Monday, April 1, 2013

Demand Palestinian Reconciliation

I simply cannot understand the division within the Palestinian political makeup and I cannot understand why Palestinians are not speaking up against this division in our ranks.

Here we are a people struggling to free ourselves from the cruel and unjust chains of occupation and an apartheid system under the iron fists of a brutal Israeli army and we are more organized in our disunity rather organized against our oppressor.  One faction is being blackmailed by allowing the oppressor to collect the tax dollars that belong to the Palestinian people that it governs while the other faction is being retaliated against with US made weaponry with the goal of the oppressor to keep the two Palestinian factions from reconciling.  Both are playing into the hands of the collective oppressor.

Israel would like nothing better than to continue the division between Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.  By keeping these Palestinian factions split, Israel hopes to impose a three state solution (3SS) to the decades old conflict. Israel is working against a demographic time bomb that will unquestionably label the so called democratic Jewish (oxymoron) state an apartheid state, even if it does not agree with this label now.  Israelis will become a minority within the 1948 borders of Palestine by the year 2016; and as a minority it will collapse as a government as it cannot rule a Palestinian majority as did the apartheid regime of the minority White South Africa collapse as it tried to rule the Black African majority.  Keeping the Palestinian factions from reconciling through blackmail and military might, Israel hopes to overcome this demographic time bomb by imposing a 3SS. 

The division, ironically, started after democratic elections in 2006. Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislature and should have been allowed to govern. Israel and the US would not recognize the victor despite the fact that the world was told by President George W. Bush that the Iraqi invasion will lead to the democratization of the region. Instead of embracing democracy, blackmail and sanctions were imposed upon the Palestinians for having elected Hamas. The irony of the taunting democracies to not recognize a democratic election is beyond me.  What further irks me is that Fatah played right along with this devaluing of the democratic principles that the Palestinians are told they must have in order to establish a state.

The silence of Fatah during the 2008-2009 Israeli invasion and constant slaughter of Gaza was beyond belief.  Here was Israel bombarding innocent Palestinian women and children and Fatah leaders said nothing.  This was demoralizing to all of us diaspora Palestinians who demonstrated and organized against this massacre which was happening before our television screens for three weeks.  What we should have been demonstrating against was the silence of Palestinian Authority leaders.

Yet it was not enough that Israel was killing Palestinians, Palestinians died from bullets fired by Palestinians during 2008 and 2009 as the various clashes between Fatah and Hamas forces spilled Palestinian blood. While unfortunately we are all too familiar with seeing Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers, we are not accustomed to seeing Palestinians kill Palestinians. This is unbelievable the worst thing that Palestinians can do to each other.  Instead of having a unified front against the oppressor, the two factions started vilifying and attacking each other which lead to Fatah controlling the West Bank and Hamas governing Gaza.  Ultimately, this division is leading right into the Israeli plans to split, divide and impose its 3SS.

Reconciliation attempts have thus far been unsuccessful with the Doha Agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in 2012 still far from being implemented. The agreement is described as “stalled” as no unity government is in sight. Legislative elections have been announced, delayed and rescheduled—this time for October, 2013, seven years after the last elections.  There are election law reforms which are in dispute. They were imposed by President Abbas because he states that he could rule by decree as long as the legislature is unable to convene.  From my readings, I am not sure whether Hamas will participate in the elections.

Both Fatah and Hamas need to go to the ballot box in October, 2013 and allow the Palestinian people to once again democratically vote their collective will. Whoever wins the election must be respected by both factions. If a unity government needs to be part of a ruling coalition, then the Palestinian people demand that such a ruling government be allowed to govern regardless what Israel, the US and Europe want, think, blackmail or impose.

If Hamas wins again, Fatah must stand up to the Israelis, the US and European leaders and state categorically that Hamas is the ruling party and that all Palestinians will stand unified behind Hamas.  The imposition that Hamas must first recognize Israel and denounce violence is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to keep the Palestinians from reconciling.  It is a diversion from getting to the crux of the conflict; it is another delay tactic by Israel to keep the status quo while it usurps more and more Palestinian land on the West Bank, land that Israel does not want to concede as it wants a 3SS. Israel wants to retain Area C and parts of Area B; wants the PA to establish a state on Area A and part of Area B that Israel is willing to give up; and it wants Gaza to be a separate state.  

This imposition upon Hamas is hypocritical as within Israel there are parties that want to either annihilate the Palestinians completely (as Hitler wanted to do to the Jews) or scatter them among the other Arab states.

Israel’s demand that Hamas recognize the State of Israel (not just as a state but a Jewish State) is absurd and will not result in any new round of talks.  “Hamas didn't come to power until 2006/07. Between 1993 & 2006 Israel had the more moderate, peaceful & pliant Palestinian authority (which recognizes Israel & renounces violence) to deal with as a partner for peace. What did Israel do? Did it make peace?” [see Michael Aydinian  

Israel cannot impose upon the Palestinians who can or cannot speak for them just as Palestinians cannot impose upon Israel who can be a part of their coalition government.  Since 1984 every Israeli coalition government included the Shas Party whose spiritual leader openly called for the annihilation of the Palestinian people without any repudiation by any Israeli leader, including Benjamin Netanyahu.  Could the Palestinians have said that they will not negotiate with Israel as long as this racist and Nazi-like party is part of the Israeli government?  Rightfully, Israelis would reject this precondition as should the Palestinians reject the imposition that Hamas cannot be part of any Palestinian government unless certain preconditions are met.

Before Palestinian elections are called, however, the Palestinian people, both in Palestine and in the diaspora, need to call upon both Fatah and Hamas to reconcile. We as a people need to impose upon our Palestinian leaders the wisdom of unity despite what the US and Israel want.  We can no longer be a house divided.  We can disagree with each other but when confronting the oppressor, we need to be united.

If the US and Israel want to impose economic and financial sanctions or want to withhold financial aid from the Palestinians, that should be the price of unity. The price of destabilization is what the Israelis and the US will have to consider for blackmailing the Palestinians.  Destabilizing economic conditions will lead to a third Intifada and Israel and the US will be to blame.   

I call upon all my Fatah and Hamas friends to speak up and communicate to Fatah and Hamas leaders that the time to stop this quibbling must end and now.  We need to demand that Fatah and Hamas reconcile now at all costs.

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