Monday, August 25, 2014


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 )

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 )

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’.


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 (


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.

 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.

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.

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?

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 HUMAN 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.

Every photo of dead or injured civilians is used to demonstrate to the world the tragedy that ironically they have brought to their own PEOPLE

*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.


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”.

Sunday, August 17, 2014



The Palestinian Holocaust can be summed up with a single picture and caption!
- Dom Martin 

Right of Return
Oil on Canvas, 2014
Dom Martin

CLICK here to go to GAZERNICA website

Friday, August 8, 2014

UN is passing the buck once more

By Gulamhusein A. Abba

When Israel, after the 1967 war which it initiated, refused to vacate the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, all of which it had occupied, the UN evaded its responsibility to get the illegal occupation vacated and instead the Palestinians were pressured to negotiate” with the occupier, Israel. Now the UN is evading its responsibility again by its Secretary General saying that Hamas and Israel should go back to the negotiating table to work out a truce deal providing for lifting of the crippling siege of Gaza by Israel

U.N Secretary General is to be commended for some plain speaking on Gaza. Regrettably, the “solutions” he suggests make no sense and are self-defeating. In essence the UN is evading its responsibilities to the Palestinian people once again.

When Israel, after the 1967 war which it initiated, refused to vacate the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, all of which it had occupied, the UN evaded its responsibility to get the illegal occupation
vacated and instead the Palestinians were pressured to “negotiate” with the occupier, Israel. Now the UN is evading its responsibility again by its Secretary General saying that Hamas and Israel should go
back to the negotiating table to work out a truce deal providing for lifting of the crippling siege of Gaza by Israel

There are four distinct components of the problem.
Ending the carnage being perpetuated by Israel with its current military action.
Freeing Gazans from the crippling, strangling and illegal siege and blockade of Gaza.
Dealing with the rockets being fired by Hamas into Israel.
Establishing a truce.

The UN can and must call on Israel to end its current military operations in Gaza and lift the siege and blockade of Gaza. It is the bounden duty of the UN to call on Israel, a child of its own creation, to abide by international laws.

Indeed, seeing that the “peace negotiations process” has merely been used by Israel to grab more land allotted to a Palestinian state by the UN, construct more illegal Israeli settlements thereon and inflict unbearable and cruel suffering on the Palestinians, it is time for the UN to go further and discharge its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to end the illegal occupation of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The UN cannot ask Gazans to desist from exercising the internationally recognized right of occupied people to resist the occupation, by force if necessary.

There is no obligation on Hamas to end the firing of rockets into Israel even if Israel ends its current military operations in Gaza and lifts the siege and blockade of Gaza. Gazans are, first and foremost, Palestinians and Gaza is an integral part of the Palestinian state mandated by the UN. Hamas demands include the ending of the continuing illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in addition to ending its occupation of Gaza and its illegal siege and blockade of it.

For the immediate present, a truce is desperately needed. But it is as ridiculous and unjust to the Palestinians to ask both the parties to “go back to the negotiating table”, as Ban Ki.moon has done, as it was to ask Palestinians to negotiate with the occupier the terms and conditions for ending the occupation. The UN evaded its responsibilities then and it is doing it once again.

On the face of it, there appears to be an insoluble dilemma.

Here is where the UN can come in. Though it cannot ask Hamas to desist from exercising its right to resist the illegal occupation by firing rockets into Israel, it can call on both parties to agree to a truce formulated by the UN, which would include:
Israel and Hamas to forthwith cease violence against each other.
Israel to start lifting its siege and blockade of Gaza and complete the process within 90 days.

If Israel and the UN want Israeli citizens to live in peace and security after the 90 day period, it is for Israel, and the UN, to see that Israel vacates its illegal occupation of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and recognizes an independent and sovereign state of Palestine within the 1967 borders which the Palestinians (both  Hamas and Fatah) have already agreed to.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pathetic resistance, bloody suppression – if not worse. Part I

By Gulamhuein Abba

"Ethnic cleansing and “reclaiming” biblical lands go hand in hand for the Zionists and has been going on from a little before the creation of Israel to date. What is going on now in Gaza is a continuation of this project, a work in progress."

In the Orwellian world that we live in today, everything is upside down.

Take the case of what is happening in Israel and Palestine

The narrative, repeated ad nauseam in the Western media and by US political leaders is that militant Palestinian terrorists are firing thousands of rockets into Israel, frightening innocent Israeli men, women and children and disrupting their lives by forcing them to run time and again into air raid shelters when the sirens sound to warn them of incoming rockets. This leaves the peace loving Israeli government with no alternative but to take military action to wipe out the rocket manufacturing, launching and storage sites and the tunnels Hamas uses to infiltrate into Israel.

