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The Israeli Occupation of Palestine


Sid Walker
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In the early 1950s, the State of Israel ratified the ‘Geneva Conventions’, including the 4th Geneva Convention relating to the protection of civilians during times of war "in the hands" of an enemy and under any occupation by a foreign power.

Its neighbours – Jordan, Syria and Eygpt –also ratified or acceeded to the 4th Geneva Convention around the same time. All four nations are therefore 'Contracting Parties' to the Convention.

The 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza approaches. We are also one year away from the 60th anniversary of the occupation of other parts of Palestine (recall that the UN Partition plan assigned only 55% of Palestine to the Zionists - not the 78% seized in 1948, then extended to 100% in 1967).

On either count – four decades or six – that is a very long occupation.

Yet while officially embracing the norms of civilized modern States, Israel has shirked the responsibilities of an occupying regime. Other GC signatories have let Israel get away with this to an increasing extent. These days, Israel is really not held to account at all for the welfare of those under its occupation.

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.makes for an interesting read.

Here are just a few of its terms:

Article 3 (1)

Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

( a ) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

( b ) taking of hostages;

( c ) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

( d ) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

Article. 56.

To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties.

Article. 59.

If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.

Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by States or by impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.

All Contracting Parties shall permit the free passage of these consignments and shall guarantee their protection.

A Power granting free passage to consignments on their way to territory occupied by an adverse Party to the conflict shall, however, have the right to search the consignments, to regulate their passage according to prescribed times and routes, and to be reasonably satisfied through the Protecting Power that these consignments are to be used for the relief of the needy population and are not to be used for the benefit of the Occupying Power.

If things were getting better for those under continuing occupation, this interminable illegal occupation would be bad enough.

But of course, things are getting worse. Much worse.

Today, at the same time I read that Israel and the US determined to withhold any funding to the Palestinian Authority, I also discover a story that has attracted less fanfare: UN’s warning about Gaza: 80% of Palestinians are starving

You cannot fool all the people all the time forever - and Israel's honeymoon with world public opinion is well and truly over - despite a pro-Zionist bias in the western mass media.

A recent poll commissioned by the BBC rather sheepishly admits that Israel... tops the world 'negative list':

...Israel, of course, has long provoked sharp international reactions, and last year was involved in a controversial war in Lebanon.

Long? Almost 40 years at the lowest estimate!

Controversial? Try illegal and criminal!

Although the notion of a 'Two State Solution' is dangled in front of the Palestinians like an ever diminishing, ever-receding carrot to encourage good behaviour, I fear it is a mirage.

There is only one feasible and humane 'solution' to the woes of the Holy Land, in my opinion.

It’s the 'South African Solution'.

The sour fantasy of a ‘Jewish’ State that will be a "light unto nations" needs to be seen for the dangerous distraction and impediment to human evolution that it always was (a colonialist, supremacist venture at the sunset of that era, just when the rest of the world was ready to move forwards).

The wall of hate must be torn down (this could be a BIG tourist event!).

Within 100% of the British Mandated Territory of Palestine, ONE secular, democratic State, free of weapons of mass destruction and mass repression, is all that's needed, all that's really viable and all that's desirable.

That State would be for all who can legitimately claim citizenship: everyone born in the land of Palestine or Israel as well as anyone who can prove descent (not fable - genuine, proveable descent!) from a Palestinian or Israeli.

As an act of generosity, the privilege of citizenship should also be offered to those who immigrated to Israel or Palestine within their own lifetime.

Such a State would not be a 'Jewish' State, nor would it be defined by any other religion. It would be a State for all its people, like any normal modern State, with considerable human skills to help lead the economic, political, social and cultural recovery of the region.

It would be much closer to the Balfour declaration than the current reality: a monstrous, deformed State of Israel/Indefinitely Occupied Palestine, widely reviled and armed to the teeth with weaponry that could set ablaze the whole world.

Foreign Office,

November 2nd, 1917.

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely

Arthur James Balfour

Edited by Sid Walker
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Good post and interesting links, Sid.

Why are Americans perplexed at the hatred they arouse in the Moslem countries? Are there corresponding Judeo-Christian populations of that size suffering at the hands of Moslem Governments? And for this long? It's genocide by stealth.

