Monthly Archives: June 2008

Fatah’s Fifth Column

29/06/2008
By Khalid Amayreh

While the vast majority of Palestinians have welcomed the
Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between the Hamas movement and
Israel, the American-backed “fifth column” within Fatah is
viewing the tahdiaa or brief calm in the Gaza Strip as an
existential threat to its very survival.

Since the conclusion of the fragile ceasefire nearly ten
days ago, these rouge elements have spared no effort trying
to thwart the truce by firing primitive projectiles across
the border. They also have been accusing Hamas of betraying
the resistance and undermining the vital interests of the
Palestinian people.

Of course, the purported concern for the resistance is
plainly insincere and disingenuous. It is an exposed and
cheap distraction aimed at blurring the real purpose of
these thugs, namely to provoke Israel to revoke the
ceasefire and carry out an all-out invasion of Gaza to
destroy Hamas and hand over the coastal territory to
Israel’s and America’s agents.

Isn’t exactly this goal that these “Fatah leaders” have
been intimating to western news agencies and Israeli
correspondents, always “on condition of anonymity.”

We all know and the bulk of Palestinians know that these
mercenaries are first and foremost answerable to US General
Keith Dayton, who effectively serves as American High
Commissioner in Ramallah, and is himself answerable to
Elliot Abram, who is more or less AIPAC’s representative in
the Bush administration.

Abrams has always worked strenuously toward igniting the
flames of civil war between the western-backed “moderates”
and the “extremist elements” led by Hamas. He had actually
made several public statements to that effect, but the
self-absorbed regime in Ramallah wouldn’t pay attention to
that, preferring to believe that Abrams was only making
jokes.

The Bush administration’s goal was from the very inception
, and probably still i to push the Palestinian society
toward a sort of violent and bloody implosion that would
eventually allow Israel and the neocons in Washington to
liquidate the Palestinian cause, once and for all.

This is exactly what Abrams had in mind last summer when he
okayed the transfer of huge sums of money and shipments of
arms to America’s man in Gaza, Muhammed Dhalan.

We all know the rest of the story as Hamas moved swiftly
and decisively to pre-empt Abrams’ criminal designs by
putting an end to Dahlan’s coup-in-the-making and ousting
his men and cohorts from Gaza.

Defeated, embittered and expelled, these people have never
stopped hatching plots to sow the seeds of civil war and
violence in the Gaza Strip.

They tried every conceivable conspiracy to beat Hamas,
effectively on Israel’s behalf, even as the Israeli
occupation army was murdering Palestinian civilians in
droves.

At one point the Fifth Column in Fatah seemed fully
embedded with Israel in the common battle against Hamas.
Their collusion with Israel and the US in maintaining the
harsh blockade on Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants speaks
volumes. It constitutes a stigma of shame on the foreheads
of the traitors and their supporters that will stay with
them for the rest of their lives.

Having failed to dislodge Hamas, these traitors are now
trying to sabotage the ceasefire in Gaza under the rubric
of resistance. This happens as tens of thousands of Fatah
“forces” are working in close coordination with the Israeli
occupation army to hound and eradicate real freedom
fighters, including Fatah’s own, in the West Bank.
Obviously, this is done on Israel’s behalf and in order to
obtain a certificate of good conduct from the likes of
Bush, Rice, Dayton and Abrams.

I realize that Fatah is not a monolithic movement. I also
know for sure that the movement includes many dignified and
patriotic elements that reject the shameful behavior of
certain elements within the group that claim to be speaking
and acting in the name of Fatah when they are effectively
at Israel’s and the CIA’s beck and call.

Unfortunately, these rouge elements have the money
(American dollars) and the wherewithal not only to corrode
Fatah from within but also to destabilize the internal
Palestinian front, all in the service of Israel and her
diabolical designs against our people and enduring just
cause.

Hence, it is imperative that true patriots within Fatah
move swiftly and decisively to undercut these
fifth-columnists and prevent them from morphing the largest
political movement in Palestine from a liberation movement
into a quisling entity.

Fatah leaders, especially those who had spent many years in
Israeli jails and dungeons, should understand that these
perfidious money-grabbing careerists are not merely seeking
Hamas’s demise. They are also seeking Fatah’s demise as
well, and also the liquidation of the Palestinian national
cause including the right of return for Palestinian
refugees.

They are the enemies from within. If you don’t eradicate
them, they will eradicate you.

(end)

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Voices of Evil

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

“Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot
but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has
protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the
Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times
“by the sword” to get them to abandon their faith.

Uri Avnery, Israeli writer and journalist

Benyamin Netanyahu and Daniel Pipes are two classical
examples reflecting the brutal ugliness of Jewish
Islamophobia.

The former has been moving stridently toward full-fledged
Zionist fascism while the latter is unabashedly calling for
an all-out crusade by the US and Europe against the Muslim
world, of course on Israel’s behalf.

Let us start with Netanyahu, a racist, pathological liar by
every shred of imagination. This week, Netanyahu had the
temerity to claim that the Nazi-like Israeli occupation of
Palestine was not the real root cause besetting the Middle
East, and that the real source of trouble was “radical
Islam.”

In characteristic Zionist ingratitude, Netanyahu utterly
ignored the fact that it was Muslims in North Africa and
the Middle East who protected Jews during the holocaust.

Similarly, he overlooked the fact that Jews reached their
golden age under Muslim rule in southern Spain.

Netanyahu is not an ignoramus; he is rather an addicted
willful liar and hatemonger, and his constant vilification
of Islam is designed first and foremost to divert world
attention from the genocidal ethnic cleansing Israel has
been carrying out against the Palestinian people.

His red-herring tactic may succeed in deceiving some people
in the West, especially those readily exposed to
Zionist-controlled media.

However, with the advent of the internet and other forms of
independent media, the Israeli “magic” is losing its effect
as more and more people in North America and Europe are
discovering the truth about this criminal entity.

Netanyahu often portrays Israel as representing western
civilization and ideals in an area dominated by Islam.

However, one doesn’t have to be a great expert in Israeli
affairs to find out the enormity of this lie.

Israel, after all, is a country that is based on mass
murder, mass theft and mass mendacity, characters that most
Westerners wouldn’t find particularly appealing.

In fact, if Israel reminds the West of anything, it reminds
it of a very ugly and sad chapter in European history, a
chapter Europe would never want to see again.

I am alluding to Third Reich which destroyed Europe and
caused the death of tens of millions of people, all under
the rubric of the Master Race.

Just take a fleeting look at the general discourse in
Israel today and you will see the striking similarity
between the German treatment of European Jewry and Israeli
treatment of the helpless Palestinians. Indeed, in the name
of “the chosen people” and Jewish nationalism, Israel has
brought havoc and turbulence to the peoples of the Middle
East

It is true that Israel is technologically advanced in many
fields and has a modern economy. But so what? Nazi Germany,
too, was technologically advanced and had a vibrant
economy. The former Soviet Union was also very powerful and
technologically advanced.

As to Netanyahu himself, it is clear that the man embodies
the zenith of racism and evil which puts him at the
opposite side of western ideals, such as human rights, for
example.

In 1989, this Netanyahu who is ranting and raving about
fictitious threats facing “western civilization” told
students at Bar Illan University that “Israel should have
exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China
(The Tiananmen Square) where world attention was focused on
that country to carry out mass ethnic cleansing of the
Arabs of territories.”

A few years ago, the same Netanyahu declared in a speech
before the Inter-disciplinary Center in Herzlya, north of
Tel Aiv, that Israel would have to watch more closely the
birth rate of Israel’s Arab citizens who he said
constituted an even greater strategic threat to the Jewish
identity of Israel than did the Palestinians of the West
Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

So, how is Netanyahu going about to create a Jewish empire
or “Yeretz Yisrael Hashlema” as is known in Hebrew?

Well, the answer is very clear. He would like to see
Christians and Muslims at each other’s throats so that
Israel could use the ensuing bloodshed to achieve more
territorial aggrandizement while pretending to defend
western interests.

Netanyahu, like the rest of Zionist leaders, is a
warmonger. This explains why he is hell-bent on pushing the
US to attack Iran just as Zionism’s men in Washington had
succeeded in getting the Bush administration to invade,
occupy and destroy Iraq and cause the death of a million
people on Israel’s behalf.

Now, Daniel Pipes, the Joseph Gooebbels of our time and
perpetual inciter against one fourth of humanity. In a
recent article titled “the Enemy has a Name,” Pipes urged
the US to “vanquish” Islam-ism and prevent Muslim masses
from achieving independence, democracy and
self-determination.

“Vanquish Islamism and help Muslims develop an alternative
form of Islam,” he wrote in his screed. You see how this
Nazi-minded hoodlum is demanding that Muslims change their
own religion so that it would suit his morbid whims.

Voicing his gung-ho approach toward Islam’s estimated 1.5
billion followers, the manifestly racist icon of the Bush
era suggests that the west employ “conventional war,
counterterrorism, counterpropaganda, and many other
strategies” to suppress Islam’s opposition to Zionist
hegemony in the Middle East.

What Pipes is saying effectively is that “either Muslims
bring themselves to submit to Jewish tyranny and be slaves
for the global Jewish- Zionist elites, or they must be
annihilated.”

To expedite his sick goals, he suggests the incubation of
“Muslim” quisling entities (presumably similar to the
quisling governments which Nazi Germany created through
occupied Europe) whose main job is to crush any opposition
to American colonialism and interventionism.

Pipes recognizes though that the agents of western
colonialism throughout the Muslim world are weak and
unreliable because they are mostly “ fractured individuals,
who have only just begun hard work of researching,
communicating, organizing, funding and mobilizing.”

To overcome this obstacle, Pipes urges solid western
backing and support for agents of western imperialism,
presumably people like Fouad Seniora in Lebanon, Hamid
Qarazi in Afghanistan, and Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied
Palestinian territories, and of course, Riad al Maliki, in
Iraq.

Now what is the difference between this hateful and
criminal mindset and the Nazi mentality? In fact, it is the
same mentality. The Germans did it in the name of the
“master race” and Pipes and ilk are trying to do the same
thing in the name of the “superiority of the Jewish race.”

Of course, Pipes may continue to day-dream until he dies.

Day-dreaming by definition indicates that the dreamer has
reached an advanced degree of frustration and despair.

Eventually, fire will consume itself if it has nothing to
consume.

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Hamas’s wise step

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank – 20/06/2008

The Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement between Israel
and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is, ostensibly
at least, a wise, dignified and expedient step for several
reasons.

To begin with, the ceasefire deal would suspend the daily
acts of murder and terror carried out by the Israeli
occupation forces against the nearly totally unprotected
people of the Gaza Strip.

For years, the Gestapo-like Israeli army used excessive
force, including tanks, warplanes, heavy artillery and
other lethal machines of death to wreak death, havoc and
terror on the civilian population of Gaza, resulting in the
murder and maiming of thousands of innocent people.

Thus, the latest arrangement would give the thoroughly
tormented Gazans a certain respite, however uncertain, from
Israeli terror and criminality.

Moreover, the arrangement, which is due to go into effect
Thursday morning, is also supposed to lead to the gradual
lifting of the 18-month-old harsh and callous blockade
Israel has been imposing on 1.5 million Palestinians of the
Gaza Strip.

This alone should be viewed as a worthy achievement if only
because Gaza was being decimated by a genocidal siege
unprecedented since the Nazi blockade of Ghetto Warsaw in
1943.

It is therefore hoped that the gradual dissipation of the
nefarious blockade, which really reflects the brutal
ugliness of the Zionist mentality, will allow Gaza to
revive and rehabilitate itself and bring a smile back on
the faces of its tormented children and savaged men and
women.

Needless to say, the decision by Hamas to accept the
ceasefire is a strong proof that Hamas is not a nihilistic
organization, e.g. like al Qaeda, as Israeli and Zionist
hasbara has been trying to portray the Palestinian-Islamic
movement.

In fact, Hamas had always called for a cessation of
violence in Gaza whereby both sides would refrain from
targeting innocent civilians. However, it was always
Israel, not Hamas, that rejected such calls by keeping up
murderous attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Israel, especially when addressing western audiences,
repeatedly but mendaciously claimed that its army didn’t
deliberately target innocent Palestinians civilians.

However, that fact that hundreds of Palestinian children
and other civilians continued to be killed and maimed
throughout the Gaza Strip, and else where, eviscerated the
Israeli pretensions of innocence of any veracity and
credibility. In the final analysis, Israel was not only a
brutal murderer, but a big a liar as well.

After all, killing knowingly is killing deliberately, and
when the number of innocent victims is so high, even intent
becomes irrelevant.

There is no doubt that Hamas’s heroic steadfastness,
resilience and patience are being vindicated.

Thus, the enduring vigor of Hamas and the people of Gaza,
who defied death and clang to life, should serve as a
lesson for the Palestinian people that steadfastness in the
face of brute power eventually pays off.

This is also a lesson for the Fatah-dominated Palestinian
Authority (PA) that the stubbornness of justice can
eventually triumph over the arrogance of oppression.

Winners and losers

There is no doubt that the forces of peace and reason on
all sides have won against the forces of bellicosity,
hatred and terror, especially in Washington and Tel Aviv
and some other regional capitals as well.

The people of Gaza, the victims of American-Israeli
criminality, are undoubtedly the biggest winners of this
deal. At least, they can breathe again, following 18
nightmarish months of unimagined brutality and
ruthlessness.

In addition to the gung-ho neocons in Washington and
war-drummers in Tel Aviv who wanted to exterminate Hamas,
not a small amount of consternation is also likely to be
permeating now in Ramallah where a Zionized group within
Fatah had been hoping to see the Israeli army overrun Gaza,
murder hundreds, and then hand Gaza over to the Fatah
leadership on a silver platter.

On this occasion, one feels prompted to call on Fatah to
eject these traitors from their midst for the sake of Fatah
itself and for the sake of Palestine.

Vigilance

Non the less, it would be naïve, even stupid, to be carried
away or give Israel the benefit of the doubt by thinking
that the Zionist regime is going to abide by the agreement
and terminate its murderous aggressions on our people.

Israel, after all, has repeatedly proven itself to be a
venomous snake which must never be trusted.

Hence, Palestinians, especially Hamas, ought to be
constantly vigilant and ready to repulse any Israeli
aggression.

However, Hamas should make meticulous efforts to preserve
the ceasefire since doing so is first and foremost a
supreme and paramount Palestinian interest.

Hamas should also make it abundantly clear to the military
wings of other Palestinian factions that the security and
safety of the people of Gaza must not be subject to the
whims of this or that faction.

In fact, preserving the ceasefire would send a positive
message to the international community that Hamas is
responsible organization with which “business can be made.”

Moreover, a careful abidance by the agreement on Hamas’s
part would show good- will toward Egypt whose support and
backing is essential for the survival of the Gaza Strip, at
least at this juncture of the Palestinian struggle for
freedom and liberation from Zionism.

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Israel’s very own Guantanamos

The “death ride” — welcome to 21st century torture, says
Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli maltreatment of Palestinian captives and political
prisoners has reached unprecedented levels of brutality,
according to lawyers, human rights groups and
newly-released prisoners.

There are currently as many as 12,000 Palestinian detainees
languishing in Israeli detention camps, many of them
without charge or trial. They include hundreds of
university professors, engineers, school teachers as well
as religious and civic leaders, students, resistance
fighters and women activists.

Two years ago, the Israeli occupation authorities abducted
hundreds of democratically- elected officials, including
mayors, members of local city councils, law-makers, and
cabinet ministers, many associate with Hamas’s political
wing.

Israel employs a set of draconian laws, some dating back to
the British mandate era, to torment Palestinian prisoners.
The same laws are also used to lend a façade of legality to
other harsh treatment of Palestinians, such as house
demolitions, land confiscation and deportation.

Normally, the harsh treatment meted out to Palestinian
detainees starts in earnest with crack Israeli soldiers
raiding a given Palestinian home in the quiet hours before
dawn. There, the undisciplined soldiers normally ransack
the house, vandalise property and furniture, smash house
appliances and terrorise the entire family, before
blindfolding and handcuffing their victim and dragging him
away to a military truck that takes him to one of the
dozens of interrogation centres all over Israel and the
occupied Palestinian territories.

Upon arrival at the interrogation centre, the detainee is
instantly subjected to an array of harsh treatment
techniques designed to shock him and destroy his
psychological immunity. These include sleep deprivation and
solitary confinement as well as sporadic beating.

Then the victim is made to go through the routine technique
called shabh whereby he is forced to sit on a 25cm high
stool, with his hands tied to his back. He can be kept in
this extremely uncomfortable position for weeks or even
months except for short periods to go to the toilet and
eat.

The main purpose behind the harsh treatment is ostensibly
to extract confessions from the victim. On many occasions,
the victims confess to having committed fictitious
violations only to escape the harsh and intolerable
torture. Eventually, however, if no confessions are
extracted, the detainee is sentenced to administrative
detention, or open-ended captivity without being charged or
tried.

Torture, which the Israeli judicial authorities
euphemistically refer to as “moderate physical and
psychological pressure”, is officially sanctioned by
Israel’s law. Indeed, several Palestinian detainees have
recently died in Israeli jails either due to torture or
medical negligence. According to the Palestinian Prisoner
Club, which monitors Israeli treatment of Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails, 167 Palestinians have died in
Israeli custody since 1967.

However, while torture was normally performed on detainees
mainly in order to extract confessions, the Israeli prison
authorities have been using torture for the purpose of
simply tormenting and humiliating Palestinian detainees.

“Their goal is to make us suffer, to torment us, to
humiliate us. They want to punish us further for our
survival, for refusing to die and disappear as a people,
for refusing to collapse. Perhaps they think that by
tormenting us, they get the feeling that they are avenging
the holocaust, at least vicariously,” said Mohamed Abu
Zneid, from Dura, who was released recently from an Israeli
detention camp near the Egyptian borders. “But I can say
that such behaviour can only come from a sick people, a
sadistic people. Otherwise, why would normal people behave
this way?”

“Administrative detention” which is a mere euphemism for
prolonged and mostly unlawful captivity as punishment for
one’s political thoughts and attitudes has become of late
the modus operandi of Israeli treatment of Palestinian
prisoners. Today, Israel is detaining hundreds of mostly
innocent Palestinians in detention camps all over Israel,
such as the notorious Kitziot concentration camp in the
Negev desert.

A few years ago, Mustafa Shawar, a detainee at Kitziot,
informed this writer that on several occasions he had
appealed to the Jewish military “judge” at the
Treblinka-like facility to tell him why he was being
incarcerated so that he wouldn’t commit the same violation
again once he was released. Shawar, a senior lecturer at
the University of Hebron, said the judge paid no attention
to his just request. “He told me that he wouldn’t grant me
the privilege of knowing why I was in jail because, as he
said, the Jews are the masters and non-Jews are the slaves
and the chosen people are under no moral or legal
obligation to explain to the inferiors why they are being
mistreated.”

Today, Shawar is still languishing at Kitziot for the
fourth successive year, not knowing why he is being
tormented by a state that claims to be a “light unto
nations” and the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

Shawar is not an exceptional case. He epitomises the fate
of thousands of Palestinian detainees and hostages
languishing in Israeli detention camps, mostly for
harbouring ideas and thoughts that the Ashkenazi
establishment deems too dangerous.

Similarly, Azzam Salhab, professor of comparative religion
at Hebron University, has been languishing in the same
desert concentration camp for eight years on vague charges
such as “constituting a danger to the safety and security
of Israel and the Jewish people.”

According to the Nafha Society, a human rights group
defending Palestinian prisoners’ rights, the Israeli
occupation authorities issue dozens of administrative
detention orders per month.

Earlier, this week, the Israeli army renewed the
“administrative detention” for Radi Sami Al-Asi for
additional six months. Al-Asi, a journalist from the
northern West Bank town of Nablus, was arrested on
unspecified charges. However, when it became clear that
there was no evidence indicting him, the Israeli military
judge decided to sentence him to six months in jail,
renewable for as long as the occupation authorities deem
fit. So far, Al-Asi has spent more than 38 months in
administrative detention without knowing why.

Farhat Asad, a 40-year-old father of three children from
Ramallah, was sentenced to a sixth term of administrative
detention on 16 June. All in all, Asad has spent more than
100 months in administrative detention.

According to Tawhid Shaaban, a prominent lawyer from East
Jerusalem, some detainees have spent nine years in Israeli
captivity without charge or trial. “Yes, this happens in a
state that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle
East.”

The so-called “death ride” is one of the most agonising and
nightmarish experiences a detainee undergoes. It starts
with a sudden raid of a given ward by the notorious Nahshon
squad, which is specialised in repressing Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails. Then a prisoner or several
prisoners are ordered to board an extremely filthy, hot and
nearly hermetically sealed white vehicle, allegedly in
order to appear before a judge several hundred kilometres
away. The hateful vehicle would move very slowly from one
prison to the other to carry additional prisoners,
including dangerous Jewish criminals. The car would stop
every hour for refreshment, while the inmates are sweating
in the back chamber.

The nightmarish journey, which could last for 24 hours, is
first and foremost meant to make the prisoners suffer as
much as possible in the oven-like metal chamber where there
is very little oxygen. The prisoners are barred from using
toilets for close to 16 hours, and some are forced to
urinate and defecate inside the lock-up car.

Saed Yassin, a human rights activist describes the “death
ride” as “an intolerable and unbearable form of torture.
They don’t treat you as a human being but as cattle or a
piece of luggage. People are left to rot and suffer in
these oven- like chambers for up to 24 hours without food,
without water, and with very little oxygen. And if they
want to torment a given person, he is forced to undergo
this nightmare every few days.”

In addition to the death ride, the Israeli Prison Authority
has been introducing additional forms of punishments, aimed
at breaking the prisoner’s will. These include barring
family visits for an extended period of times for the
slightest and pettiest violation of outstanding
instructions.

Moreover, the Israeli occupation authorities have been
barring family visits for more than 900 Gazan prisoners in
Israeli jails under the pretext of the 18-month harsh
blockade which Israel has been imposing in Gaza. The Red
Cross asked Israel on several occasions to allow Gazans to
visit their beloved ones, but to no avail.

Israel recently resorted to “unorthodox tactics” to harass
Palestinian prisoners, including raiding and vandalising
their homes and mistreating their wives and children,
imposing hefty financial fines on them, and carrying out
surprise searches usually after midnight.

Last week, lawyers and newly-released prisoners reported
that the Israeli Prison Authorities have naked Jewish
women, probably prostitutes, harass prisoners, especially
religious inmates, through sexually suggestive behaviour. A
spokesman for the prison authorities refused to confirm or
deny the revelation.

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Dialogue of the deaf?

Are Fatah and Hamas really going to talk, asks Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah

In a terse speech marking 41 years since the 1967 Arab-
Israeli war, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
called for a broad national dialogue with Hamas that would
bolster national unity and place the Palestinian people in
a better position to end Israel’s occupation of the West
Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

“I call for a comprehensive national dialogue in order to
implement the Yemeni initiative [between Fatah and
Hamas]… We are doing this in order to end the national
division that has caused the worst damage ever to our cause
and increased the level of suffering of our people in
Gaza,” said Abbas.

“For this national dialogue to succeed I will act on the
Arab and international levels to secure the support we need
to augment the move in a way that will restore to our
people their national unity and provide a stronger
guarantee for the restoration of our inalienable rights to
self determination, return and independent statehood.”

Abbas, who has been meeting with Arab leaders to expedite
his initiative, said he would call for new presidential and
legislative elections but did not say if the holding of
such elections would be conditional on a successful outcome
of the dialogue with Hamas or, indeed, the conclusion of a
peace agreement with Israel.

After a brief visit to Egypt on Monday where he met with
President Hosni Mubarak, Nabil Amro, Palestinian ambassador
to Cairo, announced plans for Egypt to host a meeting of
all the Palestinian factions.

On 7 June, a day after Abbas gave his speech, Ismail
Haniyeh, prime minister of the ousted Hamas government in
Gaza, welcomed Abbas’s overture and urged him to take
“swift steps” to facilitate the holding of a fruitful
dialogue.

Haniyeh called for political prisoners to be released,
offices reopened and civil servants sacked because of their
political affiliation to be reinstated. He urged Abbas to
order his security forces to stop arresting Hamas
supporters in the West Bank as an expression of good will.
Haniyeh also called for an immediate end to the year-old
propaganda war between Fatah and Hamas and said he had
instructed Hamas’s media in Gaza to stop attacks on the
Palestinian Authority and Fatah.

In return Nimr Hammad, chief advisor to and spokesman for
Abbas, ordered the suspension of incitement against Hamas
“in the interest of Palestinian national unity”.

Observers in Palestine see Abbas’s speech as a tacit
acknowledgement that American-backed peace talks with
Israel have failed. The speech suggested that Abbas now
despairs of even a semblance of US evenhandedness towards
the Palestinians, especially after George Bush’s speech
before the Knesset in which he displayed his
administration’s complete infatuation with Israel.

But Abbas’s speech could also be interpreted as a defensive
reflex to counter recent decisions by Israel which his
critics argue underscore Israel’s disregard for the entire
peace process, including a new law enacted by the Knesset
adopting Jerusalem, including Arab-East Jerusalem, as the
eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people, as well as
Olmert’s government’s dogged insistence on settlement
building in the West Bank.

Abbas’s speech coincided with the first anniversary of
Hamas’s counter-coup in Gaza and the failure of Israeli,
American, European and Fatah efforts to destroy the Hamas
government through economic blockade.

One Fatah official told Al-Ahram Weekly that the PA in
Ramallah feels increasingly that the Bush administration is
treating it as if it were a “quisling entity” rather than
the national representative authority of the Palestinian
people.

“I think some of our people here have got the feeling that
the US and Israel were utilising the Fatah-Hamas rift to
place the PA under American-Israeli tutelage and cripple
its ability to recover Palestinian rights. Abbas’s speech
can be seen as a sort of wakening from this illusion.”

While most Palestinians welcomed Abbas’s call for
unconditional national dialogue, some Palestinians question
whether the PA leadership in Ramallah really has the will
to pursue successful reconciliation talks with Hamas given
its near total dependence on American financial and
political backing.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly conveyed
to Abbas her “worries” about any rapprochement with Hamas
without the latter first recognising Israel, renouncing
armed resistance and accepting the peace process.

Meanwhile, Israel this week temporarily paralysed the
Palestinian government in Ramallah by refusing to transfer
Palestinian tax revenues, forcing the American-backed
Fayyad government to postpone the payment of salaries to
more than 160,000 civil servants for a week. One
Palestinian commentator viewed the move as a “stern
warning” to the PA against mending bridges with Hamas.

“If they are willing to sever payment of customs revenues
to the PA, imagine what they would do if Fatah and Hamas
agreed to establish a government of national unity,” said
Hani Al-Masri.

Statements issued on Tuesday by Amro are already predicting
problems ahead. He told reporters: “US, American and I
don’t want to say Arab pressures” have been exercised over
Abbas to retreat from his call for direct talks with Hamas.

Meanwhile, Damascus-based Hamas political bureau chief
Khaled Meshaal on Tuesday called for a meeting between
eight Palestinian factions to be held in the Syrian capital
next week “to boost national unity”.

Last week Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni openly
warned Abbas against “getting closer to Hamas”.

“Abbas knows the Israeli position in this regard,” Livni
told the Israeli state-run radio.

Some pro-Hamas pundits privately accuse Abbas, whose term
in office has six months to run, of electioneering. Abbas
had indicated on several occasions that he was close to
resigning and would not seek a second term as president of
the PA, statements that have been discounted as an attempt
to pressure Israel to be more forthcoming in peace talks.

This week Ahmed Qurei, number-two in the PA’s political
hierarchy, told reporters that Fatah was for general
legislative and presidential elections and that Abbas would
be Fatah’s candidate for the post of PA chair. Abbas’s
extended hand may well be a tactical gesture aimed at
placing the PA leadership in an advantageous position
vis-à-vis the elections.

Many Hamas supporters are unlikely to give Abbas the
benefit of the doubt. They would argue that Abbas’s speech
is a pre-emptive gesture, likely to be followed by a
wide-scale Israeli invasion of Gaza. In this case, goes the
argument here, Abbas will be able to deny any collusion or
connivance with Israel, pointing to his call for
rapprochement with the Islamic movement.

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The anachronistic Kemalist ideology

By Khalid Amayreh 12 June, 2008

Underscoring the ideological rigidity of the ultra-secular
but undemocratic Kemalist ideology, Turkey’s Constitutional
Court this week ruled that Islamic headscarves violated
secularism and can’t be allowed to be worn at universities
and other public institutions.

The verdict overrides a recent decision by the Turkish
parliament allowing the hijab at universities as a matter
of personal and religious freedom. It also sets the
controversial court above the parliament and even above the
collective will of the Turkish masses.

Indeed, it is more than mind-boggling to see female Muslim
students granted full freedom to attend universities in
Europe and North American with their headscarves on while
Turkish students are denied the same freedom in a country
where Muslims constitute nearly 99% of the population.

The military-dominated Kemalist establishment, which has
been steadily losing public appeal as is evident from the
outcome of the two latest general elections, claims that
the hijab constitutes a mortal threat to the safety and
survival of secularism in Turkey.

This rationale, however, is as irrational as it is silly,
since it is beyond the pale of common sense to think that a
small piece of cloth covering a woman’s hair poses a threat
to the survival of secularism. In fact, one might argue
that a secular regime that can’t tolerate, let alone
survive, a woman’s headscarf is not worth maintaining.

Besides, true secularism shouldn’t really interfere with
people’s choices and personal freedoms.

Nonetheless, it is obvious that the Turkish court as well
as the military establishment and their allies in the media
and business sectors have long come to view secularism as a
kind of religion whose raison d’etre is to counter and, if
possible, eradicate Islam.

To the chagrin of the anti-Islam Kemalist establishment,
however, nearly nine decades of fundamentalist secular
inquisition have utterly failed to realize this sinister
goal. Turks continued to express their respect of and
adherence to Islamic teachings and ideals.

Fascist ideology

While paying lip service to democracy, the Kemalist
ideology actually shows little respect for genuine
democracy and human rights. Kemalism (the political
philosophy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of Modern
Turkey) emphasizes the ideals of secularism, republicanism,
nationalism, authoritarianism and patriotism. However, the
ideals of democracy, human rights, civil liberties, civil
society are discouraged and, if necessary, crushed, often
through direct interference and intervention by the
military.

