|Photo credits: Carlos Latuff|
To liberate the Palestinian people from Israel’s occupation is as important as liberating them from their own so-called Palestinian Authority (PA). The latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, could not have shown better the needlessness of this collaborationist body. “President” Mahmoud Abbas, whose term has expired in 2009, was sitting in his armchair giving meaningless and helpless statements about the bombing of the people in the Gaza Strip. The relevant party in Palestine is not the PA anymore but Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement). It seems the Israeli leadership has finally grasped this fact after the balance of power has shifted away from Israeli domination over the Arab regimes. According to Richard Falk, the murderous attacks could mark the turning point in the relations between Israel and Palestine.
Some parts of the Israeli leadership are pragmatic and have shown in the past that they are willing to negotiate even with the devil, when it serves their national interest. The once who have not understood it are the politicians from Europe and the bunch of Israel lobbyists in the US Congress. Instead of going to the only democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people who are imprisoned in Gaza, they went on a pilgrimage to Ramallah to the comedian “President”. He should fulfill his last duty and bring the request to upgrade the status of Palestine before the UN General Assembly as a “non-member state” and then disappear with his entourage to Jordan, where they live anyway.
The US and its European clients should finally jettison the Israeli rhetoric about Hamas as a “terrorist organization”. This has never been further away from the truth as the books of Khaled Hroub, a secular Palestinian academic who lives in the United Kingdom, show. How could it happen that the US Empire and its European clients have been so apolitical and could take over Israel’s definition of Hamas as a terrorist organization so uncritically? Thereby, they made themselves politically hogtie and became dependent on the whims of the Israeli government. This has nothing to do with politics of sovereign states but rather with those of banana republics.
Now it’s the situation that the US and Europe should open an unbiased dialogue with Hamas. It could be an eye-opener to them to see how pragmatic their leadership is and how legitimate their political claims are. They will hear nothing about the “destruction of Israel” or “driving the Jews into the sea” and other political baloney. What they want is their own state according to the UN Partition Resolution from November 29, 1947. Furthermore, they want to live in dignity and in freedom. They want to travel anywhere in the world like Israelis do, and they want to return to their homeland like any other citizens in the world. Before this can be translated into reality, Hamas must reform its Charter thoroughly and get rid of its anti-Jewish rhetoric and its anti-Semitic clichés.
The Israeli government should finally leave the still occupied Gaza Strip and lift the siege. Perhaps it is unknown to the public that the Israeli occupying forces hold with the wired-in Gaza Strip a so-called security zone. Before the attack they wanted even to expand it to one kilometer. Taking the size of the Strip into account this would have reduced the already tiny Strip to a “Ghetto-like open-air prison”. It should be clear that Hamas was not excited about this.
It should go without saying that democratic governments should ideally start negotiations only with democratically legitimized counterparts. I regret to say that in Palestine this classification can only be attributed to Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas should have long left office, he has no legitimacy anymore. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was appointed by Abbas after the legitimate government was driven out of office at US and Israel’s behest. In the meantime leading Israeli politicians like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have called Abbas the biggest obstacle to peace! Speaking of the so-called peace process the Western powers should end this charade immediately and start from scratch; this time with the right partners.
It’s now also the time to talk about the fabric of the State of Israel and its contradictions that are ignored by the West. First of all, there is the self-proclaimed “Jewish and democratic” character of Israel. Many Israeli intellectuals like Abraham Burg, the former speaker of the Knesset, called this rightly an “oxymoron” – a contradiction in terms. A society that follows an ethnically based value system can’t be a democratic one; it’s a democracy sui generis. Secondly, Israel is often accused of being an “Apartheid state” like South Africa once was. Israel is not South Africa but has established a special system, which British journalist Ben White termed “Israeli Apartheid”. It degrades its Palestinian citizens on a “legal basis” to a second-class status. Thirdly, the West should reject Israel’s claim to the West Bank and the rest of occupied Palestine based on the bible, which was constructed by Zionist myth-builders. The Old Testament contains religious fairytales that are only relevant to people who believe in it; it can’t be used as a blue-print to colonize a territory of another people in the 21 Century anymore. Like Israeli historian Shlomo Sand has shown in his books “The Invention of the Jewish People” and the “Invention of Eretz Israel”, both events lack any historical basis. Fourthly, Western powers have to make it clear to the Israeli government that it has to comply with international law and the international agreed upon human rights standards. Each subsequent contravention undermines the credibility of the West and harms its interests. Fifthly, Israel has to open its nuclear installations for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and should sign the “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”. And finally, the Israeli government should stop its colonization program of the West Bank and repatriate the settlers to Israel proper.
The West now has a unique opportunity to make a U-turn in his disastrous Middle East policy, because the Israeli government has once again driven the country into the ground. Whether the upcoming Israel elections in January 2013 will bring a change of policy is rather unlikely. The shift to the extreme right is so strong that not even “liberal” parties won’t have the slightest chance, not to speak of the “left” or non-Zionist candidates. We have seen not only four more years in the US but we will also see four more years of the same in Israel. Four more years of the same in Palestine would be extremely detrimental to the Palestinian people that are why Mahmoud Abbas should step aside to make the way free to democratic elections.