Viser arkivet for stikkord fatah

EU and Russia agree to support the Fatah-Hamas unity government

According to EU Observer, Russia and the EU share views on relations with the Palestinian unity government of Fatah and Hamas. Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told the press in Brussels on Tuesday (7 June) that EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov intend to publish a joint statement at the EU-Russia summit meeting today or tomorrow.

The EU and Russia are two of the Quartet partners, working together to solve the differences between the Palestinians and Israel. The other two are the UN and USA.

There’s a deep difference of opinion between USA and Israel, and the EU and Russia on the peace agreement between Hamas and Fatah.

Israel defaults on her dept to Palestine, to protest against the Fatah-Hamas peace agreement

The Benjamin Netanyahu government of Israel, will delay payment on her dept to the Palestinian Authority, to protest against the peace agreement with Hamas.

Israel is collecting taxes and dues on behalf of the Palestinian Administration, and will not transfer the money until they feel safe that the money paid, will not go to the Hamas organisation, a spokesperson for the Israeli government, has told the newspaper Haaretz.

The Netanyahu government has in an earlier statement, declared that the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Administration must chose between peace with Hamas and peace with Israel. It’s not much of a threat, as the Israeli government have blocked peace talks for several months.

Uri Avnery: Bravo for the Palestinian reconciliation!

IN ONE word: Bravo!

The news about the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas is good for peace. If the final difficulties are ironed out and a full agreement is signed by the two leaders, it will be a huge step forward for the Palestinians – and for us.

There is no sense in making peace with half a people. Making peace with the entire Palestinian people may be more difficult, but will be infinitely more fruitful.

Therefore: Bravo!

Binyamin Netanyahu also says Bravo. Since the government of Israel has declared Hamas a terrorist organization with whom there will be no dealings whatsoever, Netanyahu can now put an end to any talk about peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. What, peace with a Palestinian government that includes terrorists? Never! End of discussion.

Two bravos, but such a difference.

THE ISRAELI debate about Arab unity goes back a long way. It already started in the early fifties, when the idea of pan-Arab unity raised its head. Gamal Abd-al-Nasser hoisted this banner in Egypt, and the pan-Arab Baath movement became a force in several countries (long before it degenerated into local Mafias in Iraq and Syria).

Nahum Goldman, President of the World Zionist Organization, argued that pan-Arab unity was good for Israel. He believed that peace was necessary for the existence of Israel, and that it would take all the Arab countries together to have the courage to make it.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s Prime Minister, thought that peace was bad for Israel, at least until Zionism had achieved all its (publicly undefined) goals. In a state of war, unity among Arabs was a danger that had to be prevented at all costs.

Goldman, the most brilliant coward I ever knew, did not have the courage of his convictions. Ben-Gurion was far less brilliant, but much more determined.

He won.

NOW WE have the same problem all over again.

Netanyahu and his band of peace saboteurs want to prevent Palestinian unity at all costs. They do not want peace, because peace would prevent Israel from achieving the Zionist goals, as they conceive them: a Jewish state in all of historical Palestine, from the sea to the Jordan River (at least). The conflict is going to last for a long, long time to come, and the more divided the enemy, the better.

As a matter of fact, the very emergence of Hamas was influenced by this calculation. The Israeli occupation authorities deliberately encouraged the Islamic movement, which later became Hamas, as a counterweight to the secular nationalist Fatah, which was then conceived as the main enemy.

Later, the Israeli government deliberately fostered the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by violating the Oslo agreement and refusing to open the four “safe passages” between the two territories provided for in the agreement. Not one was open for a single day. The geographical separation brought about the political one.

When Hamas won the January 2006 Palestinian elections, surprising everybody including itself, the Israeli government declared that it would have no dealings with any Palestinian government in which Hamas was represented. It ordered – there is no other word – the US and EU governments to follow suit. Thus the Palestinian Unity Government was brought down.

The next step was an Israeli-American effort to install a strongman of their choosing as dictator of the Gaza Strip, the bulwark of Hamas. The chosen hero was Muhammad Dahlan, a local chieftain. It was not a very good choice – the Israeli security chief recently disclosed that Dahlan had collapsed sobbing into his arms. After a short battle, Hamas took direct control of the Gaza Strip.

A FRATRICIDAL split in a liberation movement is not an exception. It is almost the rule.

The Irish revolutionary movement was an outstanding example. In this country we had the fight between the Hagana and the Irgun, which at times became violent and very ugly. It was Menachem Begin, then the Irgun commander, who prevented a full-fledged civil war.

The Palestinian people, with all the odds against them, can hardly afford such a disaster. The split has generated intense mutual hatred between comrades who spent time in Israeli prison together. Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority – with some justification – of cooperating with the Israeli government against them, urging the Israelis and the Egyptians to tighten the brutal blockade against the Gaza Strip, even preventing a deal for the release of the Israeli prisoner-of-war, Gilad Shalit, in order to block the release of Hamas activists and their return to the West Bank. Many Hamas activists suffer in Palestinian prisons, and the lot of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip is no more joyous.

Yet both Fatah and Hamas are minorities in Palestine. The great mass of the Palestinian people desperately want unity and a joint struggle to end the occupation. If the final reconciliation agreement is signed by Mahmoud Abbas and Khalid Meshaal, Palestinians everywhere will be jubilant.

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is jubilant already. The ink was not yet dry on the preliminary agreement initialed in Cairo, when Netanyahu made a solemn speech on TV, something like an address to the nation after an historic event.

“You have to choose between us and Hamas,” he told the Palestinian Authority. That would not be too difficult – one the one side a brutal occupation regime, on the other Palestinian brothers with a different ideology.

But this stupid threat was not the main point of the statement. What Netanyahu told us was that there would be no dealings with a Palestinian Authority connected in any way with the “terrorist Hamas”.

The whole thing is a huge relief for Netanyahu. He has been invited by the new Republican masters to address the US Congress next month and had nothing to say. Nor had he anything to offer the UN, which is about to recognize the State of Palestine this coming September. Now he has: peace is impossible, all Palestinians are terrorists who want to throw us into the sea. Ergo: no peace, no negotiations, no nothing.

IF ONE really wants peace, the message should of course be quite different.

Hamas is a part of Palestinian reality. Sure, it is extremist, but as the British have taught us many times, it is better to make peace with extremists than with moderates. Make peace with the moderates, and you must still deal with the extremists. Make peace with the extremists, and the business is finished.

Actually, Hamas is not quite as extreme as it likes to present itself. It has declared many times that it will accept a peace agreement based on the 1967 lines and signed by Mahmoud Abbas if it is ratified by the people in a referendum or a vote in parliament. Accepting the Palestinian Authority means accepting the Oslo agreement, on which the PA is based – including the mutual recognition of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In Islam, as in all other religions, God’s word is definitely final, but it can be “interpreted” any way needed. Don’t we Jews know.

What made both sides more flexible? Both have lost their patrons – Fatah its Egyptian protector, Hosny Mubarak, and Hamas its Syrian protector, Bashar al-Assad, who cannot be relied upon anymore. That has brought both sides to face reality: Palestinians stand alone, so they had better unite.

For peace-oriented Israelis, it will be a great relief to deal with a united Palestinian people and with a united Palestinian territory. Israel can do a lot to help this along: open at long last an exterritorial free passage between the West Bank and Gaza, put an end to the stupid and cruel blockade of the Gaza Strip (which has become even more idiotic with the elimination of the Egyptian collaborator), let the Gazans open their port, airport and borders. Israel must accept the fact that religious elements are now a part of the political scene all over the Arab world. They will become institutionalized and, probably, far more “moderate”. That is part of the new reality in the Arab world.

The emergence of Palestinian unity should be welcomed by Israel, as well as by the European nations and the United States. They should get ready to recognize the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders. They should encourage the holding of free and democratic Palestinian elections and accept their results, whatever they may be.

The wind of the Arab Spring is blowing in Palestine too. Bravo!

Uri Avnery
April 30, 2011

-Palestine expects EU to support the Fatah-Hamas agreement

The Palestinian envoy to Brussels, Leila Shahid, has called on the EU to support the agreement between Fatah and Hamas as a step towards unity and reconciliation.

Israel’s PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, has opposed the deal, and stated that the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Administration in the West Bank, has to chose between peace talks with Israel and Hamas, but can’t have both!

In a preliminary statement, Catherine Ashton, responsible for EU’s foreign policy, has confirmed that she will study the Fatah-Hamas agreement before a conclusion will be taken, but noted that the EU “has consistently called for peace and reconciliation … leading to an end to the division between the [Fatah-controlled] West Bank and [Hamas-controlled] Gaza.”

EUobserver covers the issue here and here.

Yoel Marcus of the Israeli leftist newspaper Haaretz, comments on the agreement between Fatah and Hamas here.

Giverlandskonferansen i Egypt i dag

USAs utenriksminister Hillary Clinton har hatt ordet på giverlandskonferansen i Sharm-el-Sheik i Egypt i dag, og har lovet i alt 900 millioner dollar til palestinerne, av det 300 millioner til humanitær hjelp til befolkningen i Gaza. Hun sier at USA vil søke en helhetlig fredsløsning. Det innebærer en fredsprosess som også må omfatte Hamas, Syria, Iran og Libanon, et klart brudd med Bush-administrasjonens midtøstenpolitikk.

Konferansen ledes i fellesskap av Norge og Egypt. Utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre holdt dette innlegget på konferansen.

Både Clinton, Gahr Støre og mange andre av utenriksministrene som deltar på giverkonferansen, har i dag kritisert Israel for den blokaden de fortsatt gjennomfører av Gaza. -I strid med Folkeretten, sa Gahr Støre til NRK.

Verken Israel eller Hamas deltar på konferansen. I Israel er det et maktvakum, siden det ennå ikke er dannet en ny regjering, etter valget i forrige måned. Trolig vil det bli dannet en høyreorientert regjering med Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) som statsminister. Kadima og Arbeiderpartiet, maktkjernen i den avtroppende regjeringen, går trolig i opposisjon. Det kan svekke Israel i de kommende fredsforhandlingene.

På den palestinske siden gjøres det forsøk på å forene kreftene mellom Fatah og Hamas. Det er heller ikke ukomplisert hvis det skulle lykkes, siden USA fortsatt definerer Hamas som en terroristorganisasjon.

Uri Avnery: The Boss Has Gone Mad

Uri Avnery
17.1.09

169 YEARS before the Gaza War, Heinrich Heine wrote a premonitory poem of 12 lines, under the title “To Edom”. The German-Jewish poet was talking about Germany, or perhaps all the nations of Christian Europe. This is what he wrote (in my rough translation):

“For a thousand years and more / We have had an understanding / You allow me to breathe / I accept your crazy raging // Sometimes, when the days get darker / Strange moods come upon you / Till you decorate your claws / With the lifeblood from my veins // Now our friendship is firmer / Getting stronger by the day / Since the raging started in me / Daily more and more like you.”

Zionism, which arose some 50 years after this was written, is fully realizing this prophesy. We Israelis have become a nation like all nations, and the memory of the Holocaust causes us, from time to time, to behave like the worst of them. Only a few of us know this poem, but Israel as a whole lives it out.

In this war, politicians and generals have repeatedly quoted the words: “The boss has gone mad!” originally shouted by vegetable vendors in the market, in the sense of “The boss has gone crazy and is selling the tomatoes at a loss!” But in the course of time the jest has turned into a deadly doctrine that often appears in Israeli public discourse: in order to deter our enemies, we must behave like madmen, go on the rampage, kill and destroy mercilessly.

In this war, this has become political and military dogma: only if we kill “them” disproportionately, killing a thousand of “them” for ten of “ours”, will they understand that it’s not worth it to mess with us. It will be “seared into their consciousness” (a favorite Israeli phrase these days). After this, they will think twice before launching another Qassam rocket against us, even in response to what we do, whatever that may be.

It is impossible to understand the viciousness of this war without taking into account the historical background: the feeling of victimhood after all that has been done to the Jews throughout the ages, and the conviction that after the Holocaust, we have the right to do anything, absolutely anything, to defend ourselves, without any inhibitions due to law or morality.

WHEN THE killing and destruction in Gaza were at their height, something happened in faraway America that was not connected with the war, but was very much connected with it. The Israeli film “Waltz with Bashir” was awarded a prestigious prize. The media reported it with much joy and pride, but somehow carefully managed not to mention the subject of the film. That by itself was an interesting phenomenon: saluting the success of a film while ignoring its contents.

The subject of this outstanding film is one of the darkest chapters in our history: the Sabra and Shatila massacre. In the course of Lebanon War I, a Christian Lebanese militia carried out, under the auspices of the Israeli army, a heinous massacre of hundreds of helpless Palestinian refugees who were trapped in their camp, men, women, children and old people. The film describes this atrocity with meticulous accuracy, including our part in it.

All this was not even mentioned in the news about the award. At the festive ceremony, the director of the film did not avail himself of the opportunity to protest against the events in Gaza. It is hard to say how many women and children were killed while this ceremony was going on – but it is clear that the massacre in Gaza is much worse than that 1982 event, which moved 400 thousand Israelis to leave their homes and hold a spontaneous mass protest in Tel-Aviv. This time, only 10 thousand stood up to be counted.

The official Israeli Board of Inquiry that investigated the Sabra massacre found that the Israeli government bore “indirect responsibility” for the atrocity. Several senior officials and officers were suspended. One of them was the division commander, Amos Yaron. Not one of the other accused, from the Minister of Defense, Ariel Sharon, to the Chief of Staff, Rafael Eitan, spoke a word of regret, but Yaron did express remorse in a speech to his officers, and admitted: “Our sensitivities have been blunted”.

BLUNTED SENSITIVITIES are very evident in the Gaza War.

Lebanon War I lasted for 18 years and more than 500 of our soldiers died. The planners of Lebanon War II decided to avoid such a long war and such heavy Israeli casualties. They invented the “mad boss” principle: demolishing whole neighborhoods, devastating areas, destroying infrastructures. In 33 days of war, some 1000 Lebanese, almost all of them civilians, were killed – a record already broken in this war by the 17th day. Yet in that war our army suffered casualties on the ground, and public opinion, which in the beginning supported the war with the same enthusiasm as this time, changed rapidly.

The smoke from Lebanon War II is hanging over the Gaza war. Everybody in Israel swore to learn its lessons. And the main lesson was: not to risk the life of even one single soldier. A war without casualties (on our side). The method: to use the overwhelming firepower of our army to pulverize everything standing in its way and to kill everybody moving in the area. To kill not only the fighters on the other side, but every human being who might possibly turn out to harbor hostile intentions, even if they are obviously an ambulance attendant, a driver in a food convoy or a doctor saving lives. To destroy every building from which our troops could conceivably be shot at – even a school full of refugees, the sick and the wounded. To bomb and shell whole neighborhoods, buildings, mosques, schools, UN food convoys, even ruins under which the injured are buried.

The media devoted several hours to the fall of a Qassam missile on a home in Ashkelon, in which three residents suffered from shock, and did not waste many words on the forty women and children killed in a UN school, from which “we were shot at” – an assertion that was quickly exposed as a blatant lie.

The firepower was also used to sow terror – shelling everything from a hospital to a vast UN food depot, from a press vantage point to the mosques. The standard pretext: “we were shot at from there”.

This would have been impossible, had not the whole country been infected with blunted sensitivities. People are no longer shocked by the sight of a mutilated baby, nor by children left for days with the corpse of their mother, because the army did not let them leave their ruined home. It seems that almost nobody cares anymore: not the soldiers, not the pilots, not the media people, not the politicians, not the generals. A moral insanity, whose primary exponent is Ehud Barak. Though even he may be upstaged by Tzipi Livni, who smiled while talking about the ghastly events.

Even Heinrich Heine could not have imagined that.

THE LAST DAYS were dominated by the “Obama effect”.

We are on board an airplane, and suddenly a huge black mountain appears out of the clouds. In the cockpit, panic breaks out: How to avoid a collision?

The planners of the war chose the timing with care: during the holidays, when everybody was on vacation, and while President Bush was still around. But they somehow forgot to take into consideration a fateful date: next Tuesday Barack Obama will enter the White House.

This date is now casting a huge shadow on events. The Israeli Barak understands that if the American Barack gets angry, that would mean disaster. Conclusion: the horrors of Gaza must stop before the inauguration. This week that determined all political and military decisions. Not “the number of rockets”, not “victory”, not “breaking Hamas”.

WHEN THERE is a ceasefire, the first question will be: Who won?

In Israel, all the talk is about the “picture of victory” – not victory itself, but the “picture”. That is essential, in order to convince the Israeli public that the whole business has been worthwhile. At this moment, all the thousands of media people, to the very last one, have been mobilized to paint such a “picture”. The other side, of course, will paint a different one.

The Israeli leaders will boast of two “achievements”: the end of the rockets and the sealing of the Gaza-Egypt border (the co-called “Philadelphi route”. Dubious achievements: the launching of the Qassams could have been prevented without a murderous war, if our government had been ready to negotiate with Hamas after they won the Palestinian elections. The tunnels under the Egyptian border would not have been dug in the first place, if our government had not imposed the deadly blockade on the Strip.

But the main achievement of the war planners lies in the very barbarity of their plan: the atrocities will have, in their view, a deterrent effect that will hold for a long time.

Hamas, on the other side, will assert that their survival in the face of the mighty Israeli war machine, a tiny David against a giant Goliath, is by itself a huge victory. According to the classic military definition, the winner in a battle is the army that remains on the battlefield when it’s over. Hamas remains. The Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip still stands, in spite of all the efforts to eliminate it. That is a significant achievement.

Hamas will also point out that the Israeli army was not eager to enter the Palestinian towns, in which their fighters were entrenched. And indeed: the army told the government that the conquest of Gaza city could cost the lives of about 200 soldiers, and no politician was ready for that on the eve of elections.

The very fact that a guerrilla force of a few thousand lightly armed fighters held out for long weeks against one of the world’s mightiest armies with enormous firepower, will look to millions of Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims, and not only to them, like an unqualified victory.

In the end, an agreement will be concluded that will include the obvious terms. No country can tolerate its inhabitants being exposed to rocket fire from beyond the border, and no population can tolerate a choking blockade. Therefore (1) Hamas will have to give up the launching of missiles, (2) Israel will have to open wide the crossings between the Gaza Strip and the outside world, and (3) the entry of arms into the Strip will be stopped (as far as possible), as demanded by Israel. All this could have happened without war, if our government had not boycotted Hamas.

HOWEVER, THE worst results of this war are still invisible and will make themselves felt only in years to come: Israel has imprinted on world consciousness a terrible image of itself. Billions of people have seen us as a blood-dripping monster. They will never again see Israel as a state that seeks justice, progress and peace. The American Declaration of Independence speaks with approval of “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. That is a wise principle.

Even worse is the impact on hundreds of millions of Arabs around us: not only will they see the Hamas fighters as the heroes of the Arab nation, but they will also see their own regimes in their nakedness: cringing, ignominious, corrupt and treacherous.

The Arab defeat in the 1948 war brought in its wake the fall of almost all the existing Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of nationalist leaders, exemplified by Gamal Abd-al-Nasser. The 2009 war may bring about the fall of the current crop of Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of leaders – Islamic fundamentalists who hate Israel and all the West..

In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness. The boss has indeed gone mad – in the original sense of the word.

Artikkelen gjengis med tillatelse fra Uri Avnery.

Møtet i Annapolis neste uke

Jeg er på jakt etter en annerledes analyse av det kommende forhandlingsmøtet i USA i neste uke. Svært beskjedne forventninger. Syria og Saudi Arabia skal delta. Men ikke Iran, Hamas eller Hizbollah. Den israelske regjeringen har ikke stilt noen innrømmelser i utsikt, før møtet.

Noen som har forslag til en angrepsvinkel?

Depressing news from the war zone

The prospect for peace and security for the Palestinians is slimmer than it has been for more than a decade.

Fatah rules the West Bank. Hamas rules in Gaza. The Israeli Army (IDF) controls both areas.

The Fatah of the West Bank are on the brink of becoming Palestinian quislings. Hamas in Gaza is isolated, boicotted by Israel and most of the world, starved and desperate.

The international community is fed up with the arrogant, brutal Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. But with the USA government bending over to support the Israeli government, whatever foolishness the government cooks up, the rest of the world is paralyzed.

This is the backdrop, just before the coming negotiations in Annapolis in USA. But president Bush and his dangerously incompetent administration have been stripping away opportunities for peaceful solutions, ever since 9/11.

If the Bush administration really do want to make a difference in the Middle East, they have to confront the Israeli government and the IDF, as well as the extreme and hysterical religious rigth, in both Israel and the USA. They have to force the Israelis to give up all occupied land, give the Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 the right to return, and compensate what was stolen from them. All the Palestinian children, parlamentarians and other political prisoners, must be set free. All the illegal settlements must be removed.

The Arab world has offered Israel peace. The conditions are modest, in line with countless UN resolutions, the Geneva convention and the Human Rights Charter.

It is up to Israel to choose peace. But again and again, different Israeli governments have pretended to want peace, but in reality, they have chosen war, terror and humiliation. And the majority of Israeli voters have been unable to produce a political leader with the integrity and moral courage to fight for peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.

For many years, clever PR staffs and diplomats made the world believe in the brave, little democracy, fighting to survive in a hostile environment. They could fool us all, for a while. But the falsified image have melted away, long ago. Today, Israels real image is emerging: A brutal, aggressive, immoral occupant.

What can we do?