a principled defender of Palestine
by Greg Felton
Media Monitors Network
Now and then, the call goes out for the convening of an international
conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question;
The Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences
capable of realizing the demands, restoring the rights or doing
justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting
the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators. When did
the infidels do justice to the believers?
of the Islamic Resistance Movement
(Article 13), Aug. 18, 1988
For all their differences, Israeli, Palestinians and Americans
agree that the Islamic Resistance Movement is an obstacle to a negotiated
peace. If this group seems unfamiliar, its name in Arabic is Harakat
al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, nicknamed Hamas (�zeal�).
Unlike the secular Palestinian Authority, which is trying to negotiate
an independent Palestinian state, the religion-based Hamas wants
to liberate all of Palestine, not just the Occupied Territories.
It considers Palestine to be a waqf (holy inheritance) and
the presence of Zionists therein is an affront to Allah (God).
"The question of the liberation of Palestine is bound to
three circles: the Palestinian circle, the Arab circle and the
Islamic circle. Each of these circles has its role in the struggle
against Zionism" (Art. 14).
To wage the struggle, Hamas encourages
individual Muslims to join the jihad (struggle). Tactics
include sacrifice bombings against Zionists and opposition to moderate
Palestinians, like those of Yasser Arafat�s al-Fatah group,
who want to negotiate a separate peace (piece?) with Israel.
of violence and absolute hostility toward Israel have caused virtually
all media to depict it�along with the al-Aqsa Martyrs�
Brigade and Islamic Jihad�as terrorist. Although this caricature
is understandable, it is not accurate because it begs the questions
of who is a terrorist and whether negotiations serve the Palestinian
Despite scores of conferences,
summits, resolutions and official statements, Israel still occupies
Palestine, and Palestinians must endure humiliations and privations
that beg allusion to the Nazis� treatment of Jews.
of the documentary record will shows that Hamas is a legitimate
resistance movement, and a more honourable champion of Palestinian
rights than the Palestinian Authority.
of return and compensation
- Nov. 29, 1947, to May 15, 1948--Zionist forces under the authority
of the Jewish Agency dispossess more than 300,000 Palestinians
so that incoming Jews can have their land.
- By December 1948, 418 Arab villages have been destroyed, and
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency registers 726,000 Palestinian
refugees. Walter Eytan, Director-General of Israel�s Foreign
Ministry, accepts this figure as �meticulous,� and
even suggests that the number was closer to 800,000.
- Dec. 11, 1948, the UN General Assembly passes Resolution
194, Creation of a Conciliation Commission for Palestine,
which states in part:
- [The General Assembly] resolves that the refugees wishing to
return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours
should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date,
and that compensation should be paid or the property of those
choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which,
under principles of international law or in equity, should be
made good by the Governments or authorities responsible��
- On May 11, 1949, Israel joins the UN under UNGA
Res. 273, which states:
�Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 [UNGA
Res. 181 �The Partition Plan�] and 11 December
1948 [UNGA Res.194] and taking note of the declarations and explanations
made by the representatives of the Government of Israel before
the Ad HocPolitical Committee in respect of the implementation
of the said resolutions, The General Assembly� decides
to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations� (emphasis
vs. international community
General Assembly resolutions need Security Council approval to become
binding on the parties involved, but Res. 194 is unique. Because
it was embedded in Res. 273, which Israel formally acknowledged,
it became compulsory. Thus, the question of Palestinian compensation
and right of return was resolved 54 years ago.
Within six weeks of being admitted to the UN, Israel's delegation
to the Conciliation Commission refused to accept the boundaries
set out in 181, illegal as they were.
As Ben Gurion said in 1953: �The acceptance of partition
does not commit us to renounce Transjordan. One does not demand
from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the
boundaries fixed today�but the boundaries of Zionist aspirations
are the concerns of the Jewish people and no external factor will
be able to limit them.�
By rights, Israel should be expelled from the UN because it failed
its terms of membership, but the myth of Israeli legitimacy and
the cult of Jewish victimhood have been ingrained in our collective
Goldman stepped down as president of the World Jewish Congress in
1977, he lamented: �In 30 years, Israel has never presented
the Arabs with a single peace plan. She has rejected every settlement
plan devised by her friends and by her enemies. She has seemingly
no other object than to preserve the status quo while adding territory
piece by piece.�
32 of the Covenant expresses the same sentiment: �Today
it is Palestine; tomorrow it will be one country or another. The
Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire
to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested
the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion,
and so on.�
absolutely correct to assert that conferences and other forms of
polite palaver are incapable of rendering justice to the Palestinians.
