Supporting Peace Is Not abandoning Israel

This article has so far been published by:
Arabic Media Internet Network

OhmyNews International and

Garowe Online (Somalia).

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Blair and the EU have followed the U.S’ line on Hamas for far too long.

By Liam Bailey

Tony Blair wrapped up his Middle East visit Wednesday. The British Prime Minister had toured the Middle East over the past few days in the hope of finding some way to kick start the stalled Israeli/Palestinian peace process. While he was there Mahmoud Abbas said he was going to hold new elections in the Palestinian Authority (PA). He did this, basically, to see if the Palestinian people still wanted to be governed by Hamas after the months of poverty they had endured because the U.S and the west views Hamas as a terrorist organization. Immediately Bush, Blair and Olmert came out supporting Abbas’ decision, and when Tony Blair went to the Palestinian territories he met only with Abbas. The whole Middle East trip then became a mission to support the moderates against the extremists.

Olmert, Bush, Blair, and their allies would have us believe that Hamas won’t stop until Israel is wiped off the map and all Jews have been driven into the sea. Painting Hamas as a terrorist organization in the current climate makes Israel a staunch ally, standing beside the rest of the world in the fight against extremism. It doesn’t however give Hamas or the Palestinian people a fair deal.

Hamas are not like Al Qaeda or their affiliates around the world, who are simply using the Palestinian cause to fuel their own recruitment, with yet another call for Palestinian Jihad released on Al Jazeera this week. Hamas are not filling the internet with their Jihad videos of attacking civilians around the globe. They are not sending fighters into Iraq or Afghanistan to attack and make life difficult for U.S forces. Nor are they attacking or threatening to attack every country allied to the U.S, despite the U.S support of Israel, which is Al Qaeda’s main rallying cry. They don’t have cells in most countries and they are not radicalizing and/or recruiting young Muslims from around the globe to join them, or even attempting to do so.

They are made up of Palestinians, most of whom have lived all their lives under the control of Israel. Of course, according to Bush, Blair and Israel’s supporters it is not a cruel occupation. Israel has been fair to the Palestinians and has only used violence in self defence. By this reasoning the Palestinians should be thankful and their ungrateful violence only brings trouble into their people’s lives. The Palestinians life: not being able to go where they want when they want, living under fear of bombs falling on their home, and –as the current Hamas boycott has shown– at the mercy of Israel for their next meal. They have no army and they are beaten and arrested for protesting.

Hamas, born out of years of life in these conditions are fighting with the only means they have –terrorism– to end Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people. Wiping Israel off the map is simply powerful talk from a disempowered people. Meaning Hamas only maintain the rhetoric of wiping Israel off the map because it continues its cruel occupation and unrelenting refusal to grant the Palestinians their own state and any chance of a decent life.

You’re not trying to tell me that if Israel did give the Palestinians their own state and a partial right of return that Hamas would attempt to push Israeli’s into the sea. A course of action that would risk the wrath of Israel’s far superior military re-taking control and putting them back under the same conditions of occupation. What I mean by partial is allowing only descendants of those expelled the right and only to return to the new Palestinian state within the 67 borders. This wouldn’t cost Israel’s their Jewish state, the reason they have so far refused to give the right. In fact, if the Arabs currently living in Israel decided to go back and live in the new Palestinian state, which I suggest many of them would, it would further secure Israel as a Jewish state.

As I said, Tony Blair went to the Middle East to try and restart the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. As I also said he didn’t meet with Hamas’ leader and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. How can you re-start peace talks if you don’t talk to both the warring sides? Again it displays an arrogance and a short-sightedness in U.S foreign policy, which is again followed blindly by Blair on behalf of the U.K. They obviously believe that their PA siege will have achieved the desired effect and the Palestinian people will give in and vote Fatah at the polls. As I have previously wrote the Palestinian resolve, hardened by years of the David v Goliath conflict is a force to be reckoned with.

I’m sure Blair will have learned in history lessons about the British home front facing the onslaught of the Nazi Blitzkrieg on the meagre government rations. The British wouldn’t have surrendered to the Nazis in a million years, so Bush and Blair may just get a shock if the PA elections go ahead. If they do go ahead and the Palestinian people vote Hamas again, Bush and Blair will be at a loss as to how to progress toward achieving peace in the Israel/Palestinian conflict, and no closer to meeting the Baker report recommendation on saving face in Iraq.

Notice in this article how many times I have wrote Bush and Blair, as though they are acting on shared interests, which Blair obviously still believes they are.

Blair needs to open his eyes and realize that Bush’s actions are blatantly biased towards Israel. How else can you justify collectively punishing the Palestinian people for acting under the democracy you have fought two wars to try and impose on foreign countries. No one can deny that the past and current U.S led attempts at resolving the conflict have failed miserably.

Blair needs to reunite with the EU, who then need to look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict without the War on Terror blinkers. The unified EU should finally admit that Hamas only want a viable Palestinian state. They are not a terrorist organization that can’t be reasoned with and won’t stop till Israel is wiped off the map. Only if they make these admissions will they have any hope of achieving a lasting peace agreed to by all the Palestinian factions.

Liam Bailey is a UK freelance journalist.

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