Israel is a nation paralysed by fear. They are terrified, permanently at odds with the region. Totally incapable of the most meagre concessions because of this fear. The fact that they became a nuclear weapon state was a considerable achievement but it's been a failure. While it has prevented neighbouring forces from invading it hasn't resulted in the peace of mind they expected.

What a pitiful nation it is.

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An interesting take on the current demand that Hamas 'recognize Israel' - or see continuing sanctions imposed against the starving Palestinian populace...

Why does the Times Recognize Israel's 'Right to Exist'?

March 12, 2007

By Saree Makdisi

"As soon as certain topics are raised," George Orwell once wrote, "the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse." Such a combination of vagueness and sheer incompetence in language, Orwell warned, leads to political conformity.

No issue better illustrates Orwell's point than coverage of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict in the United States. Consider, for example, the editorial in The Times on Feb. 9 demanding that the Palestinians "recognize Israel" and its "right to exist." This is a common enough sentiment — even a cliche. Yet many observers (most recently the international lawyer John Whitbeck) have pointed out that this proposition, assiduously propagated by Israel's advocates and uncritically reiterated by American politicians and journalists, is — at best — utterly nonsensical.

First, the formal diplomatic language of "recognition" is traditionally used by one state with respect to another state. It is literally meaningless for a non-state to "recognize" a state. Moreover, in diplomacy, such recognition is supposed to be mutual. In order to earn its own recognition, Israel would have to simultaneously recognize the state of Palestine. This it steadfastly refuses to do (and for some reason, there are no high-minded newspaper editorials demanding that it do so).

Second, which Israel, precisely, are the Palestinians being asked to "recognize?" Israel has stubbornly refused to declare its own borders. So, territorially speaking, "Israel" is an open-ended concept. Are the Palestinians to recognize the Israel that ends at the lines proposed by the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan? Or the one that extends to the 1949 Armistice Line (the de facto border that resulted from the 1948 war)? Or does Israel include the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which it has occupied in violation of international law for 40 years — and which maps in its school textbooks show as part of "Israel"?

For that matter, why should the Palestinians recognize an Israel that refuses to accept international law, submit to U.N. resolutions or readmit the Palestinians wrongfully expelled from their homes in 1948 and barred from returning ever since?

If none of these questions are easy to answer, why are such demands being made of the Palestinians? And why is nothing demanded of Israel in turn?

Orwell was right. It is much easier to recycle meaningless phrases than to ask — let alone to answer — difficult questions. But recycling these empty phrases serves a purpose. Endlessly repeating the mantra that the Palestinians don't recognize Israel helps paint Israel as an innocent victim, politely asking to be recognized but being rebuffed by its cruel enemies.

Actually, it asks even more. Israel wants the Palestinians, half of whom were driven from their homeland so that a Jewish state could be created in 1948, to recognize not merely that it exists (which is undeniable) but that it is "right" that it exists — that it was right for them to have been dispossessed of their homes, their property and their livelihoods so that a Jewish state could be created on their land. The Palestinians are not the world's first dispossessed people, but they are the first to be asked to legitimize what happened to them.

A just peace will require Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile and recognize each other's rights. It will not require that Palestinians give their moral seal of approval to the catastrophe that befell them. Meaningless at best, cynical and manipulative at worst, such a demand may suit Israel's purposes, but it does not serve The Times or its readers.

And yet The Times consistently adopts Israel's language and, hence, its point of view. For example, a recent article on Israel's Palestinian minority referred to that minority not as "Palestinian" but as generically "Arab," Israel's official term for a population whose full political and human rights it refuses to recognize. To fail to acknowledge the living Palestinian presence inside Israel (and its enduring continuity with the rest of the Palestinian people) is to elide the history at the heart of the conflict — and to deny the legitimacy of Palestinian claims and rights.

This is exactly what Israel wants. Indeed, its demand that its "right to exist" be recognized reflects its own anxiety, not about its existence but about its failure to successfully eliminate the Palestinians' presence inside their homeland — a failure for which verbal recognition would serve merely a palliative and therapeutic function.

In uncritically adopting Israel's own fraught terminology — a form of verbal erasure designed to extend the physical destruction of Palestine — The Times is taking sides.

If the paper wants its readers to understand the nature of this conflict, however, it should not go on acting as though only one side has a story to tell.

Saree Makdisi, a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA, writes frequently about the Middle East.

Source: Los Angeles Times, 11 March. 2007

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  • 3 weeks later...

I strongly recommend this remarkable presentation by former BBC journalist Alan Hart in which he introduces his new book and ends by outlining a stark choice for the Holy Land: one State of harmony, or disaster for all.

Hart gives some fascinating insights into the 6-Day War of 1967, and mentions his personal role over a decade later in tentative negotiations between Arafat and Peres, while Peres was in opposition and Begin was PM. Hart says his role as an intermediary was funded by Lords Sieff and Victor Rothschild, supported by Jimmy Carter and the UN Secretary-General and known also to King Hussein and Anwar Sadat.

According to Hart, Peres told him at their first meeting that it was already too late for a Two-State solution!. No Israeli PM would ever shoot Jews to clear the settlements.

As Hart points out, Jewish settlements in the West Bank that then housed some 70,000 now house several times as many illegal settlers.

It seems to me the last two decades of talk about a Two State solution has been one huge wind-up. Only Rabin, in the mid-90s, seemed to take it seriously - and he was gunned down. Even so, during Rabin's tenure as PM, new illegal settlements were built.

Hart's vision for what could be in the middle east is inspiring and beautifully articulated.

It requires the defeat of the Zionist movement.

Edited by Sid Walker
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  • 4 weeks later...

A pathetic, impotent 'European Community' watches and winces while the screw is tightened on Palestinians in the occupied territories and their plight deteriorates from dreadful to worse.

See EU warns of worsening situation in Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, a superb article in Counterpunch elucidates the irreconcilable contradictions in the self-congratulatory Israeli slef-image as the "only democracy in the region".

A State cannot be 'democratic' while denying full democratic and civil rights to large sectors of its citizens.

Even (most) 'white' South Africans understood that by 1990.

For Jews Only? Israeli Democracy

By SONJA KARKAR

April 25, 2007

The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it "a state of the Jewish people throughout the world" as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish? So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be ­ democratic and exclusively Jewish.

All of Israel's one million plus Palestinian residents ­ the survivors and descendants of the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine - have long felt discriminated against, despite Israel paying lip-service to their democratic rights. They also felt on the sidelines of what was being played out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, that is until Azmi Bishara, the outspoken political leader of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA) or Balad in Israel and a Knesset member, began campaigning for the collective rights of Palestinians. His vision is not just for change inside Israel, but involves an all-inclusive civil rights struggle against political Zionism - the racist and colonialist policies that have dispossessed, marginalised and oppressed all Palestinians for almost 60 years. This is what Israel is at pains to put down by any means. It cannot afford to have someone like Azmi Bishara rallying people to his way of thinking. Now, after many attempts to muzzle him, Israel has finally succeeded in getting him to resign from the Knesset and to stay out of the country.

A list of unpublished charges were drawn up against Bishara whilst he was abroad - charges so serious that they would likely have landed him in jail on his return. While the charges themselves are not known, it is not difficult to guess at what they involve. Bishara has been previously charged with undermining the "Jewish nature of the state", but the charges have always been dropped. This time it seems that Israel's state security services may have formulated charges that not only label Bishara a national security threat, but accuse him of treason and espionage. The media is not allowed to discuss any of it and even Bishara himself is reticent on the matter, no doubt to protect himself from being further arraigned because he is adamant that he will eventually return to Israel.

Effectively, Bishara and the NDA skated on thin ice legally whenever they called for full and complete equality between Jews and Palestinians in a state for all its citizens. Israel's Basic Law: The Knesset (Amendment No 9 of 1985) stops people from participating in elections if any party platform implies the "denial of the existence of the state of Israel as the state of Jewish people". Only recently, Israel's Shin Bet (secret police) let it be known that it would "disrupt the activities of any groups that seek to change the Jewish or democratic character of Israel, even if they use legal means." However, Bishara's intention was not to create a fifth column inside Israel. He was in favour of exercising his and his movement's democratic civil rights to demand that Israel treat all its citizens equally and recognise its Palestinian citizens as a national minority in their own homeland. The latter demand, of course, is enormously contentious because that would require Israel to acknowledge the falsity of its own historical narrative of exclusive rights to a land it claimed was without people. From that would follow that the indigenous Palestinians were, and still are being, systematically uprooted to make way for an exclusively Jewish democratic state in all of the land.

The discourse has been taken up in the Palestinian public arena and now Israel is beginning to feel the same stirrings that finally exposed Apartheid South Africa for the racist state it was. It knows that sooner or later it will be forced to commit to being a "Jewish state only" or recognise the Palestinians as equal citizens and a national minority in their own land. Already Palestinian intellectuals have drafted a document called The Democratic Constitution which envisages Israel as a multicultural democracy for the people living and born there. Whatever Azmi Bishara does now in exile, the seed has burst: he has inspired a subjugated people to seek again their liberation. What is surprising is that Israel has taken so long to understand the lessons of history - that no one person or state no matter how powerful can oppress a people forever. However, Israel still has the option to switch course and institute democracy for all, and if genuinely undertaken, this may well be the solution worth working towards for both peoples.

Sonja Karkar is the founder and President of Women for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia. See www.womenforpalestine

Edited by Sid Walker
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  • 4 weeks later...

Has any other nation made unilateral political assassination State policy?

See Israel warns Hamas leaders

"Israel has said it will kill Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader "at the first opportunity"."

This is murder, plain and simple.

  • Murder announced in advance.
  • Murder unrepentant.
  • Murder as policy.

Little wonder that Israel is suspected of a hand in so many assassinations worldwide, when its Ministers boast openly about their murderous intentions.

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Has any other nation made unilateral political assassination State policy?

See Israel warns Hamas leaders

"Israel has said it will kill Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader "at the first opportunity"."

This is murder, plain and simple.

  • Murder announced in advance.
  • Murder unrepentant.
  • Murder as policy.

Little wonder that Israel is suspected of a hand in so many assassinations worldwide, when its Ministers boast openly about their murderous intentions.

Thanks for keeping the Forum abreast of this, Sid.

One day they might realise that for every Hamas leader they kill, another 10 will spring up to replace them. Rabin obviously did.

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  • 1 month later...

Courage, endurance, tolerance and resilience - the wisdom of the oppressed.

The Palestinians show us all the way forward...

Say Not Fatah

By Israel Shamir

www.israelshamir.net

Palestinians are the freest people on Earth. They proved it again this June, when they broke open the infamous torture chambers of Dahlan and released the prisoners; when they sent the CIA-trained thugs packing back to their Jewish masters. I feel proud of their unique victory: Americans can’t get rid of Guantanamo and their plentiful other jails with millions of prisoners (more than in Uncle Joe’s Gulag); Brits can’t dismantle their surveillance cameras; Saudis can’t throw away their CIA-bound rulers. Not many people succeeded in removing the machine of fear and oppression, in smashing these Gestapo-clones of security police mushrooming around the globe. In future Palestine, the fall of the Gaza Preventive Security Prison will be celebrated like the French celebrate the Fall of Bastille.

This is the people’s victory over oppression. Moreover, this is victory of law against lawlessness, for Palestine had and still has its legitimate government, while the rogue security apparatus tried to place itself above the law. A true people’s victory, for it succeeded without vengeance and unnecessary bloodshed. Israeli media got a lot of mileage out of the 60 security men who asked for Israeli protection, but actually even out of this (tiny by any measure) amount more than half asked to return to Gaza. They knew there would be no revenge, no head-hunting, no Night of the Long Knives, no Moscow trials for the fighters of Fatah: the people won, there is no civil war, no major bloodshed; the security thugs lost, and now they have a chance to try to become men again.

Magnanimity, largesse, fraternal feelings were the hallmarks of this people’s revolution. Trying to saw discord as they always do, the mainstream media presented this glorious revolution as a victory of Hamas over Fatah. This is an exaggeration. The people of Gaza fought against Dahlan Gangs, against lawless criminals who tried to establish their rule of force and violence over the Strip. Tolkien readers may think of the Battle of Bywater, where free hobbits smashed and expelled the thugs of Sharkey from the Shire. These gangs were leftovers from a sinister previous rule; they were placed in charge by the Israeli Saruman, and their defeat was just a question of time. But Dahlan is not Fatah; nor is Mahmud Abbas, crowned by the US and Israel as the king of the Ramallah Bantustan. Real Fatah is Marwan Barghouti still caged in the Jewish Gulag, and other wonderful men and good fighters who carried the name of Palestine from the battle of Karame to the Intifada. They are true Fatah, and their place is preserved for them in the Hall of Glory of the Palestinian Revolution.

I know Fatah fighters; I’ve met them in their villages in the hills of Palestine, taking a short rest after many years of exile and jail. Great people, who were as upset by Abu Mazen’s shameful submission to the Israeli-American diktat as anybody. The Gaza people’s victory may mobilize them into a proper house cleaning, into returning to their own revolutionary traditions. Dahlan and Rajoub, these security thugs and their political allies Abu Mazen and Saeb Erekat stole, nay, they privatized the name of Fatah, just as KGB bosses privatized communism and the Judaeo-Mammonite elites privatized the free enterprise of America’s founding fathers. Let no Fatah fighter feel upset by Dahlan’s defeat. Moreover, they can follow the lead and get rid of the werewolves who abused the name of Fatah in the service of Shin Bet.

Jonathan Steele correctly reminded us that “arming insurgents against elected governments has a long US pedigree, and it is no accident that Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser and apparent architect of the anti-Hamas subversion, was a key player in Ronald Reagan's supply of weapons to the Contras who fought Nicaragua's elected government in the 1980s.” But those Contras, ubiquitously present at every revolution, the Chouans of the Vendée, the Contras of French revolution, the Cossacks of Don, the Contras of the Russian revolution, Savimbi’s Unita, the Contras of the Angolan revolution, did have some truth on their side, and expressed some legitimate interests. That is why we approve and support the merciful character of the Hamas revolution: Hamas' readiness to work together with healthier elements of Fatah for the Palestinian cause.

However, some lessons can and should be learned: Fatah leadership succumbed to the Israeli-American temptation because of its faulty ideology. Nationalism, this weapon of mass disintegration, was brought eastwards by the Western colonizers in order to divide and conquer. Until the 19th century, the East knew nothing of nationalism, for it was then united by faith and governed by their traditional rulers, the successors of Constantine the Great and Suleiman the Magnificent. T.E. Lawrence delivered the bacilli of nationalism to Hejaz in his Intelligence Service-packed saddle bag, and undermined this Eastern unity. He promised Arabs independence from the “hateful Ottomans”, but nothing good came out of their betrayal: British, American and later Zionist colonizers shared the spoils, while the natives became even more oppressed.

Nationalism is necessarily a particularist, “do it alone” sort of ideology. In Palestine, Egypt, Syria this was compensated for by a universalist socialism, but with the evaporation of this socialist element, Fatah remained with its faulty nationalism, doomed to failure. “They are nationalists like us”, say the Zionists from Sharon to Avnery about Fatah. “They will be happy with a flag, an anthem, a Swiss bank account -- like us. They will be content with a Bantustan or two”.

But Palestinians are not likely to betray Palestine for the illusion of independence. All Palestinians, that is, all dwellers of Palestine, native and immigrant, need all of it, not just two percent of Gaza and ten percent of a Ramallah enclave, but all 100%. We may have all of it together, not by dividing, but by sharing. Islam is a universal faith, like Christianity, and its foundations are better suited for our universal state than yesterday’s nationalism, Arab or Zionist. A similar process is taking place in Turkey, where Kemalist nationalism has become an American ally propped up by soldiers’ bayonets, while the Islamic party is the choice of people.

People of the East believe in God; that is why Ex Oriente Lux. They also know from their experience that godless ones have nor scruples neither compassion, while we need compassionate leaders. Disregard the scarecrow of “Islamofascism” or “Islamic danger”. This is myth, created by Podhoretz and his ilk, an invented threat like Yellow Peril, Panslavism, Communism. We are not afraid of followers of Islam, because we live with them all our life.

The nation-building process in Palestine is far from over. A new paradigm should be found to unite its tribes and groups into one society, dismantling the Palestinian National Authority - and the Jewish state, as correctly stated by Avrum Burg. Separation and the drive for independence of this or any other part of Palestine turned out to be a bankrupt strategy. Palestine can’t be divided. Friends of Palestine and friends of Israel must work together to unify, not to separate.

Edited by Sid Walker
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At 83, Jimmy Carter evinces the freedom of wise elders with nothing to lose except their self-respect. Bravo!

Carter calls western rejection of Hamas's election victory criminal act

20/06/2007

From Khalid Amayreh and News Agencies

Former US president Jimmy Carter has called the rejection by the West of Hamas's election victory in 2006 a criminal act.

In a speech before Ireland's eighth annual Forum on human rights Tuesday, the 83-year-old former President said the US and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome of the Palestinian elections by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.

"That action was criminal," said Carter during a news conference.

Abbas who observed the elections said they were quite fair and democratic.

Carter said Hamas won a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, adding that the movement had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdown with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Muhammed Abbas.

Hamas fighters last week routed Fatah forces answerable to Muhammed Dahlan, the American-backed former Gaza strongman.

Dahlan, whose forces had been armed and financed by the United States, is rumored to have planned a coup in Gaza against the Hamas-led government.

Carter said the American-Israeli-European consensus to reopen direct aid to the new government in Ramallah, but to deny the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, represented an effort "to divide the Palestinian people into two peoples."

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Fatah and Hamas."

Carter described US policy toward Fatah as a failure.

"The US and others supplied the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza with vastly superior weaponry in hopes they would conquer Hamas in Gaza..but Hamas this month routed Fatah because of its superior skills and discipline."

Finally, Carter castigated western efforts to isolate the now Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to treat both the West Bank and Gaza Strip equally.

"This effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples now is a step in the wrong direction. All efforts of the international community should be to reconcile the two, but there is no effort from the outside to bring the two together."

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At 83, Jimmy Carter evinces the freedom of wise elders with nothing to lose except their self-respect. Bravo!
Carter calls western rejection of Hamas's election victory criminal act

20/06/2007

From Khalid Amayreh and News Agencies

Former US president Jimmy Carter has called the rejection by the West of Hamas's election victory in 2006 a criminal act.

In a speech before Ireland's eighth annual Forum on human rights Tuesday, the 83-year-old former President said the US and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome of the Palestinian elections by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.

"That action was criminal," said Carter during a news conference.

Abbas who observed the elections said they were quite fair and democratic.

Carter said Hamas won a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, adding that the movement had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdown with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Muhammed Abbas.

Hamas fighters last week routed Fatah forces answerable to Muhammed Dahlan, the American-backed former Gaza strongman.

Dahlan, whose forces had been armed and financed by the United States, is rumored to have planned a coup in Gaza against the Hamas-led government.

Carter said the American-Israeli-European consensus to reopen direct aid to the new government in Ramallah, but to deny the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, represented an effort "to divide the Palestinian people into two peoples."

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Fatah and Hamas."

Carter described US policy toward Fatah as a failure.

"The US and others supplied the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza with vastly superior weaponry in hopes they would conquer Hamas in Gaza..but Hamas this month routed Fatah because of its superior skills and discipline."

Finally, Carter castigated western efforts to isolate the now Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to treat both the West Bank and Gaza Strip equally.

"This effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples now is a step in the wrong direction. All efforts of the international community should be to reconcile the two, but there is no effort from the outside to bring the two together."

Thanks for posting this, Sid.

It's clear that Carter has a vast knowledge of the region and the forces at play, going back many years to his time in the Presidency, sponsoring the Camp David peace accords.

If anyone should be Middle East envoy for the quartet, it is Jimmy Carter.

Blair should be at home answering questions about his various scandals.

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If anyone should be Middle East envoy for the quartet, it is Jimmy Carter.

Blair should be at home answering questions about his various scandals.

Exactly right.

In 'normal' circumstances, Carter would be the obvious first choice. But nothing's normal about these times.

In all the chatter I've heard about Blair and the envoy job, yours is the first mention I've heard of Carter as a better candidate. A sad reflection on the general standard (and bias) of mass media chatter.

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An interesting anecdote...

"What is to become of the Palestinians?" "Oh," Sharon said, "we'll make a pastrami sandwich of them." I said, "What?" He said, "Yes, we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart".

Winston S. Churchill III (journalist, former member of Parliament, and grandson of the British prime minister) at the National Press Club, October 10, 2001, recalling his conversation with then-General (res.) Ariel Sharon in 1973

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An interesting anecdote...
"What is to become of the Palestinians?" "Oh," Sharon said, "we'll make a pastrami sandwich of them." I said, "What?" He said, "Yes, we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart".

Winston S. Churchill III (journalist, former member of Parliament, and grandson of the British prime minister) at the National Press Club, October 10, 2001, recalling his conversation with then-General (res.) Ariel Sharon in 1973

Yes, it's incredible that 34 years later there are still 187,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Thankfully, none in Gaza. Also interesting, Sid, is that one of Sharon's last initiatives was the forced removal of settlers.

p.s. as far as I'm aware, Sharon still lies in a coma. How long are they going to keep him that way? Seems a bit odd to me.

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