Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Khalid Mish'al: Statement on the Palestinian Election

I put this whole article here because the American press has been harping about the travesty of Palestinians voting in a Hamas led government, while never attempting to understand, even for one moment, why they might have done so... why do we celebrate Iraqi elections as a sure sign of progress in that occupied country (for instance Senator Bill Frist three times today pointed to there democratic elections as symbols of progress) and then turn around and condemn/punish the Palestinians for exercising there democratic rights?

(Courtesy of Rebecca Glasscock)

We will not sell our people or principles for foreign aid Palestinians voted for Hamas because of our refusal to give up their rights. But we are ready to make a just peace
by Khalid Mish'al
The Guardian

It is widely recognised that the Palestinians are among the most politicised and educated peoples in the world. When they went to the polls last Wednesday they were well aware of what was on offer and those who voted for Hamas knew what it stood for. They chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its promise to embark on a programme of reform. There were voices warning them, locally and internationally, not to vote for an organisation branded by the US and EU as terrorist because such a democratically exercised right would cost them the financial aid provided by foreign donors.

The day Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections the world's leading democracies failed the test of democracy. Rather than recognise the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the US and EU threatened the Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to choose their parliamentary representatives.

We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalised while our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land.

Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs, the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing.

Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory; and Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail. While we are keen on having friendly relations with all nations we shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no less abundant.

Our message to the Muslim and Arab nations is this: you have a responsibility to stand by your Palestinian brothers and sisters whose sacrifices are made on behalf of all of you. Our people in Palestine should not need to wait for any aid from countries that attach humiliating conditions to every dollar or euro they pay despite their historical and moral responsibility for our plight. We expect you to step in and compensate the Palestinian people for any loss of aid and we demand you lift all restrictions on civil society institutions that wish to fundraise for the Palestinian cause.

Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception or discrimination.

Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion "the people of the book" who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.

We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else's sins or solve somebody else's problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.

Article Link


Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Sorry buddy. It belonged to us over 2000 years before the Arabs invaded an took it. I know that is hard to accept, but it's a historically provable fact.

Thivai Abhor said...

Hmmm, powerful argument Tovya, I'm impressed by your eloquence ;)

Obviously you missed the point, maybe you will get it on the boomerang?

Ricia said...

thanx for this - i'm surprised (?) i didn't see it in the news earlier... or not. i've passed it along to folks 'round here in a mailing i do as well as adding it to my last post.

Susannity! (Susanne) said...

I understand what the author is saying, but I believe he stops short. Of course they are entitled and we celebrate the democratic process. But part of that democratic process also includes dissension. The US can voice its opposition and withhold aid, etc if they so choose to as well.

The author also speaks of peace. Peace is a very subjective concept. There have been many violent attacks on civilian targets that Hamas has taken credit for according to Aljazeera, not just our western news sources. So they should also understand why the US and other nations have issue with them.

Lastly, he says they don't have any problem with Jews because of their faith and race. Puh-lease. Muhammed is pretty clear about who the infidels are and what should be done to them. Also, that land has swapped back and forth between races and religious beliefs for thousands of years and where do you pick the point of "being first". You really can't imho - and that's for both muslim and jew. I do believe areas can be and have been conquered. I understand fighting to get it back. But don't say it's peaceful - it's good old fashioned human beings fighting over their beliefs - beliefs of their gods, beliefs of who owns what, etc.

Thivai Abhor said...


I'm not saying that I am a supporter of Hamas, what I am saying is that I am a supporter of their democractic process and there decision to elect the party they believe will best support their country.

Take a look at the first comment here... the news reports in our country only tell one side. I've been paying close attention to this conflict for the past decade and we rarely hear the Palestinian side unfiltered in the mainstream press. To make matters worse there seems to be an active process of demonization involved ...

You are correct there are many sides to this issue--even within the two sides (have you seen the recent reports about the internecine conflicts between Israelis over illegal occupation of Palestinian lands?)

What I also asked was why are we so willing (our current government) to hold up succesful Iraqi elections as simply good--no matter who is involved and what the results are--then simply condemn those that do not support our "causes" (and I can supply you with a detailed history that will map out our long history of doing this--bringing down democratically elected governments that do not meet our imperial designs)

I never said the US was wrong in denying aid, I just question their (my government) overall motives in doing so, and the hyocrisy of our worldwide "democratic" mission.

I celebrate the moves that Israel has made to move toward peace and was amazed to see Sharon struggle with this ... I just hope that we (the various powers-that-be) will not step backwards and move back toward bloodshed.

What are the opportunities here? Why should we attempt to understand all sides and not simply "dismiss" what we do not understand/comprehend? Are any hands in this conflict free of blood?

Can you supply me with the quote from Muhammed? I'm curious, that's all? Can we find similar statements in the Christian bible--what does that tell us about the problems of monologic faiths that condemn others as "other"?

Thanks again Susanne for your thoughts on this--peace.

Susannity! (Susanne) said...

I too support Palestine's democratic election. My point of the author saying we are hypocritical and being undemocratic by not supporting who they elected is nonsensical. I can't stand Bush, does that mean I'm undemocratic? No. That is what I'm saying is flawed with his argument.

I haven't seen the recent reports you mentioned and will look for them.

