Qasem: Occupation wants reconciliation tailored to its liking

[ 22/05/2011 – 10:01 PM ] 
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Dr. Abedl-Sattar Qasem, political science professor at al-Najah university in Nablus, said that the occupation wants a reconciliation tailored to its liking and which is based on resisting the resistance, but not a reconciliation that unites Palestinians and props up resistance.

Qasem said, in a press statement on Sunday, that the Palestinian national reconciliation is still not being felt on the ground and the people want to see its fruits quickly.

On Obama’s speech he said that anyone who counts on Obama is walking towards a mirage as the Palestinian state that Obama and Netanyahu want to see is a Palestinian state that looks after the security of Israeli and as such it is not a state.

He commented on Obama’s call for Hamas to recognise the occupation state by saying that if Hamas was to do that it would lose its raison d’etre and would become like the PA and this will not happen.

He finally stressed that any proposed solution or initiative that does not recognise the right of return in a practical manner will fail at the end pointing out that the Arab popular revolutions will support Palestinian rights and that refugees in the camps will not rest until they return to their homes.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Advertisements

Unity is Not Compromise: Towards a Real Palestinian Strategy

“Fatah should not interpret unity as a mandate to carry on with its failed policy of the past. And Hamas should take care not to repeat the kind of text-book mistakes Palestinians have repeatedly committed, even if the reward might be greater legitimacy or inconsequential recognitions.”
By Ramzy Baroud

As the Palestine Papers demonstrated, the major obstacle to a real, lasting and just peace in Palestine is the Israeli leadership’s unwillingness to accept anything less than full domination over the Palestinians. Not only do Israeli leaders refuse to partake in any serious peace talks, they also refuse to agree on universally accepted notions, for example, the law.

On 13 November 2007, then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereikat that she despised the very notion of law. According to the Palestine Papers, published by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian, Livni said: “I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law — international law in particular. Law in general.”
Livni is often contrasted with current rightwing Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu, and has been described as a “dove” when compared to him. This unfounded reputation caused many broken hearts when Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel in March 2009, as chances for real peace supposedly diminished.
Such Israeli obduracy was a prime reason for Palestinians to unify their ranks. The signing of the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement in Cairo on 27 April was indeed a fitting response to Israel’s incessant attempts at dividing the Palestinians.
Palestinian unity must not be co-opted into the peace charade, however. It should not become a condition Palestinians are required to fulfil in order to demonstrate their worthiness for Israeli-US-styled peace. Such a rationale, now gleefully argued by many, would not explain why ordinary Palestinians celebrated throughout the occupied territories.

What compelled the celebrations was a common understanding that political unity was necessary to confront that very Israeli intransigence, and that the use of democratic and truly representative political institutions could achieve such goals as liberation, sovereignty and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Following the official signing of the unity deal, Daniel Levy wrote in the Guardian : “It makes sense to speculate that a course correction by Israel’s leaders towards greater realism, pragmatism and compromise might emerge in response to a more challenging, strategic and — one would hope — non- violent Palestinian adversary.”

Others have made similar points, arguing that Palestinian political unity will force Israel to compromise. Hamas and Fatah could together prevent Netanyahu’s government from expanding settlements, and also prevent further exploitation of disunity by challenging the idea that Israel has no peace partner with which an agreement can be reached and honoured.

This argument, as thoughtful or well-intended as it may be, actually seems to ignore recurring historical events. Israel’s colonial programme underway in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank has never been affected by Palestinian discord or unity. The real problem lies in Israel’s entrenched belief that only absolute military domination over the Palestinians could guarantee Israel’s position in what Livni described as a “rough neighbourhood”.

However, Palestinian leaders, especially in the two main parties, Hamas and Fatah, already know this. Fatah has been through nearly 20 years of frivolous negotiations, and Hamas has, all this time, watched Fatah concede, both politically and territorially, without gaining any significant peace dividends in return. Thus, it’s a foretold conclusion that giving Israel yet another break to change its ways, as proposed by Hamas’s politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, will bring nothing new to the table.

