Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sandra's death needs to be avenged.




I just can’t get the Sandra Bland case out of my mind.

I am not an Afro-American, nor a female nor a Christian. Just a human being with strong feelings for the helpless and victimized and against injustice, exploitation and oppression, be it by the Taliban in Afghanistan or Sisi in Egypt or Netanyahu in Israel or a cop in America.

Sandra Bland, a promising young activist, should never have been arrested. After an unwarranted arrest, she should never have been held in a police cell but allowed to go home on a promise of showing up in court. After being placed in a cell, she should have been placed on suicide watch, constantly monitored and the plastic bag in her cell removed.

Suicide or not, the actions of the arrogant, egoistical, power drunk cop who arrested her, and the subsequent actions or lack thereof at the police station and holding cell are responsible for Sandra Bland’s death.

Unless a full investigation of the whole matter is undertaken by an independent authority and severe action to the fullest extent possible is taken against the concerned officer and Sandra Bland’s family is paid an appropriate amount by way of retribution, and unless steps are taken to control the out of control, arrogant, trigger happy cops, people will lose confidence in the police, and the existing respectful attitude towards law enforcement officers will be replaced by suspicion, distrust and rebellious attitude. Worse, more and more will feel compelled to arm themselves against the aggressions of the police. The perception that those in power are attempting to subjugate the people through the police will spread

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ARROGANCE OF POWER

Sandra Bland’s death a result of a convergence of race, gender and power.
By: Gulamhusein A. Abba.

Suicide or not, the police are clearly responsible for her death. And we cannot, must not rest till they are made to pay for it, especially the arresting officer.

It is time for the police to understand that they literally are the servants of the people and their job is to keep law and order, protect the citizens, and help them. And do all this “politely and nicely’.  They have no right to oppress the citizens, trample on their rights and lord it over them. If they cannot understand all this by themselves, they must be made to understand.

The spreading culture among police of Entitlement and Power and Immunity needs not just to be curbed but eliminated.s time for the police to understand that they literally are the servants of the people and their job is to keep law and order, protect the citizens, and help them. And do all 

A memorial for Sandra Bland at the spot where she was arrested in Hempstead, Tex., this month. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times (Photo: courtesy of New York Times)

What is maddening, really, really maddening about this case is people continuing to say, “If she had only been polite she would have been alive today”.

This has been said again and again in recent cases of suspects being killed by police. It is nothing short of blaming the victim and trying to absolve the police of any blame.

This claim is particularly inappropriate in the Sandra Bland case. For Heaven’s sake, she WAS civil and polite.  Here is how it unfolded.

She is written up for changing lanes without using a signal – an infraction motorists travelling on highways commit routinely. She accepts it without any protest of any kind. About two minutes later, seeing that she is being tailed by a police car, she pulls up on the side, as law abiding citizens are required to do.

The police officer tailing her walks up to her car and asks her a couple of questions and she replies. He then asks her for her driver’s license and registration etc.  and she hands these over, again without any question or protest. He returns about 5 minutes later and hands back the papers. Everything quite normal until now. Then he asks her if she is OK.  Having been asked, Sandra replies: “You. You. That is your job.” Still nothing offensive from her.

He goads her on. He comments, “You seem to be very irritated.” Of course she is. Even now Sandra maintains her calm and tells him truthfully and calmly that she indeed is irritated and tells him why.

He then  provocatively asks, “Are you done?”.  Sandra continues being “nice and polite” and answers civilly, “You asked me and I told you, So yes, I am done now”

The officer was apparently bent on provoking her into some action that would give him cause to escalate the situation. He now asks her to put out the cigarette. This is when Sandra stops being “polite and nice.” She tells him, still calmly and politely but firmly, that she is not required by law not to smoke in her own car and she is not required to put out the cigarette.

This is what the officer has been waiting for. He asks her to step out of the car. She answers, still within her rights, “I don’t have to get out of the car”.

The officer is obviously incensed that this chit of a girl, and black at that, instead of obeying him meekly, is asserting her rights.

He now ORDERS her to get out of the car. He opens the door of the car and once more orders her to step out of the car. Here is the conversation that follows: Sandra, “You don’t have the right…“.  He, shouting “Step out of the car”. She “You don’t have the right to do that…”. He, “I DO have the right. Now step out or I will remove you”.

At this point Sandra starts reciting what activists are advised to do in such situations,  She, “I refuse to talk to you other than identifying myself…..”. He cuts her short and orders, “Get out of the car now or I will remove you”.

Sandra tells him, “I am going to call…. “. He, “I am going to yank you out of here,” She, “OK So you are going to yank me out of my car? OK . Alright. Let’s do this”.

At this point, he reaches into the car, She, “Don’t touch me”. He, “get out of the car”. She, “Don’t touch me. I’m not under arrest …”. He, “You ARE under arrest”. This is the first time he has told her she is under arrest. She, “I’m under arrest for what? Why am I being apprehended? You said ….”. He, “get out of the car. Get out of the car NOW. Get out of the car’ At this point he seems to be pointing what appears to be a taser. at her face. He, “Get out of the car or I will light you up. Get out”.

 Sandra gets out of the car and starts walking with him. This is where she loses her cool. She, “Wow, Wow. FOR FAILURE OF A SIGNAL. You are doing all this….”. He “Get over there”. She “Right. Yea. Yea. Let’s take this to court’. He, ”Go ahead.”, She, “For failure of a signal”, She repeats, louder “For failure of a signal…”

He handcuffs her roughly and Sandra is taken to the police station.

It will be noted that Sandra was “nice and polite” all the way till the officer starts implementing what he tells her is a “lawful order’ but which was not.

So, clearly, being “Nice and Polite” does not save a black, especially if she is young and a female, from having her rights trampled and being treated like a piece of shit.

The important point to remember here is that though one must be nice and polite at all times towards all people, including the police, it has its limits. If you continue in this mode even when a police officer becomes abusive and starts threatening you and abusing his authority and issuing unlawful orders and putting his/her hands on you, then you cease being a nice and polite person and become a spineless enabler.

It is this knowledge that the citizens will do whatever they are told to do that makes police officers believe that they can treat the citizens as they will and get away with it.

It is time for citizens to stand up for their rights. And it is time for the police to understand that they literally are the servants of the people and their job is to keep law and order, protect the citizens, and help them. And do all this “politely and nicely’.  They have no right to oppress the citizens, trample on their rights and lord it over them. If they cannot understand all this by themselves, they must be made to understand.
The spreading culture among police of Entitlement and Power and Immunity needs not just to be curbed but eliminated.

Unless this is done, this cancer will spread and will lead to people becoming suspicious and hostile towards the police. And arming themselves to protect themselves from the lawlessness of the increasingly militarized, lawless and oppressive police.

Now to the question of whether Sandra committed suicide or was murdered by the police while in their custody.

Please remember that she is a well-educated young lady, had recently been offered two jobs and was an ardent activist for justice and the rights of blacks. This for her was a made to order case to take to the courts and expose the lawlessness of the police. Indeed, before being dragged to her cell, while she was being taken into custody she is heard to tell the arresting officer, “Let’s take this to court”. “Oh I can’t wait to go to court. Oh I can’t wait. I cannot wait till we go to court.” These are her actual words and can be heard on the video released by the police. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPvDMN73hQ at 10.42 and 11.54)

There was no reason for her to commit suicide and every reason to live to take this matter to court. On the other hand, the police had every reason to want to silence her forever. 

Besides, the police claim that Sandra had, in her pre-booking interrogation, told them that she had felt depressed in the past. With this flag raised, why was she not put on a suicide watch? Why was she not properly monitored while in the cell? Why was a plastic bag conveniently left in her cell?

What about the coroner’s finding that there was no indication of a struggle just prior to her death? That is not proof of her not being murdered.

Suicide or not, the police are clearly responsible for her death. And we cannot, must not rest till they are made to pay for it especially the arresting officer.



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gaza :Where Time Stood Still




  
By. Samah Sabawi
July 7, 2015

Note: This has been published here by permission of the author

Don’t tell us a year has passed…
We don’t measure our lives by your calendar
Time stood still for us so long ago
Punctuated by loss and grief
And in between moments of quiet and reprieve

We don’t count on Christmas nor Eid for cheer
We don’t fool ourselves with “happy new year”
No occasion is ever taken for granted
When it comes to tomorrow there are no certainties

Our yesterday is our today
Time is frozen here
And one calendar year
Cannot contain our lives
Our collective misery
Our yearning for humanity
So don’t tell us a year has passed

Our clock stopped ticking when justice collapsed
Eclipsed by decades of oppression
Hush… don’t speak of time
We have endured the absence of time
We don’t measure our lives by days like you

We measure our lives by the number of embraces
Our worth by a lover’s heartbeat
Our existence by our resistance
So don’t tell us a year has passed

(I wrote this on the anniversary of Cast Lead, Israel's war on the people of Gaza in 2009...sadly...it seems even more appropriate today)

About the author: Samah is a Palestinian-Australian-Canadian writer, commentator, author, playwright and Social Justice advocate. She has co-authored with her father, Abdel-Karim Sabawi, a play “Cries from the Land” and produced it as a play (2003).In 2008 she produced Three Wishes(, based on her adaptation of Deborah Ellis's book "Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israelis Speak Out".  Both were successfully staged in Canada. Her two-city premier of her most recent play Tales of a City by the Sea, completed a sold-out season in Melbourne in 2014 and also was staged in Palestine.  Sabawi's essays and op-eds have appeared in various media outlets and her poetry has been featured in various magazines and books, most recently in an anthology published by West End Press titled With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century.


Samah Sabawi is former Executive Director and Media Spokesperson for the National Council on Canada Arab Relations and former Public Advocate for the Melbourne based advocacy group Australians for Palestine,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, August 25, 2014

ISRAEL – A PARIAH STATE

By: Gulamhusein A. Abba

Note: This is a flashback to 2006, eight years back. This article was written by me then and publshed in several media outlets, including printed media. I am republishing it here in its original form to emphasize how long this problem has been contnuing and how nothing has chaanged. If anything, matters have become worse, much more so.

August 21, 2006
Israel is on a rampage. It has been raining death and destruction in Gaza for weeks. It pounded Lebanon into rubble. It, with the help of the US , resisted calls for an immediate cease fire. After the UN passed a resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities, it went ahead and carried out a raid in Lebanon , in flagrant and clear violation of the cease-fire resolution, and Israel ’s Prime Minister has said such raids may well continue.

In the West Bank it carried out a raid in broad daylight as late as Sunday August 20 and grabbed from his Ramallah home Mahmoud-al-Ramahi, a senior Hamas member and secretary general of the Palestinian parliament. Just a day before Israeil soldiers swooped in on Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer and seized him from his home, also n Ramallah. Israel presently holds five Palestinian Cabinet ministers and more than two dozen lawmakers. Almost all of Hamas West Bank leadership is now in Israeli custody.

Israel today is the most violence and war-prone, war mongering state. Capitalizing on post-holocaust world sympathy for the Jews, Israel ’s Zionist leaders have transformed a nation of people who were once considered the world’s ultimate victims into a nation of aggressors, invaders, conquerors and occupiers.

The oppressed and the persecuted have become oppressors and persecutors. Refusing the offer of peace and full recognition by all the Arab nations in the region, Israel relentlessly   
pursues territorial expansion, crushing those who resist.

It arrogantly invades other lands at will, tyrannizes its people and devastates their lands.

Pretending to fight terrorism, it has unleashed state terrorism on an unprecedented scale.

Demanding adherence to UN resolutions by others, it has thumbed its nose at countless UN resolutions and continues to do so.

