same injustices we have seen in the West Bank in Gaza these days. Has Israel finally influenced Hamas to play the role the Palestinian Authority has been playing by serving zion’s interests, rather than those of Palestine?
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Is this their way of getting Israel’s ‘nod of approval’ to rule when Palestine is a Free State?
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Yesterday, news spread about arresting a young activist by the local authorities in Gaza. Hamas called him to take his confiscated things (laptop & mobile) then arrested him banning him from contacting his family or lawyer!
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FreeAbuYazan
by Ebaa Rezeq*

Yesterday, news spread about arresting a young activist by the local authorities in Gaza. Hamas called him to take his confiscated things (laptop & mobile) then arrested him banning him from contacting his family or lawyer! But how it all started..?

Well, Abu Yazan & I were chosen to travel to Paris for a social media program for 5 days! It was coordinated via the French Cultural Center in Gaza. We both study English-French literature, students in the French Center, blog, known social & political activists which make us qualified candidates for this program! But was it enough for Hamas?

After the five-day program finished we stayed extra more days in Paris then we left heading to Egypt. Abu Yazan was deported from the Egyptian side to Gaza and humiliated, but I was allowed to get in to Cairo! He got to Gaza, nothing happened. One month later on my way to cross the Palestinian hall in Rafah Crossing to finally get into Gaza that I missed so much, Hamas officers stopped me. They asked where and why was I travelling, I answered them saying that I went to France for some social media program, then to Egypt to meet with my aunts and attend the opening of the revolution movie “18 days” that I was invited to. Then later they knew that Abu Yazan was with me in France. They immediately started to look for more information about him. They interrogated me for more than 2 hours and searched through all of my stuff, clothes, opened presents in a very humiliating way as if I’m a drug dealer! A lot of things were confiscated (digital camera, flip camera, external hard disc, flash and memory cards, ipod, my mobile with the Egyptian, French and the Palestinian sim cards, a notebook, and all of the political magazines and leaflets I had with me! Most of those were mine but some were not, they just didn’t care. That was on Thursday July, 27. I had no contact with my family or a lawyer and when I asked what kind of accusations I might be having to get all of this, they said that it’s none of my business, I have no right to ask and I’ll know next time I get interrogated which was Sunday August the 7th! At the meantime, Abu Yazan received a paper saying he should go to the internal security office for interrogation. We both went there twice after that incident on the border on my way back to Gaza.

It turned out that our crime is that we’ve been very active in the March 15 protests that called for unity between Fatah and Hamas. We were interrogated separately, but had the same reaction when we felt that they deal with this movement as a crime and actually going after its members now. We tried to explain that we didn’t go against anyone and what we called for was in our cause’s interest which is the only thing that matters to us! What we did understand from their questions is that we’ve “as in March 15 members” been meeting with politicians (both Palestinian and foreign), implying their agendas as getting funded by them and asking them for visas. Also sitting with Israelis “which means we’re spies” and they’re holding all kinds of evidences against us! It doesn’t matter how repeatedly we denied all of this madness and how we asked them to show us those evidences and give us a fair trial then if that is the case. As you all should be aware of that there’s no such a thing called “law” here in this small coastal enclave. All we could do is go to human rights organizations to fill complaints which is what we’ve been doing for ages now every time a violation happens, but it’s all in vain! I assigned a lawyer this time, but what could he possibly do? He came to my first interrogation and wasn’t allowed to stay, wasn’t informed of any accusations held against me, simply, he did nothing more than I’d do and couldn’t make them (god forbid) abide by the law! All these organizations and centers could offer is their monthly report about Hamas violations after taking your statement. That is their one and only accomplishment and they seem to be satisfied with it :)

During the interrogation we were asked about our activities and about what the social media means. I tried over and over to explain them that social media is about civilian journalists. It’s that you are your own media which sometimes and recently much more effective than the mainstream media! After trying so hard to make them get it, they kept asking if our study in college has anything to do with media and for our press card, we said that social media requires no cards and no certificates! I mentioned that a video we (a group of activists) did on the Rafah crossing is a good example of what I’m trying to explain them, but they weren’t interested! And when my friend told them about the weekly demonstration we’re part of against the Israeli Occupation and the buffer zone northern Gaza, their immediate response was “Yeah, you go there, take photos of yourself to show off on facebook”!!!! Abu Yazan said: “Yeah, anything for facebook photos, even going standing only 80 meters far from the wall under live bullets!”. “Apparently, you’ve never been there!”

Abu Yazan & I were waiting for this big, unjustified mess to be over so we can at least blog about it. No one could’ve imagined that he’d be arrested!! We were told that we’ll be no longer interrogated and they’ll call us to get our stuff back. I had no call, but Abu Yazan did and that’s how they arrested him!

My dear friend had to listen to their inappropriate accusations of me and him being in a relationship when he told them that we’re classmates, bloggers and activists and that’s how we know each other!
And I’ve had to cover my head in order to be interrogated by them. They refused to meet me and give me back my things (that I still don’t have yet) unless I put on a hejab. I told them I don’t have any, so they brought me one, a stinky one! And also they brought a praying mattress to cover my legs. Wooo, wait a minute, no I wasn’t wearing a dress or a mini skirt. Nope, I was wearing trousers, baggy ones! We both had to put with their insults and religious preaches as being liberal and secular for them = an infidel!

Abu Yazan is one of the founders of GYBO which produced a rap song “The Mystery” honoring everyone who worked on breaking the blockade on Gaza!

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This is day two, and no one knows anything about him. I really wanted to blog about my very-first-time-to-get-out-of-Gaza experience, but I couldn’t escape posting about Hamas’s warm welcome for me that has been lasting for more than half a month now.

Free Abu Yazan..Free your minds!

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*About Ebaa Rezeq

A Palestinian girl from the craziest yet most unique place, Gaza! I automatically support mass uprisings and revolutions against injustice, oppression and violations of freedom of speech. I come from a family who lived under the rule of Mubarak (Egypt), Hafez El Asad (Syria), Hussein Ben Talal (Jordan), Al Qaddafi (Libya) and now Gaza, so I guess you all understand my obsession in revolutions. I have one BIG enemy, deadlines. And I’m a feminist.

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Written FOR

SEPTEMBER IS COMING ~~ PALESTINE WILL SOON BE BACK ON THE MAP

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September
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

In memorium: friend of Palestine, a great French activist, who founded friends of Al-Rowwad Theater (Aida Refugee Camp) in France,  Jean-Claude Ponsin passed away at age 81.  We shall not forget such great human beings.

Some of my friends in Fatah and others will not like some of what I have to say here. Others will respect and even appreciate it including some members of Fatah central committee.  The situation is becoming intolerable and some of us feel we cannot remain silent. I personally owe it to the 50,000 of you who occasionally read my emails and the many who specifically email to ask me about this issue of September. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back leading to this essay was an email from Dr. Saeb Erekat today that included a document claiming to be strategies of the Palestinian leadership in going to the UN in September for recognition.  The same day, Israeli authorities initiated laws in the Knesset to make Israel more Jewish (see below) AND approved 930 new houses for a new Jewish only settlement of Har Homa C.  This is an adjacent hill to Har Homa A and B and is on Jabal Al-Deek, land of my village of Beit Sahour. Words from unelected representative can be lost in the din of jack-hammers and bulldozers tearing the ancient landscape. Declarations to the media about 122 countries recognizing Palestine (about the same as was the case in 1989) mean little to villagers and refugees who are losing daily in their struggle to get their concerns heard by those driving SUVs and Mercedes cars in the streets of Ramallah and who go unhindered through checkpoints with VIP cards. 

I talk and work with activists on the ground daily.  The message they all relay is that there is a widening rift between all political parties and the people.  They know it and admit it (many leaders said they can no longer mobilize people).  The answer is known: go back to the people and reignite the revolutionary spirit that exists within each of us.  The therapies for the metastatic growth of settlements on Palestinian land, to the increase in racist Israeli laws, to the plight of refugees all do not involve documents by Erekat or a resort to biased International fora that issues resolutions they were never willing to implement.  

Under the category of “What we have to do?” Erekat’s document starts with “1. Open a strategic dialogue with the U.S. administration on the question of membership. It is evident that the use of the United States’ ‘veto’ makes it impossible for Palestine to become a member state. “After 37 years of opening “strategic dialogue” with the US, 18 years of direct negotiations under the auspices of the US, under what logic can such a dialogue lead to anything. Just think of the standing ovations given to the war-criminal Netanyahu in the US Congress to see that this is an illusion. If the PA could not even get Obama to stick to his own words on simple matters (e.g. settlement activity must be stopped), what makes Erekat and company think that talking more will get Obama to help establish a Palestinian state.  Our own representatives refuse to even boycott Israeli officials (our UN representative attends a farewell party to the Israeli representative).  Ofcourse every one knows that we Palestinians are the ones being pressured and not the Israeli government.  The trap of Oslo that created a class of people dependent on their livelihood on aid ensured that independent Palestinian decision-making is impossible.  Under these circumstances, what makes anyone think that it is possible to change the status quo without removing the structures of dependency created by the Oslo trap?