To avoid being viewed as compromising, Meshaal made his remarks in the form of a threat. During a meeting with young leaders of the Egyptian revolution on 10 May, Meshaal stated that Hamas was “willing to give Israel a one- year extension on recognising a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.” If Israel failed to do this, the movement would be forced to bring additional “cards to the pack of resistance”. The Hamas leader made it clear, however, that the additional cards wouldn’t necessarily indicate a declaration a war on Israel.

Giving Israel another year — enough time to confiscate more Palestinian land and to build thousands of new illegal housing units in its ever expanding settlements — is hardly the political strategy that Palestinians expect from the Hamas-Fatah unity.

In fact, neither Hamas nor Fatah have a political mandate to make such sweeping political compromises, especially as Palestinians are very familiar with Israel’s lack of tendency to reciprocate. In fact, Israel is likely to escalate, both politically and militarily, to counter whatever strategy Hamas and Fatah have in mind.

Palestinian leaders need to use caution before making such offerings, especially as the next phase in the Palestinian struggle for freedom and rights is likely to be a very challenging one. The Arab revolution is sounding the alarms in Tel Aviv that Israel’s rough neighbourhood is getting even rougher. Israel’s political contingency is at an all-time high, as united Palestinian parties will be pushing for international recognition of an independent state at the United Nations next September. More, the US is likely to curtail its omnipresent role as the propeller of the peace process, following the resignation of the Obama administration’s special envoy for Middle East peace.

The announcement of former Senator George Mitchell’s resignation after two years of fruitless talks, in conjunction with the mobilisation of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, suggest that the coming months will see much arm-twisting, if not outright coercion, of the Palestinian leadership.

Fatah should not interpret unity as a mandate to carry on with its failed policy of the past. And Hamas should take care not to repeat the kind of text-book mistakes Palestinians have repeatedly committed, even if the reward might be greater legitimacy or inconsequential recognitions.

Palestinians didn’t celebrate unity out of love for Hamas or Fatah. Rather they were eager to see a sound Palestinian strategy that could revitalise Palestinian energies everywhere towards one common goal: freedom. The freedom Palestinians want is based on Palestinian political constants, enshrined in international law. Any deviation from such understanding for limited political and factional gains will turn the prevailing sense of joy into grief, and celebrations into protests.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.

Unity is Not Compromise: Towards a Real Palestinian Strategy

“Fatah should not interpret unity as a mandate to carry on with its failed policy of the past. And Hamas should take care not to repeat the kind of text-book mistakes Palestinians have repeatedly committed, even if the reward might be greater legitimacy or inconsequential recognitions.”

By Ramzy Baroud

As the Palestine Papers demonstrated, the major obstacle to a real, lasting and just peace in Palestine is the Israeli leadership’s unwillingness to accept anything less than full domination over the Palestinians. Not only do Israeli leaders refuse to partake in any serious peace talks, they also refuse to agree on universally accepted notions, for example, the law.

On 13 November 2007, then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereikat that she despised the very notion of law. According to the Palestine Papers, published by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian, Livni said: “I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law — international law in particular. Law in general.”
Livni is often contrasted with current rightwing Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu, and has been described as a “dove” when compared to him. This unfounded reputation caused many broken hearts when Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel in March 2009, as chances for real peace supposedly diminished.

Such Israeli obduracy was a prime reason for Palestinians to unify their ranks. The signing of the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement in Cairo on 27 April was indeed a fitting response to Israel’s incessant attempts at dividing the Palestinians.

Palestinian unity must not be co-opted into the peace charade, however. It should not become a condition Palestinians are required to fulfil in order to demonstrate their worthiness for Israeli-US-styled peace. Such a rationale, now gleefully argued by many, would not explain why ordinary Palestinians celebrated throughout the occupied territories.

What compelled the celebrations was a common understanding that political unity was necessary to confront that very Israeli intransigence, and that the use of democratic and truly representative political institutions could achieve such goals as liberation, sovereignty and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Following the official signing of the unity deal, Daniel Levy wrote in the Guardian : “It makes sense to speculate that a course correction by Israel’s leaders towards greater realism, pragmatism and compromise might emerge in response to a more challenging, strategic and — one would hope — non- violent Palestinian adversary.”

