Hard choices time

Khalid Mish’al is head of the political bureau of Hamas. He writes in yesterday’s Guardian:

“Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us – our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.”

Such a message is likely to be ignored, with US Senators already moving against the new Palestinian government. The irony is clearly lost on Zionist leader Isi Leibler when he writes that, “the demonization of any societal sector [in Israel] must be nipped in the bud.” He is referring to settlers, and clearly does not extend his feelings towards Arabs or Palestinians. Witness the grotesque demonising of the Palestinian people in the last week.

David Horowitz – partial to fellating the US President – says that the Palestinians are the “first terrorist people.” The Palestinians “should be given” no peace (as if the Israelis or Americans have the right to offer anything), their cause is “absolutely bankrupt” and “the only contribution that the Arabs of the Palestinian mandate have made to the world since their national aspirations were first announced half a century ago” is to “spread destruction.” Horowitz is the public face of a blighted, frightened, militaristic and racist Zionism. He well knows that such attitudes are less accepted than during the “Exodus” days and Israel’s moral supremacy is finally, and thankfully, being questioned.

Scott Burchill, Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the School of International & Political Studies at Deakin University, offers this salient point on Israel’s “right to exist”:

“No such right exists in international politics, according to realists amongst whom Condi Rice used to count herself (when she was at Princeton). She is spouting the same old nonsense that Israel used to mouth at Arafat in the 1980s. Australia doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist because it can’t – it’s not an enforceable right (diplomatic recognition is a very different thing). No state recognises another’s right to exist. It’s a red herring that has only ever been required of one nation – the Palestinians.”

Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safe and secure borders, and yet demands are only ever placed on the Palestinians. Hamas is unlikely to allow this to continue. Large questions remain over the agenda and policies of the new Palestinian government. While “Religious Zionism” experiences a final reckoning, ordinary Israelis will have to make a choice. Do they want a government that acts unilaterally, therefore exacerbating the conflict, or mutual agreements that allow a continuation of the Jewish state, minus the occupation?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common