In a second point of “What we have to do?” Erekat states that “Recognizing a Palestinian State on the 1967 borders and becoming a UN member will make it easy for the Palestinian leadership to make a decision on the final status negotiations immediately, on all issues without exception (Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugee, water, security, and the release of prisoners and detainees).”  This is extremely dangerous and misleading.  Why is UN recognition linked to unconditional return to fruitless negotiations? What makes anyone with any logic believe that the US would change without us first changing and applying some real pressure? And since when is the Palestinian struggle reduced to a Palestinian “state” in Part of the West Bank (no Palestinian or Israeli leader now believes even in getting the whole of the West Bank)? Many Palestinians point out that records of previous “negotiations” show that Qurei, Erekat and Abu Mazen were willing to give up on refugee and other rights in return for this emasculated state (see leaked Palestine documents and Abu-Mazin – Beilin agreement and Geneva accords).

In a third point, it states: “In light of President Obama’s speech on 5/19/2011 in which he talked about our choice to go to the UN saying: “for the Palestinians, their efforts to delegitimize Israel will ultimately fail, the symbolic actions to isolate Israel from the UN in September will not create an independent state. It is clear that the Obama administration understands that we are going to the UN for:
-An attempt to isolate and delegitimize Israel.
-That it is a symbolic act.
-Such effort will not lead to the creation of an independent state.
This understanding is contrary to what we want to achieve from applying for a membership for the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We do not seek to delegitimize Israel or isolate it nor is this a symbolic act.
How many liberation movements in the world do you know of that refuse to even try to isolate a repressive apartheid regime? Just like many other situations before, this Palestinian authority wants to get Israel off the hook.  Just like when they shelved consideration of the Goldstone report or when they lobbied Israel against release of Palestinian political prisoners (supposedly so that Hamas would not gain points).  Just like when many of them said publicly that they do not boycott Israeli products but only “settlement products” (as if there is a difference in apartheid products).  Just like when they issued instructions to their security services to stop popular resistance activities (only allowing vigils in the middle of cities but no friction with Israeli occupation soldiers).  The list goes on and on. 

As for the event at the UN being a symbolic act, indeed that is what is being contemplated.  The PA should instead get beyond symbolism and do serious actions like demand the UN rescind Israel’s membership (since it failed to respect the UN charter and violated its own promises to comply with its obligations). A real effort would entail asking UN member state to deal with Israel like they dealt with Apartheid South Arica since Israel fulfills all the requirements of an apartheid regime under the relevant International convention.

A few years ago, Mr. Erekat came for a  tour in the US.  When some leading Palestinian Americans started questioning him on the failure of Oslo, he just got angry and said to about 40 of us that he has a PhD and that “who are you all to question things”.   This is simply unacceptable. The cause of 11 million Palestinians cannot be left to a few individuals (no matter how or if well-meaning).

The fear of aid cut

US Aid to the Palestinian authority is done in a way to implement US policy which in turn (due to AIPAC and other lobbies) serves Israeli occupation policies.  For example most USAID dollars go to infrastructure (mostly roads) that create temporary jobs and relieve the responsibility of the occupier.  Most roads are alternative roads that help solidify the apartheid system (ie. roads around settlement blocks etc).  The bulk of the aid goes directly to support the salaries of Palestinians employed by the Palestinian authority.  Most of that budget goes toward salaries for security employees.  Per Oslo II, that security is to ensure that there is no friction with Israelis (ie. suppress any resistance including nonviolent resistance).  Because the salaries and political stability of the subservient Palestinian authority has come to depend on this aid, it is very easy to use it as leverage to extort high level officials.  We saw this for example in the shelving of the report by the Goldstone commission.  We saw it in 2006 and 2007 (when aid was cut following the elections, quickly the elites had to undermine the government and go back to supporting the status quo). In short, aid from the US harms Palestinian national interest and serves to perpetuate the occupation because it entrenches the status quo, reieves Israel from the cost of being an occupier, and restricts political freedom to liberate ourselves.
For more on this, please read

I urge the central committee of Fatah which acted boldly to remove Dahlan from his position as its media person to act boldly to go down the path of further and bolder changes.  Setting term-limits on service would be an appropriate first step for Fatah and could set the stage also for setting term limits for PA positions.  My humble and open recommendation is for the Palestinian leadership to come back to the people and get new blood periodically.  With this new blood, a mobilization of the Palestinians in exile can be done to effect real change by building appropriate short, medium, and long term strategies for example by lobbying, media work, and BDS (Boycotts, divestments, and sanctions).  Internally, the Palestinian house needs to be put in order by implementing existing agreements to create a representative Palestinian National Council (of the PLO).  That would create an atmosphere of real popular resistance that could indeed quickly change the dynamics on the ground.[See my book on lessons from 130 years ]   

There are hundreds of Palestinian lawyers, political science professors, and other experts who can be consulted to build a real strategy and direction towards liberation.  Engaging in open dialogue about these things is good for everyone.  The status quo cannot be tolerated.  It is better to do this now than wait till September when the people (having falsely raised their hopes of an end to the occupation) will see the leaders who kept talking to them about September flounder and fall.

It really makes no difference whether one is apathetic or one is colluding with the status quo of an occupation profitable to the occupiers (thanks to the Oslo accords). After all, silence is complicity.
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Palestinians will soon come full circle: Years have been wasted making concessions to their colonisers. Palestinians were right to call for a secular state at the outset
  

[After passing laws that discriminate in land rights, in civil rights, in privileges, in residency, and even in marriage among many others, now comes new laws on freedom of speech, and then there is this…]
 Lawmakers seek to drop Arabic as one of Israel’s official languages
“Another clause states that Jewish law will be a source of inspiration to the legislature and the courts. This would mean that MKs would be asked to legislate in the spirit of Jewish law, and courts to adjudicate by it in cases where no other express law exists.”
 

Must read especially to those who still believe in Oslo accord: Palestinian low salaries also linked to Israeli social struggle

INTERVIEW (in German): Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh – Akademiker und Aktivist im Nahostkonflikt (SB)


Hidden video camera inside Israeli prison (from women held when they tried to come to spend a week in Palestine ‘Welcome to Palestine’ participants)

TIME FOR ABBAS TO GO

Perhaps, as a youth, President Mahmoud Abbas was never told the parable of the boy who cried wolf. I suggest this because the Palestinian Authority leader has with such monotonous regularity brandished the threat to quit his job that he appears to believe it is a vital weapon in the Palestinian diplomatic arsenal.

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Image by Skulz Fontaine

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A Palestinian deal cannot be won if Abbas keeps crying wolf

By Tony Karon

Perhaps, as a youth, President Mahmoud Abbas was never told the parable of the boy who cried wolf. I suggest this because the Palestinian Authority leader has with such monotonous regularity brandished the threat to quit his job that he appears to believe it is a vital weapon in the Palestinian diplomatic arsenal.

In March Mr Abbas warned the US and Israel that he would walk away from his post if the peace process did not continue. Last December, he extended that threat to include dissolving the Palestinian Authority. He had also made the threat three months earlier, and in May 2008. And so on.

But this year Mr Abbas has introduced new variations on the theme, threatening to defy US instructions by forming a unity government with Hamas, and by moving to seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, in September.

Despite appearances, however, neither of these is a done deal, and Mr Abbas keeps insisting that he’d really rather be negotiating with the Israelis – if only they would offer more credible terms.

All these threats express Mr Abbas’s exasperation at the poor return on the two decades he has invested in US-anchored negotiations with Israel. The “you’ll be sorry” subtext of his posturing is never directed at his own people, but always at the US and Israel, to whom he clearly believes his services are indispensable. His message is that if they fail to provide what he needs, they’ll have to face his people without the benefit of him as their accommodating interlocutor.

Heaven knows what the Palestinians Mr Abbas is supposedly leading make of this constant threat to quit. He has long adopted his predecessor’s attitude of knowing what’s best for his people, and engaging with the West and Israel on their behalf – but out of earshot.

Just as Yasser Arafat made himself, and not the institutions of the PA, the epicentre of Palestinian national political life, so Mr Abbas was encouraged by the Bush administration to do the same, after the Authority’s democratic institutions fell to Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian election.

Even now, the hype around Prime Minister Salam Fayyad – appointed at the Bush administration’s behest, rather than being elected – often ignores the fact that he and Mr Abbas have ignored and suppressed the PA’s institutions of democratic decision making. The PA is a competent bureaucracy and security service, entirely dependent on western financial succour. Nor is public dissent tolerated.

Hamas, for its part, has found its writ reduced to Gaza, and runs a similarly authoritarian administration – and often appears caught between competing instincts for “resistance” and governance.

The PA and Hamas were both somewhat alarmed by the stirrings of popular protest ignited on their turf by the Arab Spring. But when Mr Abbas and Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal agreed seven weeks ago on a reconciliation pact, it seemed an important step on the road towards statehood – as demanded by the grassroots protests. The deal would put a unity government in charge of rebuilding and politically reintegrating Gaza and preparing for new elections.

But as the unity process flounders over whether Mr Fayyad will remain in charge of government, some Palestinian analysts suggest that the unity pact itself is now viewed by Mr Abbas in the same way as his threats to quit: as leverage over the US and Israel.

With a new flurry of US and European diplomatic activity being aimed at restarting peace talks to head off any UN vote, Mr Abbas may believe his threats are bringing about a more credible peace process. There’s no evidence to support such a belief, of course – Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is the most rejectionist Israel has had since the peace process began, and will offer Mr Abbas less than the Palestinian leader turned down from Ehud Olmert. Nor are there any sane grounds for expecting the Obama administration to press the Israelis to do more.

But Mr Abbas has spent the past decade hoping against hope, appearing to see his people’s choices as limited to either the Quixotic madness of a renewed terror campaign (which he has wisely rejected), or passively waiting – metaphorically speaking – in the back seat of the US limo, hoping that the driver ignores the instructions of the more powerful Israeli passenger, and eventually drops him off at a Palestinian state.

The idea that Mr Abbas’s threats to break with Washington’s script have forced the Israelis and Americans towards more serious negotiations is the charitable explanation for Mr Abbas appearing to back away from a unity government if Hamas won’t accept Mr Fayyad as prime minister. (Mr Fayyad was always going to be a non-starter for Hamas, given his centrality to a US-backed strategy to crush Hamas on the West Bank and throttle it in Gaza.)

The less kind explanation would be that money talks: the threat to cut off the western funds on which the PA is wholly dependent may be scaring Mr Abbas into retreat.

Either way, Mr Abbas backing away from a unity government could signal a lack of intent to pursue the UN vote. Those who meet with Mr Abbas say his constant refrain about preferring negotiations with the Israelis is heartfelt.

That’s because the unity government and the UN route reflect a return to Palestinian reliance on their own energies and efforts, heading down a new and uncharted path of struggle to claim their rights, in the spirit of the courageous risks taken by those of who have risen against despotism across the Arab world.

Such a course would take Mr Abbas and his circle out of their comfort zone. Their politics, common to Arab leaders of their generation, reflects a profound lack of confidence in their own people.

The danger for Mr Abbas remains, however, that the spirit of the Arab Spring could yet persuade his own people to return the compliment.

Source

ABBAS CALLS ON EU TO RECOGNISE PALESTINIAN STATE ….. BUT WHO WILL RECOGNISE ABBAS?

There is a report in the Israeli press today dealing with the following;
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Abbas calls on EU to recognize Palestinian state
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Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas called upon European Union nations on Friday to recognize a Palestinian state, according to an AFP report.

According to the report, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Abbas had held a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, during which he “affirmed that the Palestinian position was to resume the peace process” with Israel and expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume negotiations and stop settlement construction, especially in Jerusalem.

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The report from HaAretz can be read HERE

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Then, be sure to read or reread the following reports from the archives……

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Despite the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the fact remains that Abbas must go! How quickly, if ever, will the following be forgotten?
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First, a detailed report about the recent ‘Palestinian Leaks”….
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Secondly, the condemnation
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Does Abbas really believe the above will be forgotten when elections are held in Palestine? I am in no way implying that the EU AND THE REST OF THE WORLD must not recognise a Palestinian State, I am merely reminding you of the role played by Abbas in the past. He has proven, without a doubt, that he cannot be trusted.
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As far as American involvement in the Statehood process goes, our Associate Khalid Amayreh adds the following observations…
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Dennis Ross: go home, you are not welcome
By Khalid Amayreh
 

So Dennis Ross is back in town in occupied Palestine. He is succeeding the failed U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell who proved himself too cowardly, too obsequious and too pliant especially in the face of Israeli arrogance and insolence.

Mitchell thought that by employing nice words and  habitually invoking America’s iron-clad commitment to Israel, whether it goes right or goes wrong and whether its continues to build illegal settlements on occupied land or not, Israel’s would probably make some steps, even reluctant ones, on the road to peace.

However, the shocking insolence (and utter disrespect) he often received during  his multiple visits to occupied Palestine at the hands of Israeli  leaders and officials, seemed to have convinced the obviously gutless and spineless diplomat to quit it if only to retain his personal  dignity and  not be accused of anti-Semitism.

Mitchell told his equally helpless superior, President Obama, of his impressions. Obama listened and nodded his head, which could be a gesture of desperation and helpless indignation vis-à-vis the powerful Israeli lobby which controls the American government, congress and much of the media.

Nearly totally at loss as to what ought to be done  to restrain  Israeli rejectionsim and intransigence, Obama decided once again to dispatch Dennis Ross, the once-tried and often-proven venomous Zionist reptile to  occupied  Palestine, hoping  that  he  will succeed in convincing  the weak Palestinian leadership  to succumb to  the whims  and vagaries of Jewish fascism especially those voiced ad nauseam by clearly  psychotic Jewish  supremacists and megalomaniacs such as Benyamin Netanyahu and his cohorts both in Washington and  Occupied Jerusalem.

In truth, the last thing in the world that Ross is capable of doing is working   toward a true and just peace in Occupied Palestine. In recent statements, he was quoted as saying that in order for peace to prevail, the Palestinians would have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

For those who can’t read behind the headlines, this is a clear allusion to another Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe.

What this fanatical,   Zionist extremist is suggesting is that the Palestinian leadership, e.g.  The PLO or the Palestinian Authority (PA) should recognize Israel’s “right” to expel nearly two million Palestinians in what is now Israel. After all, these people are goyem or non-Jews and Israel is a Jewish state. Such would be the new Talmudic reasoning of the contemplated new Nakba, now being devised and envisaged by the likes of Dennis Ross under the misleading rubric of “two states for two peoples.”

For those who don’t know, these two million Palestinians preceded and predated the immigration to Palestine of Khazari land-thieves, such as Benyamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres from Eastern Europe, at least by a thousand years.

This is really what recognizing Israel as a Jewish state implies, a Jewish state without non-Jews or at the very least with as few non-Jews as possible.

More to the point, Ross during the Clinton administration demonstrated a stunning bias in Israel’s favor. This is to put it very mildly.

 According to one Palestinian negotiator who took  part in  numerous rounds of these failed talks, Ross often adopted views and stands that were even more extreme than those voiced by Israeli negotiators.

On many occasions, the chief Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Ereikat described Ross as “Israel’s advocate, par excellance.”

It is really hard to imagine any positive contributions by Ross. This is the conclusion that the hopelessly pliant Palestinian leadership in Ramallah should have reached a long time ago.

In the Palestinian culture, we often invoke the following prophetic hadith or saying by the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH): la yoldagho al-Mo’emno min juhren waheden marratayen, which means that a believer shouldn’t be bitten by the same snake twice.

Unfortunately, due the imbecility, stupidity and naivety of the Palestinian leadership, we have been bitten by the same snake, and from the same hole, numerous times.

Which begs the question:  when will we ever learn from out mistakes and blunders?

Today, Ross, the venomous Zionist reptile, who obviously has no iota of honesty and rectitude, will try to bamboozle and cajole PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his never-repenting aides to drop plans to ask the UN General Assembly for recognition of Palestinian statehood this September. He will probably employ a combination of carrots and sticks to “get the message through to a leadership” that it is facing a growing dilemma of either appeasing an America that is at  Israel’s beck  and call and losing  the support and backing of the Palestinian masses or doing the opposite by refusing and resisting  the bullying, coercion and political bribery of Washington, which would allow it to retain its own people’s backing.

By now, the PA should have discovered the utter foolishness of relying on let alone believing or trusting any promises made by Washington. Hence, there is no point  really in  holding  serious negotiations   with the representatives of an administration that shakes  to the core at the very thought of saying or doing   something that might be disquieting for the real rulers of America, the Zionist Jews.

In the final analysis, why speak to the monkey when you can speak to the organ grinder. And if there is no point in talking to the organ grinder, then the PA should reach to the same conclusion that King Abdullah has reached, namely that Israel doesn’t want peace and that the Israeli Jewish society is moving to the “hard right,” a clear euphemism connoting Jewish fascism, with all its repulsive and virulent manifestations.

I mentioned the King of Jordan because his candid testimony, which was made in a recent interview with the Washington Post carries a special weight  and should be accorded all the seriousness and attention it deserves since  the King has no interest in being unduly pessimistic about peace in the region.

Hence, Palestinians at all levels have the right to ask: where are we heading? When will we extricate ourselves from American lies and Israeli deception?  And above all, when will we ever learn from the thousands of pitfalls and blunders we have faced ever since we got involved in this scandalous peace  process that only gave us more hateful Jewish  colonies, more ethnic cleansing, more apartheid and more land theft?

THOSE REVOLTING PALESTINIANS

Following a surge of momentum that has forced a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, ending four years of official national division, the Nakba Day protests expanded the concept of unity from below to encompass Palestinian refugees living on Israel’s borders.
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Photo © by Bud Korotzer (Nakba Remembrance in NYC)
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A Palestinian Revolt in the Making?

Jesse Rosenfeld and Joseph Dana

At 10:30 on May 15, two battalions of Israeli combat soldiers opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets on hundreds of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators at the Qalandia checkpoint dividing Ramallah from Jerusalem, sending people scrambling into the adjacent refugee camp. These were the opening shots of Israel’s response to protests commemorating the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe, used to define Israel’s creation of 750,000 Palestinian refugees in 1948. By nightfall Israeli soldiers had killed thirteen Palestinian refugees and wounded hundreds with live fire on its borders with Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and inside the West Bank.

The May 15 demonstrations reinvigorated the long-alienated Palestinian refugee community; although it is 70 percent of the Palestinian population, it has been largely shut out of the negotiations process with Israel. The emerging unity was on display at Qalandia, where youth trying to symbolically march from Ramallah to Jerusalem wore black T-shirts with the slogan “Direct Elections for the Palestine National Council, a Vote for Every Palestinian, Everywhere.” The PNC is the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation organization and is responsible for electing its executive committee. Traditionally, seat allocation in the PNC has been divided to represent the influence factions within the PLO, of which Hamas is not a member.