Demonization by the media and our govt is nothing new. I wish it did not exist and of course think information to counterract one-sidedness is most important. I do not consider the conflict one of the israelis being the victims. Like I said earlier, it's two people fighting over the same land, specifically a certain city, and will probably continue long after my death. Just another reason I'm antitheist lol.

It's been a year since I fully read the koran and I'm not good at memorizing passages, just concepts. Ditto on the Bible. But if you get a chance to read it Thivai, I think you will see that it is pretty clear. Here's one that stood out in my mind that I was able to get verbatim by searching for it.
"Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans"
Many of the passages made great sense to me when I read them in the context of who Muhammed was and what he was doing at that time given the number of people he had. Think of it this way too Thivai on why I place much of the blame squarely on religion, even tho economics and politics, etc do play a part in the region. It's much easier to blow oneself up, run over a house with a tank while a family is still inside, and kill non-combatants if one thinks they are righteous and "saved" and doing their god's work. This will never end imo. Not until enough people can be selective with their religion enough to ignore all the bigotry, hatred, and violence they hold within them.

Thivai Abhor said...

Israelis and Palestinians have done some terrible things in this conflict--with, in recent history, the Israelis as the dominant military force and the Palestinians operating as guerilla fighters?

We "are" most definitely being hypocritical in denying aid and condemning Hamas for their attitude and actions. We support governments, historically, non-democratically elected governments, even full-blown dictatorships that massacre their citizens and deny basic rights (anyone remember our former friend Sadaam, or what about Uzbehkistan or China now, or dictators in the Congo region, Nicaraugua, Chile, and so on, and so on, and so on)

Susanne I know you "know" these things? This is being "hypocritical" when we pick and choose which murderers we will support and which we will condemn.

Even worse it is threatening the fragile steps that have been taken. Hopefully it is just posturing (no doubt, because we are pleading with the Saud's to not cut off their aid so Palestine isn't thrust into "chaos"--isn't that where it has already been?)

I think cooler heads in Israel want peace and cooler heads in Palestine want peace--why hand the power over to the fanatics who demand death and destruction (which is where people are driven when you cut off all opportunity)... but then what do I know--I'm just reading threads and reports.... and making my assumptions.

Ricia said...


it is sure that religion is being used to manipulate certain section of either public - as it is in our own nations at present. but ultimately this is about land, water, and supremacy.

it is no further disgraceful, in my opinion, to clothe and arm your terrorists with a superstar budget - than to forgoe the budget and handbuild your weapons.

all too often, this is the difference between the recognised state and the unrecognised state.

btw the christian, catholic, jewish and islamic 'holy texts' are all extremely racist, sexist, and bigotted. i've not read up anytime recently either, but i've managed to make a personal study of them all over time. the christians' new text perhaps least obvious as they refer to other peoples by their gods (as demons) most of the time. the orthadox jewish texts claim no other peoples as having any divine rights and very specifically call for brutality and sacrifice for to inherit the earth. there isn't really "great divides" between these texts.

as u are well aware, the context (time, place, historical references and translations) is everything. but indeed it is not any text unto itself that purpetuates hatred, it is very much the responsibility of the people who interpret that text.

i do understand your sentiment here though.

i am also of the mind that exposing other sides to the story is valuable (obviously) thivai, and that the right to express dissent by our governments has was undermined by the same, both recently and far too long ago. existing now merely as living breathing larger than life contradiction.

Susannity! (Susanne) said...

I would agree with you that it is hypocrisy given what we SAY when we do various things. But I have never believed our foreign policy has really been rooted in democracy so I think that is why it appears we (you/me) are having a disconnect when in reality we are not. I also believe these peace discussions between the two countries are not fully honest. Diplomacy and honesty may be oxymorons, I don't know hehe. In the end, it comes down to what each wants - the same thing - and I don't see how there could be compromise because neither really wants to. It's not enough to have access, it must be owned.

Ricia, I'm antitheist now rather than just an atheist because of what I personally feel is the destructive aspect of religion. I know many speak of the sense of community and good works, etc. I feel those things can come without religion. All the bennies of religion, other than eternal life, can be manmade. All the negatives you listed are also of man, as I believe all religions were made by man, but the religions can make it harder for man to move forward intellectually and spiritually as part of the human species imo. When I have discussions with theists, my main goal is not to make them atheists. Perhaps I have influenced a couple in my lifetime, but that is not my goal. My goal is for them to be willing to look beyond their religious teachings and look at humanity. To "interpret" their teachings more leniently if possible. Most Christians I know are not against divorce, but think homosexuality is a sin. I can think of countless hurts divorce causes in this world, but can't think of any from homosexuality. Yet the bible, imo, is much more adamant against divorce (except for a few exceptions) than homosexuality, yet most Christians are willing to ignore the teachings against divorce. Perhaps one day they will be able to ignore most of it, and learn to be good to their fellow man for that sake alone, rather than for some imagined deity. =P

Ricia said...


and.. i also view it as such: god has been created in the image of man, through the eyes humankind for their purposes

i do believe that faith has a purpose (on a personal level) but am ceaselessly amazed by ease with which so many are manipulated.. it seems rather contrary to claims of a strength of faith. as if the whole concept of faith has somehow tranfered from unearthly spiritual beliefs to an unquestioned faith in the human messangers themselves... oh, right. that is the premise and origin of religion.

; )