As such, Hamas is also correct to condemn the Palestinian Authority
for negotiating with Israel while these issues were outstanding.
If Israel can so cavalierly thumb its nose at the world, the authority
should know that Israel cannot be trusted to honour any agreement.
June 1967 war, Israel found itself in possession of East Jerusalem,
the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. On Nov. 22, 1967, the
Security Council passed the binding Res.
242, which emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition
of territory by war, and demands that Israeli armed forces withdraw
from these territories.
casuists and dissemblers argue that absence of �all�
before �occupied territories� gives Israel the right
to some of this land, but this is a lie. Great
Britain�s UN ambassador Hugh Foot, achieved unanimous
council support, 15�0, for Res. 242, and affirmed its comprehensive
intent. Moreover, the Zionist interpretation would make the resolution
self-contradictory, and a contempt of the UN Charter.)
for Palestinians, the U.S. government is an obedient tool of the
domestic Zionist lobby, and as such has vetoed more than 35 Security
Council resolutions that would have held Israel accountable to international
law, including Res. 242.
of the U.S., Israel has been allowed to compound its criminality.
Since 1968, it began establishing Jewish colonies in the territories.
Euphemistically called �settlements,� these enclaves
are designed to �Judaize� Palestine and make life
so miserable for Arabs that they either die or are forced to leave.
On this score, Hamas is dead right about Zionist aims:
�Our enemy relies on the
methods of collective punishment. He has deprived people of their
homeland and properties, pursued them in their places of exile and
gathering, breaking bones, shooting at women, children and old people,
with or without a reason. The enemy has opened detention camps where
thousands and thousands of people are thrown and kept under sub-human
conditions. Added to this, are the demolition of houses, rendering
children orphans, meting cruel sentences against thousands of young
people, and causing them to spend the best years of their lives
in the dungeons of prisons.
�In their Nazi treatment,
the Jews made no exception for women or children. Their policy of
striking fear in the heart is meant for all. They attack people
where their breadwinning is concerned, extorting their money and
threatening their honour. They deal with people as if they were
the worst war criminals. Deportation from the homeland is a kind
of murder.� (Covenant, Art. 20)
242 addresses only the effects of the 1967 war, and as such presents
an ethical dilemma. By mandating that Israel withdraw forces from
the Occupied Territories, the resolution tacitly acknowledges Israel�s
borders, which, as we saw, are illegal and deliberately undefined.
vs. the Palestinian Authority
Res. 242 is irrelevant because it does not speak to the crimes of
1947-48 or to the presence of infidels in Palestine. However, for
the PA, Res. 242 is important. On Nov. 15, 1988, four months
after Jordan gave up its claim to the West Bank, the Palestine National
Council abandoned open hostility toward Israel in favour of accommodation.
It declared a Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories, and
agreed to abide by Res. 242.
It is no
coincidence that the Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement
was issued between these two events. In fact, the history of Hamas
overlaps the entire history of the Oslo peace agreement.
13, 1993, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed
of Principles on Interim Self-government, which Arafat called
�the beginning of the end of a chapter of pain and suffering
that has lasted throughout this century.�
Doubtless one reason for his optimism was Rabin�s promise
to put a freeze on new Israeli colonies to prevent any change to
the status quo in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the negotiations.