The Nakba protests have been the largest so far of a growing Palestinian youth revolt. The protests—launched with unity protests on March 15 in the Palestinian Authority–controlled West Bank and Hamas-governed Gaza Strip—are the Palestinian response to the outbreak of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. While it is a new development, this manifestation of popular anger against Palestinian Authority concessions in the failed negotiations process—shockingly revealed with Al Jazeera’s January release of top-secret negotiation minutes, known as the Palestine Papers—and Israel’s practice of divide and rule has been simmering under the surface for the past three years.

“The unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas gave people hope to be here today and continue with this new phase of struggle,” said Fadi Quran, a founding organizer of the March 15 movement, amid the clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint. “It showed us that something was possible and we must continue,” he added, coughing from tear gas.

The March 15 movement marks a generational shift in Palestinian politics. Demanding that Palestinians shape their future through full democratization of the PLO, March 15 has sought to reshape national identity through unity and the relaunching of a popular struggle.

Following a surge of momentum that has forced a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, ending four years of official national division, the Nakba Day protests expanded the concept of unity from below to encompass Palestinian refugees living on Israel’s borders.

According to Nathan Stock, the assistant director of the Carter Center conflict resolution team who was inside the Egyptian-brokered unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the momentum created on March 15, in concert with the uprising across the region, was a central catalyst in getting the parties to reconcile. Fresh from the closed-door negotiations in Cairo, Stock contended that “while the number of protesters was not huge, the demonstrations sent a clear signal to the leadership in Fatah and Hamas that the Arab Spring had reached Palestine, and that the public was getting increasingly frustrated with the division.” Stock noted that the revolution in Egypt, which brought about a command change in the Egyptian General Security Service and Foreign Ministry, enabled Egypt to become an honest broker and foster an environment of trust and compromise.

While the region in revolt was the immediate impetus for change in the Palestinian movement, the issues being addressed and the solutions now demanded on the street have long been seen as necessary to break the current Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

Speaking at her home in Amman, Jordan, in May 2008, Leila Khaled—a leading member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Palestinian National Council member of the PLO and famed icon of Palestinian resistance who hijacked two airplanes in the late 1960s and early ’70s—was unequivocal about what she saw as the problems facing the Palestinian struggle.

“The PA and Hamas are not playing the game properly with Israel,” said the woman whose picture with a kaffiya and AK-47 is still an international symbol of Palestinian resistance. “They are not understanding its nature as an apartheid system. Which means both sides are giving illusions to the people that we are getting somewhere, when in fact we are getting nowhere,” she added between drags of a cigarette, sitting in her living room next to a photo of her son in his university graduation gown.

Khaled was frustrated with both the collusion and concessions being made by the PLO leadership to Israel (made clear to all with the recent release of the Palestine Papers), as well as the lack of progress in a then-divided Palestinian resistance and decline of national consciousness. “Nothing is moving forward, either on the political, economic or social level. On the contrary, we are witnessing the return to the family, to the village, to the tribe.”

Still, Khaled was optimistic, discussing the need for a democratic, grassroots movement to transform the PLO and push the cause forward. “We stress the popular resistance… wherever it is. We believe that it is the people that need to be involved in the struggle and find the means to mobilize society, ” she said. Now, three years later, the demands and popular action that Khaled cited as necessary are materializing in the emergence of a new generation of Palestinians, who are making their demands heard through mass unarmed protest.

Already successful in forcing Fatah and Hamas to forge a unity agreement, this uprising-in-the-making is showing no signs backing down. Fadi Quran had strong concerns that Fatah and Hamas would prioritize the narrow political aim of holding onto the power they have, instead of contributing to a national Palestinian consensus. This, he felt, was demonstrated by the accord’s avoidance of calls for PNC elections.

It is in this context that Palestinian youth are taking control of their struggle, shaking up representation internally and presenting an emboldened and united face to Israel on all fronts. “We do not know what is going to happen, but we have set something in motion. It is now up to the Israelis and how they react,” said Quran at the Qalandia checkpoint, as injured protesters were carried by on stretchers.

Source via Uruknet

UNITY WITH HAMAS OR CONTINUED $UPPORT FROM ISRAEL

 ‘If you choose unity with Hamas, we’ll choke you
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Predictably, Israel is using financial blackmail in an attempt to snub out Palestinian national reconciliation and unity, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

 
Fatah supporters take part in a rally celebrating the reconciliation agreement, at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City


The extreme rightwing government of Israel is carrying out threats to financially scuttle the Palestinian Authority (PA) for daring to restore national unity with Hamas.

Israeli leaders are worried Palestinian national unity will strengthen the overall Palestinian stance vis-à-vis Israel and might expedite international recognition of a prospective Palestinian state.

Israel has refused to transfer to PA coffers an estimated $100 million in tax and customs revenue, which Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. Israel receives administration and other fees for collecting the money that the PA government uses to pay salaries for tens of thousands of civil servants.

Consequently, the PA has so far not been able to pay salaries for April. This is already generating discontent within the Palestinian community. Some Palestinian political leaders have urged the PA to respond stringently to Israel’s draconian measures by suspending or ending security coordination with Israel.

Israel and its guardian ally, the United States, view the continuation of security coordination between Israel and the PA as a sine qua non for the existence and survival of the PA as well as for the continuation of any semblance of peace efforts in the region.

However, with a growing feeling among Palestinians, including Fatah supporters, that Israel is effectively blackmailing the Palestinian leadership, some prominent Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leaders and officials have voiced exasperation at the Israeli behaviour.

“Look, we are not seeking money from Israel, which murders our children and is occupying our land. We are demanding our own money. So Israel is not really doing any favour to us by transferring these monies,” said Abbas Zaki, a leading Fatah figure in the West Bank.

“If Israel thinks that by withholding the transfer of our money we will surrender and succumb to its impossible demands, it is mistaken. This won’t happen because, if necessary, we will rock the whole boat and bring the temple down on everybody’s head.”

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah this week that the Israeli decision to freeze Palestinian funds was putting the Ramallah government in a very difficult financial situation.

He said the PA paid salaries to its 150,000 employees promptly on the 5th of each month, adding that “now is the 9th of May, and we have not been able to meet that obligation.”

A certain solace seems to have come from the European Union, which is less affected by pressure exerted by Jewish lobbies and other pro-Zionist circles in comparison to the United States. The EU reportedly has agreed to grant the PA the sum of $85 million, which would help the Ramallah government pay overdue salaries.

However, even this solace is going to be temporary and have a short lasting effect as the same problem will reappear and might even exacerbate next month. This, PA officials say, will necessitate the adoption of political measures that would extricate the PA from a situation where it is tightly held hostage to Israeli whims and blackmailing tactics.

“This situation is unacceptable. It could cause a real implosion or explosion. The Europeans, the Americans and all those concerned ought to take note of this,” warned Ghassan Khatib, head of the government’s press office in Ramallah.

“They are telling us either you have civil war and internal fighting or we will choke you and make your life an enduring hell. No dignified people under the sun would accept this kind of blackmail, and we are a dignified people.”

The Israeli decision has drawn less than angry reactions from the US administration but unreserved support from the excessively pro-Israeli US Congress.

Refraining from using strong epithets to denounce the Israeli decision, the US State Department described the withholding of funds from the PA as merely “premature”.

Deputy spokesman Mark Toner admitted that the Israelis “have their own government’s position” and that “we believe that we need to wait and see. We believe it’s important that the Palestinians ensure the implementations of the reconciliation agreement in a way that advances the peace process.”

“We are looking to see what this reconciliation agreement looks like in practical terms before we make any decisions about future assistance,” Toner added.

The Obama administration hinted that the warnings of some members of Congress to cut financial aid to the PA following reconciliation with Hamas would not be constructive.

“We understand these concerns, and I would just say, as the new Palestinian government’s formed, we’ll assess it based on its policies and we’ll determine the implications for our assistance,” Toner said, adding that training the Palestinian police force was “worthwhile” as “they are an effective force and they have made significant gains in providing security” for Israel .

Israel is adopting a conspicuously opportunistic and hypocritical attitude towards Palestinian reconciliation. Prior to the conclusion of the reconciliation agreement in Cairo last week, Israeli leaders and officials complained that Israel could not make peace with a divided people and that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had only partial authority over his people.

Meanwhile, one of the main terms of the reconciliation agreement states that calm with Israel is to be maintained with the consent of all Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas.

However, Israel is worried that the inclusion of Hamas into the mainstream Palestinian leadership would radicalise the overall Palestinian stance and thwart Israel’s efforts to wrest far-reaching concessions from the PLO, especially concessions pertaining to such fundamental issues as the refugees and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres suggested that a “line of communication” should be opened with Hamas. “We shouldn’t be overly concerned about the name or title of our interlocutors on the Palestinian side. We encountered the same problem when we first started talking to [late PLO leader Yasser] Arafat. Many argued then, how could we talk to a terrorist organisation?”

Peres argued that the creation of Palestinian statehood would have to be coupled with concrete security guarantees for Israel. “I have also said this to the UN secretary-general. I asked him, ‘Sir, you want to take a decision for a Palestinian state? Can you stop the terrorism? Can you stop the gunfire? Can you stop the incitement?”

Peres ignored that fact that Palestinian “terrorism, gunfire and incitement” has, in the overwhelming majority of cases, come as a desperate and less-than-proportionate reaction to far-greater Israeli terrorism, gunfire and provocations.

