Doc Jazz: ‘The heart of our cause is the Right to Return’ – interview with Oh My Gaza

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The wonderfully active and comprehensive blog ‘Oh My Gaza‘ has done an interview with Doc Jazz about the Musical Intifada. Also discussed are Zionism in the Netherlands, and thoughts about global activism for Palestinian rights. It is republished here, but the original can be read at Oh My Gaza here.

I am honored to introduce you to Doc Jazz, a proud Palestinian who is reshaping how to get awareness and solidarity out into the world in regard to the cause and struggle of Palestine.


What inspired you to become a surgeon?

I come from a family with a lot of medical doctors; my own mother is a general practitioner. I am sure that somehow she inspired me to pursue a medical career, although I knew from early on that I wanted to be in surgery more than in any other medical profession. And after having been a surgeon for over ten years now, I still have never regretted it one moment. This is what I feel best doing.

How did being born and raised in the Netherlands effect your view
of Palestine?

I think that since the Netherlands is a country with an extremely pro-‘Israel’ population, growing up there has made me more determined to look for ways to promote the Palestinian cause. When I was a young child, there were barely any pro-Palestinian voices in the country. But I was raised to be proud of my Palestinian heritage, and stood my ground in defending who we are, and what our aspirations are.

 

When you are a migrant, there is that eternal question: “Where are you from?” Answering that you are Palestinian is never without direct consequences in the Netherlands. It affects your relationships with friends at school, with teachers at school and at university, and even your position in your working environment. In the Netherlands people like to believe that they are fair and open-minded, but when it comes to Palestinians – or even Muslims in general nowadays – this is nothing but a wishful fantasy that exists in their own thoughts.

As for my view of Palestine, maybe these experiences made me more determined to dig deeply into the history of our cause, and to make sure I know everything about it that I need to know. I even ended up being the media spokesperson for the board of the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands (PGN) for nearly 5 years. I guess I took the pro-Israeli brainwash of the majority of the Dutch people as a challenge.


What is Musical Intifada about?

When the struggle against Apartheid was coming close to reaching its climax in the eighties, the role of music in propagating that struggle for equal rights was tremendous. Even artists that barely had any political interests wanted to join in; it was ‘in’, it was ‘hip’, to have a song against racism.

 

In the end of the year 2000, I wrote my first truly political song, ‘Intifada’, and put it online. I set up a website and published it there, and shared it with the online community ‘Ramallah Online’, which still exists by the way (http://wwww.ramallahonline.com). It received such positive responses there, and also through my website, which I named the ‘Musical Intifada’, that I decided to focus on making songs for the struggle. And when I did that, I had a dream in my mind that some day, the world will sing for Palestine the way they did for South Africa.

Well, we still aren’t there. But perhaps it just takes more perseverance, more determination, more time. This is still where I want things to go, and nowadays I am far from the only one. You all know the tremendous successes of artists like Lowkey, OneWorld, Shadia Mansour, D.A.M. and many others. There is definitely something going on, and we should just go on and on until it happens. These efforts are the Musical Intifada.

 

 

How do you think your music impacts the cause for Palestine?

 

 

The straightforward most honest answer is: it doesn’t! Not yet, at least. If you ask me whether it has the potential to make difference however, then yes I believe it does. For that to happen though, I need a bigger audience, especially in the Western World. The vast majority of my lyrics are in English, so it’s really made to reach out to all corners of the globe. At the moment, about 65 – 70 % of my fans are Palestinian. This is of course a wonderful thing, but they are not the ones who need to be convinced of the justness of the Palestinian struggle.

I like to believe that the combination of my lyrics, rhythms and melodies has the potential to draw people in who have Western and other backgrounds. Only one week ago, my music received a ‘Music Blog Award’ from Clickitticket.com, a mainstream American website. I think this is a positive development. It shows that mainstream minds can be opened by my music.

How optimistic are you about freedom and justice for Palestine?

 

 

It depends on whether you mean in the long run, or in the short term. I think there are many things to worry about in the near future. The articles I wrote on my website give you an idea of where my thoughts are on those subjects. But in the long run, I believe the Zionist project they call ‘Israel’ is doomed to fail. The lunacy of racism will be its downfall. Not only do I believe that racism is evil, I also happen to believe that it is an unsustainable ideology. And since racism is at the very core of the foundations of the Zionist state, I believe they have planted the seed of self-destruction in its very heart when they founded it.

What steps do you think need to be taken in order for Palestine to
be free?

 

I believe that one of the most important things that we must do as Palestinians, is to hold on to our cause. Justice is our strongest weapon, and we have it entirely on our side. There is no case to be made for ‘Israel’ outside of the ‘logic’ of power. I will never recognize that colonialist state, because I believe racism deserves no recognition. What we need to do as Palestinians is to protect our cause, and the heart of our cause is our Right to Return. If we succeed in passing this determination on to the next generations, we have done the most important thing we can do for Palestine, and for the Palestinian cause.

We have to remain clear about this towards all the nations of the world, and we should never forget that the world already recognizes this Right of Return, even if the international community is failing to take the steps that are necessary to put it into practice. We must therefore continue our support for the calls of PACBI for a sustained economic, cultural and academic boycott of ‘Israel’.

As a part of this strategy, we must also put a lot of energy in working against normalization. Normalization has the dangerous potential to take all the energy out of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activities. We must continue to call for the dismantlement of the Zionist state, and the resurrection of a one-state Palestine that is a nation for all of its people regardless of religion or ‘race’. These are the steps, and we must hang on to them with classical Palestinian determination.


Any final thoughts you would like to share with us today?

 

 

I would like to extend my hand in solidarity, gratitude and admiration to all those who are working for Palestinian rights worldwide. There are so many more who feel the same as they do, and who simply lack the courage to speak out. The ones who do have that courage can play an important role in activating these ‘silent sympathizers’. Imagine if all those would speak out loud – the noise of their rejection of Israeli Apartheid would be deafening. So give them a hand, pass them my songs to encourage them. That’s what I made them for!

What they told the Palestinian

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Doc Jazz | http://www.docjazz.com/

Do you want to know what they told the Palestinian?

First, they told him he did not exist. Then they told him he wasn’t Palestinian, just Arab. In the mean time they were spending a lot of effort on brainwashing the remaining Arabs that they weren’t Arabs, but Jordanians, Iraqis, Saudis, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis.

Then they told the Palestinian his land was a complete desert until they turned it into a green garden. They ignored the fact that the vast majority of Palestinians are farmers from generation upon generation, and that you can’t farm a desert.

 

hen they told the Palestinian his land was a complete desert until they turned it into a green garden. They ignored the fact that the vast majority of Palestinians are farmers from generation upon generation, and that you can’t farm a desert.

They chased the Palestinian from his farm, and told him he was not a farmer but an Arab bedouin, and could therefore just as well live in a refugee tent.

They told the Palestinian they killed his father because he was ‘standing in the way of progress’ – he refused to leave his home and farmland, after all. They told him they killed his mother so that she would not bear more children. They told him they killed his brother because he threw a stone at them, and that they killed his sister because she violated a curfew when she was walking home from school.
They told the Palestinian that he was genetically and culturally prone to violence. They said this while they were beating him up with the butts of their rifles.They told the Palestinian he could not get a permit to build a home for his family on his own land, and they said this while they were building homes for Jews on his land.

After he spent fifteen years of his life savings and built a home to give shelter to himself, his wife, and his kids, they came with bulldozers and razed the home to the ground. They told the Palestinian that he did not have a permit, and that his home was illegal. The Jewish homes they built on his land according to them were legal, even though they had stolen the land by force to build those.

 

They told the Palestinian that he was a barbarian, and that they were civilized. They added that human rights were just an invention of other civilized nations that did not apply to them.

 

They told the Palestinian that they wanted to make peace, while they not only continued waging war, but also continued to steal more land, build more Jewish homes on it, and placed checkpoints between every village and the other. They also built a huge prison wall around all remaining Palestinian-inhabited areas. This way, they broke the Palestinian’s economy, and then said that an economically viable Palestinian state was simply impossible.

They told the Palestinian that the was uneducated, and then closed his schools and universities for months in a row.

 

They pulled the Palestinian from his bed, and took him to jail. He asked why he was imprisoned, and they said the military judge would tell him. He never got to see the judge.

They told the Palestinian he was a terrorist. Then they told him he was an ‘anti-Semite’. He said ‘I can’t be, I am a Semite myself’. They told the Palestinian that you have to first be human to be a Semite, and that since they were the ‘Chosen People’, they would decide who is a Semite and who is not.

 

They told the Palestinian many more things. The things mentioned above were only the least ridiculous things they told him.

 

What they failed to understand, is that there is barely any Palestinian left who gives a damn what they say. After all, no matter what nonsense we are told, we know who we are, we know where our home is, and we shall liberate it and return.

 

 

 

Doc Jazz

Phony Peace Negotiations or Rule of Law… which is it to be?

The United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York, also known as the Norwegian Room (Wikipedia Commons)

Tell your Member of Parliament: “Justice for Palestinians first. Negotiations later… maybe.”

Stuart Littlewood

Law, justice, liberty and human rights, we were taught, are non-negotiable. Perhaps Obama, La Clinton, Cameron and Hague missed that important part of their education.

Restore the Palestinians’ lands, homes and resources, as required by law, by convention and by numerous United Nations resolutions, then see what’s left to negotiate. That is the route to peace.

If Israel digs its heels in, the UN knows what to do. It must resort to sanctions, obviously, like it does against any other delinquent nation. This will be a simple test of the great organisation’s high-minded principles, and for its not-so-high-minded members.  If it cannot rise to the moral challenge it doesn’t deserve to survive. And the world is doomed.

The Palestinians may not wish to swap bits of land. If they do, they should not have to bargain with a gun to their head or a military jackboot on their throat. Any Israeli squatters still hanging around on the wrong side of the border would, I imagine, automatically become Palestinian citizens. Unless, of course, they pose a security threat to the State of Palestine, in which case they might find themselves behind bars under Palestine’s version of Israel’s notorious ‘administrative detention’.

Here in Britain our beloved foreign secretary William Hague proclaimed at the Conservative Party conference: “We will spare no effort in the coming years to bring… peace to the Middle East.” He spoke in glowing terms about his boss, our Prime Minister, David Cameron. “Never neglectful of the views of others, he is equally never afraid to make a stand. He has a strong sense of what is right, and brings a driving energy and ambition to achieving it.”

He praised Cameron for showing the “steel and humanity” needed to support the people of Libya. “When the hour of crisis came, our prime minister had the steel and the humanity to call for a no-fly zone when others doubted,” he said.

Sadly, steel and humanity are conspicuously lacking in Cameron’s response to pleas to protect Palestinians with a no-fly zone and allow them their freedom and statehood.

In his first speech as shadow foreign secretary, in Washington in February 2006, Hague argued that “in standing up for the rule of law we must be careful not to employ methods that undermine it.” He added that he would also “seek to buttress American efforts to give new impetus to the Middle East Peace Process”, which is code for pushing through the West’s determination to, well, undermine the very rule of law he claimed to be standing up for.

Peace process = more lopsided negotiations, continuing injustice, continuing occupation, more time for Israel to grab more land and more time to exert pressure on Palestinians to surrender their rights.

Rule of law = justice and liberty.

So which is it going to be?

My MP, Henry Bellingham, is a minister in the Foreign Office. At the Conservative Party conference last week it sounded as if he too was buttressing America’s pro-Israel policy, so I dropped him a line…

I’ve just been reading a report by MAP [Medical Aid for Palestinians], who organised a well-attended fringe meeting. You receive the following mention…

At another fringe event organised by Amnesty, Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham MP, responded to a MAP question concerning the Palestinian bid for statehood by explaining that “Britain was pushing the ‘Vatican option’ for an upgrade to Palestinian status through the UN General Assembly and it’s a pity that option didn’t garner more support. What is important now is that negotiations start as soon as possible”.

Often said but never rationally explained. I think it is time to challenge the orchestrated mantra that calls for a return to negotiations when this route has failed so dismally to end the misery and it is now clear to anyone who takes an interest in Middle East affairs that Israel has no wish for peace until it has grabbed all the land it craves and established as many irreversible facts on the ground as are necessary to achieve its criminal objective. By their actions the Israelis have not the slightest desire to honour commitments from previous accords.

Moreover Israel, as you know, stands in defiant breach of countless UN resolutions and is contemptuous of human rights, international law and ICJ rulings. It has been slaughtering the Palestinians at the rate of 10 to 1 and is especially proficient in annihilating children with a kill-rate of 12 to 1 (see B’Tselem’s figures).

The Palestinians have the same right to a state, and the same right to security (not just “viability”), as any other nation on the planet. Negotiations, if they take place, should be between parties of equal status with equal access to the protection of international law and UN safeguards. These are not children of a lesser God. But as long as they are treated as such there will never be peace. Surely even the most foolish diplomat can see that.

So-called ‘negotiations’ where one party is under military occupation with a gun to their head are plainly immoral. And when the ‘peace brokers’ display such flagrant bias and create an outrageously tilted playing field the situation is nothing short of disgraceful. As before, the sort of negotiations you speak of are aimed simply at pressuring the Palestinians to forego their rights under international law and settle for far less than they are entitled to.

We’ve heard a great deal of enthusiastic chatter from Western governments, including this one, about how more and more people are demanding “their universal right to live in freedom and dignity”, so why do you now require the Palestinians to go cap-in-hand to their tormentor, Israel, and once again haggle for their freedom and dignity and the return of their stolen property?

Obama, in  his preposterous speech to the UN, tried to shrug off the international community’s responsibilities and put the onus for sorting out the criminal mess on the Palestinians’ shoulders: “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”

It is sad to hear Cameron and Hague subscribing to the same cowardly nonsense. So let us, please, hear a rational and truthful explanation of the Foreign Office’s insistence that, after the longest and most brutal military occupation in modern times these helpless people must sit down – yet again – with their oppressor before international law is enforced, before UN resolutions are implemented, before the occupation is ended and before their lands and rights are fully restored.

The whole world now knows the grubby reasons for resurrecting discredited talks instead of getting on with the real job of establishing parity. What is so shocking is that Britain, by failing to stand for justice, appears so deeply implicated in this cruel charade.

The ‘Vatican option’ Mr Bellingham mentioned is a half-measure that would make Palestine a second-class state with limited powers and capabilities. Is it a stepping-stone to full membership later… or a siding into which Palestinian dreams can be shunted permanently?

Vague promises of better things to come are not enough. What Palestinians should have, and must have, is equal status with their neighbours now.

If I get a sensible reply, I’ll let you all know.

Global Intifada Reaches the US and more

New Bypass Road takes Beit Ommar and Schoukh Land
New Bypass Road takes Beit Ommar and Schoukh Land

New Bypass Road takes Beit Ommar and Schoukh Land

Every day brings some good news on the shaking of the status quo in a positive direction. In my last book and in my writings elsewhere, I predicted that the next intifada (uprising) would be global. The Arab spring in the past few months gave renewed energy and it has spread to even Tel Aviv and New York. But the empire strikes back; settlers go on rampages/pogroms attacking peace activists and burning another mosque, peace activists get arrested by the hundreds, the CIA assassinates US citizens without trial, Israel accelerates its colonial activities, US allied government of Bahrain imprisons many demonstrators, US congress cuts humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians under occupation (an act of extortion on the behest of the Israel lobby), and more.  But if anything, these actions show that we are in the final stage of this epic.  It only means we should work harder together to be the change we want to see in this world. Read below about BDS successes and the spread of memes of information that is making the racist elites lash out in irrational behaviors that ultimately will bring them down. Stay tuned or better yet, let us all get into the streets and march for freedom.

Israeli settlers attack Israeli activists & journalists; 19 injured, 3 hospitalized

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKzNrNhTu5w

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/09/israeli-settlers-attack-israeli-activists-19-injured-3-hospitalized.html

Testimonies (key points highlighted):

http://kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=48885 (eng)

http://kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=48884 (heb)

New Bypass Road takes Beit Ommar and Schoukh Land

http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/2011/10/02/new-bypass-road-planned-on-beit-ommar-and-schoukh-land/

BDS Success 1: 218 signed the call for a Swedish academic boycott of Israel

Action Group at KTH for Boycott of Israel

http://www.psabi.net/

Coordinating Committee of BDS Sweden

http://isoleraisrael.nu/

BDS Success 2: Ahava finally closes its doors in London
Cosmetics company Ahava is finally to close its controversial Covent Garden store this week, and manager Odelia Haroush said that the company had no plans to move elsewhere in the city, at least for the foreseeable future. Demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists have dogged the store for years. Protesters claim the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Mitzpe Shalom, an Israeli settlement.
http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/55465/ahava-%EF%AC%81nally-closes-its-doors-london

From “If Americans Knew”: Ethnic cleansing has been an integral part of the Palestinian tragedy from the earliest days of the Partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. October marks the anniversaries of 10 massacres of Palestinian villagers in 1948, as well as a massacre carried out by a unit led by Ariel Sharon in 1953 and another in 1956 in which Israeli border police killed 48, including 6 women (one of them pregnant) and 23 children aged 8–17. To commemorate these dates, we ask you to help fight the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by sharing the booklet  <http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/ref-qumsiyeh.html> “Palestinian Right to Return and Repatriation,” by Mazin Qumsiyeh, which details the plight of Palestinian refugees and lists the many massacres Palestinians suffered during the creation of Israel. Please order copies to give out to your neighbors, friends, coworkers or strangers, on your campuses, in your congregations, on the street, at a public event or at a private gathering.

http://secure.campaigner.com/Campaigner/Public/t.show?NnKI--9vja-c3QCf4

Global intifada reaches the USA: 700 “arrested” in New York and protests spread to many cities around the US

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44742659/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/#.ToeWqE_ers0

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-wall-street-protest-20110930,0,6859500.story

http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution/

http://www.occupytogether.org/

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

http://qumsiyeh.org

Mahmoud Abbas at UN, Chapeau

UN 194-Ceremonies
UN 194-Ceremonies

UN 194-Ceremonies

Sami Jamil Jadallah

This time around Mahmoud Abbas did it, contrary to the skeptics and I am one of them, who believed he would back out the last minute and that he would blink in a game of chicken with a shameful and shameless Obama and his White House. He did what he should have done long time ago back in 1988. He did it what the people of Palestine wanted and should have done long ago. At the UN he spoke so well, so much from the heart, so much truth, in contrast to Obama’s bankrupt and hypocritical speech and in contrast to Netanyahu’s condensing lies and make believe.

Mr. Mahmoud Abbas did not go far enough in his speech. He should have demanded an immediate end to the Jewish Military and settlers Occupations without any conditions or if or but. He should have demanded the immediate take over by the UN of the Palestinian Occupied Territories, both Gaza and the West Bank and the disbanding of operating local governments and demanded the immediate deployment of peace keeping troops to take over the security and safety of the Palestinians and their properties, land and resources and end the siege of Gaza.

He should announce the disbanding of the Palestinian Authority as an instrument of the continued Jewish Occupation and its manager. He should have announced right there and then the cancelation and voiding of Oslo Accord and to have admit it was a big, sad and tragic political mistake and that it was simply wrong to trust Israel or the Jewish state to keep any of its promises, promises it never keeps with any one, including the US.

He should have announced the disbanding of the Palestinian Security Forces as a useless, helpless security forces that has consistently failed to provide safety and security for the Palestinian people, their lives and their properties from the ever trigger happy Jewish army, and an ever greedy Jewish government that loves to steal and confiscate and is addicted to land theft and house demolition. A security forces that was never able to protect the Palestinian people and their properties from a marauding criminal gangs of Jewish terrorists living and residing in illegal Jewish settlements and admit it a security forces for the occupation.

He did not go far enough in telling Tony Blair, Dennis Ross and all the international emissaries that come to Ramallah to give lip services to simply go to hell and that they are no longer welcomed in the Palestinian “Jewish Occupied” Territories and that he is no longer willing to listen to their lies, fraud and hypocrisy. He should have told the Quartets to go to hell for failing to be fair and honest broker that always justify and stand useless and helpless in front of daily crimes committed by the Jewish state, its army, its settlers and its Jewish judicial system that is totally and unconditionally biased in favor of Jews and against all others.

Mr. Abbas should have told President Obama that he, the Palestinians and in fact all the Arabs and Muslims and the world at large are no longer willing to accept the United States as a biased, dishonest and highly “toxic “ peace broker that always supported Israel and its armed, destructive and criminal Jewish Occupation right or wrong.

That the Palestinians and the Arabs are no longer willing to accept the role of the United States as a dishonest broker when it funds and arms the Jewish and settlers occupation, provide political and legal covers for Israeli war crimes and support and stand by Israel as it destroy Gaza and continue to hold the 1.5 million under siege and hostage and as it commit murder and piracy on the high seas.

Mahmoud Abbas first step toward legitimacy is to demand the dismantling of the PLO as the illegal and illegitimate representative of the people and to demand and organize a new and truly representative body of the Palestinian people to be voted on by the people.  He should demand the immediate implementation and carrying out of investigations of political and financial corruption that riddles the PA, Fatah and the PLO and demand open and public hearing of all the dormant files and immediate cleansing of the corruption and the corrupt. He should demand and open public hearing into the tens of billions stolen and fleeced by the PLO executives and their families over the years.

Please take the time to read the full text of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas excellent speech at the UN… it is worth it. Thank you Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, you have made the people proud, and you spoke so well, not only for the Palestinians but for the world as well. Keeping mind the “international community” is not limited to or as defined by Obama and Hilary Clinton.

Please take the time to read and view the full text and speech of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas. Thank you..

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/22286/World/Region/-Mahmoud-Abbas-speech-at-the-UN–The-full-official.aspx

Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UN [part 1/3]

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8_rd3PqT-k

Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UN [part 2/3]

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7zWz4mTCyg

 

Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UN [part 3/3]


 

 

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner). His articles are also featured on PalestineNote and Veterans Today.

Articles on RamallahOnline by Sami Jamil Jadallah

Born in the Palestinian city of El-Bireh ( presently under Israeli Military Occupation, Armed Jewish thugs and settlers). Immigrated to the US in 62. After graduating from high school in Gary, Indiana was drafted into the US Army ( 66-68) received the Leadership Award from the US 6th Army NCO Academy in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Five of us brothers where in US military service about the same time. Graduated from Indiana University with BA-72, Master of Public Affairs-74 and Juris Doctor-77, and in senior year at IU,was elected Chairman of the Indiana Student Association.

Palestinian leadership behind bars; why not?

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, left; Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, right
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, left; Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, right

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, left; Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, right

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Other than Israel and the US, no group or organizations or countries did more damage to the Palestinian cause of liberation and freedom than the incompetent, corrupt and reckless Palestinian leadership past and present.  This leadership should be behind bars not sitting at the UN or at negotiating table representing the more than 8 million Diaspora Palestinians and those under Jewish Occupation.

Since taking over Fatah in 1959 and the PLO in 1969 Arafat and the PLO leadership ran the longest political and liberation fraud in history, toped that with Oslo Accord which stand on its own as longest fraudulent “peace process” in modern history. A process that not only legitimized the Jewish Occupation but enticed this leadership for a “fist full of dollars” to manage the Jewish Occupation, saving Israel tens of billions while taking on the unimaginable and shameful responsibility of begging the fund to run such an occupation.

 

Over the years, this leadership not only looted the people treasury of tens of billions but corrupted the entire Palestinian society, corrupting the political process within this community, failing at every thing and at every turn, putting Palestinians at great risk every where, not to mentions the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the process and over the years.

 

Fatah and the PLO ran the most sophisticated criminal and political enterprise ever, not even matched by the former Soviet Union. Not only it failed at liberation, it failed at building governing institutions. It snuffed and failed to create a viable dynamic political process allowing the best and the brightest to lead, rather it brought nothing but incompetent thugs and crooks to leads. The only claimed success was to build a security forces that provide effective support and protection to the IDF, to the armed Jewish Terrorists and of course to the Occupation.

 

Since Fatah leadership (Arafat & Company) took over the PLO, there has never been any accounting of the many failings in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Kuwait, in Tunisia and now in Occupied Palestine. There was never any true and transparent accounting of many of the financial, political and human rights systematic abuse engaged by the Palestinians leadership.

 

Arafat ran Fatah and the PLO as his own private company, surrounding himself with clowns and “yes” people, corrupting every one around him with financial rewards and bribes to gain their loyalties. Arafat corrupted political discourse, corrupted free and open debates and in certain cases engaging in facilitating political assassination snuffing out any opposition to his leadership. He rendered the Palestine National Congress (PNC) helpless and useless, marginalized the PNC and its role as “representative of the people” with no say so, leaving all political, financial and military decisions in his own hands and the few clowns around him.

 

That process continued today under the leadership of his successor Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies within the PLO Executive Committee. A PLO and a committee that has no legitimacy whatsoever since the people, the citizens never voted for the PLO, its Executive Committee let alone Fatah and all of various organizations and subgroups.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians died in vain, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Tunis as a result of a reckless and criminal behavior of the PLO and Fatah leadership resulting, in the case of Kuwait the exile of some 350,000 from Kuwait as direct result of the Palestinian leadership total and unconditional support of Saddam criminal dictator Saddam Hussain. There was never a public hearing or an open accounting of the crimes committed by the leadership against the Palestinian community in Kuwait.  And there was never any compensation for the billions lost.

 

In Jordan and in Lebanon, there was never an accounting of what went wrong and why? More troublesome is the total absence of a formal board of inquiry into the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla, Tel-Zaater and the thousands killed in factional fighting between the various militias within the PLO, nor was there any accounting of the assassinations of key leaders.

 

On the financial front, tens of billions squandered, looted and remains unaccounted for from the heydays of the PLO in Lebanon and in Tunis and since Oslo hundreds of millions where looted by professional thieves within the Palestinian Authority (PA), within Fatah and the PLO.

 

According to (Al-Ahram Weekly of 20-26 January 2011) “

The PA Justice Department has forwarded some 80 corruption files to Rafiq Natshe, head of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). Natshe said the files contained serious charges of fraud, embezzlement and bribery, adding that intensive investigation would start soon. Natshe said he would pursue and hound suspects “wherever they may be”.  Al-Ahram continued to quote Natshe “ At the moment, we have all the cases, which include some related to cabinet ministers and former ministers.” Transparency International Perception Index ranked the Palestinian Authority 108 out of 195.  Transparency Corruption Index measures malfeasance among government officials.

 

However the Palestinian leadership of the late Arafat and now Abbas never took corruption chargers and looting the treasury seriously, arresting and later releasing scores of small times thieve within Fatah and the PLO.

 

Mahmoud Abbas like Hosni Mubarak never made any efforts to go after serious cases of fraud and larceny especially those committed by senior members of Fatah and the PLO and key officers within the PA and in some cases evidence destroyed with no public inquiry.

 

No one ever explained what happened to the billions of SAMED Industries run by non-other than Ahmed Qurai? No one ever explained whatever happened to Arafat billions and why he was able to transfer tens of millions of the “people money” to his wife to enjoy her luxurious life style in Paris while thousands of people in Dier Albalah were living under open skies waiting for tents after Israel destroyed their homes, tents that never came, because Arafat had other personal and family priorities? No one explained the compensation deal reached between Fatah leadership and Suha Arafat for the loss of her husband and why? No one ever explained how Fatah and the PLO leadership allowed Arafat to receive “tax revenue” collected by Israel in his own private accounts and how and why senior members of the Israeli MOSSAD were in charge of Arafat private financial portfolio? No one dare explain how and why Fatah is funded and financed by the people’s money, since its operating budget is not generated from membership fee or contributions by membership? Unless Israel and the US secretly funding Fatah and the PLO Executive budget.

 

If Hosni Mubarak ran a clepo-regime then Arafat and Abbas were and are doing just that, with many senior PLO and Fatah leadership, ministers, director-generals, mayors and grassroots activist are part of the criminal enterprise presided over by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad.

 

According to same Al-Ahran Weekly, the PA security agencies warned the Palestinian leadership that “ an all out campaign against corruption would seriously destabilize the “ the Palestinian national enterprise” and hurt the image of Fatah.

 

If Mubarak National Democratic Party, Ben Ali’s Democratic Constitutional Rally and Saddam and Bashar Assad corrupted and hijacked the political and economic system in the country and ran a clepto-regime, then Fatah and the PLO leadership did the same, with many senior officials owning together with a close circle of Palestinian Oligarchs many of the key businesses and enterprises in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

 

Perhaps Mahmoud Abbas can explain to the people and the public at large why there are so many ‘millionaires and multi-millionaires” within Fatah and PLO senior leadership and how these leaders earned these millions? It is common knowledge that many senior officials became direct beneficiaries of the continued Jewish Occupation and key business partners of the many key business enterprises.

 

The Palestinian leadership went beyond its inability to put an end to financial corruption it became and active partner in nurturing corruption. It even made efforts to prevent any public information and blocked the website Donia-Alwatan website that reported on corruption (Electronic Intifada 18 November 2008).

 

On the political front the negotiations and signing of Oslo stands alone as sufficient reason to put the Palestinian leadership of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai to stand trial for crimes committed against the people and the nation. And put the PLO and Fatah leadership on trial for it role and partnership with the Jewish Occupation.

 

Ahmed Qurai was no match to Uri Savir and Mahmoud Abbas was no match for Dr. Yair Hirschfield, Dr. Ron Pundak, and Yosel Singer. The Palestinian Trio of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai were no match to the savvies, intelligence, competence, and strategic thinking let alone loyalty to the cause and their constituent as that of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

 

While Rabin and Peres mustered from around the world the best and brightest Israeli with the different needed expertise to negotiate Oslo, the Palestinian leadership with the kind of arrogance and contempt it have for the people did not bother to call on the thousands of Palestinian experts to help with the negotiations ending up with a document that stand as not only shameful, disgraceful, but enough to constitute malfeasance and enough to bring the leadership to trial and put them behind bars for life.  More troublesome was the lack of any provisions or course of actions or recourse if things failed as now, and there was never an agreed to framework of reference by Abbas owned admission. And this man thinks he is competent to continue to lead after he made a mess in Oslo.

 

Arafat should stand trial “posthumously” together with Abbas, Qurai for the reckless crimes they committed against the people and the cause, not only on managing and running a criminal enterprise called PLO, Fatah and PA but for the crimes they committed in Oslo.

 

Oslo afforded Israel full recognition with open borders, legally transferring to Israel 58% of the prime land and territory to do with it what it want and to have total sovereignty over such areas referred to as Area C.

 

This incompetent reckless and criminal leadership left Jerusalem out of Oslo, left the key issues of the refugees out of Oslo and it was happy to exchange all of that for the ability to loot and fleece, for the few thousand VIP passes for its senior officials and members of their families, while millions have to endure long hours if not days in hot, cold and rainy weathers to cross few hundred meters. All holders of VIP passes have no sense of shame and keeping these VIP passes shows the arrogant contempt they all have for the millions of Palestinians, totally blind to the suffering of millions, and this is crime of itself. Tell that the families who lost their mothers and children at these check points.

 

No need to mention the tens of thousands of Palestinians exiled and ethnically cleansed from their homes inside Jerusalem or the tens of thousands who lost their farms and lands to Jewish settlements and Jewish Roads only and to the Apartheid Wall under the blind eyes of a leadership that continued to negotiate for 20 years while Israel was committing one crime after another, with the lead Palestinian negotiator disgraceful and shamelessly offering Israel its “biggest Yurishaleym in history”.

 

The question that should come to every one’s mind, how can such a leadership that failed at every thing and at every tern, for the last 45 years can be trusted to continue to lead? How can a leadership that failed to incorporate a framework of reference in Oslo be trusted to continue to negotiate under Oslo? How can a leadership that is corrupt and incompetent to the core to be trusted to take to take the case to the UN when it should have done this back in 1988.

 

How can the people trust of have any confidence in the lead negotiators after he promised Israel its “ biggest Yerushalayim in history” and who gave up everything but the kitchen sink, and who failed at every thing be trusted to formulate and develop strategies leading to taking the case before the UN this September?

 

The insistence of the Palestinian leadership to rely on a closed circle of cronies as advisors is nothing but contempt for the people and their sensibilities and is part of the ongoing crimes committed against the Palestinians and their cause of liberation and freedom.

 

Another fraud and lies committed by the Palestinian leadership is the claims of building “state institutions” in anticipations of a “sovereign state” on whatever left after the total give away by the negotiating team. Such claims by Salam Fayyad and Mahmoud Abbas are false and wrapped in the full “security cooperation’s” blanket with the IDF and armed Jewish Settlers.

 

All Palestinians institutions talked about by Abbas and Fayyad are part of and in fulfillment of the security agreement between the PLO/PA and the Israeli Occupation and are part of a pacification projects that serve the Jewish Occupation and goes beyond the fulfillment of security commitments under Oslo. That is why senior Palestinian and Israeli security officers have been meeting on regular basis to coordinate efforts to snuff out any public outrage that may result if the UN bid fails.  Even Mahmoud Abbas made the promise and commitments to Israel to make sure that all of the public demonstration will remain at distance from contact points with the Israelis.

 

Arafat built his security forces around securing his management contract and commitments to the Jewish Occupation and as part of his efforts to build and run a police state. Mahmoud Abbas continued on the same bath with no material reforms in the security agencies, which are no different in training and in mentality of that of Mubarak infamous Mokhabarat and Public Security or of Bashar Assad Mokhabarat and Security Forces.

 

Torture, corruption, human and civil rights abuse, arbitrary and political arrests are the trades mark of the Palestinian Security Forces specially those of the Preventive Security Forces. There are no reasons for not having both Mohamed Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub stand trail for their abusive and management role as heads of the Preventive Security Forces.

 

The announcement in Cairo on Sunday of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas to release all political prisoners is a confirmation of what I am talking about. Keep in mind that many key security officers also became very successful business leaders.

 

Of course Hamas should not escape the need to have its leadership too stand trial for crimes committed and for the wanton and reckless death of many innocent people in Gaza. A case in point is the death of some 40 persons as a result of Hamas reckless disregards of public safety by having a truck loaded with explosives, a time bomb in the middle of a large crowd as part of its ceremonies.  No investigations ever took place into what happened and no responsible person was ever brought to trial for the wrongful death of these by-standers.

 

Another case that will always remain, as testimony to such reckless and wanton behavior is the scattered bodies of scores of recent graduates at the police academy, killed by Israel in the first hours of the War on Gaza. Who is ever responsible for the decision to have and proceed with a public ceremony knowing that Israel will attack imminently should stand trail for the reckless decisions taken and must be held responsible the wrongful death of so many policemen.  The Gaza leadership should answer for all those who died as a result of its reckless management of its armed militias.

 

Hamas shameful and criminal behavior during the take over of Gaza also stand as a black mark in the history of Hamas with its militia destroying public and private properties, hurling bodies from the roof of buildings, stomping and walking on the desk of Abbas office in Gaza.

 

Both Hamas and Fatah share the same criminal mentality and behavior when it comes to citizen’s rights, public and free speech, the rights of journalists to cover and report the news without hindrance and risk of jails.

 

If Hosni Mubarak and his regime deserve to stand trial for political, financial corruptions and presiding over a police state then both Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies and Ismail Hanyeh and his lieutenants should stand trail too. Fatah, Hamas and the PLO should all disband as first step toward ending the Occupation and freedom.

 

 

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner). His articles are also featured on PalestineNote and Veterans Today.

Articles on RamallahOnline by Sami Jamil Jadallah

Born in the Palestinian city of El-Bireh ( presently under Israeli Military Occupation, Armed Jewish thugs and settlers). Immigrated to the US in 62. After graduating from high school in Gary, Indiana was drafted into the US Army ( 66-68) received the Leadership Award from the US 6th Army NCO Academy in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Five of us brothers where in US military service about the same time. Graduated from Indiana University with BA-72, Master of Public Affairs-74 and Juris Doctor-77, and in senior year at IU,was elected Chairman of the Indiana Student Association.

Palestinian Authority; Running on Empty.

It is unclear how long the PA will continue to serve a purpose. (Via Aljazeera)

It is unclear how long the PA will continue to serve a purpose. (Via Aljazeera)

It is unclear how long the PA will continue to serve a purpose. (Via Aljazeera)


Sami Jamil Jadallah

Perhaps it will do good for Salam Fayyad to pick up the phone, better yet to talk the short walk to the office of the Israeli Military Governor for Judea and Samaria (the Boss) and ask for the $300 millions needed by the PA. The $300 million should represent the first of many payments to come for services rendered to the Israeli Occupation since Oslo. Israel owes the PLO/PA some $ 50 Billions for services rendered.

On one hand we are told the PA is working on completion of its “state institutional buildings” in time for the declaration of the independent Palestinian state and we hear of praised from the World Bank and the IMF of the wonderful job Fayyad and the PA are doing in building state institutions. Well the performance of the World Bank and IMF in this messed up world economy raises lots of valid questions about the roles if not the competency of these two institutions to solve the world problems.

On the other hand, we are told Fayyad and the PA are unable to meet the salaries, payroll and running costs of the PA and that the PA does not have enough money to keep running for one month. So where is this great success the World Bank and IMF are talking about?

Perhaps someone from the World Bank and the IMF can explain to all of us, what kind of “state” Fayyad runs if it does not have enough money to keep going for one month and is living on the sole, international welfare. Raising the question of whether the Palestinians want to have a state that is totally dependent on international welfare? We know they accepted to rely on UNRWA for over 60 years.

What kind of state the guys in Ramallah are talking about? And what kind of institutional buildings that has been going on for sometimes? We are not aware of any efforts or plans underway to building governing institutions that are transparent and accountable to the people and can withstand public scrutiny.

So far, we are not aware of building a viable executive branch of government that is non-partisan, representing the nation and people and not a narrow partisan politics or personal business interests. An executive branch that is equal to other branches of government. Not aware of any efforts in this regards moving away from the “personality cult” that has afflicted and badly damaged the Palestinian cause of liberation from the early days of Arafat till now. An executive branch that is accountable before the people and not to Fatah or the PLO.

We are not aware of any plans to build a legislative branch that is free and independent of the executive branch, one that is the people’s representative, strong enough and independent enough to withstand marginalization by the executive branch as we have seen in the last 20 years, if not the last 45 years. The PLC and since Oslo served no purpose as the people’s representatives, accountable to one but the people who elected them, ineffective, and useless as ever.

We are also not aware of any plans to build an independent judiciary, that is free and independent from the executives, one that can dispense justice in transparent way where the poor and powerful are equal in the eyes of the law and courts. Where defendants and accused are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law with the right of defense to challenge witnesses and evidence in an open court. A judicial system free from partisan politics as we have seen both in Ramallah and Gaza. What is out there now is nothing to be proud of.

We are not ware of any plans to disengage the Palestinian economy from that of the Jewish Occupation, not aware of any plans to seek rebuilding of an economy that serve the general public and does not serve the narrow interests of a powerful oligarchy that has total control and monopoly over the Palestinians economy, an economy where the talents and educations of the Palestinian are its best assets.

True there has a been a boom in housing constructions but that narrow economy is in the service of the oligarchy and the banks with people overburdened with mortgage and consumer loans. Reports say the people are indebted to the banks to the tune of over $2 billions in an economy that is totally dependent on salaries and payroll of the PA. When the salaries come if they do come, they go directly to pay loans leaving consumers with little money for the daily livings. A payroll that is totally dependent on the good well of the Americans and Europeans and how they feel the PA is keeping its commitment in serving and securing the Jewish Occupation.

Not aware of any plans to develop, train and qualify a labor force that can move away from rebuilding Jewish settlements and away from working in settlement factories. The late Arafat and his team were always too keen on making sure that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian laborers are able to work inside the Green Line, but never in his tenure did he made any efforts to give these hundreds of thousands of labors a choice away from the humiliating process of seeking the daily jobs inside Israel. Supplying cheap labor to Israel was a top priority under Oslo.

The only thing we know of is that billions of dollars invested in the Palestinian Security Forces making sure its meets its commitments to Israel, to the Jewish Occupation and to the safety and security of the these marauding Jewish criminal settler’s terrorists. This is the only priority for the PLO/PA, Israel and international donors.

We all know the functions and duties of the Palestinian Security Forces toward the Jewish Occupations and Jewish settlers but we are not aware of the function and duties of the Palestinian Security Forces toward the Palestinians people. OK I concede the minor role the security forces play in solving petty crimes, managing traffic but not ware of one instant when the security forces prevented one single attack by Jewish criminal settlers on a Palestinian village or preventing the burning of an olive field or the poisoning of one single water well.

We understand the security forces could not fight the IDF provide safety and security for the people but we do not understand why the security forces does not intervene and protect the people from the daily and repeated crimes of these attacking Jewish criminals?

Frankly the PA, the PLO has been running on empty for a long time and so far we have not seen liberations of Palestine, we have not seen return of refugees, we have not seen the removal of one single security check points, have not seen the stopping or preventing of land confiscations, or house demolitions, certainly nothing is done about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem. Nothing the PLO or the PA committed to was ever accomplish, nothing but total failures and lies. No need to talk about the tens of billions fleeced and remains unaccounted for. Forget about Jerusalem it was promised to Israel.

If I were to make a bet, I will bet that the PLO will not go to the UN and will not keep commitments it made in Istanbul today and will “postpone” its decisions till next year waiting for the “right conditions” and buying time for itself, its leaders certainly buying time for the Jewish Occupation to take more and more land and create more and more facts on the ground, facts the Palestinian leadership will have to accept at the end of the day of its commitments to a negotiated settlement.

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner). His articles are also featured on PalestineNote and Veterans Today.

Articles on RamallahOnline by Sami Jamil Jadallah

The PA’s Historic Mistake – and Opportunity

Palestine Flag

 

Jeff Halper

No one knows the precise plans of the Palestinian Authority vis-a-vis September: will Mahmoud Abbas declare a Palestinian state within recognized borders and ask that it be admitted as a full member of the UN – or not? Perhaps Abbas himself does not know. Now political leaders often make decisions alone or in consultation with a small group of advisors. As in so many matters political, however, the Palestinian leadership finds itself in a unique situation. Its main allies are not governments, and certainly not the American government, whose support for some inexplicable reason has constituted the Palestinians’ default position for the past forty years. Rather, the Palestinians’ most loyal and powerful ally is civil society. And yet, this most solid base of support remains unappreciated, unutilized, and ignored.

Three circles of popular support radiate out into the wider world, able to mobilize millions of people to the Palestinian cause. First, of course, is the Palestinian people itself. Displaced, scattered, oppressed, occupied, struggling for its national rights and very cultural identity, this “little grain of sand,” as it has been called, continues generation after generation to jam not only the vaunted Israeli military machine but that of its main supporter, the United States, who for decades has used Israel as its forward position in the Middle East.

To oppressed people everywhere, the Palestinians have become an inspiration, almost their surrogate. Their ability to remain steadfast (sumud) is proof that injustice, even when supported by the most advanced weaponry of the most powerful super-powers, can be resisted. But Israel, helped by time and geography, has succeeded in fragmenting the Palestinians. The refugees in the camps are almost completely excluded from political processes, but it is the exclusion of the Diaspora that is especially problematic. Highly educated for the most part, fluent in all the European languages, they could play a major role in promoting the Palestinian cause abroad. Indeed, a few individuals have carved out influential positions despite being excluded, even resisted, by the West Bank leadership. Instead, the Palestinian Authority has fielded, with a couple notable exceptions, a most inept and inarticulate corps of diplomats. Rather than using their greatest asset, their own people abroad as well as the legions of articulate spokespeople at home, including younger people, the Palestinian Authority has tied its own hands diplomatically just when Israel is mounting a major international offensive against it. Just recall one astounding fact: during the entire year that saw the Obama Administration taking office and the invasion of Gaza, there was no official Palestinian representative in Washington!

The second circle of civil society support for the Palestinian cause is, of course, the Arab and wider Muslim worlds. While each uprising of the “Arab Spring” has its own reasons and dynamics, the Palestinian struggle provided the inspiration. The Arab peoples came to realize that the same forces oppressing the Palestinians – militarism designed to thwart democracy and ensure neo-colonial control over their lands and resources – are at the source of their own oppression as well.

Indeed, the Palestinians possess one source of tremendous clout: they are the bone in the throat of the global powers that prevent them from completing their imperialist plans. The Palestinian struggle is not simply a local one between Palestinians and Israelis; it has become global on the order of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. It cannot be by-passed. Even though there are larger and bloodier conflicts in the Middle East, until the Palestinians signal the rest of the Muslim world that they have arrived at a political settlement with Israel and the time has come to normalize relations, the conflict is not over. A solution cannot be imposed, and the Palestinians are the gatekeepers. Nothing can happen without them, and until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is indeed resolved, the US and Europe will be unable to pursue their interests unencumbered in an empowered Middle East.

The third circle of civil society just waiting to be mobilized are the millions of ordinary people the world over whose have devoted enormous energy and resources towards the realization of Palestinian national rights. The Palestinian struggle has indeed assumed the proportions of that against apartheid. It is one of the two or three leading issues in the world. Churches, trade unions, university students, political and human rights organizations, prominent intellectuals, performers, and even key politicians have all mobilized in support of the BDS movement (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel). They are evident in the repeated attempts to break the siege of Gaza by sending international flotillas.

But they, like Palestinian civil society and that of the Arab and Muslim worlds, wait to be mobilized by the Palestinian leadership. According to newspaper accounts – unfortunately, the Authority leadership has never conducted an open discussion of the crucial September initiative and has never shared its deliberations – the two main objections to seeking membership in the UN are fear of upsetting the American administration and failure to obtain the required number of votes. The first is ridiculous. Does anyone still believe the Palestinians will gain anything by pursuing American-led “negotiations”?

The second objection, that not receiving the required votes for admission to the UN constitutes a “failure,” exposes a key flaw in the strategic thinking of the Palestinian leadership. If Abbas approaches the UN in a docile and half-hearted way, appearing more to be pushed by an Israeli refusal to negotiate than by his people’s own just cause and urgent need for independence, the Palestinian struggle will certainly suffer. Many other countries that would otherwise support the Palestinian initiative will indeed waiver, giving in to US and Israeli pressure because it seems the Palestinian themselves are not serious about it. But if he goes into the UN as the head of a national unity government with the support of the world’s peoples, Mandela-like, he could decisively change the course of events forever.

To pull off his September initiative, Abbas must reject the go-it-alone approach that the Palestinian leadership has followed fruitlessly for so long. He must recognize that civil society the world over – and in the Muslim world and Europe in particular – is the Palestinians’ most important ally. The issue is not whether the initiative “succeeds;” it is clear that the US will cast a veto. The true struggle is to pull out all the stops to show the world just how strong the Palestinian movement is. If mobilized, the collective power of the grassroots who have for years labored on the Palestinian issue will generate a momentum that will be hard to stop.

Time is of the essence. Mobilization must begin immediately. The elected representatives of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territory, joined for the first time by Palestinians of the refugee camps, inside Israel, and the Diaspora, should issue a joint “Call for Support.” Immediately following the Palestinian Call, grassroots activists would issue a Civil Society Call to support the Palestinian initiative, which would be signed by tens of thousands of people from all over the world and delivered to the UN in September. If a campaign for public support begins now, if the political leadership works intensively and closely with its own civil society to garner widespread support, more than 100,000 people can be gathered at the UN in New York in September in a mass rally for Palestinian independence. (And believe me, Israel will mobilize its own supporters!)

Inside the UN, Abbas would present Palestine’s compelling case for independence and UN membership, as he did in his New York Times piece of May 16. He would also reframe the conflict. It is not specious security issues that lay at the roots of the conflict, but Israel’s refusal to respect Palestinian national rights and to end the Occupation. As he also did in the New York Times article, Abbas must also make it clear that recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in no way compromises the right of refugees to return to their homes, a key point of future negotiations with Israel. He should also state up front that the establishment of a Palestinian state does not end the Palestinian quest, through peaceful means, of an inclusive single-state solution.

If international mobilization is pursued vigorously and Abbas exudes a genuine determination to see a Palestinian state established and recognized, more than 130 countries, including many of the leading European ones, will vote to accept Palestine into the UN. Even if this does not overrule the US veto in the Security Council, it is far more than a merely symbolic achievement and certainly cannot be considered a failure. Such a massive expression of support would demonstrate the inevitability of Palestinian statehood. It would signal the beginning rather than the end of an international campaign for Palestinian rights, one now joined by governments as well as civil society.

We, the people who have pursued Palestinian rights over the decades, Palestinians and non-Palestinian alike, are an integral part of the struggle. We have earned the right, all of us, to have our voices heard in September. Indeed, I would argue that if September comes and goes without any breakthrough due to the acquiescence and weakness of the Authority leadership, civil society support might well dissipate. The people can bring the struggle to a certain point; we cannot negotiate or pursue initiatives at the UN. If the leadership fails us then we truly have nowhere to go. All those Palestinians who have suffered, resisted and died over the past decades cannot be let down at this historic moment by a vacillating political leadership. We call on you to mobilize us. Together we shall succeed, and sooner rather than later.

 

Jeff Halper

Jeff Halper

Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Natural Flow of History: Hamas Should Rethink Charter

March 15th - Manara Circle (Nick Marouf)
March 15th - Manara Circle (Nick Marouf)

March 15th - Manara Circle (Nick Marouf)

Ramzy Baroud, 24 March 2011

‘Now it is time to naturalize the flow of history,’ wrote Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (British Guardian, March 16).

The process of naturalization is now underway in the region Davutoglu refused to describe as the Middle East (arguing that the term is “orientalist”, and preferring to call the region “West Asia and the south Mediterranean”).

Davutoglu is one of the most articulate and passionate Turkish politicians of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Along with Recep Tayyip Erdoðan and Abdullah Gül, he has labored to naturalize the flow of history in Turkey, sidelining an incessantly intrusive military, and forging links between regions, cultures and competing political thoughts. While the mission was and remains arduous, it has successfully led to the emergence of a unique Turkish political thought – proud of its roots, yet receptive to progress and modernity.

When Hamas was elected as the majority party at the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, the group was inspired by the objectives that propelled the AKP. Ahmed Yusuf, a top Hamas official in Gaza, has even been writing a book entitled, “Erdoðan and a New Strategic Vision”

“Erdoðan’s model is liberal. It is a model that dares to take responsibility and change things and establishes good relations between the religious and secular elements of society,” Yusuf said, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet (June 10, 2010). “It is a model that works for democracy and human rights, and supports an open society. That is what we want.”

In fact, this is precisely what most ordinary Palestinians want for themselves. It’s also the same desire that inspired several Arab revolutions. The same goals were ferociously defended and largely achieved in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Palestinians also wish to see their society free of narrow factional interests and limited political agendas.

Despite every attempt, whether through siege, wars or protracted bombardments, radicalization has not taken a hold in Palestinian political thought. Of course, there is much anger and a continued desire for justice, but political rhetoric in Gaza (and by other Hamas leaders in Diaspora) seems largely prudent and increasingly universal in its values and outreach.

Exiled senior Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, commenting on the Egyptian revolution, claimed: “Today we are witnessing Cairo returning to its natural state, after it disappeared from that state for a long time. The people in Egypt and Tunisia have given us back our lives.” (Khartoum, March 6)

The massive revolutionary undertaking by Arab peoples is allowing the Arabs to determine their own fate, to chart their own course for a better future, and on their own terms. Davutoglu has advised that this undertaking also comes with challenges; if Arabs fail to overcome these, they will “lose the momentum of history”.

Palestinians don’t need a regime change, per se, as in other Arab polities, for they are under siege and military occupation, and have no true political sovereignty on the ground. They need a roadmap, a new vision that is inspired by the rights and aspirations of Palestinian people everywhere, but also free from the conventional wisdoms that were either enforced by Oslo – which fragmented Palestinian society – or by those who offered alternatives based mainly on ideological, factional or religious rationale. This painful period of Palestinian history, marred by factionalism, disunity and civil strife, has diverted from the natural flow of Palestinian history. Now, we speak of Hamas and Fatah, of West Bank and Gaza, of individuals, of personal initiatives, of NGOs and funding, and of everything except one Palestine, one Palestinian people, one goal, one strategy, and one destiny.

What is happening in Palestine is anti-history. It cannot be sustained for long without exacting an even heavier price from Palestinian people and their internationally recognized rights. The very credibility of any Palestinian leadership, of course, has now been greatly eroded.

Hamas, since its official inception in 1987 –and even prior to that, when the Islamic movement was dedicated mainly to charity work and institution building –  has proved capable of changing and growing. Its growth has not been based on the diktats of Israel or any outside power, but rather its own motivations. It is now a political body that has managed to evade numerous Israeli bombs and attempts at undermining it as a legitimate group. It is regarded highly among many segments of Palestinian society, and international public opinion is also now shifting in a similar direction. For example, “45% of Europeans believe Hamas should be included in the Peace Process (and) only 25% believe it should be excluded,” according to an ICM European poll conducted in January 2011.

This time of people marching for change, freedom and democracy in the region should provide the perfect opportunity for Palestinians to break away from political exclusivity and the localization of their struggle for freedom. Hamas should now re-think its charter of 1988, which was once an almost impulsive rally cry, and which will always be used in the interests of those seeking to discount Hamas’ credibility. The language of the charter might have served a purpose in the past, but it fails to live up to the of the expectations of a people who wish for unity and to see past the confines of Oslo, its ‘peace process’ and its wealth-amassing elites. Post-Oslo Palestinian leaderships require new language, new ideas, new approaches, and most certainly a brand new vision and strategy.

There must be a break with the past. All hurdles need to be removed in order for the natural flow of history to resume. This is the most opportune time for Hamas to revisit and amend its charter, and to resume the process of change and self-correction which it began many years ago. The political landscape in Palestine will certainly experience serious changes in coming months and years. Genuine Palestinian leaderships must anticipate and accommodate a new era. It is what the people want, and what history repeatedly shows.

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s agony sharpens and deepens

Map of Gaza Strip, Stand December 2008 (WikiMedia Commons, Lencer)

Marian Houk, UN-Truth.com, 23 March 2011

What is the worth, the value, of assigning blame here? It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t stop anything.

This weekend, Hamas went crazy, and Israel too.

There. Now, what?

It’s simply no longer possible to say who went crazy first, or who went crazy more. This discussion is sickening.

Israel attacked and killed people in Gaza on Friday. It announced on Sunday that one of the dead included a senior Hamas commander.

This is perhaps the explanation for why Hamas went crazy on Saturday morning — suddenly firing about 50 mortars into the Israeli perphery in about 15 minutes (is this possible?) — and taking responsibility for the act.

Then, it continued. There was more.

On Tuesday, the IDF announced that 7 rockets and mortars had been fired from Gaza into Israel that day — making a total of 60 projectiles fired from Gaza since the weekend, it said.

IDF attacks on Gaza — retaliation, prevention, whatever — killed some 10 Palestinians, including a number of what the IDF admitted were “uninvolved civilians”, mostly kids, and injured some 40 more. The IDF offered medical care to the wounded — a clear sign that something had gone badly wrong, and that Israel was recognizing some responsibility. And the IDF announced it was starting an investigation. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed regret, “but”…

In its statement, the IDF said its mortar fire on northern Gaza (which killed 3 kids + uncle, and wounded more) came AFTER — “a short while later” – Palestinian firing from site. The language used in the IDF statement, posted here, is very telling: “Initial reports indicate that terrorists [sic] were among the injured. Regrettably, uninvolved civilians were also present at the site and were injured. The Civil Administration offered medical assistance to those injured and the assistance is being coordinated with the Palestinian Authority in both Ramallah and Gaza”.

While the IDF usually claims that its attacks on Gaza are “prevention”, this IDF mortar attack Tuesday afternoon on northern Gaza appears to have been clear retaliation.

The Los Angeles Times has a very poignant account from Gaza posted here Tuesday on its Babylon and Beyond blog. It reported that “Relatives of those killed said they prevented a group of Palestinian militants from firing mortars into Israel from an area that is adjacent to their houses just half an hour before Israeli tanks fired the shells”.

The LATimes account, written by Ahmed Aldabba from Gaza City, continues: “But militants waited until people went for prayers at the neighborhood’s mosque and sent a round of mortar shells beyond the Israel-Gaza borderline, which is a little less than half a mile away from the bombed area. ‘I was going out of the mosque when the shells hit the kids’, said Mohammed Helo 42, the children’s uncle, at the morgue of Shifa hospital in Gaza, where the bodies were taken. ‘I did not know what was going on. All I heard was thunderous explosions then the moans of people who were just walking by. Limbless bodies were scattered all around’.”

Later, a Grad missile was fired from Gaza into Ashdod on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, the IDF spokesperson announced, “An Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted a terrorist in the northern Gaza Strip, in the same location from which the Grad missile was fired towards Ashdod. A hit was confirmed”.

A short while later, a Grad missile was fired from Gaza into Beersheva.

Ashdod is north of Gaza, Beersheva is to the east — and the range is greater than ususal: it is the maximum range reached by projectiles fired from Gaza in response to Israeli attacks during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 (which was announced as a response to months, years, of attacks from Gaza onto Israel…

What next?

Now, Israeli Vice President Silvan Shalom has echoed on Wednesday morning the call made by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni last Friday — for a launch of Operation Cast Lead Two…

Israel had the choice, and it chose to up the ante at this time.

This was a rational, though brutal and wholly unadmirable, decision.

It was Hamas who lost its cool. Firing from Gaza into Israel periphery as revenge is crazy, futile, and also crime of war. Fear is not policy [as Israeli former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy recently told journalists in Jerusalem]. Nor is revenge.

Was Israel trying to block the proposed Abbas visit to Gaza? [Netanyahu told the Knesset on Tuesday what he told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview last week: The Palestinians can’t have it both ways — they must choose between reconciliation with Hamas or peace with Israel]…

Or, was Israel making the choice to Hamas perfectly clear, making a blunt and brutal test of whether Hamas is ready to be the “address” Israel says it needs, ready to be responsible for stopping all attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip? Was it an Israeli counter-offer, in stark contrast to other uncertainties?

For, this comes in the midst of piously-announced but wary preparations for a possible proposed visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to Gaza for reconciliation or unity purposes.

This meeting was suggested by Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh on 15 March in response to youth protests in the West Bank and Gaza demanding an end to the Palestinian division. Abbas has since claimed credit, saying it was really his initiative.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, when Hamas claimed credit for the first time in a long time for firing nearly 50 mortars into Gaza, it also attacked youth demonstrators who had apparently been given a permit for their protests, then attacked journalists’ offices looking for photos and videos of the attacks. (Hamas later apologized for the attack on the journalists offices.)

The proposed Abu Mazen visit — which did raise Palestinian hopes and expectations — would really have been a lot of hard, difficult and embarassing work. So, it is, in a way, easier for everybody like this.

No way this proposed visit is going to happen now, of course.

Meanwhile, more people are dying, suffering, grieving, raging — and the already ready-to-blow situation is getting worse.

Tuesday night, the UN’s Robert Serry issued a statement after the IDF mortar reprisal in N Gaza: “firing into densely populated areas is extremely dangerous” + raises serious questions.

Later, UNSG BAN Ki-Moon issued a statement, though his spokesman, which “strongly condemns the killing of three Palestinian children and their uncle and the wounding of 13 other civilians by an Israeli tank shell in the Gaza Strip earlier today. He is very concerned at an escalating situation in Gaza and southern Israel. He reiterates as well his condemnation of rocket fire by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including from populated areas, against civilian targets in southern Israel. He calls on all to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law”. This is posted on the UN website here.

So, now what?

What is the policy, now?

Meanwhile, how does this factor into the equation? Israel has just admitted it’s holding the Deputy Director of the Gaza Power Plant, Dirar Abu Sisi, who was seized on board a train in Ukraine on 18-19 February, where he went on 18 January to join his Ukrainian wife and file for citizenship — apparently because they have concluded that life in Gaza is no longer the best choice for them or their six children. The Gazan engineer was forcibly removed from the train he was on, hooded and handcuffed and driven by car to Kiev (where he was headed by train), then taken to an apartment where he was questioned by men who introduced themselves as Mossad, and in short order flown to…Israel, where he has been in jail for over a month. A judge has just partially removed a gag order on the case, but permitted continued Israeli media restrictions on reporting for another 30 days… Abu Sisi has not been charged, he will be held in Israel for at least another day, and there is no reasonable explanation for this startling development.

 

 

Marian Houk PASSIA 2004

In the photo below, taken at a roundtable discussion in Jerusalem in July 2004, Marian Houk is the woman wearing the sort-of-orange-colored eyeglasses. Photo courtesy of PASSIA:

Marian Houk, a writer, reporter, journalist and analyst with long experience at the United Nations — in New York and in Geneva and more — as well as with the Middle East. She has reported on, and for a time also worked for, the United Nations. She is a former President of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) at UNHQ/NY (1986), and is currently based in Jerusalem.

Marian Houk is the Editor of UN-Truth news site.