Others have made similar points, arguing that Palestinian political unity will force Israel to compromise. Hamas and Fatah could together prevent Netanyahu’s government from expanding settlements, and also prevent further exploitation of disunity by challenging the idea that Israel has no peace partner with which an agreement can be reached and honoured.

This argument, as thoughtful or well-intended as it may be, actually seems to ignore recurring historical events. Israel’s colonial programme underway in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank has never been affected by Palestinian discord or unity. The real problem lies in Israel’s entrenched belief that only absolute military domination over the Palestinians could guarantee Israel’s position in what Livni described as a “rough neighbourhood”.

However, Palestinian leaders, especially in the two main parties, Hamas and Fatah, already know this. Fatah has been through nearly 20 years of frivolous negotiations, and Hamas has, all this time, watched Fatah concede, both politically and territorially, without gaining any significant peace dividends in return. Thus, it’s a foretold conclusion that giving Israel yet another break to change its ways, as proposed by Hamas’s politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, will bring nothing new to the table.

To avoid being viewed as compromising, Meshaal made his remarks in the form of a threat. During a meeting with young leaders of the Egyptian revolution on 10 May, Meshaal stated that Hamas was “willing to give Israel a one- year extension on recognising a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.” If Israel failed to do this, the movement would be forced to bring additional “cards to the pack of resistance”. The Hamas leader made it clear, however, that the additional cards wouldn’t necessarily indicate a declaration a war on Israel.

Giving Israel another year — enough time to confiscate more Palestinian land and to build thousands of new illegal housing units in its ever expanding settlements — is hardly the political strategy that Palestinians expect from the Hamas-Fatah unity.

In fact, neither Hamas nor Fatah have a political mandate to make such sweeping political compromises, especially as Palestinians are very familiar with Israel’s lack of tendency to reciprocate. In fact, Israel is likely to escalate, both politically and militarily, to counter whatever strategy Hamas and Fatah have in mind.

Palestinian leaders need to use caution before making such offerings, especially as the next phase in the Palestinian struggle for freedom and rights is likely to be a very challenging one. The Arab revolution is sounding the alarms in Tel Aviv that Israel’s rough neighbourhood is getting even rougher. Israel’s political contingency is at an all-time high, as united Palestinian parties will be pushing for international recognition of an independent state at the United Nations next September. More, the US is likely to curtail its omnipresent role as the propeller of the peace process, following the resignation of the Obama administration’s special envoy for Middle East peace.

The announcement of former Senator George Mitchell’s resignation after two years of fruitless talks, in conjunction with the mobilisation of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, suggest that the coming months will see much arm-twisting, if not outright coercion, of the Palestinian leadership.

Fatah should not interpret unity as a mandate to carry on with its failed policy of the past. And Hamas should take care not to repeat the kind of text-book mistakes Palestinians have repeatedly committed, even if the reward might be greater legitimacy or inconsequential recognitions.

Palestinians didn’t celebrate unity out of love for Hamas or Fatah. Rather they were eager to see a sound Palestinian strategy that could revitalise Palestinian energies everywhere towards one common goal: freedom. The freedom Palestinians want is based on Palestinian political constants, enshrined in international law. Any deviation from such understanding for limited political and factional gains will turn the prevailing sense of joy into grief, and celebrations into protests.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Despite reconciliation deal Fatah security forces still detain citizens, targets Islamic Jihad men, arrests youth, summons others

“They sell you in the name of “unity” and say: the Palestinian people want a unity …
And the Palestinian people want a unity … but a different kind of unity …


The Palestinian people want a unity that places Palestine above all personal interests…
The Palestinian people want a unity that safeguards the Palestinian constants…
The Palestinian people want a unity that embodies their aspirations …
The Palestinian people want a unity that leads the way to liberation…
The Palestinian people want a unity; a unity that brings an end to collaboration, to concessions in the form of negotiations, to concessions in the name of “peace”, in the name of a tiny prison called “state”…

The Palestinian people want a unity that will unite the Palestinian people, in the homeland and in the Diaspora, unite them in one goal: total liberation.” reham alhelsi

Fatah security forces still detain citizens despite reconciliation deal

[ 18/05/2011 – 08:30 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)– Despite the Palestinian reconciliation deal that was signed lately by the Palestinian factions in Cairo, the Fatah-affiliated security apparatuses in the West Bank still kidnap and summon dozens of citizens everyday.

According to local sources on Wednesday, the Palestinian authority intelligence apparatus have been detaining a young man called Mahmoud Abyat for 10 days. The young man used to work for lawmakers in their office in Bethlehem city

In Nablus city, the security forces also kidnapped another young man called Adel Katlouni from a restaurant in the city and released him on condition that he should return later for further interrogation.

The young man is the son of Husam Katlouni, a member of the municipal council in Nablus.

For his part, Amran Madlum, a student at the university of Birzeit refused to go to the intelligence headquarters after he was summoned for interrogation. This has been the third summons since his release from Israeli jails about 20 days ago.

A Palestinian family, for its part, said its son, Wafa Al-Hutari from Qalqiliya city, went on hunger strike in protest of his detention without any reason for several months in a PA jail.

Islamic Jihad confirms West Bank security still targeting its men

[ 18/05/2011 – 08:40 PM ]

JENIN, (PIC)– The Islamic Jihad movement has renewed accusations that the West Bank security agencies have continued targeting its members after the signing of the historic unity deal between factions ruling the Palestinian territories.

Harassment of the Islamic Jihad by West Bank security agencies has actually spiked since the signing of the unity deal ”in an attempt by some to disturb the reconciliation atmosphere and unity between resistance factions,” said an Islamic Jihad official in a press statement on Wednesday.

The agencies arrested ten Islamic Jihad men, including one who was crippled, during raids amid Nakba Day events in Jenin and Al-Khalil.

Separately, a Palestinian university student from Dora has declared her refusal to respond to summonses by the West Bank security agencies.

She was called to appear before security headquarters for questioning on May 18. But after discussing the matter with her family she decided not to appear.

She had already been questioned inside her university over her ties with students in the Islamic bloc as well as her friends and participation in the May 15 events.

Fatah official Hussam Khadir has criticized the recent string of arrests and summonses, especially those targeting elements from the Islamic Jihad, calling the situation a “violation of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo two weeks back.

He confirmed that Fatah chief and de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is to blame.

He said that there are parties in every Palestinian institution that are not pleased with the unity deal, which stipulates the release of all political prisoners in both sides of the country.

PA security arrests youth, summons others

[ 19/05/2011 – 04:06 PM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The PA intelligence in Al-Khalil city arrested a Palestinian young man and summoned a number of Hamas supporters in Yatta village, south of Al-Khalil, on Thursday in absolute disregard of the reconciliation agreement.

Local sources said that the intelligence detained Tamer Al-Natshe after summoning him to the intelligence headquarters in the city, noting that he was released from Israeli occupation jails only six months ago after eight years of imprisonment. He was also released only two weeks from the PA intelligence jail.

In Nablus, the PA intelligence summoned Abdurahman Hindiya for the second time but he said that he would not go, calling on all West Bank MPs to say something in face of the continued summonses despite the signing of the reconciliation agreement.

He urged West Bank youth not to obey security summonses.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Solidarity with Palestine

Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, “The People want the Rafah Crossing opened,” and “Palestine is a Arab state.”

They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting “Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada” and “National Unity” ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.

Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:

“(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution’s government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won’t accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who’s part of the former regime….”
In response, crowds chanted, “Down, down Yehia El-Gamal.” One participant, identified only as Mohammad, spoke for others, saying:
Sharaf’s government is taking the same path as the former government. They have the same double standards, secrecy and authoritarian policy-making in internal (and) external affairs.”
Though Egypt’s spring hasn’t bloomed, its spirit pervades Tahrir, suggesting perhaps renewed uprisings ahead. For now, however, Egyptians head for Gaza in solidarity with Palestinian liberation, a goal millions around the world support, as well as a Third Intifada to achieve it.

Surprisingly, however, despite MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) Morocco to Oman to Syria uprisings, Palestinians haven’t yet reacted, except for regular small-scale demonstrations far short of large masses throughout Egypt and neighboring countries, posing challenges for ruling authorities.

Yet nowhere is regional abuse more extreme, including occupation, isolation, land theft, mass arrests, torture, targeted assassinations, daily terror, and at times war, causing thousands of casualties and widespread destruction.

Perhaps Egypt’s solidarity march will inspire what hasn’t yet occurred, under the slogan, “Cairo’s liberation will not be complete without the liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

According to Justice and Freedom Youth Movement’s Ahmed Doma:

“We are organizing this event as part of the Arab Internet call for a third Palestinian Intifada, and as part of what has been termed ‘the Arab mass march.’ “

Facebook was used, urging that regional Arabs march en masse to Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Jordanian/Israeli borders, demanding what Palestinians have long sought, including liberation, ending occupation, the right of return, and East Jerusalem as its capital.

Participating Egyptians also want:

— Rafah’s border crossing permanently open, permitting free movement of people and goods;

— halting Egypt’s sale of gas to Israel;

— ending all “humiliating agreements with the Zionist state;” and

— immediate release of all Palestinians in Egyptian prisons.

On May 14 at noon Cairo time, marchers headed for Gaza, expecting to arrive that evening ahead of planned May 15 Nakba day rallies. At the same time, protesters demonstrated in front of Israel’s Giza embassy and its ambassador’s Maadi residence.

We are All Resistance member Arwa said “other convoys heading to Palestine are moving from Alexandria, Suez, Damietta and North Sinai. People will also join convoys from Gharbiya, Beni Suef, Assiut, Qena and Sohag” in a mass show of solidarity.

Cairo participating groups include:

— the National Front for Justice and Democracy;

— Cairo University’s Supporters of the Palestinian Revolution;

— the Justice and Freedom Youth Movement,

— Kifaya;

— We are All the Resistance Movement;

— Helwan University’s Resistance Movement;

— Ultras Ahlawy Ahly football club supporters;

— Zamalek club White Knights;

— Activists for Palestine;

— the Palestinian Women’s Coalition;

— the April 6 Movement;

— the Nasserist Party; and

— various independent activists.

In Tel Aviv, Israel’s Zochrot organization also shows support, defying the imposed ban on Nakba commemorations by posting a sign in German saying “we remember.” Other Israelis joined them in solidarity.

On its web site (zochrot.org), it:

“seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948.”

Palestinians were victimized, losing “their entire world. But Jews in Israel also pay a price for their conquest,” living with the criminal legacy Palestinians and global supporters won’t forget. Zochrot’s goal is “recognition for injustice and new paths toward change and repair,” including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, saying:

“Return is fundamental to resolving the conflict and implementation of return need not cause injustice to Jewish people….in Israel.” It doesn’t mean expelling them. In fact, “the very opposite: The mutual existence of Palestinians and Jews in the country,” co-existing together peacefully. Return can thus free two societies from the destructive occupier/occupied relationship, ending a longstanding intolerable blight.

As a result, Zochrot will participate in March of Return activities, its site saying its members will visit Miska village, destroyed and ethnically cleaned by Israelis in 1948. They’ll then join the March of Return in al-Damun and al-Ruways villages, also demolished in 1948.

Ahead of May 15 demonstrations, Haaretz writers Anshel Pfeffer, Jack Khoury and Nir Hasson headlined, “Israeli – Palestinian tensions rise in Jerusalem, West Bank as Nabka Day nears,” explaining that:

Clashes erupted between IDF soldiers and Palestinians throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem Friday morning, including in Silwan, Isawiya and the Old City. Israeli police arrested 11 protesters. IDF soldiers used rubber bullets, tear gas, and heavy-handed thuggishness, assaulting nonviolent demonstrators.