According to a recent UN report, Israel murdered as many as 1300 Palestinian children since 2000. During the same period, less than two or three-dozen Israeli children were killed by Palestinian fire.

However, it is important to keep in mind that Peres, a co- engineer of the Oslo Accords, which were vehemently rejected by the Likud Party and its current head, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, represents a small and diminishing minority in Israel as the bulk of Israeli Jewish society continues to drift towards jingoism and fanaticism.


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FINALLY IN ENGLISH ~~ AGREEMENT BETWEEN FATAH AND HAMAS

Text of the Agreement between Fatah and Hamas

Translated by Al Mubadara, the Palestinian National Initiative, this document is currently in the process of being signed by all of Palestine’s factions and parties.

Under the auspices of Egypt, delegations from the Fatah and Hamas movements met in Cairo on April 27, 2011 to discuss the issues concerning ending the political division and the achievement of national unity. On top of the issues were some reservations related to the Palestinian National Unity Accord made in 2009.

Both political parties mutually agreed that the basis of understanding made during the meeting are committing to both parties in the implementation of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement. The basis of understanding agreed upon by Fatah and Hamas are as follows:

1. Elections

A. Election Committee:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to identify the names of the members of the Central Election Commission in agreement with the Palestinian factions. This list will then be submitted to the Palestinian President who will issue a decree of the reformation of the committee.

B. Electoral Court:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree on the nomination of no more than twelve judges to be members of the Electoral Court. This list will then be submitted to the Palestinian President in order to take the necessary legal actions to form the Electoral Court in agreement with the Palestinian factions.

C. Timing of Elections:

The Legislative, Presidential, and the Palestinian National Council elections will be conducted at the same time exactly one year after the signing of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement.

2. Palestine Liberation Organization

The political parties of both Fatah and Hamas agree that the tasks and decisions of the provisional interim leadership cannot be hindered or obstructed, but in a manner that is not conflicting with the authorities of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

3. Security

It was emphasized that the formation of the Higher Security Committee which will be formed by a decree of the Palestinian President and will consist of professional officers in consensus. 4.Government

A. Formation of the Government:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to form a Palestinian government and to appoint the Prime Minister and Ministers in consensus between them.

B. Functions of the Government:

1. Preparation of necessary condition for the conduction of Presidential, Legislative and the Palestinian National Council elections. 2. Supervising and addressing the prevalent issues regarding the internal Palestinian reconciliation resulting from the state of division. 3. Follow-up of the reconstruction operations in the Gaza Strip and the efforts to end the siege and blockade that is imposed on it. 4. Continuation of the implementation of the provisions of the Palestinian National Accord. 5. To resolve the civil and administrative problems that resulted from the division. 6. Unification of the Palestinian National Authority institutions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. 7. To fix the status of the associations, Non-Governmental Organizations and charities. 5. Legislative Council:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to reactivate the Palestinian Legislative Council in accordance to the Basic Law.

Source

ISRAELI OCCUPATION REMAINS THE MAIN OBSTACLE TO PALESTINIAN UNITY

Occupation remains the obstacle to Palestinian unity

Posted by Joseph Dana

Put simply, Palestinian unity strikes fear in the hearts of Israeli strategists and military planners. A unified Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza which adopts nonviolent resistance tactics has the potential to inflict incredible damage on the Israeli occupation. Actually, Israel does not have an effective strategy to combat Palestinian nonviolence and unity. Look at the amount of military resources Israel have used to crush small West Bank villages like Nabi Saleh, which embrace unity and nonviolence against occupation. The agreement signed last night between Fatah and Hamas does not represent unity. The reconciliation agreement represents a move to appease growing popular movements on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank which are demanding real unity, one that might not even involve the PA and Hamas, in order to combat Israeli occupation.

At the heart of the problem of unity is the Palestinian Authority. After Israel firmly crushed the nonviolence of the first Intifada, the state employed a tested and true method of colonial control during the peace processes of the 1990’s, the formation of a small and wealthy elite which could act as an arm of the occupation itself.  Through the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the international aid which supports it helped establish an elite class which ruled the Palestinians from inside the occupation. As years of endless negotiations dragged on, it has become clear that the Palestinian Authority is not connected to the people. Given the aid structure and relations with the Israeli government, the PA has remained the sole recognized leadership of the Palestinians in the international community.

Following the colonial principle of sowing division to stop resistance, which worked well but ultimately failed for the Apartheid South African government, Israel funded various Palestinian groups in the 1980’s that it felt could challenge the PLO‘s legitimacy among Palestinians and undermine support for the PLO. One such group was Hamas.

The policy has so far worked for Israel. Over the past five years, there has been a relatively quiet status quo while the government has maintained and expanded its military occupation of Palestinian land. Israeli leaders have also continued to lie to the world about their intentions in the occupied territories with no abandon. The seemingly endless peace negotiations receive media attention while Israeli intransigence goes unpunished by the United States or international community.

All of a sudden the Egyptian and Tunisian revolution began to ignite new popular sentiments in Palestine which materialized in a call for national unity. In light of the revolutions and the Palestine Papers, the Palestinian Authority is now franticly trying to maintain what little control they have on the Palestinian street. The reality is that the PA has been mostly discredited by Palestinians as their legitimate representative. It is largely perceived as an instrument of Israeli occupation which does not work in the interest of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora.

That brings us finally to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. In solid political reality, the agreement means very little. Elections will not be held in the near future and the types of elections that will take place have not even been laid out. The agreement, however, shows that the voice of Palestinian civil society is heard by the leadership in the West Bank and Gaza. Afraid for its survival in a revolutionary climate, the PA and Hamas are taking pre-emptive measure to co-opt popular sentiment to ensure their continued governance.

There are so many factors in the air—Palestinian statehood, increasing international isolation of Israel, continued revolution in Syria—which make this reconciliation agreement meaningless because of its lack of concrete action.  Therefore, it is reckless to project how Israel will interact with a unified Palestinian leadership because the likelihood of one is small. We ought to think about what Palestinian unity and nonviolence means for Israel, her occupation and international standing. Israel, the PA and Hamas are all scared of the revolutionary sentiment brewing on the Palestinian street. This unity agreement does not address that sentiment.

Posted AT

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Joseph Dana is a writer based in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. His coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict focuses on the Palestinian unarmed resistance movements throughout the West Bank and the impact of Israel’s occupation on Palestinian life.

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ISRAEL’S LATEST PSYCHOSIS ~~ PEACEOPHOBIA

 Image is by Mahmoud Al Tamimi, 11. ‘’Art for Peace’’ project for Jerusalem children in Jerusalem.
The mere thought of Hamas and Fatah finally burying the hatchet has caused sleepless nights for the zioright in Israel. The possibility of a unified Palestine, leading to an end to the Occupation has been their biggest nightmare since the creation of the state of Israel.

Fear of Peace … or is it the fear of losing the 3.5 BILLION Dollar$ a year which the American taxpayer unwillingly GIVES to Israel is great cause for alarm. What if there no longer is an ‘enemy’? What if a United Palestine achieves the Statehood they have been waiting for since 1948? For sure, unity will lead to statehood, statehood will lead to the end of the occupation, BOTH will lead to Peace. Can Israel live with these results?

The zio press seems to think otherwise; An Editorial in Today’s Jerusalem Post raises many invalid points regarding these matters…

The question of Palestinian Statehood is the greatest fear as can be seen in THIS ultra right column…

According to THIS article in the more moderate Daily Forward, White House: Palestinian Unity Government Must Renounce Terror, Accept Israel …. What about Israel renouncing terror and accepting Palestine? Why has this become a one sided issue as far as the Obama Administration is concerned?

Israel’s Left Wing Haretz raises a completly different viewpoint …. Israel can redeem itself by recognizing a Palestinian state, It can be read HERE.

ANOTHER REPORT from HaAretz raises Netanyahu’s concerns Netanyahu presses for U.S. action over Fatah-Hamas dealCan you imagine a war free zone in the Middle East? Can you imagine an Israel and a Palestine acting as good neighbours, both recognising each other’s ‘place in the sun’?

PEACE WILL NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR!  OR BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION!!

ISRAEL CAN HAVE A PEACE PARTNER WITH A UNIFIED PALESTINE, BUT WILL PALESTINE HAVE ONE?

“The State of Israel can and must reach a peace agreement with the entire Palestinian people, with all its factions, through a Palestinian Unity Government which represents them all. ”

Image

Former Knesset Member Avnery

Gush Shalom Welcomes Reconciliation Agreement Between Hamas and Fatah

Jerusalem –  The Israeli Human Rights group, Gush Shalom, issued a press statement on Thursday  welcoming the reconciliation agreement between the two Palestinian rival groups Hamas and Fatah in Cairo on Wednesday.

Former Knesset Member Avnery,  Gush Shalom activist, said “I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement reached by the Palestinians in Cairo. Palestinian unity, overcoming the malignant split, are not a threat to Israel, but a top Israeli interest. “

“The State of Israel can and must reach a peace agreement with the entire Palestinian people, with all its factions, through a Palestinian Unity Government which represents them all. ” Avnery added.

Earlier on Wednesday delegations headed by Musa Abu Marzoka, member of Hamas Politburo member, and Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah central committee started talks to reach the long awaited unity deal mediated by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabeel al-Arabi.

In a first response to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority must decide whether it wants peace with Israel or reconciliation with Hamas.

Responding to PM Netanyahu  statmenet, Avnery said  “Prime Minister Netanyahu responded with the predictable futile refusal and rejection, and proved that his government has no solution and no way forward. The State of Israel destroyed the previous Palestinian Unity Government, resulting in a lot of bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians alike, a serious error which must not be repeated.”

Avnery continued to say “ The State of Israel should support and encourage Palestinian unity, and contribute its share by opening the ‘Safe Passage’ between Gaza and the West Bank – as Israel undertook to do in the Oslo Agreement but never implemented. “

The Islamic movement, Hamas, is at loggerheads with Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in January of 2006. In the summer of 2006 Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip ending months of bloody conflict with Fatah allied security forces. Egypt and other Arab countries past attempts of reaching a reconciliation deal between the two largest Palestinian factions have failed

Source

PALESTINIAN UNITY; IF THE US CONGRESS IS AGAINST IT, THEN IT MUST BE OK


Hopes of seeing Palestinian Unity have reached a new level this week as can be seen in the following reports…..
Fatah, Hamas in unity govt ‘understanding’
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 Fatah and Hamas sign reconciliation deal
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Questions about “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation”

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Needless to say, the zionists are downplaying the situation….

PA Unity Deal is Cosmetic, Bogus

BUT ….. the most interesting views come from the ‘Good Ole USA’ ….. If they don’t like it, I LOVE IT!
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House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement saying that, “The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.
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How quickly they forget … does anyone remember  the name Jonathan Pollard?
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Congress says will halt US aid if PA merges with Hamas
US House members enrages by PA’s newfound desire to reconcile with Hamas, say it will render Ramallah ineligible for Washington aid funds  

WASHINGTON – Senior congressmen said Thursday that if the Palestinian Authority follows through on its intention to reconcile with Hamas, the move may jeopardize the United States’ aid to the Palestinians, and perhaps even bring it to a halt.

The United States Foreign Assistance Act names stipulations for such aid, which the Palestinian Authority – if it forms a government with Hamas – will fail to meet. The US considers Hamas a terror organization, and naturally, will halt any funds which may fund their way to it.

House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement saying that, “The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.

“According to existing US law, such a hybrid government cannot be a recipient of US taxpayer funds because the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things.

“By entering into this partnership with Hamas, Abu Mazen’s Palestinian leadership has shown again that it is not a partner for peace. If reports are correct, the PA would then be standing with those who want only death and destruction for Israel,” Ros-Lehtinen’s statement said.

‘PA making the wrong choice. Again’

Congressman Gary Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, echoed the sentiment: “The purported deal, which does not require Hamas to accept Israel’s right to exist, or the binding nature of prior Palestinian commitments, or even to require Hamas to temporarily forgo violence against Israel… is a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster. It is a ghastly mistake that I fear will be paid for in the lives of innocent Israelis.

“Rather than seizing the dynamic of this amazing Arab Spring to simply push for national elections and constitutional reform, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has once again naively decided to test the trustworthiness of a bloody-handed bunch of terrorist want-to-be theocrats.

“While this step may be popular among Palestinians, many of whom wish to preserve the fantasy that they can have peace and so-called ‘resistance’ (also known in English as terrorism). As in prior cases, the United States will be compelled by both law and decency to withhold any assistance that could fall into the hands or control or even partial control of anyone reporting to, or belonging to a terrorist entity, as is Hamas,” said a statement by Ackerman.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey Nita Lowey, the highest ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, issued her own statement, warning that “Unless Hamas accepts the Quartet Principles, which include renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, the formation of a unity government with Fatah will be a deathblow to the peace process…

“A unity government with Hamas would put US assistance and support at risk, based on restrictions I authored as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.”

Source

See THIS report for a more realistic view of the situation….

Fatah and Hamas: Palestinian reconciliation will end Israeli occupation

Forging Palestinian unity is regarded as crucial to reviving any prospect for an independent Palestinian state, but Western powers have always refused to deal with Hamas because of its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

USING THE IRAN BOGEY TO JUSTIFY SURRENDER TO ISRAEL

Fatah, which is kept alive by American money and Israeli tolerance, thinks that by joining the international Zionist-led campaign against Iran, it will obtain a certificate of good conduct from Israel, the US as well as from the many American puppet regimes in the Arab world.

Fatah using Iran bogey to justify surrender to Israel
by Khalid Amayreh

Trying to justify its manifest moral and political bankruptcy, the Fatah movement, under PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to use the so-called Iran bogey to justify its effective surrender to the Zionist regime.

Fatah, which is kept alive by American money and Israeli tolerance, thinks that by joining the international Zionist-led campaign against Iran, it will obtain a certificate of good conduct from Israel, the US as well as from the many American puppet regimes in the Arab world.

In recent weeks, the Fatah leadership even began currying favor with some anti-Iranian regional groups, suggesting that resisting the so-called Iranian expansionism was more important than resisting Israeli Nazism.

In fact, the bulk of some of Fatah’s propaganda activities has centered on “highlighting” the Iranian danger and only secondarily on saving Jerusalem and occupied Palestinian land from the claws of Zionist ghoul.

I have no doubts that Zionist money and intelligence are behind those who are trying to tell the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims that their real enemy is Iran, not the Zionist regime whose nuclear warheads are being trained toward Muslim countries.

Listening to some of the Fatah propaganda of late, one would get the impression that it is the Iranians, not the Zionist regime, that is trying to demolish the Aqsa Mosque, destroy homes in Jerusalem, build more colonies in the West Bank and carry out more wars and massacres in the Gaza Strip.

This misplaced fixation on Iran surfaces and resurfaces every time Israel is facing a difficult situation at the international arena. Hence, it is probably no co-incidence that Israel’s Arab or “Muslim” agents hasten to help their ultimate master, the Venomous Zionist viper, every time it finds itself in a stressful situation.

Earlier this week, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas blamed Iran for undermining the Palestinian reconciliation efforts. He  also said that Iran was preventing Hamas from getting involved in that failed “peace” process, which looks more like a game of make believe than a genuine peace-making process based on justice and ending the Nazi-like Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

To begin with, Abbas’s claim that Hamas is coming under Iranian influence has no sliver of truth or credibility. It is probably a kind of unconscious projection uttered inadvertently by Abbas, who is completely and absolutely at America’s beck and call, so much so that he is willing to accept anything imposed by the United States .

Well. What is  anything  imposed by the US supposed to mean? Doesn’t Abbas realize that the US is fully against the right of return for Palestinian refugees, which is the crux of the matter of the conflict? Doesn’t he realize that the American policy in this part of the world is more or less the Israeli policy? Doesn’t he realize that it is the US and US alone that enabled Israel to have its way in occupied Palestine, and build hundreds of Jewish colonies on occupied land, with impunity?

Besides, what is Hamas, the democratically-elected movement, supposed to do to prove to Abbas and his minions and hangers-on its good will and sincerity in seeking just peace for Palestinians.?

Must Hamas recognize  Israel  as a state for the Jews, by the Jews, and of the Jews, as Israel is constantly demanding, thus effectively acknowledging the legitimacy of Israel’s “right” to ethnically cleanse the estimated two million- strong Palestinians who are Israeli citizens?

Must Hamas give up on the right of return for the refugees for the sake of Hillary Clinton’s blue eyes? Must Hamas give its full consent and blessing to the daily criminal acts by Jewish settlers against Palestinians and their property? Must Hamas sing the ha’tekva, (the Israeli national anthem) in order to find acceptance in Ramallah and Tel Aviv and Washington?

The truth of the matter is that Hamas’s principled stance has very little or nothing to do with the Iranian policy. Moreover, it has nothing to do with any real or imagined Shiite “conspiracy” to overrun the Sunni Middle East whose various despotic, tyrannical and dynastic fiefdoms are more or less completely controlled by the United States which is itself controlled tightly by Israel.

In light, one is prompted to ask Abbas and the likes of Abbas if he thinks that one can’t and shouldn’t adopt patriotic and dignified positions vis-à-vis Israeli Nazism unless one is subservient to Iran?

In truth, there is a  vast difference between the bribery money the US is giving to Abbas and his  unelected Ramallah regime and whatever assistance given to Hamas by the Muslims of the world, governments and individuals.

America (and Europe) is giving the PA money in order to torment, savage and subjugate the Palestinian people on Israel’s behalf. America’s money is used to enable the PA to torture and even kill political detainees. Ultimately, America’s money is used to subdue and coerce the Palestinian people to sell out their inalienable rights such as the right of return.

On the other hand, the non-Political assistance coming from Muslim sources, including Iran, is used to enhance and enforce the Palestinians’ steadfastness and resilience in the face of Israel’s Nazi-like crimes, such as the enduring siege of Gaza and the murderous onslaught against the coastal enclave whose second anniversary occurs next month.

I think that in alienating Iran and jumping onto the American-Israeli bandwagon, Fatah is committing a huge historic blunder.

Sometime playing the opportunism card might work, but in this particular context, doing so, and by a movement that claims to be the leader of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence, spells shortsightedness, indignity and political stupidity.

Moreover, Fatah should realize that Israel is very much like a vicious crocodile, the more meat you feed it, the more it demands.

Last week,  Israel decided to bar two of the most arguably “moderate” Fatah leaders, Muhammed Dahlan and Ahemd Qrei’, from  traveling to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge.