The Kemalists say their goal is to “secularize and
westernize” every aspect of Turkish life. However, these
pseudo agents of western culture have utterly failed to
adopt the basic western concepts of democracy and human
rights.

Instead, they repeatedly acted to suppress and repress the
will of the people whenever free elections produced
governments the military establishment deemed incompatible
with the Kemalist philosophy.

This military establishment had carried out at least three
military coups against civilian governments in 1960, 1971
and 1981, leading to the dissolution of well-established
political parties.

In 1998, the same notorious constitutional court
rubber-stamped a decision by Turkish Generals to ban the
country’s leading political party, the Refah (welfare)
Party for “constituting a threat to the secular order.”

Prior to the decision, the military establishment waged a
war of attrition against Prime Minister Necmettien Erbakan
on several fronts, including the media, the all-powerful
National Security Council and the courts. The military also
pursued a foreign policy of its own by forging a strategic
military alliance with another pseudo democracy in the
Middle East, Israel.

This happened in a state which hypocritical western leaders
kept referring to as the “other democracy in the Middle
East.”

Now, in addition to once again banning the hijab from
university campuses, the constitutional court is flying in
the face of the vast majority of Turks by threatening to
ban the ruling and most popular party in Turkey, the
Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Earlier this year, AKP once again won an overwhelming
election victory following a standoff with the Kemalist
establishment which had been organizing massive street
protests in an effort to bring the government down.

However, it is obvious that the secular fundamentalists in
Turkey are unfazed by the clear popular mandate granted to
AKP by the Turkish masses, which explains their continued
plots to corrode democracy and defy the will of the Turkish
people.

Bankrupt

Unlike Marxism, for example, Kemalism is not an all
encompassing ideology that provides explanations for such
issues as history, society, man, God, ethics and nature.
Hence, it lost much of its appeal especially in the past
two decades as many societies and individuals reverted to
religious ethos to ensure moral integrity and social
cohesion.

In addition to its intellectual bankruptcy, the Kemalist
establishment has also been quite opportunistic. In 1980,
the leaders of the military coup, staged a military coup to
stem the rising tide of violence between right-wing
ultra-nationalists and militant Marxists.

Then, the establishment saw the great merit of encouraging
Islamic ideas and education as an antidote to Marxism. In
1982, the military government made the teaching of Islam
compulsory in secondary education, something that had been
optional since 1967. (See Turkey: Erbakan’s Legacy, Middle
East International, 11 July, 1997)

However, when Islamic or quasi-Islamic parties arose, which
really don’t differ much from Christian Democratic parties
in Europe, the Kemalists hastened to suppress them, arguing
that secularism came before and overrode democracy.

Crossroad Today, Turkey stands at a crossroad, which leads
either to true democracy, development and modernity, or
takes the country back into the throes of military
dictatorship that would hang prime ministers for the
pettiest deviation from the Ataturk line of thinking.

Mustafa Kemal, his worshipers must realize, was not Prophet
Muhammed or Jesus Christ. And his ideals and principles
don’t constitute a holy scripture.

Hence, the free will of the Turkish people should always
override malicious efforts by the diehard Kemalist
old-guards to perpetuate a sacrosanct ideology that had
outlived its usefulness a long time ago.

In short, the Turkish people have every right to shun the
anachronistic Kemalist ideology and free itself from the
claws of its reactionary symbols, including the
constitutional court.

Otherwise, Turkey will remain under the mercy of its
self-serving generals and anti-democratic elites who so
contemptuously and impetuously continue to disregard the
will of the people.

(end)

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Israel’s Ambassador to the UK and his deception

By Khalid Amayreh • Jun 10th, 2008

Israeli ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor has once again
claimed that the United Kingdom is becoming a “hotbed” of
anti-Israeli propaganda.

In an opinion piece published in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph,
Prosor alleged out that Israel was facing an intensified
campaign of delegitimization, demonization and double
standards.

“Britain has become a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views
and a haven for disingenuous calls for a one-state
solution,” he ranted.

Ignoring the criminal role Israeli universities and
academic institutions are playing in consolidating the
Israeli occupation and tormenting Palestinians, Prosor
criticized efforts by the British University and College
Union to sever links with Israeli universities.

Finally, Prosor castigated “disingenuous calls” for a
one-state solution, which he called “a euphemism for the
destruction of Israel.”

Liar

Well, does this man really think that the people of the UK,
indeed the people of the world, are not aware of what
Israel has been and is doing to the Palestinians? Shouldn’t
he realize that Israeli criminality transcends reality and
that the utter depravity of Israeli behavior has already
gone beyond the pale of what is humanly acceptable?

Let us consider some of Israel’s criminal behavior in the
academic field vis-à-vis her Palestinian victims.

Israel is barring thousands of Palestinian college students
from furthering their university studies and higher
education by preventing them from traveling abroad. Even
students from the Gaza Strip are not allowed to attend
college in the West Bank and vice versa.

Israel claims that the draconian measure is taken for
“security reasons.” However, almost everyone realizes that
the real reason for Israel’s silent war on Palestinian
academia and education is to keep the Palestinian society
in a perpetual state of inferiority vis-à-vis Israel.

Last week, when Israel barred several students from the
Gaza Strip who had won Fulbright grants, from reaching
their colleges in the US, one Israeli official argued, “why
should we allow more Arab students on US campuses to attack
Israel?”

But what is it that Israel is worried about in terms of
allowing Palestinian students to travel abroad and have a
brief respite from Israel’s “bastion of democracy and human
rights”?!

Indeed, a state that has a clean record in terms of human
rights, civil liberties and justice for all should have
nothing to fear. However, it is amply clear that Israel is
sinking from head to toe in its own filth and racism and is
trying to conceal or blur this fact through lying and more
lying and still more lying, which is what people like
Prosor are doing.

This is why the terrorist state dreads the prospects of
people around the world knowing the truth about its
manifestly criminal behavior against the Palestinian
people.

Israel is also detaining hundreds of Palestinian students,
lecturers, professors and academics in internment camps in
southern Israel, such as the notorious Kitziot
concentration camp in the Negev desert, mainly because of
their non-violent opposition to the Israeli occupation. The
vast bulk of these detainees are kept in jail, often in
solitary confinement, without charge or trial.

A few years ago, Mustafa Shawar, a detainee at Kitziot,
informed this writer that on several occasions he had
appealed to the Jewish military “judge” at the
Treblinka-like facility to tell him why he was being
incarcerated so that he wouldn’t commit the same violation
again once he was released.

Shawar, a senior lecturer at the University of Hebron, said
the judge paid no attention to his just request.

“He told me that he wouldn’t grant me the privilege of
knowing why I was in jail because, as he said, the Jews are
the masters and non-Jews are the slaves and the chosen
people are under no moral or legal obligation to explain to
the inferiors why they are being mistreated.”

Today, Shawar is still languishing at Kitziot for the
fourth successive year, not knowing why he is being
tormented by a state that claims to be a light upon the
nations and the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Shawar is not an exceptional case. He only epitomizes the
fate of thousands of Palestinian detainees and hostages
languishing in Israeli detention camps for harboring ideas
and thoughts that the Ashkenazi establishment deems too
dangerous.

And how about Azzam Salhab, Professor of Comparative
Religion, also at Hebron University, who has been
languishing in the same desert concentration camp for eight
years on vague and amorphous charges such “constituting a
danger to the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish
people”?

Is this despicable conduct compatible with true democracy
and the rule of law? Well, if the acquisition of physical
power justifies oppression of the helpless and the weak,
then why on earth should the world demonize Nazi Germany
for doing what it did several decades ago?

In addition to tormenting and torturing Palestinian
academics, Israel is also barring dozens of Palestinian
journalists from traveling abroad, ostensibly in order to
prevent them from exposing Israeli crimes more directly to
the outside world.

Last week, I was barred by the Israeli occupation
authorities from traveling to Berlin to participate in a
media conference, although I’ve never been arrested or
accused of any wrongdoing apart from work as a journalist.

So, how does Prosor suggest people in the UK and the rest
of Europe and the world should relate to these gross
violations of human rights by Israel?

Should the people of the UK march in the streets of London,
Manchester and Liverpool in order to glorify Israel for
isolating and starving Palestinians civilians in Gaza and
shooting Palestinian school children in the West Bank?
Should the people of the UK praise Israel for encouraging
the Gestapo-like Jewish settlers to poison Palestinian
waters, beat Palestinian shepherds near Tuwwani, and take
over Palestinian homes, farms and orchards in the West
Bank? Should they take to the streets in England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland to thank Israel for ganging up
on and ransacking orphanages and boarding schools in
downtown Hebron and throwing thousands of orphaned children
onto the streets?

Even the Nazis refrained from targeting orphanages. So how
is the world, including the people of the UK, supposed to
view crack Jewish soldiers who are raiding and terrorizing
sleeping children and stealing their food and clothes under
the false rubric of fighting “terror”?

Surely, a state that indulges in such acts is a Nazi state
par excellence that deserves the harshest condemnation.
Indeed, it would be utterly immoral not to condemn this
manifestly criminal behavior in the strongest terms.

Finally, in his article, Prosor protested calls for the
one-state solution, whereby Jews and Arabs live equally in
a unitary civil state in all of mandatory Palestine
extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan.

He called the idea a euphemism for the destruction of
Israel, but utterly ignored the fact that it was Israel,
not the Palestinians, that decapitated the two-state
solution by building hundreds of Jewish-only colonies in
the heart of the West Bank, especially in Arab East
Jerusalem.

So what are the Palestinians supposed to do, having seen
Jewish colonies mushrooming in every valley and on every
hill of their ancestral country and homeland?

Are they supposed to commit collective national suicide by
accepting to live in depressing scattered enclaves
surrounded by Jewish-only settlements, Jewish-only bypass
roads, apartheid walls and Nazi-like barbed fences,
enforced by watchtowers manned by trigger-happy Jewish
soldiers indoctrinated in Jewish supremacy?

And a last word to the brave men and women in the UK and
across Europe who have chosen to expose Israeli mendacity.
Keep up the good work. Don’t let the emissaries of lies,
such as Prosor, get away with their malicious
disinformation. Confront them with the naked facts, which
are readily available. Don’t let them deceive and mislead
the public. Give them a hard time.

For sure, as the world defeated Aryan Nazism 65 years ago,
the world can and must defeat Zionism, which represents the
Nazism of our time.

(end)

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