Several injuries were reported, including an American and 17-year old Milad Said Ayyash, shot in the head Friday at close range with a high-velocity tear gas cannister and killed. At his Saturday funeral, two Palestinians were wounded. Others were arrested.

Further, Haaretz said “(t)ens of thousands of Palestinian refugees will converge in Maroun al-Ras, a village in southern Lebanon that was a major point of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War. A parallel demonstration will also be held on the Israeli side of the Lebanon border in Avivim….where demonstrations will be staged concurrently with” a planned Maroun al-Ras rally.

The International Middle East Media Center also reported on May 13 IDF – Palestinian clashes, including:

— Israelis blocking roads, impeding weekly Bil’in anti-wall protesters from traveling to established sites;

— arresting 34 West Bank/East Jerusalem protesters; and

— wounding 22 Palestinians in Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, including photo-journalist Hilmi Tamimi.

Moreover, Italian and Malaysian activists arrived in Gaza, including friends of slain activist/journalist Vittorio Arrigoni. They’ll join growing numbers of others in solidarity for Palestinian liberation and justice.

However, according to Press TV on May 14, Egyptian authorities blocked access to Sinai, preventing activists from reaching Rafah. Also, buses to transport other supporters didn’t arrive. Nonetheless, “a convoy left Cairo’s Liberation square on Saturday,” hoping to show Palestinian solidarity on the Gaza/Rafah border.

A Final Comment

On May 12, a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) report said Israeli soldiers and settlers killed 7,342 Palestinians from September 29, 2000 (start of the second Intifada) through December 31, 2010.

PCBS also said Israeli security forces “kidnapped” nearly 750,000 Palestinians since June 1967, including 12,000 women and many children, targeted for wanting freedom in their own land.

Occupation harshness continues daily throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza. On May 15, regional solidarity will converge in Gaza, along Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian border areas, and perhaps other locations worldwide, commemorating Nakba day for what Palestinians have long sought – liberation on their own land in their own country. Long overdue, it can’t come a moment too soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.=

posted by Steve Lendman @ 1:23 AM

‘Egypt revolution hope for Palestine’ – Dr. Ghada Karmi Interviewed by Lauren Booth

Palestine Video

Lauren Booth @LaurenBoothUK interviews Dr. Ghada Karmi on Palestinian Unity, Egypt, Israel, Declaration of Palestinian State and the One State Solution.

PressTV – ‘Egypt revolution hope for Palestine’:

Sat May 7, 2011 3:38PM
Interview with Dr. Ghada Karmi, Author and Co-Director of Center for Palestine Studies.

http://www.presstv.ir/player/player1.swf

Egypt’s revolution has encouraged Palestinians, building their hopes up hope for establishing a Palestinian state or unification.

In this regard, Press TV interviewed Author and Co-Director of Centre for Palestine studies Dr. Ghada Karmi.

Press TV: This is a historic week. Does it feel historic from where you are coming from?

Karmi: Not really. It feels good. We are very happy that these two Palestinian parties, which have been feuding for years now quite unwisely — This could only play to Israel’s advantage — finally realized that’s not the way forward and they should unite and get together.

That is very good and it’s very sensible. However, we really must not get carried away. After all they are talking about a local situation among a third of the worldwide Palestinian people. So we have to put these things in perspective.

You know there must be about ten or eleven million Palestinians worldwide. The people of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza number about 3.5 million.

So that gives you an idea of the fact that this is not the majority of the Palestinians, and it in itself does not indicate that the problem of Palestine will actually be resolved. It is a very encouraging and positive step.

Press TV: Do you see Israel as being ready to negotiate with a coalition government? The early signs coming from Netanyahu’s government have been very negative. Such as, [many saying,] ‘we will not deal with Hamas until they recognize Israel and denounce violence. In fact I think Netanyahu said we will not deal with Hamas at all.’ Where does that lead the coalition government?

