- Palestinians have endured decades of ruthless occupation.
World leaders decline support. They're left largely on their own despite
growing millions globally supporting them.
- Life in occupied Palestine is harsh and repressive. On
December 26, Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barakat, delivered another blow. The
Municipality will classify 70,000 Israeli Arab citizens non-residents and
involuntarily transfer them to West Bank locations.
- At issue is entirely Judaizing Jerusalem through forced
ethnic cleansing to facilitate escalated settlement construction. It's
also part of creating a greater Jerusalem and preventing a two-state solution.
- Two new Haaretz reports are also significant heading
into 2012, one by writer Barak Ravid.
- After refusing peace negotiations with Israel unless
illegal settlement construction stops, he said:
- "The Palestinian leadership submitted a proposal
to renew peace talks with Israel that drops their longstanding demand that
Israel ceases all West Bank settlement construction, a top Israeli official
said on Wednesday."
- In mid-December, PA officials told Quartet members peace
talks could resume if Israel releases 100 long held Palestinian prisoners
in good faith.
- Abbas faced heavy pressure for months, no matter decades
of past peace process futility because Israel won't tolerate it. It needs
enemies to justify confrontation and violence.
- Nonetheless, EU and other Quartet members told Abbas
he'll share responsibility if talks don't resume by late January.
- "There's real concern in the Quartet that after
that date, Abbas will return to UN initiatives," an unnamed Israeli
official said. At the same time, Netanyahu vowed no talks if Fatah/Hamas
unity government plans proceed, saying:
- Fatah will have to "choose between peace with Israel
or peace with Hamas." Reconciliation shows "weakness. There cannot
be peace" if both sides unite. "What happened....in Cairo is
a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism."
- Israel wants Hamas marginalized, isolated, and bogusly
accused of terrorism. In fact, it's Palestine's legitimately elected government.
- Baseless accusations are Israel's stock in trade. Hamas
wants peace, equity and justice for all Palestinians. Numerous times its
present and past leaders expressed willingness to recognize Israel in return
for self-determination in peace inside pre-1967 borders - 22% of historic
Palestine. Moreover, they agreed to unilateral ceasefires in spite of repeated
- Nonetheless, defensive responses follow continued Israeli
provocations. Washington and Israel call it "terrorism." Under
international law, it's legitimate self-defense.
- Despite Abbas' offer, Israel rejected it out of hand,
claiming one precondition replaces another and his proposal is too vague.
Will full or preparatory talks follow? Will new conditions be demanded?
- In fact, Israel negotiates one way. Its long suit never
included equity, justice and fairness. Negotiations at any level will prove
futile like earlier. Both sides know it, but the charade continues whether
or not talks resume.
- According to Palestine's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat,
no preconditions were set, saying:
- "A freeze of settlement construction, holding negotiation
on the 1967 lines, and the release of prisoners are not preconditions but
Israeli obligations, without which we can see no renewal of negotiations
- Netanyahu countered, saying Israel rejects talks if Palestinian
unity proceeds, and "(t)he peace process can only advance while maintaining
security arrangements, which is becoming more difficult in light of the
current situation in the region."
- At the same time, Haaretz writers Yanir Yagna and Gili
Cohen headlined, "IDF confirms preparations for extensive future Gaza
military action," saying:
- Following on and off air strikes and ground assaults
since summer, the IDF's "Gaza Division is preparing for a possible
large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip...."
- According to Gaza Division's Southern Brigade General
- "We are preparing and, in fact, are ready for another
campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence."
- Stopping short of saying war, he left little doubt what
he means. So does IDF chief General Benny Gantz. Commenting on Cast Lead's
third anniversary, he called it "an excellent operation that achieved
deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas."
- However, warning about new emerging cracks, he said expect
more conflict. Israel will initiate "swift and painful" punishment.
"I do not advise Hamas to test our mettle." The next Gaza campaign
will be shorter than Cast Lead with much greater firepower, he stressed.
- Gantz and Hermoni left no doubt. Israel plans war. Perhaps
its timing will coincide with expected Washington belligerence against
Syria and Iran. At risk is inflaming the entire region.
- General war may follow. Nuclear weapons may be used.
Humanity will be threatened.
- Washington, key NATO partners, and Israel plan world
dominance, even if destroying it happens in the process.
- A Final Comment
- Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government. At Israel's
behest, Washington spuriously calls it a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
- Al-Zatouna Center contributer Dr. Mohen Moh'd Saleh discussed
its eight distinct features. His narrative diverges greatly from hostile
Western discourse. Notably, Hamas is characterized by:
- (1) "moderate Islamic discourse."
- (2) "high dynamism" that lets it function "under
difficult circumstances and regain its strength and vitality after harsh
- (3) "Shura-based" consultation that keeps it
cohesive and strong regardless of Israel's response.
- (4) emphasis on polity, social needs, charity, jihad
for liberation, and education.
- (5) effective resistance.
- (6) popularity at home and abroad.
- (7) remaining corruption free.
- (8) legitimacy to gain moral and financial support.
- It also wants Palestinian unity through elections. However,
participation entails perils under occupation. Washington and Israel won't
permit a legitimate process unless assured Fatah, not Hamas, will win and
maintain Israeli imposed harshness.
- Moreover, authority and resistance conflict. In part,
getting along entails going along to assure needed financial and other
- Yet liberation depends on resistance. It also requires
Palestinian consensus and replacing farcical peace talks with real ones.
- Palestinians deserve leaders able to deliver what they've
long been denied - to live free on their own land, in their own country
securely in peace.
- If equitable unity government is possible, perhaps it's
how to get it, but not without considerable more struggle ahead.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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