Sunday, June 24

Two States for One People

The situation in the occupied territories is deteriorating from day to day. After a Hamas coup d’etat in Gaza, took Israel, the US and the EU by surprise a new situation was created. The violence accompanying the Hamas take over of Gaza has shown the world the depth of hatred existing between Hamas and Fatah.

No mercy is shown towards Fatah and those who oppose Hamas. Fatah members have been shot at mercilessly and thrown off the roof tops of buildings to their deaths. The Fatah Security Forces have been overpowered and destroyed by the highly motivated Hamas militias. Many have fled to Egypt. Some are trying to make their way to the West Bank. Over 100 Palestinians were killed in this Hamas led insurrection and now they control Gaza.

A heart rending refugee problem has been created with the elderly, women and their children waiting for days at the Erez check post to cross over into the West Bank. The wait is long and interrupted with sporadic shooting by Hamas who are trying to kill these desperate Palestinians seeking refuge.

The new Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, has given orders to allow the wounded Palestinians to be treated in Israeli hospitals. Hamas has embarked on a reign of terror. Not only do they hate Israel, they also hate their own people as well. It is paradoxical that stranded and wounded Palestinians in Gaza are looking to Israel for help. Hamas has committed grave crimes against their own people and has murdered many Palestinians. They are creating a situation whereby the Palestinians will suffer human rights abuses and torture. The true colours of Hamas are now visible by their terrorist activity towards the Palestinians with the overflow going into Israel in the form of Qassam rocket launches. Hamas has created a human tragedy of great proportions and they will not stop at Gaza. If anything, Hamas is a genocidal, terrorist organization with ethnic cleansing being their top priority.

The only way to prevent the West Bank from being overtaken by Hamas is to help Abu Mazen. Israel should release many prisoners and this would serve to strengthen a rather weak Abu Mazen as well. According to Haaretz 21st June 2007:

” Marwan Barghouti one of the leaders of the Palestinian people has been incarcerated for approximately five years now in Hadarim Prison, in central Israel. The time has come to release him. For years, Marwan Barghouti has tried to persuade Israelis to end the occupation through negotiation. He has gone from one Israeli party headquarters to the next, meeting with politicians across the political spectrum. He tried to persuade them in order to preempt the next confrontation.

Barghouti failed, the second intifada broke out, and he himself turned to the path of violent struggle. After going underground for months, during which he still tried to address the Israeli public through its own media, Barghouti was arrested in April 2002 and prosecuted. He was sentenced for five life terms in prison, plus 40 years.

It is doubtful whether arresting and prosecuting him was diplomatically wise, but there is no doubting the political wisdom of releasing him”.

The possibility that the trial of Marwan Barghouti was a show trial cannot be ruled out. If this leader is released it would contribute to clearing the way for a final peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Time has proved that the Palestinian people have backed the wrong horse to lead them. Hamas gained ground root support from the Palestinians as they appeared to be clean and free from corruption in comparison to the Fatah ruled Palestinian Authority. Now, with their ruthless take over of Gaza and their desire to turn Gaza into a religious Islamic entity, proves that Hamas is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They have no agenda apart from instilling violence and cruelty towards those who oppose them. They have the backing of Iran and Al Qaeda is waiting in the shadows to help them as well.

Most moderate people who share the interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike should be aware that any take over of the West Bank by Hamas would spell the end of Palestinian aspirations for an independent Palestinian state side by side with Israel.

Hamas has created an entity that will spell the ruin of Palestinian aspirations for an independent Palestinian state. If this situation continues with Palestine becoming two states for one people, the future for such a development remains unclear. The West Bank will remain amenable to negotiations with Israel while Gaza will not be prepared to negotiate for the moment. Haaretz , 2007-06-23 in a very thought provoking article expressed the situation as follows:

The aching heart of the Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, could be heard this week throughout the Middle East as his feelings on the situation were published on the front page of the Al Hayat newspaper, published in London. "Did we have to fall from such lofty heights and did we have to see our blood dripping from our own hands so that we could know we are not the angels we thought we were?" he asked. "Did we have to expose our nudity in public so that our reality would not remain virginal? Oh, how we lied to ourselves when we said: We are something special. It is worse to believe yourself than to lie to your fellow man..."

"The month of June has inflamed us with the memory of 40 years of defeat. For if we did not find someone to defeat us a second time, we have managed to defeat ourselves by our own hands, let us not forget. It is not the religious zealots who anger me, because after all, they believe in their own special way. It is their secular supporters who anger me and the infidels among their supporters who do not believe in anything else but one religion - their pictures on television."

This deep soul-searching on the part of Darwish is the refined essence of the Palestinian national wailing that found expression in dozens of articles, forums, talkbacks and sermons in the mosques. It was reminiscent of some kind of tremendous Shi'ite self-flagellation - in memory of the Day of Ashura, the day of mourning that has its roots in the martyrdom of the Prophet's grandson in the seventh century. "Arab society has in the past been faced with difficult days," the eminent columnist Abdel Rahman Al-Rashed wrote in the popular newspaper Asharq Alawsat, "but this is the most difficult time it has faced."

Not everything
that is bad
For Palestine
is good for Israel.

The split in
is bad for

We need peace
With the entire
Palestinian people -
All their sections,
All their territories,
Supporters of Fatah
And supporters of Hamas,
In the West Bank
And in the Gaza Strip.

Gush Shalom Ad published in Haaretz, June 22, 2007

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