Waging wars to get the release of a handful of Israelis held as prisoners by others, it continues to hold thousands of their citizens as prisoners, many of them women and children under 18, almost all without any charges against them.

Israel is a loose cannon ball. It is a dangerous force of instability. It will plunge the world into a catastrophic war unless restrained.

It is time for the US , in the name of justice and peace, and in its own interests as also that of Israel itself, to now distance itself from Israel .


It is time for the international community to rein in Israel, to treat it as it deserves – a rogue nation, a pariah state, till it decides to play by the rules and return to the comity of civilized, law abiding nations.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Israeli Hasbara


By Gulamhusein A. Abba

Note:The Israeli lobby has cells in every city and town, members of which receive talking points about current topics to use in responding to any article, letter to the editor, interview, editorial that may be published or aired that is critical of Israel. Members of the cell diligently do just that. So much misinformation is packed in these responses that, in answering those, counter responders get tied down to the issues raised therein thus preventing them from moving on to fresh topics. Thus the cells control the issues being discussed.

A case in point is an article of mine that is posted in this blog (see Israel’s ‘final solution’ to Gaza). A slightly shortened version of it was published in the News Times under the heading In the Middle East, Israel is getting away with murder. (see http://www.newstimes.com/opinion/article/By-Gulamhusein-A-Abba-Israel-s-final-solution-5661170.php )

A response to this by Mr. Bert Boyson was published by the News Times under the heading Hamas is a terrorist group using civilians (see http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Hamas-is-a-terrorist-group-using-civilians-5698974.php )

This is a classic example of Israeli Hasbara (PR). Short. Avoids answering specific facts mentioned in my article. Very professionally crafted. Loaded with images calculated to influence readers subconsciously.

As this is the stance and language currently being taken by Israeli lobbyists/supporters, I have written this post to lay bare the tactic and serve as a sort of talking points for responding to these claims and allegations.

Mr.Boyson’s words appear in italics followed by my ‘response’.

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Hamas is a terrorist group using civilians
Published 6:17 pm, Tuesday, August 19, 2014 on line edition                                                                                                                  Published Wedesday, August 20, 2014 print edition

Gulamhusein Abba, in his Aug. 1 Where I Stand piece, "In the Middle East, Israel getting away with murder," has shown himself to be a stout defender of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has ruled Gaza since Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority.

*01 ANSWER: The “Terrorist Organization” label is a deliberate tool created to enable damning the organization in the eyes of a a reader without one more word more being said. Many countries have NOT named Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Hamas “ousted” PA from Gaza only after it learnt of a plot by US and Israel against Hamas by using the notorious Muhammad Dahlan. This shady deal was exposed by Vanity Fair (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804)

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He supports their use of rockets against civilian population centers in Israel. Hamas rockets supplied by Iran and North Korea are smuggled through tunnels into Gaza and it was only a matter of time before Hamas rockets would cause major civilian casualties in Israel.
*02 ANSWER: What is supported is the right of the Palestinians to resist the illegal occupation and the illegal siege and blockade – a right recognized under international law.
There is no way for Iran or North Korea to supply rockets to Hamas. Gaza is under siege and blockade. Nothing can enter or leave Gaza. Supplies did get smuggled through tunnels. No Iranian or Korean rockets came through. None have ever been reported by Israel. Had they been used, Israel would have trumpeted the news from rooftops. Dragging in the name of Iran and Korea is a cheap ploy to damn Haamas by associating it with countries that Americans love to hate.
The tunnels from Egypt have long been blocked by Egypt. The alleged tunnels from Gaza to Israel could not possibly have been used for smuggling in rockets into Gaza!!!
Fear of Hamas rockets causing major civilian casualties in Israel is just speculation of what might happen in the future. Super “major civilian casualties” being inflicted by Israel on Gazans is a fact happening right now in the present.
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 Israel had to act and to their surprise they found dozens of tunnels under Gaza's border that were to be used not for smuggling but for a major Jewish New Year ground attack on villages and kibbutzim in southern Israel. Judging from past performance Hamas would have left many dead civilians in their wake, consistent with Islamic Jihad thinking

*03 ANSWER: To their “surprise”? Netanyahu said the ground troops were sent specifically to ferret out the tunnels and destroy them. Obviously Israel KNEW of the tunnels.

Bert must be having a super intelligence service of hs own to know when and where the imagined attack would take place.

What “past performance” is Bert talking about? There is not a single instance where Hamas “left many dead civilians in their wake.”

“consistent with Islamic Jihad thinking” is another scurrilous attempt to exploit the current anger and outrage against “Islamic Jihad thinking”. By linking Hamas to “Islamic Jihad thinking” he seeks to paint their struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation of their lands as being “Islamic” (vs Judaism) and in line with the murderous thinking and actions of the current misnamed “Islamic Jihadists” (misnamed because there is no Jihad involved here as laid  down in Islam.
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Mr. Abba seems convinced that Hamas is no longer dedicated to destroying Israel. However, their leadership still calls for the end of Israel, and rules out negotiations to achieve their aims.
*04 ANSWER: This statement is like an attorney asking an accused if he had stopped beating his wife! The question itself is a condemnation, taking it for granted that the man was previously beating his wife. Bert’s sentence is cleverly crafted, intermingling “destroying Israel” with “end of Israel”. There is a BIG difference. “Destroying Israel” stirs up images of physically obliterating Israel along with all the Jews in it. Images immediately come to mind of the Holocaust and of “never again”, and, like Pavlovs dogs, readers react with “this can never be allowed to happen. Hamas must be put out of action”.  Actually Hamas, like millions of others all over the world, want to bring to an end the existence on the State of Israel, and replace it with a unified government where ALL those now living in Israel, West Bank and East Jerusalem can live together in peace and friendship under the protection of law that applies to everyone equally. There was a time when a “Two State” solution was promoted vigorously. But Israel, by its expansionist policies and expanding ‘Israelis only’ settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem have, with their own hands, rung the death knell of the two state solution. Even US has been warning Israel that the window on the two state solution is closing. It has in fact closed and the end of Israel is inevitable.
It is true that Hamas scorns negotiations. It was created to offer Palestinians, who were fed up with ceaseless negotiations without an end to the occupation anywhere in sight, an alternative, and that alternative was a return to PLO’s original policy of RESISTENCE. Hamas remains convinced that Israel uses “negotiations” merely as a pretext to continue the occupation and grab more and more Palestinian land and build more and more Israeli settlements and Judaize more and more Palestinian Arab areas. Experience has proved Hamas right. Even the blind know what Israel is doing in the West Bank, from where no rockets fall into Israel and where the PA has been patiently and faithfully following for years the Quartet crafted Road Map of negotiations.
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Only recently Iran's Ayatollah reiterated calls for Israel's destruction. Iran is the chief sponsor of Hamas terror and the U.S. and the European Union have labeled Hamas as a terrorist group and will not have any direct talks with them.

*05 ANSWER: This is another despicable attempt to damn Hamas by association, by coupling it with a country Americans love to hate. There is no evidence of Iran being the chief sponsor of Hamas “terror”. And you cannot bomb Gaza because Iran’s Ayatollah allegedly recently reiterated calls for Israel’s destruction. Another thing. Why blame Hamas for refusing to negotiate with U.S. and Israel when according to Bert’s own admission the U.S. and Israel will not have any direct talks with them? Finally, why would Hamas want to play this game of “negotiations” when it sees that years of negotiations by Fatah has produced nothing except more loss of land, even though no rockets are being launched by Fatah towards Israel?
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Israel's leadership undertook the ground assault with great trepidation since urban warfare is bound to cause significant casualties to the IDF and as we have witnessed Hamas infrastructure, launching platforms, weapon storage, and tunnel entrances have been placed in civilian locations and they urge their civilian populace to act as HUMANhttp://cdncache1-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png SHIELDS during attacks.

*06 ANSWER: Really? If Israel was so concerned about not causing “significant casualties” it would have lifted the siege or at least started the process of lifting the siege. This was one of the terms of the last truce. But it did nothing. Even then Hamas held its fire. Only when, under the pretext of searching for the murderer of the three Israeli youngsters, Israel, without any evidence, declared that Hamas was responsible for the murders and, with that cover, broke into homes of Hamas supporters, arrested dozens of them and terrorized them in the West Bank.

As for civilians being used as human shields, there is no evidence that Hamas does so. As against this, there is video evidence of the IDF using Palestinians as human shields. Not to mention testimonies from the brave and conscientious vets of IDF who have chosen to speak out.

Bert’s accusation against Hamas is based on the allegation that Hamas weapons, including rockets etc, “have been placed in civilian locations.” Israel has imprisoned nearly 2 million people on a thin, small sliver of land. It is one of the most densely populated area in the world.  ANYWHERE would be near a civil location.
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Every photo of dead or injured civilians is used to demonstrate to the world the tragedy that ironically they have brought to their own PEOPLEhttp://cdncache1-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png.

*07 ANSWER: Israelis plaintively complain about rockets being launched by Hamas towards Israel and aggressively challenge anybody who questions their inhuman massacre of Gazans by asking “What would you have done?” The question should really be the other way around. What would you have done if a foreign country, who had been granted a “homeland” on your land, turned round, and instead of being grateful, imprisoned you on a small sliver of land, effected a complete blockade and effectively crippled and strangled you? All of it illegal. All of it under the plain gaze of the entire world. And no one did anything to get this illegality ended. And worse, allowed the aggressor, the culprit to make more demands to undo the wrong it has done. Demands like surrendering all arms, agreeing to be demilitarized, and recognizing the right of the aggressor’s right to have a state on your land! While it refuses to recognize your people’s right to a state on only 22% of the land that once belonged to you in entirety. And imports millions of dollars’ worth of heavy and sophisticated weaponry from the U.S. and other countries.

Claiming that Hamas itself has brought this unprecedented tragedy on its own people is like arguing that if only the murdered woman would not have resisted so violently while the murderer was trying to rape her, the murderer would not have been so enraged as to murder her. In other words she brought about her own death!

So. Hamas by resisting the illegal, strangling and crippling siege and blockade, has enraged the aggressor so much as to make the aggressor launch this inhuman attack and has thus brought about this tragedy on its own people! What could be more Orwellian?


What Bert, and Israel is saying is tht if only the Gazans had laid on their backs and meekly submitted in total to all that their occupiers did, none of this would have happened. Typical Zionist thinking. Typical example of Israeli Hasbara.

ISRAEL’S ‘FINAL SOLUTION’ FOR GAZA


By Gulamhusein A. Abba
The thud of Hamas rockets landing in Israel is the voice
of Palestinian resistance. The current war by Israel on Gaza
is its desperate attempt to silence this voice.
*************
Hamas is resisting the long drawn, nearly half a century long
brutal occupation. And Israel, the occupier has been trying
to snuff out this sole source of resistance. Its present carnage
in Gaza is its desperate attempt to realize this goal once and for all.
**************

August 3, 2014

In justifying Israel’s current war on Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Gazan terrorists led by Hamas are raining thousands of rockets on Israel in an attempt destroy it, to wipe it off the map, in accordance with their charter. This poses an ‘existential threat’ to Israel and it is the duty of the government to protect its people and defend Israel. It is with this goal in mind Israel has launched the current operation to find and destroy the tunnels Gazans use to infiltrate into Israel and kill its soldiers, and, to locate and destroy the manufacturing, storage and launching sites of the rockets, the training centers and ‘command centers’ of Hamas. (Israel includes homes of Hamas militants and leaders under the term .command centers’)

On the face of it, this seems a perfectly valid explanation.The problem is that each and every component of this claim is false.

The rockets falling in Israel are being fired not by ‘terrorists’ but by the democratically elected representatives of ALL Palestinians, including those living in the West Bank.

In the Palestinian parliamentary elections for the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem held on January 25, 2006, Hamas won a plurality of 42.9% of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%). These elections were certified as being free and fair by international observers. When Hamas assumed power the next month, the Israeli government, the United States and the EU, refused to recognize its right to govern the Palestinian Authority.

As for Hamas trying to destroy Israel and wipe it off the map, it is true that its charter, drawn up way back in 1988, mentions eliminating Israel and replacing it with a single unified state embracing all of Palestine. It nowhere speaks of ‘driving all the Jews into the sea’.

In any event, Hamas has changed its stance on this issue. Hamas leaders have repeatedly stated that Hamas is ready and willing to accept Israel within 1967 borders that were established after the 1967 war which Israel initiated. It should be noted that the 1967 borders encompass for Israel about 78% of Palestine as it existed in 1947/48 instead of about 55% allotted to it by the UN resolution creating Israel. 

Limitations of space prevent me from listing all the statements made to this effect by Hamas leaders. Suffice it to record that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal indicated to Robert Pastor, senior adviser to the Carter Center, that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant …………” and Pastor has stated  that that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.

Given that Hamas has no army, no tanks, no planes, no gunships, no drones, no guided missiles, Hamas cannot even imagine wiping Israel off the map with its primitive, unguided and hopelessly ineffective rockets! These rockets are being fired to send a message to the world and especially to Israel that Palestinians will never lie down on their backs and allow Israel to ride roughshod over them, that Palestinians will never surrender and submit meekly to Israel, that Israel will never have peace and tranquility as long as it keeps Palestinians under its boots.

                           


The thud of Hamas rockets landing in Israel is the voice of Palestinian resistance. The current war by Israel on Gaza is its desperate attempt to silence this voice.

After all Hamas was formed by Palestinians who believed that the Road Map of peace negotiations crafted by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) with the US as an “honest broker”, and agreed to by PLO and the PA, was not the right path to follow. They felt that history had shown that Israel was using it just to delay the creation of a Palestinian state and use the time gained to grab more and more Palestinian land, build Israeli only settlements and roads on them and transfer thousands of Israelis from Israel to these settlements. They felt that resisting the occupation and persistently demanding its end was the only way to get the yoke of occupation off the backs of Palestinians and get for them an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

Hamas was formed to give the Palestinians an alternative to the path the PA had chosen to travel. And they chose the path Hamas offered by electing it to power in the parliamentary elections for the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem held on January 25, 2006 – the only fair, free and democratic elections held for that region till now.

It needs to be emphasized, and understood by the world, that Gaza (as also West Bank and East Jerusalem) is OCCUPIED territory, and people living in occupied territory have an internationally recognized right to resist the occupation. Hamas is resisting the long drawn nearly half a century long brutal occupation. And Israel, the occupier has been trying to snuff out this sole source of resistance. Its present carnage in Gaza is its desperate attempt to realize this goal once and for all.

What is being bombed and destroyed are not just the tunnels and the manufacturing, storage and launching sites of the rockets, the training centers and ‘command centers’ of Hamas. What is being bombed is all of Gaza’s infrastructure, including its sole power generator. What is being bombed are homes of innocent civilians, schools (including UN schools where Palestinians seek refuge), hospitals and mosques. Entire neighborhoods are being reduced to rubble. And those being killed are not only Hamas militants but innocent mn, women and children, in several cases entire families. More than a thousand Palestinians have been killed and more than 85% of them are innocent civilians.

Had it been any other country than Israel committing this monstrosity, hell would have broken loose by now. In the case of Iraq, we got its occupation of Kuwait vacated by force in record time.

In the case of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel, even when the occupier is committing war crimes, the US and its allies content themselves by calling on both sides to “negotiate” and “exercise restraint”.