Karmi: It is very clear that Israel has not been ready to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian side. I think it’s not too mistaken to say ever, they have never negotiated in good faith. They’ve been through negotiations and got what they wanted. And of course they want to keep the process going without conceding to anything. And of course using the time they’ve gained to take more Palestinian territory. That’s the Israeli ploy.

Press TV: The Former Palestinian Delegate to the United Kingdom said there is a lot of process and no peace.

Karmi: Exactly, and I don’t think I see that changing. Netanyahu has actually condemned this agreement. He said that Fatah and Hamas must decide whether it wishes to negotiate with Israel or Hamas. That means in other words if Hamas is on board then there can be no negotiations with Israel.

Press TV: What is your opinion on Egypt’s move, and the effect that must have had on the process within Palestine, support now from the government rather than being swept aside with the Mubarak-Israeli coalition going on. Did the people’s uprising in Egypt have a big effect?

Karmi: It is hugely important. Probably this is the most important thing in all of this. Palestinians feel very encouraged and very cheered by Egyptian support because we knew that Egypt’s people have never accepted Mubarak’s policies of keeping the Palestinian population penned up and starving.

All the Egyptians have never accepted it. They finally appear to have a government, which also doesn’t accept it, and is reflected in popular will…

Press TV: You wrote a book. A year and a half ago it was released. It was on the idea of a one state rather than a two state solution; Now 130 states world-wide are pushing for Palestine to become a state on the notion of a two-state solution at the end of this year. What does unity mean? Are you still in favor of a one state solution encompassing Israel and Palestine together?

Karmi: Indeed I am. I think any sensible person looking at this conflict has to support the idea of a secular state for those accepting it. There are people talking about the possible UN recognition of a Palestinian state at the General Assembly in September.

It’s almost equivalent to the creation of a Palestinian state. Well of course that is not so. It’s very far from the fact. One has to recon first of all with Israel, and its settlements, as there are 500,000 settlers in the occupied territories in the West Bank.

There is no indication whatsoever that the Israelis are willing to move these settlers.

Press TV: They cannot because if they did there would be a civil war; Its a half a million people that don’t want to leave.

Karmi: Absolutely and therefore one really does have to look at reality. So the idea that actually there is shortly to be a Palestinian state, and therefore what are we going to do about the talks of a unity state. That is not the situation. However, I do feel there are two ways in which one can look at this.

On the one hand the Palestinian idea and Palestinian Authority and Abbas’ idea, is that we take the proposition of a Palestinian state, as if there were no settlements, and we ask the world to recognize the right of Palestinians to set up their own state.

What that can do is to create the momentum which puts pressure on the Israelis that will make it difficult for them to resist as they have done in the past. There would no longer be one to one negotiations. It would now be Israel against the international community. It’s quite a clever move to create a new situation, and of course it has a lot of diplomatic implications.

If Palestine is a state, then it has a right to call on the UN for protection of its people. And it has the right to actually negotiate with the other party as a state and not just as a group. So these things are possible benefits.

At the same time we have to remember that it could be if the right people were leading this movement, that the two-state idea is actually only a stepping stage towards eventual unification between Israel and a Palestinian state.

NM/PKH

– Sent using Google Toolbar”

Palestine Video – A Palestine Vlog. Activist and Other Videos on Palestine

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Palestinian Unity and the New Middle East

‘Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy’.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the Hamas-Fatah deal in Cairo was both swift and predictable. “The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both,” he said, in a televised speech shortly after the Palestinian political rivals reached a reconciliation agreement under Egyptian sponsorship on April 27.

Despite numerous past attempts to undercut Mahmoud Abbas, stall peace talks, and derail Israel’s commitment to previous agreements, Netanyahu and his rightwing government are now arguing that Palestinians are solely responsible for the demise of the illusory ‘peace process’. Israeli bulldozers will continue to carve up the hapless West Bank to make room for more illegal settlements, but this time their excuse may not be ‘natural expansion’. The justification might instead be Israel has no partner. US and other media will merrily repeat the dreadful logic, and Palestinians will, as usual, be chastised.

