Israeli army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals
© Jonathan Cook
Source: Global Research
February 22, 2011
Israel has been indulging in a sustained bout of fear-mongering since the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled earlier this month. The ostensible aim has been to warn the international community that the lengthy “cold peace” between the two countries is on the verge of collapse.
In reality, the peace treaty signed three decades ago is in no danger for the forseeable future. The Egyptian and Israeli armies have too much of a vested interest in its continuation, whatever political reforms occur in Egypt.
And if the Egyptian political system really does open up, which is still far from sure, the Israeli military may actually be a beneficiary – if for all the wrong reasons.
The main value of the 1979 Camp David treaty to the Israeli leadership has been three decades of calm on Israel’s south-western flank. That, in turn, has freed the army to concentrate on more pressing goals, such as its intermittent forays north to sow sectarian discord in Lebanon, its belligerent posturing towards first Iraq and now Iran in the east, and its campaign to contain and dispossess the Palestinians under its rule.
But since Mubarak’s ousting on February 11, Israeli politicians and generals have warned that democracy for Egypt is bound to empower the country’s Islamists, supposedly bent on Israel’s destruction.
Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, compared a post-Mubarak Egypt with Iran, saying Israel was “preparing for the worst”. Likewise, Gabi Ashkenazi, the departing chief of staff, stated that Israel was braced for the peace treaty’s cancellation as the “moderate camp” weakened.
Officially, Tel Aviv’s concern is that, should the treaty be revoked, Israel will have to redirect much of its martial energy to preparing for potential hostilties with its neighbour, the most populous Arab state. Israel’s anxious declarations about the peace treaty, however, are largely self-serving.
Peace has reigned between Israel and Egypt because it is so strongly in the interests of both militaries. That is not about to change while the Egyptian and Israeli general staffs maintain their pre-eminent roles as the praetorian guards of their countries’ respective political systems.
Today’s close ties between the Israeli and Egyptian armies are a far cry from the earlier era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who galvanised Arab nationalism in an attempt to defeat Israel, or his successor, Anwar Sadat, who almost led the Arab world to victory against the Israeli army in 1973.
Since the signing of the 1979 agreement, Washington has bought off the hawks on each side with massive military subsidies underwritten by the American taxpayer. The U.S. has been happy to bankroll an accord that strengthens Israel, its useful Middle Eastern ally, and buys the acquiesence of Egypt, the Arab state best placed to resist the current regional order.
The Egyptian army receives $1.3 billion in annual military aid, making it the second largest recipient after Israel, which gets more than twice as much. In addition, military hardware has been lavished on the Israeli army, making it possibly the fourth strongest in the world – an astonishing situation for a country of only seven million.
The munificence has continued despite the U.S. financial crisis, and includes Washington’s effective donation last year to Israel of two dozen of the next-generation F-35 stealth fighter jet as part of its pledge to maintain Israel’s “technological edge” over its rivals in the region.
Three decades of American money thrown at the two armies have made each a key player in their respective economies – as well as encouraging a culture of corruption in the senior ranks.
In Egypt’s case, large sections of the economy are controlled by retired generals, from electrical goods and construction companies to the production of olive oil and medicines. The army is reported to own about a third of the country’s assets.
The Israeli army’s economic stake is less ostentatious but no less significant. Its officers retire in their early forties on full pensions, and then cash in on their “security know-how”. Second careers in arms dealing, military consultancies or sinecures in Israel’s booming homeland security exports are all but guaranteed. Ehud Barak, a former chief of staff and the current defence minister, made millions of dollars from his security consultancy in a few years out of politics, for example.
Corruption, endemic in Israel’s political culture, has rapidly seeped into the military. Some of it is visible, as demonstrated this month with the passing over of a series of candidates for the vacant post of chief of staff because of the skeletons in their closets. Some is not: current investigations into dubious activities by Mr Ashkenazi and his family are subject to heavy reporting restrictions.
Nonetheless, both armies are revered by their countrymen. Even should that change in Egypt over coming months, the army is too strong – thanks to the U.S. – to be effectively challenged by the protesters.
Israeli hawks, however, are right to be concerned – on other grounds – about the “threat” of political reform in Egypt. Although greater democracy will not undermine the peace agreement, it may liberate Egyptians to press for a proper regional peace deal, one that takes account of Palestinian interests as the Camp David accord was supposed to do.
Not least, in a freer Egypt, the army will no longer be in a position to play Robin to Israel’s Batman in Gaza. Its continuing role in the strangulation of the tiny enclave would likely come to an end.
But in such a climate, the Israeli military still has much to gain. As Israeli analyst Aluf Benn has observed, Israel will use the Middle East’s upheavals to highlight to the U.S. that it is Washington’s only reliable ally – the so-called “villa in the jungle”. Its show of anxiety is also designed to remind the U.S. that a jittery Israel is more likely to engage in unpredictable military adventures.
The remedy, of course, is even greater American largesse. And for that reason, if no other, the fear-mongering from Tel Aviv is not about to end.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.
Jonathan Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Ghassan Al-Masri: U.S. veto ‘diplomatic terrorism’
© Ma’an News Agency
February 20, 2011 14:38
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The U.S. veto of a U.N. anti-settlement resolution was “diplomatic terrorism,” former PLO spokesman Ghassan Al-Masri said Sunday.
The U.S. on Friday torpedoed a Palestinian bid for a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity. The other 14 member states of the Security Council voted in favor of the motion.
President Mahmoud Abbas pursued the resolution despite a last-minute personal appeal from U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to abandon the bid.
Al-Masri said both the veto of the resolution and Obama’s attempt to dissuade the Palestinians from pursuing international law were forms of diplomatic terrorism, both of which failed, he added.
The veto revealed the true intentions of U.S. foreign policy, and undermined what remained of Washington’s credibility as a sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Al-Masri said.
Further, he said it highlighted that Obama was strategically allied with the settlement policies of Israel’s occupation, and demonstrated that the president’s declared support for a two-state solution was false.
The move would increase hostility toward the U.S. on the Arab street, which is rising up for freedom and democracy, Al-Masri said.
The former PLO official appealed to Abbas to reassess his approach to negotiations, and to reconsider the Palestinian people’s demands, which he said called for restructuring the components of national unity within the internationally recognized PLO.
He also called for the PLO to have a greater role in leading the people, and to form more strategic relations within the Arab world.
He also said the PLO should take the lead and seek strategic relations between the Palestinians and the Arab world, as well as taking advantage of the changes sweeping the region.
Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War
© Paul Craig Roberts
February 17, 2011
Obama’s new budget is a continuation of Wall Street’s class war against the poor and middle class. Wall Street wasn’t through with us when the banksters sold their fraudulent derivatives into our pension funds, wrecked Americans’ job prospects and retirement plans, secured a $700 billion bailout at taxpayers’ expense while foreclosing on the homes of millions of Americans, and loaded up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet with several trillion dollars of junk financial paper in exchange for newly created money to shore up the banks’ balance sheets. The effect of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” on inflation, interest rates, and the dollar’s foreign exchange value are yet to hit. When they do, Americans will get a lesson in poverty.
Now the ruling oligarchies have struck again, this time through the federal budget. The U.S. government has a huge military/security budget. It is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon, CIA, and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion federal deficit that the Obama administration forecasts for fiscal year 2012. This massive deficit spending serves only one purpose – the enrichment of the private companies that serve the military/security complex. These companies, along with those on Wall Street, are who elect the U.S. government.
The U.S. has no enemies except those that the U.S. creates by bombing and invading other countries and by overthrowing foreign leaders and installing American puppets in their place.
China does not conduct naval exercises off the California coast, but the U.S. conducts war games in the China Sea off China’s coast. Russia does not mass troops on Europe’s borders, but the U.S. places missiles on Russia’s borders. The U.S. is determined to create as many enemies as possible in order to continue its bleeding of the American population to feed the ravenous military/security complex.
The U.S. government actually spends $56 billion a year, that is, $56,000 million, in order that American air travelers can be porno-scanned and sexually groped so that firms represented by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff can make large profits selling the scanning equipment.
With a perpetual budget deficit driven by the military/security complex’s desire for profits, the real cause of America’s enormous budget deficit is off-limits for discussion.
The U.S. Secretary of War-Mongering, Robert Gates, declared: “We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril.” The military brass warns of cutting any of the billions of aid to Israel and Egypt, two functionaries for its Middle East “policy.”
But what are “our” global security responsibilities? Where did they come from? Why would America be at peril if America stopped bombing and invading other countries and interfering in their internal affairs? The perils America faces are all self-created.
The answer to this question used to be that otherwise we would be murdered in our beds by “the worldwide communist conspiracy.” Today the answer is that we will be murdered in our airplanes, train stations, and shopping centers by “Muslim terrorists” and by a newly created imaginary threat – “domestic extremists,” that is, war protesters and environmentalists.
The U.S. military/security complex is capable of creating any number of false flag events in order to make these threats seem real to a public whose intelligence is limited to TV, shopping mall experiences, and football games.
So Americans are stuck with enormous budget deficits that the Federal Reserve must finance by printing new money, money that sooner or later will destroy the purchasing power of the dollar and its role as world reserve currency. When the dollar goes, American power goes.
For the ruling oligarchies, the question is: how to save their power.
Their answer is: make the people pay.
And that is what their latest puppet, President Obama, is doing.
With the U.S. in the worst recession since the Great Depression, a great recession that John Williams and Gerald Celente, along with myself, have said is deepening, the “Obama budget” takes aim at support programs for the poor and out-of-work. The American elites are transforming themselves into idiots as they seek to replicate in America the conditions that have led to the overthrows of similarly corrupt elites in Tunisia and Egypt and mounting challenges to U.S. puppet governments elsewhere.
All we need is a few million more Americans with nothing to lose in order to bring the disturbances in the Middle East home to America.
With the U.S. military bogged down in wars abroad, an American revolution would have the best chance of success.
American politicians have to fund Israel as the money returns in campaign contributions.
The U.S. government must fund the Egyptian military if there is to be any hope of turning the next Egyptian government into another American puppet that will serve Israel by continuing the blockade of the Palestinians herded into the Gaza ghetto.
These goals are far more important to the American elite than Pell Grants that enable poor Americans to obtain an education, or clean water, or community block grants, or the low income energy assistance program (cut by the amount that U.S. taxpayers are forced to give to Israel).
There are also $7.7 billion of cuts in Medicaid and other health programs over the next five years.
Given the magnitude of the U.S. budget deficit, these sums are a pittance. The cuts will have no effect on U.S. Treasury financing needs. They will put no breaks on the Federal Reserve’s need to print money in order to keep the U.S. government in operation.
These cuts serve one purpose: to further the Republican Party’s myth that America is in economic trouble because of the poor: The poor are shiftless. They won’t work. The only reason unemployment is high is that the poor had rather be on welfare.
A new addition to the welfare myth is that recent middle class college graduates won’t take the jobs offered them, because their parents have too much money, and the kids like living at home without having to do anything. A spoiled generation, they come out of university refusing any job that doesn’t start out as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The reason that engineering graduates do not get job interviews is that they do not want them.
What all this leads to is an assault on “entitlements”, which means Social Security and Medicare. The elites have programmed, through their control of the media, a large part of the population, especially those who think of themselves as conservatives, to conflate “entitlements” with welfare. America is going to hell not because of foreign wars that serve no American purpose, but because people, who have paid 15% of their payroll all their lives for old age pensions and medical care, want “handouts” in their retirement years. Why do these selfish people think that working Americans should be forced through payroll taxes to pay for the pensions and medical care of the retirees? Why didn’t the retirees consume less and prepare for their own retirement?
The elite’s line, and that of their hired spokespersons in “think tanks” and universities, is that America is in trouble because of its retirees.
Too many Americans have been brainwashed to believe that America is in trouble because of its poor and its retirees. America is not in trouble because it coerces a dwindling number of taxpayers to support the military/security complex’s enormous profits, American puppet governments abroad, and Israel.
The American elite’s solution for America’s problems is not merely to foreclose on the homes of Americans whose jobs were sent offshore, but to add to the numbers of distressed Americans with nothing to lose the sick and the dispossessed retirees, and the university graduates who cannot find jobs that have been sent to China and India.
Of all the countries in the world, none need a revolution as bad as the United States, a country ruled by a handful of selfish oligarchs who have more income and wealth than can be spent in a lifetime.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.
How the Muslim Brotherhood Saved the U.S. Dollar
© Stanislav Mishin
Source: Mat Rodina
January 30, 2011
There are two truths that the Anglo Elites know all too well: democracy in the West means a ruling oligarchy with good PR, democracy in the Middle East means Islamic Jihadists and Fundamentalists. This has been a fact for many years and is not, in any way a shock or disconnect for any of the American elites now backing “democracy” revolutions.
1. Iranian revolution, 1978-1979: Mass protests by a wide coalition against the King. Result? Mullahs take over.
2. Egypt has free parliamentary elections. Results? The Muslim Brotherhood becomes the second most powerful party in the country, before being quickly banned.
3. Americans allow free elections in Iraq. Results? Islamist parties become the main power blocks in power.
4. Palestinians have free elections: Voters protest against corrupt regime. Result? Hamas is now running the Gaza Strip.
5. Beirut Spring: Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze unite against Syrian control. Moderate government gains power. Result? Hezbollah is now the main political force in Lebanon.
6. Algeria holds free elections: Voters back moderate Islamist group. Result? Military coup; Islamists turn (or reveal their true thinking) radical; tens of thousands of people killed.
Quite simply, the majority of the population has an insane infatuation with extremist Islam, be it Shiite or Sunni. Again, none of this is a surprise to the owners of the Anglo sphere. So why are they so actively backing revolutions and over throws throughout the Middle East?
Already a revolution has swept out the sectarian dictator of Tunisia, with Islamists quickly moving in. Exiled leader of Tunisian Islamist party returning to role in ‘new era of democracy’.
Protests, demonstrations and revolutions have now spread to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Albania, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Egypt is by far, the worst hit, with the government teetering, mass looting and violence becoming the norm and the Muslim Brotherhood riding high.
All of this, of course is nothing new, it is a rehash of past and present events. So, my astute readers are now asking, again, why are the Anglo Elites servicing these revolutions and how will this save the U.S. dollar, or at least stave off its death for a few more years?
To answer that one must understand that to be a vassal, er, an ally of the Anglos is worse than to be an enemy. At least an enemy knows where he stands, while an ally will be used and when his or her utilization has reached its max, will be betrayed, back stabbed and sold out as best suits the Anglos, be it an Irishman or a Half Arab who sits in the Oval Office.
So now the time has come for a new round of betrayals, to prop up the USD at the expense of allies. You see, dear reader, the U.S. dollar is the exchange currency for Oil and Gas and the higher the price, the more the USD is demanded. The more that is demanded, to buy the more expensive oil and gas, the more debt currency the U.S. private Federal Reserve gets to print up and drop off on the world, allowing for accumulation of real resources, worth real value, as well as continuing pointless Marxist programs and the off-shoring of American hyper inflation to the rest of humanity.
This is nothing new. The U.S. ‘colour revolutions’ were used in the Central Asian states, to create havoc in areas adjacent to oil. The first was in Uzbekistan, where the socialist dictator and U.S. ally, Karimov, has been designated for removal by a U.S.-sponsored Islamic revolution. Unfortunately for the Americans, Karimov had no problem massacring the American paid for revolutionaries. He followed this by ousting the U.S. base on his lands and running to Moscow for protection.
The U.S. dollar did not get its intended boost in the Central Asian territories, at that time, however, the Americans did not give up. Even if a revolution fails in the directly affected area, one can be staged in an adjacent area which will lead to further instability in the intended area, thus driving up the price of oil and gas. To that end, the Americans created and backed the civil war in Tajikistan, where Uzbeki fanatics, in the south of the country now have defacto rule and will export their jihad to their own mother country, thus ensuring high levels of instability for decades to come.
To that same end, the Americans are backing the revolutions on the periphery of the main oil fields of the Middle East, in full knowledge that this will spill further and further into the oil producing regions. That is the plan, after all.
Tunisia, itself, a small time oil producer, accounts for 40,000 barrels/day.
Algeria and Yemen have also faced mass protests, funded and organized by Western NGOs, even as the owners of those NGOs pretend to be sympathetic to the rulers of the countries in question. However, as in Uzbekistan, these rulers have and will continue to respond with massive force, making sure that their U.S.-sponsored, home grown Islamics do not get very far. In Yemen, early Sunday, the government arrested Tawakul Karman, a prominent journalist and member of the Islamist party Isiah. He had organized protests through text messages and emails. All of the Western press are playing their roll, screaming to the high heavens about this Islamic fundamentalist’s follow on release and her love of freedom, even though Fundamentalist Islam believes in Sharia and has no freedom, other than the right to murder unbelievers.
Jordan, one of the most stable regional powers, has also been rocked by protests, as more than 5,000 people took to the streets, demanding the King give up his power, to “the people”.
Egypt has not been so lucky. Its government has proven, so far, to be weak, with many in the military openly siding with the Islamic Brotherhood and its Western NGO backers. Looting in the streets is rampant, as is direct confrontation with those special police forces, and special forces, still loyal to the dictatorship. The end is only a matter of time.
Egypt itself is responsible for the production of 680,000 barrels of oil per day. While this is about 1-2% of the world total output, Egypt further plays a massive role, with the Suez Canal and the alternate Surned pipeline, of passing an additional 1 million barrels of crude bound for the European and American markets. It is bad enough with the Somali pirates pushing up the price of oil, or why do you think that a trigger-happy America willing to invade just about anyone it can, including once upon a time Somalia, suddenly is too timid to deal with a bunch of rag tag pirates?
Other protests have erupted in Morocco, Libya, Lebanon and even Albania. All around the edges of the major oil players.
More worrisome than disruptions to Egypt’s oil production is the prospect that the unrest spreads to other hard-line states in the region, such as Libya and Algeria, both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Other countries in the region, including Tunisia and Yemen, have been wracked by anti-government protests in recent weeks, though neither is a major oil producer.
“If this thing spreads across the North African continent, gets into Libya, Algeria, then you’ve got trouble,” said Stephen Schork, editor of the Schork Report energy newsletter.
Finally, this whole process is now spilling into Saudi Arabia and soon possibly into the whole of the Gulf princedoms. The oil shocks will be profound and will be quick.
Already, with just the Egyptian upheavals, and as expected, just on the Thursday and Friday violence, oil went up over 4%, some $3.70 per barrel. Another similar rise can be expected this week, if not higher. When, not if, Mubarak’s government falls, oil should be expected to hit close to the $100 mark. With Nigeria also sinking into civil war, oil may well peak over $100/barrel by the end of February.
The American media and their other Western underlings and affiliates, are doing their part in colouring these as peoples’ fights for freedom and human rights. Of course they know full well what this will lead to: Islamic fundamentalism, which is the only result that this has ever led to. Then when this happens, when the correct end result is in place, those very same self-serving hypocrites, will throw up their hands and declare that they are shocked that those stupid, dirty Arabs could not make any go of “freedom” even after all the help they were given.
The Americans have been preparing for this for years. Many foolishly blame this on Obama, he is a part of this, but his is only the final chapter in the preparation for one of the last ditch efforts to stave off Judgment Day of the U.S. dollar and its debt built and house of cards economy.
“What happened in Georgia with the Rose Revolution and Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2003-2004 was part of a long-term strategy orchestrated by the Pentagon, the State Department and various U.S.-financed NGOs like Freedom House and National Endowment for Democracy to create pro-NATO regime change in those former Soviet Union areas and to literally encircle Russia,” author and researcher William Engdahl told RT.
“What is going on in the Middle East with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia that we saw a few days ago, and now in Egypt with Mubarak in his 80s, and obviously a regime that is not exactly the most stable one, we have a food crisis taking place as a backdrop and the IMF coming and telling these countries to eliminate their state food subsidies so you have, of course, the explosive background for popular unrest. Within that you have these NGOs, like Freedom House, training activists and trade unions and various other organizations to demand democracy, demand human rights and so forth,” he added.
This earlier report by RT [“TV Novosti”] sums the process up even better:
Dr. William Robinson is one of the foremost experts on Washington’s democracy promotion initiatives, he wrote the book ‘Promoting Polyarhcy.’
“In Latin America, in Eastern Europe with the Velvet Revolutions, in Africa, in the Middle East, really all over the world, the U.S. set up these different mechanisms now for penetrating these civil societies in the political systems of countries that are going to be intervened and to assure the outcome is going to be pleasing to Washington’s foreign policy objectives,” said Robinson.
Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “We do this through surrogates and non-governmental organization and through people who are less suspecting of the evil that may lurk behind their actions than perhaps they were before. Have we learned some lessons in that regard? You bet! Do we do it better? You bet! Is it still just as heinous as it has always been? You bet!”
The Americans call this process Creative Destruction, that is the new catch phrase for world revolutions, no different than that which was exported from our own country while it was ruled by Anglo financed Marxists. While the PR may be promising and alluring, the results will be misery and death for those in ground zero: with tourism and industry fleeing fundamentalist regimes, resulting in yet more starvation and poverty, and a massive enrichment for the top 1% of the Anglo elite who could not give a bigger damn, no matter what their fully owned media mouth pieces may be saying.
The massive increases in the price of oil, as well as the increased demand for weapons by those states who border these areas, will line the pockets of thousands of executives and politicians in America, and to a smaller level, of England, for decades to come. If a war or three are spawned from this, even better.
Furthermore, with refugees and terrorism flooding Europe, which is finally starting to react violently to the virus that is attacking the body social at large, and the confiscation of European industry in Northern Africa, the Euro will be on the front lines of these new Islamic plagues, like never before. It will take another beating, with the dollar remaining a “safe” investment. Just another big plus, not to mention the new missions for NATO and that military-industrial complex, this will generate.
As for the American serfs, the little people? Well, the $6-10/gallon ($1.50-$2.25/liter) gasoline will crush them. Sure, the socialist welfare programs that their government will finance by selling yet more dollars, will help some, but it is a mild treatment for a terminal disease. Their falling wages, in the face of mass and growing unemployment as well as soaring inflation, will drag the last of the middle class into poverty and slavery. However, unlike the Arabs or the French or most other people of the world, they will do what their British cousins have been doing for the past 30 years, put up a stiff upper lip and accept this as their reality. And yes, as before, for the world at large, their owners in NYC, DC and London, could not really give a bigger damn.
A passive people, believing in their own illusionary freedoms and high on their own self importance, make for the best slaves and no where are there more such slaves than in the USA.
The rest of us will also have to live with an ever more violent world, courtesy of the biggest sponsor of Islamic insanity the world has ever had the sorry state of knowing.
The Hamas Charter: Vision, fact and fiction
© Dr. Ahmed Yousef
Source: Ma’an News Agency
January 24, 2011 11:53
The Israeli occupation has never missed an opportunity to brand Hamas a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization. True to the Mossad motto which states “By way of deception, thou shall do war,” it has excelled at taking select articles from the Islamic party’s charter and using them, out of context, to justify its claims.
The Israelis have, for example, translated the charter to several languages, English and French included, intentionally perverting the substance of its tenets to suit their purposes. Those aims were to market its fraudulent translation to as many Western politicians, academics and media channels as possible; and therefore make it easier to claim security concerns as the basis for their legal infractions.
The fear-mongering is designed to horrify the West so much that it turns a blind eye to the crimes against humanity which contravene international law.
Throughout my tenure as an adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the tenth and eleventh administrations (the unity government), and even after the events of June 2007 when I was assigned as a deputy minister to the Foreign Ministry, journalists and politicians consistently asked the same questions around the charter and the extent to which the government was beholden to it or intent on applying the articles within it.
Despite my consistent clarification that Hamas must be evaluated on its official actions and political positions, it is evident that the Israeli propaganda machine has over a two year period successfully brainwashed those it has targeted. Many observers have become incapable of making an impartial assessment of the significant transformations the movement has undergone; and instead have parroted the Israeli position, adopting the obstinacy of what a local colloquialism notes “is a goat, even if it has wings.”
The reality and the tale
The Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, was born in December 1987 with the first Intifada, or Uprising. Initially, the group mounted demonstrations against Israeli belligerence; and in order to maintain the momentum of the newly created protest culture, the group’s leadership needed a platform to crystallize its views and give the “resistance generation” broad strokes direction on the principles and challenges within which they would operate against the occupation. Those early, revolutionary days represent the context within which the concept of a charter was formed.
That document was a practical response to an oppressive occupation. It reflected the views of one of the movement’s elder leaders; and it was ratified during the unique circumstances of the Uprising in 1988 as a necessary framework for dealing with a relentless occupation. There was little opportunity, at that time, to pore over the minutia of either its religious and political terminology or the broader perspective of international law.
An internal committee reviewed the possibility of amending the charter during the nineties and ratifying it as a binding manifesto; yet the primary concern, that of being seen as following the Fatah route of offering up concessions on a silver platter, led the group’s leadership to shelve such measures.
Instead, new ideas were proposed that reflected the movement’s openness to the international community and its willingness to adopt a more realistic political view. This flexibility was evident in official speeches; and more recently in the election platform put forward by the Change & Reform Party (al-taghyeer wal islah).
Despite the group’s evolution, it is an inescapable fact that the charter represents a milestone in the struggle against an occupation. At any rate, historical statements remain a testament to the past; and the charter, as a document written over two decades ago, retains its authoritative value.
However, it is not a constitution drafted as law; and cannot be construed to demand literal interpretation. In fact, the movement has to a certain degree moved on from its content simply by participating in the political process, accepting a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and publicly declaring a readiness to explore political solutions with the international community.
The claim of an intransigent organization simply does not tally with the reality of a group opening up to its regional environment; and one which participated in a national parliament borne of the Oslo Accords, having won a majority vote through participatory elections in 2006.
The vision and the policy
Logic dictates Hamas has demonstrated the flexibility to deal with changing realities while remaining true to its principles; and it as shown an openness to be actively engaged when appropriate. Regardless of the past, our position is crystallized as follows:
1. Historic rights remain inalienable, preserved by each generation; and the resolve shall continue until those rights are restored. The issue is bound only by capacity and the regional balance of power. Our people have never repudiated the fact that Jews and Christians are an integral part of the Palestinian people and its land – the land of all prophets. Yet we reject a situation where one encroaches on the possessions and holy sites of another, supported by external powers and claims of divine promise. This is not only a Hamas refutation; but that of the entire Palestinian population.
2. There is a stark difference between acquiescing to pressure then accepting conditions, hoping for better circumstances for your people, and gaining your rights in a manner that preserves your integrity and protects the sanctity of your lands and holy sites. Attempts to put Hamas on the Fatah path (coaxing then gain successive compromise) would place it in the former camp, which is untenable. The movement’s decision-making process is based on a consultative apparatus, one that is designed to protect the inviolability of the Palestinian cause and the historical rights of its people; and hence we can only consider solutions that reflect the people’s will.
3. Our current conflict with the occupation is a political one. Yet virtually all liberation movements rely on the language of religion to inspire their peoples, given that such discourse offers the greatest clarity and motive to make sacrifices for liberty. For our part, we do not shy away from shedding light on the historical milestones that underscore our struggle against the fundamentalism inherent in Zionism. We do so in a way that will undermine the dream of Eretz Israel; and place us firmly on a path to a just peace.
4. Hamas is a national liberation movement with an Islamic identity; and it recognizes that the conflict sometimes takes on religious form in ways that cannot be ignored. Palestine is a trust that cannot be discharged; and there are rights that have been usurped that must be restored, peacefully or through war. There are no political parties that can simply cede these rights without reverting to a national referendum which would collectively decide on the right course to preserve the greater good of the Palestinian people.
5. The cornerstone of this issue is that Palestinian rights will not dissipate as a result of stonewalling. Whether or not the conflict has a religious dimension, the people’s rights must be restituted either through peaceful settlement or through open conflict for generations to come, awaiting a change in the balance of power that will allow a final, equitable solution to emerge.
6 .Hamas’ view is that this conflict is multi-dimensional: religious, political, legal, ethical and security-related. Yet at its core is the matter of rights that have been abrogated. These must be restored; and the international community has attested to this imperative through numerous declarations, including United Nations Resolution 194 which recognizes the right of Palestinian refugees to return and be compensated for their losses.
7. For our part, we acknowledge that these are sacred lands which were the cradle of three monotheistic messages – Jewish, Christian and Muslim. The followers of these faiths have been on this land for centuries; and therefore their presence on this land, in general, has never, and will not, end.
8. The Palestinian people have never harbored ill will towards the Jewish presence on this land, only for the Zionist aberration that seeks to expropriate it, dominate it, cast out indigenous “gentiles”, and invite mass immigration from across the globe through formal Aliyah (Jewish immigration) programs.
9. The prospect of coexistence among the original inhabitants of this land is possible after those who have been wronged receive restitution. Yet any submission to the status quo, negating the harm that has been done over the past 60 years, is unacceptable under any circumstance.
These, then, are the general principles upon which the Islamists of Palestine operate, regardless of the comments some may have over a charter written at a specific, tumultuous point almost a quarter of a century ago; and when the language of conflict from all parties was open to a wide array of political and religious phraseology.
The pragmatism of Hamas’ current position is self-evident when evaluated without the partiality of propaganda. It is up to the Israelis and the international community to recognize it as such or doom the holy land to further strife until the next generation come of age.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef is the former Senior Political Advisor to Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza Prime Minister.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem.
Hamas: P.A. colluding with U.S. Blackwater
© Ma’an News Agency
January 13, 2011
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Following an agreement that would give private U.S. security group Blackwater access to the West Bank, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the move meant Palestinians were “under double attack.”
Chief of the P.A. security forces in the West Bank Adnan Dmeiri, who confirmed the arrival of the security personnel, said the agents would only be fulfilling their mandate to protect U.S. officials when they are in the West Bank and institutions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“They will not reside in Palestinian areas,” Dmeiri said, dismissing the concern.
Hamas’ Barhoum, however, accused the P.A. of coordinating with U.S. intelligence, and called the move a reflection of the “multinational authority” ruling the West Bank, which aims to “oppress the freedom of the Palestinians, their sovereignty on their land enable the Israeli occupation to apply its agenda of rubbing out all those defending the Palestinian cause.”
The arrival of Blackwater security personnel to Palestine “represents the largest danger to the lives and sovereignty of Palestinians,” Barhoum said, adding that he believed it “confirmed the existence of U.S.-Israel security cooperation,” and would add to the “violations of freedoms and human rights already carried out in the West Bank.”
The Hamas spokesman called on the “Fatah Authority” to fall in line with the desires of Palestinians, to “resist the occupation,” and demanded that the P.A. refocus on the “national project.”
The following article is reprinted with permission from Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem.
Unexplained recorders behind arrest of U.S. national at Rafah
© Ma’an News Agency
December 31, 2010
EL-ARISH (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities on the Rafah crossing said Thursday that officers detained a Palestinian woman with a U.S. passport for failing to explain why she carried six camera-pens with her.
Each recorder, Egyptian officials said, had an eight gigabyte memory, three cameras and high-grade voice recorder. The click-device at the top of each pen act as the on/off switch, officials said.
The woman, a resident of the American state of Florida, was said to have “not given a clear reason” for why she was carrying the pens, and transferred to the public prosecution by Egyptian state security.
One official told Ma’an that he believed the pens could be used for spying, adding that the sites of Gaza militant groups were a prime target for spy operations. The official, who preferred to remain unnamed, would not explain why he believed the woman was involved in a spy operation.