US President and various Congressmen  have spoken forcefully about this.

Digging deeper reveals a different story. It becomes clear that the present slaughter being carried out by Israel in Gaza has very little, if anything, to do with Hamas raining down rockets on Israel, but has more, much more to do with an innocent sounding, eye catching, heart tugging, emotion lade little phrase coined a very long time back: “A land without people for a people without land.” It was common among Zionists at the end of the nineteenth, and the beginning of the twentieth century and was associated with the movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine

Jewish leaders have openly stated that their goal is to reclaim the biblical lands and establish Eretz Yisraeel in the whole of Palestine complete with Judea and Samaria. Originally the goal was to extend the boundaries of Greater Israel to include Jordan but for some years this is not mentioned.
It was also understood by the Zionists that to establish a Jewish state they would have to expel those already residing there. And this they started doing as soon as the boundaries of the Israeli state the UN proposed became known.

As recorded by Jewish historians themselves, aided by the opening of many historical and military documents archived by the Israel, and British governments, have provided a disturbing and troubling picture.

About a month before the creation of Israel, on April 19, 1948, the Stern Gang and Irgun and other Jewish para military forces started their ethnic cleansing in Dir Yasein. 240 men, women and children of this peaceful village were slaughtered. It included rapes and mutilations.

By the end of the 1948 War, hundreds of Arab villages had been completely depopulated. Their house and buildings were bulldozed or blown up primarily for the purpose of preventing the return of their owners. Benny Morris lists 369 Palestinian villages and towns destroyed, while Professor Walid Khalidi, leading a team of field researchers, in an exhaustive study, describes the destruction of each of 418 villages or hamlets which are listed on an index of Palestinian cities of 1945.

There were other massacres and perhaps two to three thousands, essentially defenseless, Palestinians, were massacred, according to Haifa University historian Ilan Pappe.

Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948

Ethnic cleansing and “reclaiming” biblical lands go hand in hand for the Zionists and has been going on from a little before the creation of Israel to date. What is going on now in Gaza is a continuation of this project, a work in progress.

Just a little bit of information about Gaza and Hamas.

Gaza was not included within the boundaries drawn up for an Israeli state by the UN.

After the war that followed Israel's declaration of independence in 1948, the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of 24 February 1949 established the separation line between Egyptian and Israeli forces, and established what became the present boundary between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Parts of Gaza now fell within the jurisdiction and control of Israel. The truncated Gaza strip came under the control of Egypt.

Gaza, as it exists today, is a small strip pf land situated at the southernmost corner of Israel on the eastern coast. It is about 41 km in length, 8-12 km in width, with a land mass of 363 square km. (140 square miles).On this small strip live about 2 million people, making it one of the most densely populated area in the world.

In 1967 Gaza was OCCUPIED by Israel in a war initiated by Israel. It remains OCCUPIED by Israel.

After the Oslo accords, officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, the civil administration of Gaza came under the newly created Palestinian National Authority (PNA) but remained under the tight control of Israel.

It was founded in 1987

An offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is a socio economic, religious and political entity.

It was formed essentially to oppose Fatah and offer Palestinians an alternative.

It differed fundamentally from Fatah. The latter chose to adopt peace negotiations crafted by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) with the US as an “honest broker”. Hamas on the other believed that to Israel the peace process was just a cover which Israel was using to stall ending the occupation, grab more Palestinian land, build more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and transfer Israelis from Israel to the occupied territories.

According to its charter, it was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. (This has changed. See Hamas Changes its Charter Stance further into the article)

Hamas became popular among Palestinians because of its social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Such services are not generally provided by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli scholar Reuven Paz estimates that 90% of Hamas activities revolve around "social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities". Social services include running relief programs and funding schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues.

Paradoxically, Israel and US initially helped Hamas to grow. They wanted to use it as a counter to the secular Fatah, weaken it. The old tried and tested strategy of divide and rule. But Hamas succeeded far beyond what they had imagined.

In 2005 Israel deployed its armed forces from within Gaza to other areas. Israel also evacuated all Israeli citizens, some forcibly, from within Gaza and resettled them elsewhere. This ended Israel’s physical presence in Gaza but Israel retained full control over the territory, turning it into a tightly controlled open air prison for Gazans. Nothing and no person came into Gaza nor anything or any person left Gaza without Israel’s permission.

In the Palestinian parliamentary elections held on January 25, 2006, Hamas won a plurality of 42.9% of the total vote and 74 out of 132 total seats (56%).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. Even though the elections were held under inernational observers wo pronounced it to be a fair election.

After the Gaza election, Hamas leader sent a letter addressed to George W. Bush where he among other things declared that Hamas would accept a state on the 1967 borders including a truce. However, the Bush administration did not reply.

Instead, the Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) stated that assistance to the Palestinian Authority would only continue if Hamas renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, which Hamas refused to do. The Quartet then imposed a freeze on all international aid to the Palestinian territories.

Buckling under this pressure, PA declared a state of emergency, dissolved the unity government and formed a new government without Hamas participation. PNA security forces in the West Bank arrested a number of Hamas members.

The relationship between Hamas and the PA unraveled.

 Hamas shifted its attention to Gaza and, by   the middle of June, Hamas fully controlled the Gaza Strip.

Since then Israel has progressively squeezed Gaza tighter and tighter.

Notwithstanding what is stated in its Charter, Hamas no longer has as its goal the ending of Israel as a State and is prepared to accept its existence (even though it continues to deny that Israel has any inherent right to exist, much a right to exist as a Jewish state.)

In its election manifesto for the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas omitted a call for an end to Israel, though it did still call for armed struggle against the occupation.

After the elections in 2006, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar did not rule out the possibility of accepting a "temporary two-state solution"

Xinhua has reported that Al-Zahar "did not rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state"

In late 2006, Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, said that if a Palestinian state was formed within the 1967 lines, Hamas was willing to declare a truce that could last as long as 20 years, and stated that Hamas will never recognize the "usurper Zionist government" and will continue "jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem".

In early February 2006, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce "in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,"  and recognition of Palestinian rights including the "right of return"

In March 2006, Hamas released its official legislative program. The document clearly signaled that Hamas could refer the issue of recognizing Israel to a national referendum. Under the heading "Recognition of Israel," it stated simply: "The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people."

This was a major shift away from their 1988 charter.

A few months later, via Maryland's Jerome Segal, the group sent a letter to U.S. President George Bush stating they "don't mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders", and asked for direct negotiations. Segal emphasized that a state within the 1967 borders and a truce for many years could be considered Hamas' de facto recognition of Israel.

In an April 2008 meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Meshal and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an understanding was reached in which Hamas agreed it would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, provided this is ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Hamas later publicly offered a long-term truce with Israel if Israel agreed to return to its 1967 borders and grant the "right of return" to all Palestinian refugees.

In November 2008, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh re-stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and offered Israel a long-term truce "if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights"

In 2009, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Haniyeh repeated his group's support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders: "We would never thwart efforts to create an independent Palestinian state with borders [from] June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital."

In July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with "a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders", provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation's capital.

British diplomat and former British ambassador to the United Nations Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006".

On December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh again repeated, "We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," and "Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles."

In February 2012, according to the Palestinian authority, Hamas forswore the use of violence. Evidence for this was provided by an eruption of violence from Islamic Jihad in March 2012 after an Israeli assassination of a Jihad leader, during which Hamas refrained from attacking Israel. "Israel—despite its mantra that because Hamas is sovereign in Gaza it is responsible for what goes on there—almost seems to understand," wrote Israeli journalists Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, "and has not bombed Hamas offices or installations"

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, but cannot be changed for internal reasons". Hamas do not use the Charter on their website and prefer to use their election manifesto to put forth their agenda.

Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.

Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, has questioned the use of the charter by Israel and its supporters to brand Hamas as a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization and claims that they have taken parts of the charter out of context for propaganda purposes. He claims that they dwell on the charter and ignore that Hamas has changed its views with time.

All this is ignored by Israel. It continues to claim that the firing of rockets by Hamas, coupled to what is stated in Hamas charter, poses an existential threat to its existence and it is imperative for Israel to protect its citizens by destroying in Gaza the rocket manufacturing units, the cache of weapons, the storage sites, and command centers. Under the latter it includes homes of prominent activists.

Using this unfounded argument Israel has been playing havoc with the lives of the Gazans.

(What Israel has done in and to Gaza and its  citizens, why any cease fire without conditions is worse than useless and how lasting and genuine peace can be brought to that once blessed and now cursed land – all this in part II of the article)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Running Orders

by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha — with Alan Dawson.

From a post on Facebook by Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)'s photo. 

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think "Do I know any Davids in Gaza?"

They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth

Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.

It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.

It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.