But frankly, at this juncture of Middle East history, Israel is almost negligible. It no longer has a transformative influence in the region. When the Arab people began revolting, a new dimension to the Arab-Israeli conflict emerged. As the chants in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began to adopt a pan-Arab and pro-Palestinian language, it became obvious that Egypt would soon venture outside the political confines of Washington’s patronizing labels, which divide the Arabs into moderates (good) and radicals (bad).

A day after the handshakes exchanged by chief Fatah representative, Azzam al-Ahmed, and Hamas’s leaders, Damascus-based Dr. Moussa Abu Marzoug and Gaza-based Mahmoud Al Zahar, the forces behind the agreement in Cairo became apparent. While Israeli leaders used the only language they know for these situations – that of threats, intimidation and ultimatums – the US response was flat, confused, and extraneous. Aside from the outmoded nature of US officials’ remarks, the focus was largely placed on the only leverage the US has over Abbas and its Fatah allies. Jennifer Rubin wrote in her Washington Post blog on April 29: “The Obama administration is reluctant to articulate clearly a position that if a Hamas-Fatah unity government emerges as Mahmoud Abbas has been describing, the U.S. will cut off aid.”

The temporary reluctance is not pervading, however. “Congress is an entirely different matter,” Rubin wrote, quoting an angry, unnamed official: “The only acceptable answers (to whether the US should fund the new Palestinian government) for most Americans would be no or hell no.”

But how effective will such financial arm-twisting be, especially with the possibility of other donor countries following suit?

If the question had been asked prior to the Arab Spring – and the Egyptian revolution in particular – the answer would have been marred by uncertainty. A whole class of Palestinian politicians had arranged their stances almost exclusively around funding issues.

What really allowed Israel and the US to control the outcome of political events, even internal Palestinian affairs, was the lack of any real political balance surrounding this conflict. The US and its allies defined the will of the ‘international community’, and the region was trapped in Washington’s – and Tel Aviv’s – political designations of friends and enemies. It was a political stalemate par excellence, and only Israel benefited.

This analysis is not merely relevant to recent events. The greatest Israeli gain of the Camp David agreement (1979) was not of bringing peace to the region – for no regional peace truly followed. It was the total marginalization of Egypt as a powerful Arab party from virtually all Arab affairs of concern to Israel. The absence of Egypt in the process made it possible for Israel to repeatedly attack Lebanon, and also to further its colonization and destruction of the occupied territories.

Now Egypt is back – not merely in terms of a return to the ‘Arab fold’ – but as the party that will increasingly define the new Arab reality. The signing of the Hamas-Fatah deal may have come as a surprise in terms of media coverage, but it was really a predictable consequence in a chain of events that signaled the remaking of a region. Now the Middle East is spearheaded by a powerful Arab country, secure enough to reach out to multiple partners – other Arab countries, as well as Iran, Turkey and others.

Not only did both Turkey welcome the deal, it was also one of the main sponsors of the Palestinian rapprochement. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been instrumental in pushing for Palestinian unity. As for the Iranian position, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi hailed the “auspicious” agreement, which he described as “one of the achievements of the Egyptian revolution,” according to the Tehran Times (April 30).

The Israeli vision for the region was to keep it politically divided at any cost. Without such a division, Israel is likely to be on the defensive, and the US will be consumed in crisis management. A Palestinian unity in post-revolution Egypt, with the blessing of all Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, and many others, is an extremely worrying prospect for Israel. Of most concern is the rise of Egypt as a political party, one that is capable of making decisions on its own. Aside from sponsoring the unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah, without Israeli or US permission, Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil al-Arabi, also described the decision to seal off Gaza as “shameful”, and he promised to lift the siege (as reported by Aljazeera on April 29).

“Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy that has already begun shaking up the established order in the Middle East, planning to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalizing relations with two of Israel and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran,” wrote David D. Kirkpatrick in the New York Times (April 30). Such language was, at one time, unthinkable. Now, thanks to the will of the Egyptian and Arab peoples, it is likely to define the new Arab political discourse. Not even a fiery speech by a discredited Israeli Prime Minister could prevent this powerful paradigm shift.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

%d bloggers like this: