Saturday, May 19

Blame the Occupation?

Gaza is burning! The civil war between Hamas and Fatah is gaining momentum despite the numerous attempts at arranging a cease-fire between the two groups. The overflow of violence between the two sides results in the most macabre scenario imaginable. They send Qassam rockets to Sderot, an Israeli town within the green line, resulting in injury to innocent people and severe damage to property. This is a town where the unemployment rate is high and the people are weak economically. Why does Hamas indulge in murderous activities that befit their fantasy world of seizing power and destroying everything in their wake? There are many Palestinians, who blame the occupation for the chaos and slaughter occurring between the rival Palestinian factions. They believe that it is the Israeli policy of “divide and rule” that is responsible for the chaos. They see it is a tactic for prolonging the Israeli occupation.

The situation is reaching a point of no return. Reports state that Fatah is losing to the Hamas militias. The Palestinian people in Gaza are experiencing a total living hell. Streets are empty because people are scared to leave their homes to do their routine chores. Children are not going to school. Those people who do leave their homes are stopped by Hamas militias and their identities checked to see which clans they belong. If it is a clan associated with Fatah, their lives are at risk. Law and order have collapsed and so has the national unity government which never really existed in practice.

The Palestinian people are now on the sidelines and are helpless. The chances of establishing a democratic Palestinian state has become more remote than ever. The issue of factional violence has become so serious that there is no chance (at least, at this point in time) of cessation of violence and the formation of responsible government. Even the Islamic University of Gaza has not been spared from damage. Blaming the factional violence on the Israeli Occupation is absurd! One would expect that the occupation would be a unifying factor that is the lowest common denominator of all Palestinian factions, irrespective of their differing ideologies. It could have formed a basis by which there would be cooperation between the factions to reach their common goal of an independent Palestinian state. This is not the case at all and therefore the occupation cannot be blamed for this extreme violence against the warring sides. The situation is deteriorating into civil war. Apart from that, the Israelis had vacated Gaza unilaterally and there are no forces there anymore.

There is no Palestinian leadership to address the issue of factional violence and its connection with firing Qassam missiles into Sderot and its surrounding environment. The warped Hamas mind using this tactic defeats the end of any logical thinking. This tactic is incomprehensible and nobody can fathom what Hamas hope to achieve by it. The only possible reason that they do this is to provoke Israel into retaliating. The more Hamas militia members that Israel destroys, the more they hope to make political capital out of it and gain more support for their power struggle against Fatah. Their propaganda machine will run to the world of nations to accuse Israel of blatant aggression in order to prolong the occupation. Any idea of peace talks with Israel is even further from their lexicon than ever before.

The Palestinian people who supported Hamas in the elections last year got more than they bargained. Hamas does not intend to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. They intend to establish a Palestinian state replacing Israel. The biggest enemy of the Palestinians is the fantasy of destroying Israel. This enemy from within is part of the Hamas structure and ideology. They will attempt to do this using murderous tactics even against their own people in order to achieve their goal. The state which they wish to establish will abide by their racist and pseudo-Islamic concepts and this does not bode well for the Palestinians. It will not be a democratic state, but a religious pseudo-Islamic state of Taliban-like proportions that will not tolerate any opposition to strict Islamic religious law. The only way they can achieve this is by threatening their people with death if they disobey. Israel is a strong country and their chances of destroying Israel are remote indeed. They will plunder and murder Palestinians who oppose them as well as attempt to send in suicide bombers into Israel. They have started doing this in Gaza already. Nobody is immune from Hamas violence and terror. The future for the Palestinian people is very bleak indeed.

The Palestinian people must rise to the occasion for their own good. Hamas is a danger to their wellbeing and the people must arise as one and say “Enough is enough!” They must go into the streets and demonstrate with their feet against the Hamas leadership and their murder squads! They must stop using the occupation as an excuse for inactivity. After all, the occupation is playing into the hands of Hamas. They are using it as a tactic to justify their activities even against their own people in their quest for establishing Islamic rule and wiping out opposition by force.

There is even talk in Israel of supporting Fatah’ against Hamas. This would create a situation whereby Fatah will be viewed as a Quisling party and this could boomerang against Israel and would weaken the already weak Fatah leadership under Mahmoud Abbas even further. It would not serve anybody’s interests least of all Palestinian interests.

The Palestinians have never been blessed with good government. It has received an evil Hamas terrorist regime that terrorizes its own people. Even Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas PM, (who is prepared to sign a long term hudna - cease-fire agreement – with Israel and is considered a pragmatic moderate) has no power and there are elements in Hamas who will remove him from power eventually.

I leave the reader with the following message of Gush Shalom who faults Israel for this situation. Maybe there is some truth in the following:

“We have isolated Gaza.
We have starved Gaza.
We have expropriated hundreds of millions that belong to them.
We have convinced the world to impose a blockade on them.
We have humiliated Mahmoud Abbas.
We have boycotted Hamas.
We have pushed them into a fratricidal war.
Now there is anarchy.
The price is paid by

Ad published in Haaretz, May 18, 2007

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