It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Is Pushing Whom into the Sea?

Delving back series 002
In this series will be published articles from the past, to show how people do not seem to learn from the past, how nothing seems to have changed, how what is being said now was said so many years back. Plus, it will remind you of important event and facts you maay not know or may have forgotten.

This second post in the series was written by William Martin in 2005 and was first published in Counterpunch and subsequently reproduced by Justice for Palestinians Committee on its member’s only website.

Ben Gurion: �We Must Expel the Arabs and Take Their Place�

By William Martin

On 11 October 1961 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared in the Israeli Knesset:

'The Arabs' exit from Palestine...began immediately after the UN resolution, from the areas earmarked for the Jewish state. And we have explicit documents testifying that they left Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders, with the Mufti at their head, under the assumption that the invasion of the Arab armies at the expiration of the Mandate will destroy the Jewish state and push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive'.

Thus, Mr Ben Gurion is asserting that it is his perception that 1) there were directions from the neighboring Arab states and the Mufti in Jerusalem for the indigenous Arabs of Palestine to evacuate their homes and lands on the promise that the Arab armies would destroy the nascent Jewish state, and, further, 2) that those armies intended to "push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive". The phrase "push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive" has acquired a life of its own as it is invoked by Zionist supporters on a daily basis in order to justify the aggressive policies of Israel as well as its recalcitrance in continuing the occupation of the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

It is a highly emotive phrase invoking images of the Holocaust, though adapted to a Mediterranean setting.

Mr Ben Gurion gives no attribution for this phrase, nor does he claim that it is a quote from an Arab source. It is expressed here as if it is his personal surmise as to the Arab army's intentions.
The phrase has been variously attributed by Zionist supporters to Yasser Arafat, Gamel Abdul Nasser, or any other of Israel's enemies, but none whom I have challenged, including U S Congressman Henry Waxman who made the claim in a letter to me, attributing the phrase to Nasser, have been able to provide any documentation of support for their claim. This 1961 speech certainly predates Arafat's 1968 ascension to the head of the PLO. The phrase is very much entrenched in the thinking of Israelsupporters and is taken as a factual basis for an Arab intent of Genocide and of their own potential for peril.

The speech by Mr. Ben Gurion appears to be the origin of the phrase. A search of the speeches of Gamel Abdul Nasser fails to reveal it, nor does it reveal any other than a pragmatics approach to his dealing with Israel. This phrase is sufficiently dramatic and threatening so that if it was in fact uttered by a significant Arab leader, it would be prominent and easily found in any competent historical treatment, which it is not. The phrase, thus, has a Jewish origin and not an Arab origin. Mr Ben Gurion is the originator of the phrase, in all likelihood.

Mr. Ben Gurion's first claim that the Arab exodus from Palestine was provoked by directives from the leaders of the surrounding Arab states has been shown by overwhelming historical research to be false.

Since the early 1980's a new generation of professional historians, many, though not all, Israeli, and recognized as professionally competent within their own society, as well as to a wider audience, and aided in no small measure by the opening of many historical and military documents archived by the Israel, and British governments, and to a lesser extent, Arab governments, have provided a revised historical perspective as a challenge to the official Israeli history of the origin of the state of Israel. These newly released documents have been systematically mined by Ben Gurion University Professor of History, Benny Morris, as well as others.

One telling document uncovered by Professor Benny Morris is "The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947 1/6/1948" dated 30 June, 1948 and was produced by the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Service during the first weeks of the truce (11 June 9 July) of 1948. It analyzes the numbers of refugees, the stages of the exodus, the causes, destination and problems of absorption in the host countries. The appendix contains the village by village breakdown in terms of numbers of initial inhabitants, their destinations and the causes of their flight.

On the eve of the UN Partition Plan Resolution of 29 Nov 1947, according to the report, there were 219 Arab villages and four Arab, or partly Arab, towns in the area designated for the Jewish state, with a total Arab population of 340,000 Arab residents. By June 1, 180 of these towns had been evacuated, with 239,000 Arabs fleeing the areas of the Jewish state. A further 152,000 Arabs, from 70 villages and three towns (Jaffa, Jenin, and Acre), had fled their homes in the areas designated for Palestinian Arab statehood in the Partition Resolution. Thus by June 1, according to the report, the refugee total was 391,000, with an error of 10 to 15%.

The UN gives a figure of 750,000 800,000 Palestinian refugees by the end of 1948, so that the period covered by the Intelligence Service Report is one in which roughly one half the refugee population was generated.

The report then outlines eleven (I will list five) of what the IDF Intelligence Service regarded, in June 1948, as the factors which precipitated the exodus, listing them in order of importance as:
a. Direct hostile Jewish [Haganah/IDF] operations against Arab settlements. (The Haganah was the army of the Yeshuv, or Jewish community in Palestine, and was the precursor of the Israeli Defense Force, or IDF.)

b. The effect of our [Haganah/IDF] hostile operations on nearby Arab settlements (especially the fall of large neighboring centers).
c. Operations of the Jewish dissidents [Menachem Begin's Irgun and Yitzhak Shamir's Stern Gang, also known as the Irgun Tzvai Leumi and the Lehi, resp.].
d. Jewish whispering operations [psychological warfare] aimed at frightening away Arab inhabitants.
e. Ultimate expulsion orders [by Haganah/IDF].

The Intelligence Service then gives a detailed breakdown and explanation of these factors, stressing that "without doubt, hostile [Haganah/IDF] operations were the main cause of the movement of the population". The wave of emigration in each district, explains the report, "followed hard upon the increase and expansion of our [Haganah/IDF] operations in that district. The departure of the British of course, helped the Arab evacuation, but it appears that the British withdrawal freed our hands for action more than it influenced the Arab immigration directly."

The report cites "surprise, protracted mortar barrages, and the use of loudspeakers broadcasting threatening messages, factors which had a strong influence in precipitation flight". "An attack on one village or town often affected its neighbors. The evacuation of a certain village because of an attack by us prompted in its wake many neighboring villages to flee", the report states. "The fall of Tiberias, Safad, Samakh, Jaffa, and Acre engendered in their wake many waves of emigrants."
The report concludes that "It is possible to say that at least 55% of the total of the exodus was caused by our Haganah/IDF operations and by their influence. the effects of the operations of the dissidents Jewish organizations [the Irgun and the Stern Gang] directly caused some 15% of the emigration." The Intelligence Service states that the activities of the Irgun and Stern were especially important in the Jaffa-Tel Aviv area, in the coastal plain to the north, and around Jerusalem. The report cites the "special effect" of the Irgun and Stern Gang operations in Deir Yassin.

The action at Deir Yassin, especially greatly affected the thinking of the Arabs; not a little of the immediate flight during our [Haganah/IDF] attacks, especially in the central and southern areas was due to this factor which can be described as a decisive accelerating factor.

Recall that the Deir Yassin massacre, which occurred on April 9 1948, claimed the lives of about 240 men women and children of this peaceful village and included rapes and mutilations. See, The Deir Yassin Massacre. There were other massacres, perhaps two to three thousands, essentially defenseless, Palestinians were massacred, according to Haifa University historian Ilan Pappe, however the Deir Yassin massacre was widely publicized and became, in some ways, the signature of the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

Altogether the report states, Jewish [Haganah/IDF, Irgun, Stern] military accounted for 70% if the Arab exodus from Palestine.

In direct contradiction to Ben Gurion, the report states "the Arab institutions attempted to struggle against the phenomenon of flight and evacuation, and to curb the waves of emigration". The Arab Higher Committee imposed restrictions, and issued threats, punishments, and propaganda in the radio and press to curb the emigration, and also tried to mobilize the governments in the neighboring Arab states to assist in this effort, as both shared the same interest.

"More than once", the report states, "[Haganah/IDF units were forced] to expel inhabitants [after they had returned to their homes]".

Thus in sum, this document, which is only one of many to have surfaced in consequence of the historical research of the last 20 years completely refutes Ben Gurion's claim and reveals it to have no basis in fact.

Mr Ben Gurion was lying through his teeth, to put it plainly.

It should be observed that the Jewish agency in Palestine declared itself a state on May 14, 1948. It was the next day, May 15 that the first of five Arab armies or contingents of armies entered Palestine. Thus, approximately half of the 1948 refugees fled or were extirpated before the first foreign Arab soldier set foot in Palestine. The time line is important: the Deir Yassin Massacre occurred on April 9, the expulsion of Arabs from the cities of Jaffe, Haifa, Tiberias, and Safid occurred at the end of April and in the first days of May. The flight of the Palestinian refugees, thus, was not set in motion by the entrance of the Arab armies as is often claimed.

Nor should we take from Mr Ben Gurion's statement that the concept of Palestinian evacuation was confined to the years 1947 - 1948. The concept of transfer of the indigenous Arab population to make way for a Jewish state was intrinsic to the thinking of the Zionist leaders from its initial inception.

Thus Theodor Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, said in 1892:

[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.

And in 1937, Ben Gurion stated:

The compulsory transfer of Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own feet during the days of the First andSecond Temple.

And in a letter to his son, also in 1937, he stated:

We must expel the Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places then we have force at our disposal.

And in early 1948 Ben Gurion wrote in his War Diary,

"During the assault we must be ready to strike the decisive blow; that is, either to destroy the towns or expel its inhabitants so our people can replace them."

And in February 1948, Ben Gurion told Yoseph Weitz, director of the settlement of the Jewish National Fund and head of the official Transfer Committee of 1948:

The war will give us land. The concept of 'ours' and 'not ours' are peace concepts, only, in war they lose their whole meaning.

In fact, the concept of transfer, a euphemism for expulsion, was embraced by the entire Jewish leadership from the earliest stages of Zionism until the 1948 extirpation of the indigenous population. Transfer committees were actually set up from 1937 on until 1948 in order to study ways of ridingPalestine of as many Arabs as possible.

By the end of the 1948 War, hundreds of Arab villages had been completely depopulated. Their house and buildings were bulldozed of blown up primarily for the purpose of preventing the return of their owners. Benny Morris lists 369 Palestinian villages and towns destroyed, while Professor Walid Khalidi, leading a team of field researchers, in an exhaustive study, describes the destruction of each of 418 villages or hamlets which are listed on an index of Palestinian cities of 1945.

Quoting from Ilan Pappe's book, A History of Modern Palestine:

[W]hen winter was over and the spring of 1949 warmed a particularly frozen
Palestine, the land which we have described reconstructing a period stretching over 250 years had changed beyond recognition. The countryside, the rural heart of Palestine, with its colourful and picturesque villages was ruined. Half the villages had been destroyed, flattened by Israeli bulldozers which had been at work since August 1948 when the government had decided to either turn them into cultivated land or to build new Jewish settlements on their remains. A naming committee granted the new settlements Hebraized versions of the original Arab names . David Ben Gurion explained that this was done as part of an attempt to prevent future claim to the villages. It was also supported by the Israeli archeologists, who had authorized the names as returning the map to something resembling 'ancient Israel'.

Of equal importance, in engendering what Arafat called an Israeli "Masada complex" is the common pro-Zionist interpretation of the 1968 PLO Charter as calling for the destruction of the state of Israel in which the term "destruction" is interpreted as "pushing all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive."

Though the document calls for armed struggle, there is nothing in it incompatible with the establishment of a secular democratic state which recognizes and respects the three major religions.

Indeed, article 16 of the document states:

The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual viewpoint, will prepare an atmosphere of tranquility and peace for the Holy Land in the shade of which all the Holy Places will be safeguarded, and freedom of worship and visitation to all will be guaranteed, without distinction or discrimination of race, colour, language or religion.

And article 19 states:

The partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void, because it is contrary to the wish of the people of Palestine and its natural right to a homeland, and contradicts the principles embodied in the Charter of the UN, the first of which is the right of self-determination.

Under American pressure, Arafat and the PLO eventually amended the PLO Charter so as to accept the reality of a Jewish state on 80% of historical Palestine leaving room for a Palestinian state on the remainder. However, one democratic state based on non-discrimination with equal rights for Jews, Christians and Moslems is closer to American values than a state created specifically for one ethnicity whose laws uphold the superior rights of one race or ethnicity, namely the Jewish one, over that of another, namely the minority Palestinian citizens of Israel. In amending the PLO Charter so as to accept the two state solution, we have actually moved away from basic American values of non-discrimination based on race. Those liberals who worked for the dissolution of the white supremacists governments of Rhodesia and South Africa need to explain their slavish devotion to the state of Israelwhich is based on Jewish supremacy.

The Zionists did not drive the Palestinians into the sea, but they did drive them from their homes and villages and ancestral lands and from Palestine and into squalid refugee camps, and in the process massacred two to three thousand. The irony of Ben Gurion's statement should not escape us. Ben Gurion and the Zionists demand deference for a fictitious intention on the part of the Palestinian and Arabs while ignoring or denying the very real expulsion of the Palestinians.

Much of the perception of Israel and much of its popular support rest on the myth of the purity of Israeland much of that can be traced directly to David Ben Gurion's distortions of truth. The unambiguous historical evidence is that the state of Israel was founded upon terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population. There is nothing pure or righteous about that.

*, March 11, 2005.

**William James Martin teaches in the Mathematics Department at the University of Florida. He can be reached at:

Important note:
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