But if Yasser
Arafat really wanted to establish a Palestinian state according
to Res. 242, he had no business signing this deal. Annex II at the
end of the Declaration reads: �It is understood that,
subsequent to the Israeli withdrawal, Israel will continue to be
responsible for external security, and for internal security and
public order of settlements and Israelis. Israeli military forces
and civilians may continue to use roads freely within the Gaza Strip
and the Jericho area.�
the number of colonists over this period gradually doubled to more
than 200,000, which not only violated Israel�s promise of
a settlement freeze, but also Article 49 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention concerning the protection of civilians
in time of war:
or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected
persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying
Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited,
regardless of their motive� The Occupying Power shall not
deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the
territory it occupies.�
In the end,
Arafat had the good sense to reject the deal. He was expected to
agree to a total of four Bantustan-like enclaves, and cede to Israel
control over all water, roads, borders and security, as well as
East Jerusalem. Official propaganda, however, still contends that
he rejected a �generous
offer�of 90 percent of the Occupied Territories, and
was therefore uniquely responsible for the failure of the talks,
but this is easily refuted.
sad fact is, this farce should never have happened. It raised unrealistic
expectations and proved the impotence of the Palestinian leadership.
Hamas is correct to say: �These conferences are only ways
of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators.�
Israel is demanding that the PA negotiate away the right of return
in exchange for an independent Palestinian state. Not only is this
demand absurd for reasons already mentioned, but the right of return
and the right of compensation are individual rights under
the Fourth Geneva Convention and cannot be bargained away by any
and the second Intifada
The farce of Oslo ended when Ariel Sharon became prime minister
in February 2000. On Sept. 28, he made a provocative visit to the
Temple Mount under armed guard. The result was the start of the
second Intifada. Sacrifice bombings, which were virtually non-existent
since 1996, because of the faux optimism the Oslo process
engendered, began again in November 2000. The targets were not only
the Zionists, but also the feeble PA leadership.
Occupiers need collaborators among the occupied to ensure control.
That�s why the Nazis got along so well with the Zionists�they
betrayed and sabotaged the Jewish resistance.
Similarly, Israel wants the PA to betray and sabotage Hamas activities.
Mahmoud Abbas, head PA negotiator at the Aqaba Summit, has agreed
to disarm Hamas, which refuses to be a party to this farce.
Israel, though, isn�t waiting. It has declared open season
on any Palestinian remotely suspected of being affiliated with Hamas.
The very day the summit opened, Sharon sent troops into Tulkarem
to kill two �suspected� Hamas activists.
Israel is committing willful murder, yet few if any in the media
seem to care. Hamas is Islamic, advocates bombings, and opposes
the state of Israel. Therefore, it is deemed to be an enemy to peace
and must be eliminated. But who is the real enemy�Hamas,
the passionate defender of the Palestinians, or the PA leadership,
who is following the same capitulationist path that led from Oslo?
It is not necessary to accept
every word of the Covenant, or even Hamas� Islamic
program, to recognize that it has something the Palestinian negotiators
over the last 15 years haven�t had�moral consistency
and a clear sense of history, especially about Israel.
Hamas� fundamental opposition is morally and legally justified.
Popular myth notwithstanding, Israel could not have been created
by the UN, because the Partition Plan never received Security Council
approval. In fact, the U.S. was preparing to withdraw its support.
In mid-March 1948, American UN ambassador Warren
Austin observed that Res. 181 could not be enacted peacefully,
and, on orders from President
Harry Truman, recommended that it be suspended for two months,
pending a meeting of the General Assembly. In place of the plan,
the U.S. advocated a temporary UN trusteeship to prevent further
The pre-emptive declaration of Israeli statehood on May 14, 1948,
amounted to theft. To this day, Israel has neither moral nor de
jure political legitimacy, despite what we�re meant to
believe. How can it be wrong for Hamas to attack a usurper?
We did not condemn World War II French and Dutch resistance fighters
because they conducted sabotage and guerrilla attacks against Nazi
occupation. Therefore, the media should not condemn Palestinian
resistance fighters who are fighting against Zionist occupation.
The essentially criminal, acquisitive
nature of Israel should provide ample proof that a two-state solution
is a dangerous illusion. The only possibility for peace is a single
democratic state in a de-Zionized Palestine. So long as the Zionist
Reich exists, Hamas, and groups like it, will be the real champions
of Palestinian justice.
Mr. Greg Felton is a Canadian writer on the
Middle East, and the author of an upcoming book on Osama bin Laden.
His �Mind over Media� column appears every month in
the Greater Vancouver Arabic/English newspaper al Shorouq. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org