HAMAS Charter, UN Resolutions, and USA-Israel-Palestine.

A recent exchange.
Robert Siegel of NPR Interviews Ghazi Hamad, Deputy Foreign Minister of Hamas after the signing of agreement between HAMAS & FATEH (PLO). – http://tinyurl.com/5ra4pt2
Mr. HAMAD: Look, and first of all, I think people should not judge Hamas according to their charter because many changes happened inside Hamas. But many people in United States and the West or in Israel, they say no, no. Hamas is still as it is before 20 years, no. I think Hamas show a lot of flexibility, and it became more pragmatic, more realistic. Hamas could be a good player in making peace in this region, but please don’t use stick against them and punishment against Hamas.
SIEGEL: But people who point to the charter say, well, even if Hamas says it has changed, and there’s evidence that it has changed, the charter hasn’t changed. These are still the declared principles of your movement, aren’t they?
Mr. HAMAD: No one talk about removal of Israel. We’re only talking about removal of the occupation, and I think this is according to United Nations resolution, this is legitimate. For example, my parents were born in Tel Aviv. We have seven millions Palestinian refugee – as refugees living in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, every – and Europe and Brazil and everywhere. They have no chance to return to their homeland. Is it their destiny to live as refugees forever? And Israel have a right to bring the Jews from South Africa, from the United States, from Russia, from everywhere to live inside the Palestinian territory, in settlements in the West Bank. I think it’s not logic. It’s not fair”.
This Siegel’s interview of Hamad brings forth the major objection about negotiating with Hamas and that is about its 1988 Charter. Therefore, “air” needs to be cleared over its history. The following two citations connect the Israeli government with the birth of Hamas.
History of HAMAS & Role played by Israel in its birth.
In 1987, the Arabs living in the territories occupied by Israeli in the 6-Days war began a series of riots and violent confrontations now known as the First Intifada, a movement quite independent from PLO leadership. Soon after that, Islamic militants founded the Hamas movement. The Hamas was formed from the Mujama movement, which had been a political party with no military ambitions that was given some encouragement by Israel earlier in the decade, as a means of countering the influence of the PLO, and perhaps because the opposition of the Mujama to an international conference that would adjudicate the problem of Palestine, coincided with the policies of the Begin and Shamir governments”. (http://tiny.tw/V9). See the following relevant article of Hamas Charter in this regard.
“Hamas Charter : Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences:[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement”. (http://tiny.tw/Va)
Clearly, Israel sought to checkmate PLO through Mujama movement and divide the Palestinian society. Israel wanted to deflect the international pressure, especially from the European Union, to come to the negotiating table and reach a political settlement with Palestinians led by PLO. So it sought to foment trouble in Palestinian territories and what that “some encouragement by Israel” really meant can be seen below.
Due to Mujama’s identification of secular forces in Palestinian society as the main opponent, there was considerable tension with PLO, which climaxed in January 1980 when Islamist activists attacked Red Crescent Society offices and attempted to march on the home of its Director, Haydar ‘Abd al-Shafi. Its (Mujama) main base was the Islamic University of Gaza, founded after Sadat closed Egyptian universities to Gazans due to Palestinian protest at Camp David. Sheikh Awwad’s pre-existing religious college, the only higher education institution in Gaza, was transformed into a University, ,However, with tensions over IUG’s basic policy, Mujama encouraged Israeli authorities to dismiss their opponents in the committee in February of 1981, resulting in subsequent Islamisation of IUG policy and  staff including the obligation on women to wear the hijab and  thobe and separate entrances for men and  women, and enforced by  violence and  ostracization of dissenters. Tacit complicity from both university and  Israeli authorities allowed Mujama‘ to keep a weapons cache to use against secularists. By the mid1980s, it was the largest university in occupied territories with 4,500 students, and student elections were won handily by Mujama”.
Ahmad Yassin, founder of Mujama movement, was also one of the founders of Hamas (http://tiny.tw/VH). Thus Israel actively encouraged and abetted Islamic movement to derail both peace talks and neutralise PLO. A secular PLO could be demonised only as a “terrorist organization”, but Islamist Hamas could be, in future, condemned both as a “terrorist organization” and vilified as an “uncompromising bigoted force” posing threat to world Jewry (new threat of Holocaust), Christendom (Clash of Civilizations) & “democracy / Liberty” everywhere. But back then in the 1980s Islamists were also a useful ally of US administration in its war against the Soviet Union in Afghan Theatre.
Armed with this knowledge, one can now take a Look at the Hamas Charter itself. The following seems to be the most damning evidence of its intention to “wipe out Israel”.

Article Eleven: The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?….” (http://tinyurl.com/6jnej6.)

This is touted by the apologists of naked and violent Israeli aggression against Palestinians as the evidence of “uncompromising” stand of Hamas that seeks to deny a “sliver of land” to Jews granted by UN resolution 181(II) of 1947; and of course that sliver which was considerably expanded thereon by Israel through successive occupations later on.  This is also the clinching proof of Hamas’s refusal to settle on 1967 borders (with of course a “little” adjustment for “illegal” and UN condemned Jewish settlements later on in occupied lands) so “generously” and “magnanimously” offered by Israel earlier; and recently “re-offered” by President Obama with mandatory reference to article 11 of Hamas Charter as the basis of (truncated) Palestine State. But same Hamas charter also has this to say.

Article Thirty-One: The Members of Other Religions. The Hamas is a Humane Movement: Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security”. (http://tiny.tw/Vd).
The question now arises is, are the apologists of Israel willing to accept this asseveration of Hamas too? Any reasonable person will conclude that article 31 would have to be accepted, if article 11 is held sacrosanct and of evidentiary value by the critics of Hamas. There cannot be any quarters given to self-serving forum shopping here. But reasonableness or logic is never the forte of demagogues. How to resolve what Hamas charter really means or doesn’t mean may best be left to demagogues on either side to squabble about. Those who have further interest in such squabbles are left to “Hamas Charter Extracts from Avalon Project’s translation of Hamas Charter : (http://tiny.tw/Vh).” But what really should matter to reasonable people is the actions of both Israel and Palestinians on the grounds. This has been adequately documented by “If (Only) Americans Knew (http://www.ifamericansknew.org/) : What Every American needs to know about Israel and Palestine.” This gives verifiable statistics on the effects of hostile acts by both. There would be many more resources available on the web to know the truth and for independent corroboration.
United Nations Resolutions and what do they tell us?
United Nations’ Security Council has passed far more resolutions criticising” Israel than any other nation. Of course, there is none against the 5 permanent members holding the Veto power for obvious reasons. The resolutions that are critical of Israel have to pass muster of close scrutiny” by US as to their “reasonableness” and “mildness” so as to make sure these don’t hurt “tender” Israeli sensibilities. Therefore, such resolutions have to be either water-downed versions of original proposals, and/ or these have to, wherever possible, also criticise Palestine and/ or some other Arab state to apportion blame all around, and more importantly between aggressor Israel and her victims. According to Paul Findley’s (Deliberate Deceptions, 1998, pages 192-4), there were 65 such resolutions from 1955 to 1992 alone as against NONE for Palestine. Jeremy Hammond, Editor- Foreign Policy Journal, counts 79 until 9 January 2009 (http://tiny.tw/Vy). He points out that these resolutions were passed because Israel violated U.N. charter or Geneva Convention or earlier UN Security council resolutions or other international laws, and acts of international terrorism. Again, lest it is overlooked, it is well worth remembering that all these resolutions are those, which passed the muster of US-Israeli scrutiny. Excerpts from one such resolution is produced below to highlight “water-downed” Israeli transgressions :
Res. 1544 (May 19, 2004) – Reaffirms resolutions 242, 338, 446, 1322, 1397, 1402, 1405, 1435, and 1515, reiterates “the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War”, calls “on Israel to address its security needs within the boundaries of international law”, expresses “grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967”, condemns “the killing of Palestinian civilians that took place in the Rafah area”, expresses grave concern “by the recent demolition of homes committed by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Rafah refugee camp”, reaffirms “its support for the Road Map, endorsed in resolution 1515”, “Calls on Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, and insists, in particular, on its obligation not to undertake demolition of homes contrary to that law”, and “Calls on both parties to immediately implement their obligations under the Road Map”.
It would be far more educative to study the resolutions vetoed by USA. Moral Low ground has identified 42 from 1972 to 2006 such resolutions that were vetoed by USA (http://tiny.tw/VA); whereas Guardian lists 29 from 1972 to 1990 (http://tiny.tw/VB). Recently, 120 of the 192 members of UN system had sponsored a resolution and 14 members of the Security Council voted for it. Only one country voted against – US. That Vote was of course a Veto. What “offensive demands” did this resolution that came for voting on 18 February 2011 (http://tiny.tw/VE) contain to attract US wrath?
Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respects its legal obligations in this regard… It urged all parties to continue with their negotiations on final status issues in the Middle East peace process and called for the intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace”.
Susan Rice, US ambassador to UN, justified the veto because she felt it would do more harm than good. Really? “On the contrary, we (USA) reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace…Every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement? Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse”.
US rejected in “strongest terms” settlement activities and holds that these “violate” international commitments of Israel; yet it won’t let the resolution, which is saying the same things, go through. It feels if world is allowed to call an Israeli spade, a spade (gross violator of International Laws) in a UN resolution, which is supposed to be binding on member states, then it would harden Israeli position and make peace process infructuous.  But in the same UN forum, formally and on record, but outside the resolution itself, it can say the same things without hardening Israeli position. Does one get the message? Any academic criticism of Israel is OK. But nothing should be done that would later call for “disciplining” Israel the way Iraq was disciplined in 1991 (not in 2003 mind you, that was violent aggression by USA outside the UN system in cahoots with its useful allies) and Libya is being disciplined now. Moreover, it doesn’t want UN to be involved in those negotiations under the glare of international attention, but wants “direct” negotiations between Israel and Palestine under probably its own auspices where the Palestinians can be hopefully arm-twisted into accepting still more unfair settlement. In the long history of Israel-Palestine conflict, it is Israel that has consistently refused to settle, honour UN resolutions, and acted to escalate the conflict so it would draw Palestinian fire and then it could in the name of “security” crush Palestinians more & more while gobbling up latter’s territory all the time. No one today, not even Palestinians, are asking for settlement of Palestine boundaries as per original demarcation of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) –which in itself was unjust & unfair to Palestinians (with only a third of the total population and owning barely 7% of the land, Jews were given more than half of the most fertile region of the then British mandate of Palestine- http://tiny.tw/VD); but only as per the boundaries as Israel drew after its 6 days war with Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan & Syria. UN resolution of 18 February 2011 was based on 1967 boundaries. Yet, it was vetoed by USA.
But this week Obama “surprisingly” urged that Palestine state be based on 1967 borders. What? Is he serious? Is it a breakaway from longstanding US position? It was met with following strong reactions : “The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has already denounced what they call a return to Israel’s “Auschwitz Borders,” and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has already said the President’s proposal is unacceptable, and Mitt Romney accused the President of throwing Israel under the bus”. On the other hand, several Jewish organizations have welcomed the statement (http://tiny.tw/VF). What is going on here? Doug Matakonis (http://tiny.tw/VG) bares the real news underneath. “President handed the Israelis a strong assurance on an issue that has been of concern for months now: A much bigger deal: Obama’s forthright denunciation of the unilateral Palestinian plan to seek the General Assembly’s endorsement this September of statehood. Also a big deal: The President’s statement that the Hamas-Fatah pact “raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel — how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. This doesn’t sound like a radical departure from long-term American policy. Or even a mild departure”.
So, while US & Israel believe one thing, they say something else for public consumption, and their deeds are at complete variance with their posturing; Hamas at least believes, says, and does the same thing. Hamas has proven to be doggedly consistent. Probably, it has been too consistent for too long for the good of Palestinian people. It needs to revisit its over two decade old Charter and revise it completely with changed times and realities. It should recognise the right of Jews to live peacefully and non-aggressively in their own country based on pre-1967 borders. Jews too should recognise the reciprocal right of Palestinians to do so in their own country. Hamas must also give up its pretensions of military solution to the conflict. The pretensions, that it can defeat Israel militarily. It never will. Hamas can never come even within striking distance of the formidable US-equipped war machine of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). All such pretensions of Hamas, even if born out of abject despair of desperately deprived people, have only resulted in compounding misery of Palestinians. If it introspects, Hamas will find its armed actions have proved it unwittingly to be a useful ally of IDF by giving IDF a pretext and justification to viciously counter attack Palestinians. It should unilaterally declare a permanent ceasefire. Palestinians only hope is peaceful resistance whatever the provocation from IDF.
O O O O O O O O O O O O O
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: