FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hamas’ Impossible Mission

by RAMZY BAROUD

It should be established by now that most Western governments are the least interested in honoring the decided democratic choice of the Palestinian people, which elevated to power a movement that is branded ‘terrorist’ by Israel, thus by much of the Western hemisphere.

Since facts and common sense are of little concern to those who hastily decided to withhold badly needed funds to support the battered economy of the Occupied Territories, there would be no need to once again marvel at the rhetorical inconsistencies of the Bush Administration and of the European Union.

So what if Hamas has adhered to a virtually unilateral ceasefire for over a year, while Israel did not? So what if the newly formed government has given ample evidence that it is keenly interested in dialogue, not violence? So what if the majority of the Palestinian people have adamantly and repeatedly — according to recent public opinion polls — expressed their interest in a negotiated settlement with Israel? Indeed, so many “so whats” that hardly matter now, since it is quite clear that the US and the EU’s real intentions are to topple the Palestinian government, along with the sham of a doctrine which claims that democratizing the Arabs is the ultimate policy objective of Bush and Blair.

Seeing ample empirical evidence that supports such a claim, one has to wonder what the remaining options are for the Palestinian government. Unfortunately, there are not many, and none of them are trouble-free.

The coordinated financial and diplomatic boycott, led by the US, which was demanded by Israel, makes it impossible for the Palestinian government to pay the salaries of some 150,000 government employees. Even Arab banks could be punished if they agreed to transfer funds to the Palestinians, according to US terror laws. The Palestinian government is, naturally, desperate to secure whatever meager funds from alternative sources.

Concurrently, the word is out that disgruntled Fatah members — whose party has dominated the political scene for many years until they were cast aside last January by Palestinian voters, fed up with corruption and nepotism — are planning to stage wide protests demanding salaries and government services. Early signs of such disorder have been plentiful in recent weeks. Moreover, former PA government advisors – now posing as independent ‘experts’ with newly forged think-tanks – sound as eager to maintain a financial stranglehold on the new government as any pro-Israeli analyst in a Washington-based neoconservative think-tank.

It’s now politics at work; forget about a “just solution” to the conflict, “peace” and “democracy” and all other ornamental phrases. What’s at play here is politics, and dirty politics at that: any Palestinian government or leader, democratically elected or not, that fails to perform according to a specified role and insists on addressing the central elements of the conflict, must be fought, branded and discarded, no matter how pragmatic his argument may be.

Former Palestinian Authority President Yassir Arafat was caged in the basement of his battered offices in the West Bank town of Ramallah for years, for simply failing to read his assigned lines. The lapel of his jacket was decorated not only with the flag of Palestine, but that of Israel as well. He condemned terrorism, shut down Palestinian charities, imprisoned militant and political leaders, but was still deemed “irrelevant” and was literally imprisoned until a mysterious illness and death set him free. He would call Israeli leaders “my brothers”, “my partners”, he would condemn attacks on Israeli civilians and often neglected to even address attacks on Palestinian civilians, yet he was told that all was not enough. “Arafat must condemn Palestinian terrorism in Arabic,” US officials and pundits parroted. He did. That too did not suffice. “He must follow his words with deeds,” they further instructed, but without calling on Israel to free him to achieve such a mission.

He was humiliated, physically confined and completely stripped of any tangible powers, and yet he was expected to ensure Israel’s security while in his shackles. He was expected to do the impossible, and naturally he failed.

History has an odd and often ironic way of repeating itself.

The same conditions are now being imposed on Hamas, who would, predictably have to do more to prove to be seen as a legitimate partner in a peace process that doesn’t exist and was not meant to exist. The US is now backing Fatah, which was much more “flexible” and ready to sign and initial with the slightest wink, yet, it was too “no peace partner”, according to Israel, and of course the US.

Undoubtedly, Washington has no constructive foreign policy of its own regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is itself following an Israeli script, one that will deem any Palestinian leadership “terrorist”, “irrelevant” and “no peace partner”, even if the entire Palestinian leadership was made of vegetarian, pacifist, Mother Teresa incarnates. That’s all beside the point.

All Israel is striving for is time: to consolidate its strong hold over occupied Jerusalem, to conclude the construction of its illegal Apartheid Wall built mostly on Palestinian land and to demarcate its own borders, which also happen to fall in Palestinian areas.

Meanwhile, let Palestinians starve, wrangle over pathetic powers of the government and the president, and resort to Iran for financial aid. None of this is of any concern to Israel, but it provides the further proof needed to brand Palestinians incapable of governing themselves, and to make obvious the “evil” alliance between Hamas and Iran – which in turn places the Palestinian government in the anti-American camp.

It’s unfortunate indeed that the EU has agreed to participate in this charade, betraying the trust of most Palestinians who have always seen Europe as different from the US, believing that their foreign policies have not yet been fully hijacked by pro-Israeli lobbies, and so forth. All of this is faltering will likely push the Palestinian government, willingly or not, toward a more detrimental and extremist political line, because mere survival – neither pragmatism nor a shadowy peace — is now its ultimate objective.

RAMZY BAROUD teaches mass communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology, Malaysia Campus. He is the author of Writings on the Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London.) He is also the editor-in-chief of the PalestineChronicle.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail