Monday, November 20, 2006

The return of the Zionist entity

(This is a personal post from Davis, as indicated in the signature)

I post this editorial from (NCF award winning) Danny Rubinstein which makes an important point. It came to my attention through ATFP.

Something remarkable happened recently. I got my first 'right-wing derision' comment on this blog. (An anonymous poster chides me below for posting a Haaretz editorial that calls for a ceasefire in Gaza in light of the Beit Hanoun tragedy)

So before anyone else get's upset, let me make it boldly clear. I am of the opinion that Israel and the Jewish people are in grave danger. I am extremely well attuned to this danger and its acuteness and complexity, as most who know me will confirm.

I have often flagged up the incitement against Israel and the Jewish people emanating from Palestine and the Arab world in general. I will continue to do so.

None of which changes the fact that the editorial below is of great importance. I do not agree entirely by any means. Danny overstates the case by constructing a cause and effect scenario that does not reflect the complex realities. But his viewpoint is especially important in the context of my own opinions. I am aware of it and respect it.

By Danny Rubinstein - Haaretz

The frantic activity and occasionally violent struggles among the Palestinian factions concerning the formation of the new government should arouse concern not only among the Palestinians but among us as well. In another year and a half it will be 60 years since the establishment of the state, and after all these years, the greatest controversy among the Palestinians is over recognition of Israel.

The leaders of Hamas are not giving in. On the ideological plane they don't see any possibility of recognizing the legitimacy of the existence of the Jewish state in any part of Palestine. One could have expected that in the West Bank and Gaza there would be a public campaign to pressure Hamas to change its stance. That is not happening. In several public opinion surveys it even seems that the opposite is true: Hamas continues to enjoy serious support among the public, even on the issue of non-recognition of Israel.

At the end of last week, Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, the foreign minister of the Hamas government, announced that the formation of the new government (the national unity government of technocrats) has a clear aim, which is to remove the economic siege on the Palestinian Authority. In other words, this is ostensibly a technical matter. "And if the new government does not operate according to the political program of Hamas, the Palestinian parliament will bring it down," added Zahar.

Although PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is conducting negotiations with Hamas with the support of almost the entire world, he is seen as a politically weak figure. Instead of announcing the dispersal of the Hamas government and only afterward beginning negotiations over a new government, he has put the cart before the horse and is negotiating with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his people over their resignations. A question being asked even by Abbas' supporters is why Haniyeh and his friends should be cooperative interlocutors in negotiations over their removal.

Nor are the chairman's demands of Hamas always clear. The guidelines of the national unity government are based on the "prisoners' document," and do not meet the three demands of Israel and the Quartet (recognition, an end to violence and abiding by previous agreements).

Even the agreement of Abbas and Fatah to the appointment of Dr. Mohammed Shabir, the former president of the Islamic University in Gaza, as prime minister has not received final confirmation, and the general feeling is that even if the desired national unity government is established, it will not last for more than a few weeks or months.

Perhaps the most important reason for Abu Mazen's weakness is the lack of broad support in the Palestinian street. This is not a personal matter. The important point is that there is no broad support for his moderate views. In spite of the growing distress in the territories, and particularly in Gaza, the atmosphere among the Palestinians is only becoming more inflexible. This can be seen in Palestinian spokesmen's use of expressions from the 1950s and the 1960s. People, not just Hamas activists, never mention the word Israel; they call it "the Zionist entity" or "the Zionist enemy," and sometimes "the occupation government" and the "Tel Aviv government." Expressions such as "war criminals" and "murderers" are heard daily.

We should not be surprised by that. Anyone who watches the Arab satellite stations and reads the headlines in the Palestinian newspapers has for years seen only pictures of the dead and wounded along with demolished houses. Not a day passes without photographs of bereaved mothers and child amputees, accompanied by the cries of bereaved parents and by mass demonstrations at funerals for the fallen. The main stories every day in the Palestinian media are about arrests and abuse, the theft of land and property, preventing the sick and the elderly from crossing checkpoints, harassment at the checkpoints, the expansion of the settlements and the Judaization of Jerusalem.

This is seen, heard and experienced personally every day by residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and their recognition of the legitimacy of a state that does these things is steadily declining.

1 comment:

William said...

Yes, interesting. I would contend with one point - but it is a key point. Danny writes of Abu Mazin: "This is not a personal matter. The important point is that there is no broad support for his moderate views."

That is not exactly true. Hamas has not been allowed to govern - that annoys people - and Abu Mazen is perceived as old guard, the lacky of Israel and the West, and they therefore do not trust his initiatives. That does not - neccessarilly - mean they are all extremists.