Crafty Lieberman says “if Hamas disarms, israel will lift the siege”.

Disarm and we’ll lift the siege – Lieberman

SEE ALSO israel‘s terrorism started long before existed … …

The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza. It is the only entry point for commercial vehicles into Gaza.  It is controlled by Israeli border guards. Photo by Tsafrir Abayov

Palestinian factions slam Lieberman’s offer to ease Gaza blockade as ‘blackmail’

By Ma’an news
October 24/ 25, 2016

GAZA CITY — Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip denounced remarks made by Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman during a rare interview with Palestinian newspaper al-Quds on Monday, calling the ultra right-wing minister’s conditional offer to ease the blockade “blackmail.”

In the interview, Lieberman said that Israel would agree to end its stringent blockade on the Gaza Strip and help build an airport, a seaport, and an industrial zone in the coastal enclave if Palestinian factions agreed to stop digging tunnels under the border with Israel and firing rockets at Israeli towns.

Speaking to Ma’an, Hamas movement spokesman Hazim Qasim said that the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza was a “crime under humanitarian law and must be ended,” and that “our people has a natural right to have access to the outside world, including an airport and seaport that can guarantee the right to movement and travel, which are of the most basic of human rights.”

However, he said that these rights should not be dependent on blackmail and political stipulations.

“A people under occupation have the right to possess means of power, including military ones, so as to be able to defend themselves against continuous Israeli assaults,” Qasim said, adding that this right was “not debatable.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) politburo member Salih Zeidan rejected Lieberman’s proposal, which he said wasn’t more than a political manoeuvre to attempt to blame the Palestinian resistance for the crippling siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Zeidan added that Israel had not complied with the truce reached in Cairo following the devastating 2014 conflict, which stipulated that Israel limits the buffer zone inside Gaza to 100 metres and opens more terminals to allow the flow of goods into Gaza.

Zeidan said that the agreement had also stated that Israel allow the construction of a seaport and an airport in the Gaza Strip. Gaza, he added, “has the right to have seaport and airport, but Israel has not complied with what has been agreed on.”

Israeli officials had previously evoked the possibility of allowing an airport in Gaza in exchange for a cessation of Palestinian hostilities in March 2015.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.

The Shaldag class patrol boat polices the Gaza coast and fires at ‘smuggling’ boats [any boat bringing goods is ‘smuggling’] approaching Gaza’s coast. IDF photo

The 51-day Israeli offensive by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of at least 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the UN.

The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 Palestinians who remain displaced since 2014.

The Israeli border fence against the Gaza Strip, August 10, 2014. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Lieberman: Israel will lift siege on Gaza if Hamas ditches military activity

During the war on Lebanon in 2006, Israel had shelled the Gaza International Airport, causing its complete destruction.

By Christof Lehmann, nsnbc-me*
October 25, 2016

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with the Al-Quds newspaper, said Israel was prepared to lift  the siege on Palestine’s Gaza Strip if Hamas demilitarizes. Control over the Egyptian – Palestinian border by Hamas, or any other faction, rather than by an official government, has also stalled the opening of the border between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (archives)

Speaking with Al-Quds, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would be prepared to lift the siege on the coastal Palestinian enclave if Hamas demilitarizes. Small-scale attacks from Hamas’ military wing, the Ezz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades who are affiliated to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, have been among the primary Israeli excuses for multiple rounds of disproportionate war against the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Lieberman noted that if Hamas demilitarizes Israel would not merely be willing to lift the siege; Israel also is prepared to help with the construction of infrastructure projects including a seaport and an international airport. Lieberman’s statement comes against the backdrop of mounting international criticism and an increasingly efficient international Boycott – Divestment – Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Lieberman’s statement raises a number of questions and has been met with criticism as well as with some cautious optimism. Some members of Hamas as well as some members of PLO member organizations criticized Lieberman’s suggestion as an attempt to normalize the occupation. Lieberman’s statement raises several legal and political issues. One issue is that the siege on Gaza is illegal to begin with.

Another issues is that a population in a territory, in the face of an advancing military force, has the right to mount armed resistance. Armed Palestinian groups are in other words, and in the eyes of many experts in international law, a legal form of resistance.

A third issue would be the fact that one of the most important legal as well as de-facto subjects with regard to the determination of a country’s sovereignty is its right and its capacity to either defend itself or enter alliances to defend itself, as well as its right to declare and capacity to wage war if needed.

Finally, there is the issue of the Oslo Accords which are no treaty, and which never have been succeeded by a treaty of mutual recognition within five years. Although the accords are still used as the foundation for political negotiations, their actual validity expired in 1998 – 1999. The Palestinian Authority has since then operated in a legal limbo.

The fact that the accords were never followed up by a treaty also raises the question whether a de-militarization of Hamas and/or other factions’ armed wings in the Gaza Strip would lead to the sort of military occupation that exists in the West Bank rather than to a functional Palestinian State. Ultimately there is the issue that a statement made during an interview with Al-Quds may make good Hasbara but that such a statement has nothing at all to do with a legal and binding commitment.

The very violent, ISIL-affiliated Wilayat Sinai.

Lieberman’s statement does, however, bring to mind that elements of Hamas also have been involved in the insurgency in Egypt’s North Sinai province. The insurgency was launched by the militant wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, in cooperation with elements of the armed wing of Hamas, of Jama’a al-Islamiya, and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM).

These groups became Wilayat Sinai and pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. While there is no validity in the claim that Hamas and ISIL are identical, there is a strong pragmatic correlation between the control over the Palestinian side of the border between Gaza and Egypt by Hamas, or any other party or faction rather than by forces under the command of a Palestinian government that can be held internationally and legally accountable.

Egypt never called for the demilitarization of Palestinian factions but stressed that it would like to normalize the opening of the Rafah border crossing if the Palestinian side of the border came under the control of troops from a legally elected Palestinian government. Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in 2015, guaranteed that Egypt was willing to train Palestinian border forces. Al-Sisi also stated that Egypt could consider the deployment of Egyptian military forces to a Palestinian State to guarantee its safety. Initiatives in this regard stalled when the attempt to establish an interim Palestinian unity government with the participation of Hamas failed. Experts from NGOs including UNRWA and other UN bodies warned that the repeated destruction of the Gaza Strip and the consequences of the continued siege could render the region uninhabitable within five years.

* nnbc-me / nsnbc-me is the news network and broadcasting collective – middle east founded by this article’s author, Christof Lehmann

%d bloggers like this: