by Khalid Amayreh
Israel's Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu has been stirring-up Western governments, including Britain against the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas. Although the agreement brings to an end four years of bitterness between the two largest Palestinian political groups it has caused Israeli leaders to lose their normal composure.
Netanyahu claimed that the Egyptian-brokered agreement made peace in Palestine less likely. He repeated the stale and largely discredited mantra that Israel couldn't negotiate with a "terrorist group" - an allusion to Hamas - which most Muslims the world over view as a legitimate national liberation movement, struggling to rid the Palestinian people of decades of Israel's brutal military occupation. The Israeli PM's arguments, however, are devoid of veracity, especially when subjected to objective scrutiny. His mendacious discourse was exposed by honest and open-minded Israelis, including experts and junior officials, who have argued that the Palestinian reconciliation agreement ought to be treated by the Zionist state as an opportunity, not a threat.
For example, an editorial published in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that a secret Foreign Ministry report prepared by Barak Ravid advised the government to view Palestinian reconciliation as an opportunity for peace. "It would also be correct for Israel to recognize the Palestinian unity government in order to conduct dialogue and neighbourly relations with the Palestinian state in the future," said Ravid.
Being utterly unprepared for true peace with the Palestinians, however, the Israeli government seems to be adopting a modus operandi based on lying, red herrings and provocation, such as threatening to sink the Palestinian Authority by freezing tax and customs revenue which Israel collects on its behalf. That would be an act of daylight robbery of course, as this is Palestinian money for which Israel is paid administration fees.
Despite Netanyahu's claim that the Cairo agreement will make peace a distant dream, everyone prepared to look at the situation objectively knows full well that the real obstacle to peace is the unrestrained expansion of illegal Jewish settlements across the occupied West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem. The unceasing expansionism of Israel's Zionist colonialism in occupied Palestine is the antithesis of everything and anything to do with peace. Instead of accepting Netanyahu's mendacious sound-bites, European politicians ought to ask themselves whether a state which keeps building Jewish-only settlements on occupied land in defiance of international law, and transfers thousands of its citizens to live on that land - again in defiance of international law and conventions - is really interested in peace.
Israel, unlike most of the international community, including Britain, views the Palestinian land it controls as "disputed" rather than "occupied" territory. However, even this distorted perception doesn't give the Zionist state the right to devour ever more land and building ever more colonies which render a real peace agreement virtually impossible.
Netanyahu's lies may suit the front pages of Zionist and pro-Israel newspapers in London or New York, but the real attention ought to focus on what Israeli bulldozers and paramilitary Jewish terrorists, called somewhat euphemistically "settlers", are doing on the hills of the occupied West Bank; their actions are killing whatever hopes for peace are left.
Contrary to Netanyahu's knee-jerk allegations, Hamas is no longer a spoiler ready to reject or thwart a dignified quest for true peace which would restore hope in the Palestinian people and free them from a dehumanizing and inhumane occupation comparable to history's worst. During his short speech at the reconciliation ceremony in Cairo on 4 May, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that his movement will give time to all sincere efforts to achieve peace. Speaking in a similar vein, Ismail Haniyeh, the Prime Minister of the Hamas-run government in Gaza, urged all resistance factions in Gaza to observe the ceasefire with Israel meticulously.
While Netanyahu claims that Hamas is a terrorist organization with which Israel can't negotiate, he needs a reminder that, to put it politely, he is not in any position to lecture his victims on terrorism. According to a recent UN report, Israeli troops and paramilitary Jewish terrorists killed as many as 1300 Palestinian children between 2000 and 2011. Israel claims it doesn't target and kill Palestinian civilians deliberately but admits that it does so knowingly; what is the difference? Isn't killing someone "knowingly" killing them deliberately in the final analysis?
In his efforts to scupper the reconciliation agreement, Netanyahu and other Zionists keep pointing to Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel, but which Israel is it supposed to recognize; the Israel of 1948 or the UN Partition Plan of 1947? Perhaps it is the Israel of the 4th June, 1967? Israel, after all, is an amorphous state with amorphous borders which keeps annexing and incorporating additional territory within itself. Indeed, Israel has never declared what its borders actually are, because the nature of Zionism is expansionism. In short, Israel will grab and keep whatever land it can. Hence, Israel, a terrorist and bellicose state built on land theft and ethnic cleansing, must first determine where its borders lie before asking the Palestinians to afford it official recognition.
Besides, the PLO recognized Israel almost unconditionally nearly 20 years ago; has Israel reciprocated by recognizing a Palestinian state? In fact, Israel's response to that recognition was, characteristically, further aggressive settlement expansion and carte-blanche for genocidal Jewish settler-terrorists to attack defenceless Palestinian civilians and vandalise their property.
Moreover, we all know that Israel has not recognised a putative Palestinian state on the territories occupied in 1967; if it did, there might be some logic to demands for Palestinian recognition of the Zionist state. However, as long as Israel refuses to recognize Palestine, Hamas has every right to deny recognition of Israel. Israel, which has stolen Palestine from its legitimate owners, destroyed their homes and towns and villages, and expelled them to the four corners of the globe, deserves no special treatment, especially from the victims of its ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity.
There is no doubt that Benjamin Netanyahu is a prime minister who has perfected the art of mendacity; he is at the helm of a government which pays lip-service to peace while doing everything possible to kill any and all prospects for peace. European governments must not fall for Israel's PR spin, but should look at what its government is doing in the occupied West Bank.
That government, led by Netanyahu, contains people with repugnant views about their fellow human beings, a reflection of the real nature of Israel and Zionism. The Arab spring has shown the world that people are fed up with the lies of politicians and governments alike. Truth has a wonderful habit of shining through, and the truth about Israel and its lying prime minister shines through brighter than most. Western governments may still fall for his trickery, but a recent poll suggest that their electorates don't. They ignore the latter at their peril.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|