Israel had poured wholesome praise on the two, using grand epithets to describe them. But the moment one of them made a slip of the tongue about Israeli criminality, Israel showed him “the red eye,” telling him effectively that Israel’s friends must completely and absolutely surrender to “the chosen people” or “Master race.”  Not a minute deviation from the script would be tolerated!!

Some of these “moderates” did huge services for Israel. At one point they were willing to flood Gaza with the blood of Hamas. They were willing to decapitate Hamas once and for all. Some of them distributed sweets and Kenafa when Israel was raining death on the Gaza children.

And what they promised  to do in secret, on behalf of Israel and the US ,  may have been even more shocking.

Yet Israel is treating them like diseased dogs.

Such is the fate of those who don’t respect themselves and their people.

The Holy Quran says “And whomsoever God disgraces, none can honor him. Verily.”

Moreover, Zuheir, the pre-Islamic poet said, “he who doesn’t respect himself, shall not be respected.”

THE POLICE STATE WITHOUT A STATE

This is a message of paramount significance to the Hamas and Fatah officials who are going to meet in Damascus in a few days to iron out a possible national reconciliation agreement.

This is Keith Dayton’s Fatah’s fiefdom

By Khalid Amayreh

The United States and to a lesser extent Europe never stop praising the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) regime. Indeed, upon hearing the never-ending commendations of the Ramallah Junta, one would think that “the police-state without a state” is a paragon of good governance, democracy and all that is good.

One would also think that there is an active and exemplary justice system that respects human rights and civil liberties, a system that doesn’t discriminate against citizens on the basis of creed, sex and political orientation.

However, the shocking truth is that the Ramallah regime is none of that. It is rather a police state apparatus whose main function is mainly confined to   persecuting and tormenting Palestinian citizens deemed “non-conformist.” And as we all understand, this repression is done on Israel’s behalf and in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the evil occupiers.

A few days ago, I received a message from Palestinian lawmaker Nasser Abdul Jawwad from the Salfit region, describing how the PA security agencies have been tormenting and punishing people for their ideological views.

In the message, Abdul Jawad, an honest man of unquestionable credentials, pointed out that a poor woman whose husband had been fired from the local Police apparatus because he looked too religious (for frequenting the mosques for prayer) applied for the petty job of selling falafel at the local girls’ school. The school’s principal agreed, but demanded that the woman receive a “security clearance” from three agencies: The police, the Preventive Security, and the Mukhabarat or General Intelligence. The unsuspecting woman applied for a “certificate of good conduct” thinking that the matter was only routine and procedural in nature and that she had nothing to worry about anyway, given her clean record.

A few days later, however, she was summoned for an “interview’ at the Mukhabarat’s regional headquarters in Salfit. There, she was told that she couldn’t obtain a certificate of good conduct since she had voted for an Islamic-oriented candidate in the 2006 elections. She argued that selling Falafel had nothing to do with her political preferences and that she had an absolute right to obtain a certificate of good conduct in order to find a job and be able to support her family. So after selling Falafel for a trial period for 21 days at the local school, she had to leave her short-lasting job which she did on 28 September.

It was not clear if the Mukhabarat apparatus asked the woman to “work” with them as an informer. The various security agencies have consistently taken advantage of the Palestinian people’s severe economic condition to recruit thousands of people all over the West Bank to work as “mandoobeen” or agents to inform on people who might criticize the PA or show signs of opposition to the Ramallah junta.

Hence, every conceivable institution in the West Bank, including schools, colleges, and hospitals, has been thoroughly implanted with informers. Just imagine a situation where a school teacher is made to spy on his colleagues, or an office clerk is made to inform on his or her fellow clerk. Imagine college professors and lecturers always worried that one of their students or even colleagues might inform on them to the security agencies in case they said something that might be interpreted “differently” during their lectures.

Well, this is how the Keith Dayton’s republic is trying to foster freedom of thought and expression in occupied Palestine. This must be a promising preview of the Palestinian state that Abbas and cohorts are trying to create. !!!! May God help the Palestinians.

Going back to that poor woman, Abdul Jawwad reminded us that her husband, a policeman for ten years, was unceremoniously fired from his job and jailed for four months, during which he reportedly was subjected to cruel torture, for no reason other than being a religious man.

Like his wife, the former policeman reportedly was accused of having voted for  a candidate affiliated with the “wrong” political party in 2006. Eventually, he was fired from his job because, according to the police, “he didn’t enjoy good reputation.” To add insult to injury, the now unemployed and impoverished former policeman is yet to receive his benefits from the police where he worked for ten years.

Now, one is prompted to ask what kind of a state or quasi-state or political entity would treat its citizens this way? Are Palestinian citizens supposed to work as collaborators and informers for Israel in order to please the Dayton republic? Must they work in Jewish settlements in order to be good citizens? Surely, the answer is the responsibility of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyadh.

Needless to say, this poor and modest family is only a random epitome caricaturing the general situation facing thousands if not tens of thousands of Palestinian families. Moreover, one exaggerates very little by suggesting that this case represents more or less the modus operandi at most if not all the private and public institutions operating under the Dayton regime in Ramalalh.

More to the point, if selling falafel sandwiches at a girls’ school in the heart of the Palestinian countryside requires all these KGB-style calculations, including summoning dignified housewives to the offices of the security agencies, just imagine how the “procedure” of appointing high-ranking civil servants would look like.

In short, the problem under this hateful regime goes far beyond the dismissal of thousands of civil servants, including teachers, doctors, and engineers from their jobs because of their political views or association with the “wrong people”, but also include the sullen hostility shown toward hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are suspected of supporting Hamas and other Islamic organizations.

This is a message of paramount significance to the Hamas and Fatah officials who are going to meet in Damascus in a few days to iron out a possible national reconciliation agreement.

A successful national reconciliation can’t be achieved without putting all these despicable acts, done by an entity that has shown no respect for its own citizens, in the dustbin of history.  Otherwise, the goal of true national reconciliation would remain as elusive and as distant as ever.

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PALESTINIANS NEED A TRUTH COMMISSION

I know for sure that Hamas didn’t enjoy the so-called  “victory” over Fatah three years ago. In the final analysis, a victory against one’s brother and countryman is not a real victory; it was rather a  real defeat for both Hamas and Fatah and the entire Palestinian people and its  just cause.

Palestinians need a commission of truth

By Khalid Amayreh

There are portents of reconciliation in the air, and Palestinians and their friends and allies  are quite optimistic that Fatah and Hamas may finally be on their way to close one of the saddest  chapters in our recent history.

Needless to say, the national rift which emanated from  manifestly treacherous efforts by American-backed elements within the Fatah movement  to effectively undo the outcome of the 2006 elections, which Hamas won decisively, wreaked havoc on the Palestinian cause and  thoroughly poisoned inter-Palestinian relations to an extent never seen before.

We all know how the former Bush administration utilized the bribable and buyable elements within Fatah to carry out a bloody coup aimed at decapitating Hamas once and for all in the Gaza Strip. Which eventually forced Hamas to do what it did in July, 2007?

Likewise, and looking retrospectively, one might safely claim that had the Fatah leadership refused American and Israeli solicitations and incitement, the Palestinian arena would have been spared the hateful ramifications of the rift.

I know for sure that Hamas didn’t enjoy the so-called  “victory” over Fatah three years ago. In the final analysis, a victory against one’s brother and countryman is not a real victory; it was rather a  real defeat for both Hamas and Fatah and the entire Palestinian people and its  just cause.

None the less, what could Hamas have done, watching  treacherous elements, enjoying Israeli and American backing, sharpen their swords and daggers, and preparing their guns to gang up on Hamas in order to consign the movement into oblivion.

Hamas had to defend itself and thwart criminal American designs to eliminate every anti-Zionist and revolutionary Islamic movement in the context of its ill-conceived “global war on terror.”

The ensuing propaganda war on Hamas effectively turned the white into black and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by many. Hamas was caricatured as the main party under the sun that impeded the achievement of peace in the Middle East. Zionist spin doctors would disseminate their poisoned lies in Europe and North America, claiming that if only Hamas didn’t exist, Israel and Fatah would make peace in a matter of a few weeks. The lies continue unabated and are unlikely to subside soon. After all, mendacity has always been a key component of the American-Israeli discourse toward the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, Fatah and bankrupt Arab regimes played  an effective role  in disseminating these lies as  international Zionism was using Hamas as a sort of a red herring to justify  murderous Israeli hegemony and criminality against the Palestinian people.

It is somewhat reassuring that many people within Fatah have realized, though belatedly,  that America and Israel and their monies and nice words will not advance the Palestinian cause even one millimeter.

The opposite is true. Fatah, or more correctly the Fatah leadership,  has done every conceivable act of treachery in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from American and Israel. Fatah detained and imprisoned Palestinians by the thousands. Fatah tortured and killed and humiliated Palestinians, with Fatah security leaders  going as far as assuring their Israeli “counterparts” that Israel was no longer the enemy and that the real enemy was Hamas.

Fortunately, the Fatah leaders in Ramalalh have discovered before it is too late that no mater how deep they sink in the sea of treason,  and how virulently anti-Hamas their general discourse becomes, America and Israel will not give them a state or even a semi-state. After all, both Israel and the US don’t really seek peace partners but seek collaborators and slaves and puppets.

None the less, the Palestinian people must learn the necessary lessons from what happened. This is because we are bound to repeat the same blunders over and over again, including the bloody mistakes, if we fail to draw the necessary lessons from the dark periods that followed the 2006 elections.

To begin with, and while we should refrain as much as possible from finger-pointing and futile mutual recriminations, the Palestinian people need to create a commission of truth, not to malign and criminalize those responsible for what happened, but rather in order to establish the truth. Know the Truth, for the truth shall set you free.

The Palestinian people have the right to know what was happening  during these secret meetings between American and Israeli officials on the one hand, and Fatah officials on the other hand.

The Palestinian people need to know the amount of coordination against Hamas involving Fatah, especially with regard to the perpetuation of the criminal siege on the Gaza Strip as well as the Nazi-like Israeli onslaught against the coastal enclave nearly two years ago which destroyed much of the Strip and killed or caused the death of thousands of innocent people.

I know that “explosive chapters”  ought to remain closed and unhealed wounds must be given more time to heal. However, it is also important not to decapitate the truth in the name of national reconciliation.

Again, the purpose of a grand commission of truth, whose members would have to be carefully chosen from among the crème de la crème of the Palestinian intellectuals, people with high rectitude and sense of justice,  wouldn’t be to erect a   Guillotine in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza to execute the guilty.

The purpose of such a commission would be to establish the truth, nothing more and nothing less.

More over, while we can’t bring those who were unjustly killed back to life, we are supposed to be able to give justice, as much as possible, to those unjustifiably wronged by both sides.

Blood money is an effective mechanism stipulated by the Islamic Sharia whereby people wrongly killed or injured  can receive monetary compensation. The compensation itself will not revive the dead, but it does help their families  lead a dignified life and above all gives them a  feeling that at least a semblance of justice has finally been done. In the final analysis, God will be the ultimate judge, and whoever escapes justice in this world will not escape justice in the hereafter.

Another point which must be carefully discussed and resolved in order to give national reconciliation a real meaning. Following  Hamas’s military intervention in Gaza in the summer of 2007, the Fatah authority in the West Bank carried out a real inquisition whose purpose was to eradicate Hamas as much as possible.

All Islamic social, religious, educational, athletic, medical, and  youth institutions were systematically closed or seized by Fatah. The draconian measures must be reversed if national reconciliation is to take root and be irreversible.

Second,  thousands of people, suspected of affiliation with Hamas, have been summarily dismissed from their jobs. These wronged people  must be reinstated in their previous jobs immediately.

Finally, the police-state structure, now permeating throughout the West Bank, must be immediately terminated, because there can be no genuine national reconciliation in the shadow of police brutality and suppression of human rights and civil liberties.

In short, the Palestinian people want and need  a real national reconciliation, not a short-lasting truce.

ISRAELI FASCISM REACHES THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL

In Ramallah, the seat of the police state without state, known as the Palestinian Authority, or PA, respectable public figures have been assaulted and beaten without any justification. What kind of government would allow ignoramuses and school dropouts to beat and mistreat professors, doctors, engineers and civic leaders, the crème de la crème of society?
To be sure the arrests are only one aspect of PA repression of its citizens. According to human rights organizations, thousands of teachers and civil servants have been summarily and un-apologetically fired from their jobs for no reason other than having a relative who happens to be an affiliate of Hamas.

If this  is not fascism, what is fascism then?

Fascism in Ramallah

By Khalid Amayreh

The American-backed, Israeli-tolerated Palestinian Authority has been unmasking its ugly face. In recent days and weeks, ruthless and undisciplined Security forces have been suppressing public dissent, especially opposition to futile talks with Israel. Such talks are looked upon by most Palestinians as a clear surrender to Israeli whims and dictates.

In the West Bank, the Mukhabarat or intelligence Personnel,  have been harassing and even beating opposition figures. Clearly undemocratic, even barbaric methods, have been used to intimidate, harass and even terrorize civic leaders and public figures who dared to voice their opposition to the PA decision to unconditionally join so-called peace  talks with Israel even though the apartheid Israeli regime continues to vehemently refuse to freeze settlement expansion and stop the ongoing aggressive Judaization in East Jerusalem.

In Ramallah, the seat of the police state without state, known as the Palestinian Authority, or PA, respectable public figures have been assaulted and beaten without any justification. What kind of government would allow ignoramuses and school dropouts to beat and mistreat professors, doctors, engineers and civic leaders, the crème de la crème of society?

Understandably, this repressive behavior represents a serious retreat from the rule of law the PA has been claiming it wants to establish. In fact, what the Palestinian people have seen in  recent days and weeks is that  the PA is upholding the law of the truncheon, rather than the rule of law.

The  semblance of freedoms and liberties that Palestinians continue, more or less,  to enjoy had been earned through a long struggle during which blood was shed and lives were sacrificed. Hence, it is important that the PA realize that it wouldn’t be doing a favor to the people by allowing them to demonstrate or hold rallies anywhere in the few areas it so partially and superficially controls. We did hold demonstrations and protests when the Israeli military governor was sat in his headquarters in Ramallah. Hence, it is illogical and unacceptable that we are denied that right under the authority that calls itself “national.”

Needless to say, an authority that beats civic leaders and public figures, some of whom spent the prime of their lives in Israeli jails, dungeons, and detention camps, is neither national nor respectable.  On the contrary, it is anti-national as its general behavior is decidedly incompatible with fundamental national dignity.

We have seen some PA officials and spokespersons deny the obvious, namely the indulgence of  security personnel in acts of repression. However, it is sad that lying to the public has by and large become a modus operandi for PA spokespersons whose spasmodic discourse tells much about  their way of thinking.

Unfortunately, lies, even brash, unsophisticated lies, are not only uttered by manifestly ignorant security figures, who continue to indulge in every conceivable violation of the law with total impunity. These lies  are often echoed and reiterated by high-ranking officials, such as the President of the PA Mahmoud Abbas and his unelected and controversial Prime Minister Salam Fayyadh.

For example, both routinely claim that the PA doesn’t detain people because of their ideological and political convictions. Needless to say, these claims are not true because innocent people are  being arrested on a daily basis because of their ideological and political convictions.

None the less, the insistence on lying  by people who are supposed to set an example of virtue and honesty to their people shows that these leaders either lie knowingly, since it is unlikely that they are unaware of what is going on. Or that they don’t know what is going on, which is a greater calamity.

Recent days and weeks saw PA security forces storm and desecrate several mosques in the West Bank. The manner in which these mosques were stormed infuriated ordinary, un-politicized citizens who are not affiliated with any political orientation, which really generates a lot of disdain and anger toward the Fatah organization and its authority.

We all know that prior to the establishment of the PA regime in the early 1990s, Israeli soldiers and officers were often reluctant to enter mosques with their boots on. Hence, the disgusting behavior of PA “soldiers” should be severely condemned by all free-minded Palestinians.

Besides, the sweeping arrests of young Islamist activists, who do very little if any besides observing their religious duties, remains a stigma of shame incriminating, even criminalizing, PA treatment of its own people.

There is no moral or legal justification for the recurrent arrest and maltreatment of people because of their political views. The Palestinian law, which the PA government claims to uphold, says so.

Cynically, the PA continues to invoke the so-called “Gaza coup” to justify and extenuate the gravity of its own crimes against its own people. However, while the Gaza government, which was democratically elected by the people, is not without mistakes, it is sufficiently obvious that there is no real comparison between what is happening here in the West Bank and what is happening there in the Gaza Strip.

Here, there is a systematic persecution bordering on an inquisition. What else can be said about the illegal and illegitimate incarceration of thousands of innocent people on no grounds other than the fact that they are religious and supportive of an Islamic political party, Hamas, that won the elections in 2006.

To be sure the arrests are only one aspect of PA repression of its citizens. According to human rights organizations, thousands of teachers and civil servants have been summarily and un-apologetically fired from their jobs for no reason other than having a relative who happens to be an affiliate of Hamas.

If this  is not fascism, what is fascism then?

Interestingly, this blind disregard for the rule of law takes place while the PA is continuing rather shamelessly to invoke national unity by urging  Hamas to sign a worthless  Egyptian document that would perpetuate fascism and tyranny.

Needless to say, Hamas must never ever accept such an arrangement. In the final analysis, the Palestinians have not been struggling for ages to finally settle for a police state without a state which is what the PA is all about!!

More to the point, we all know deep in our hearts that the main motive behind this stupid and barbarian inquisition (barbarian because several people have died under torture in PA custody), has more to do with a sick desire on the part of the PA  to obtain a certificate of good conduct from Israel and the US government, especially the American general Keith Dayton who runs the PA security apparatus, than with any legitimate security concerns.

Finally, it is crystal clear that no matter how savagely and brutally the PA treats its own people, especially the political opposition, the thuggish Israeli government would never grant the PA any real award, probably apart from allowing PA officials to walk through Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks. Israel, as we all know, treats the PA as a beggar or quisling entity, and neither the beggars nor the quislings   can be choosers, even if they claim sovereignty and dignity.

There are those who argue that savaging the Palestinians is a sin-qua-non for the PA. This argument shouldn’t be dismissed easily. There are real fears among Palestinians that the PA security forces would be eventually used to suppress any opposition to any unacceptable deal with Israel, a deal that would liquidate the Palestinian cause. Some say this is the raison d’etre of the PA security forces.

This is the real looming danger that all free and dignified Palestinians must be vigilant about.

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