Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Palestinian Worldview: Through the Looking Glass, Mendacity & Threats (Part 2)

In Part 1 of The Palestinian Worldview: Through the Looking Glass, Mendacity & Threats, I wrote about Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the United Nations General Assembly as that body considered the request to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state. But the rhetoric and vitriol of Abbas’ speech was but an appetizer to the speech given this past weekend in Gaza during the “celebration” of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.

The speech in question was given by Khaled Mashaal, the political leader of Hamas. Some refer to Mashaal as being “exiled” but I don’t think that is quite correct. His family chose to leave the West Bank after the 1967 Six Day War. He was later exiled, but not from Israel; rather, he was exiled from Jordan after that country outlawed Hamas. He has most recently lived in Syria until the breakdown in relations between Syria and Hamas as the Syrian uprising has taken root.

And so on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Mashaal was able to visit Gaza for the first time ever, when Egypt, now controlled by Hamas’ “parent” the Muslim Brotherhood, allowed Mashaal to cross into Gaza. Um. What? Wait. I thought Gaza was “occupied” by Israel. But if Gaza is occupied, how exactly would the “exiled” leader be allowed in and, even more importantly, be able to make a public speech at an open air rally attended by tens of thousands? For those who like to compare Gaza to a Nazi concentration camp, can you point me a time when the Nazis allowed a Jewish leader to freely enter one of those camps and give a speech to the inmates in safety? Right. Didn’t think so.

Anyway, so let’s get on to Mashaal’s speech.

But first, a few visual aids from the rally to sort of set the mood (some of these should call to mind my previous post Hamas Child Care). As you view these images, please remember the words of Mahmoud Abbas that I quoted in Part 1: “[O]ur people always have strived not to lose their humanity, their highest, deeply-held moral values…”. And that’s why we have pictures of children in fatigues with missiles and guns and suicide belts!

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I don’t know about you, but in this next picture, it looks like even the kid in the background is a bit incredulous about the fashion statement of the younger fellow in the foreground of the picture.

And look carefully at the crying child in the middle of this next photo. Unless I’m mistaken, not only is he wearing a machine gun with an ammo bandolier, but he’s also wearing a walkie-talkie on a suicide vest. Because, you know, what father doesn’t want to toss his screaming child up on a stage dressed with a gun and a suicide belt?

Hmm. I wonder what long term plans the parents of this baby might have for their child.

To further set the mood, here are a few pictures of the crowd and the stage. The giant rocket in the middle of the stage is apparently supposed to be Hamas’ version of the Iranian Fajr-5 that was launched toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Model of the M75 missile during a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City, 8 Dec 2012 Bonus photo (not from the rally, but too visually important to pass up):

Yes, that’s a Palestinian mother placing a “toy” suicide built on her child. What should we make of a culture that would do this? And what is the likelihood that this child will grow up with an understanding of or a desire for peace? (For more similar images, please my May 2009 post Hamas Child Care.)

OK. Now I really will get to Mashaal’s speech. Really. Are you strapped in and ready?

Excerpts and transcript from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (with some formatting corrections):

A. “The resistance”

“Liberating Palestine, all of Palestine, is an obligation, a privilege, an objective and a goal. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian people and of the Islamic nation … the jihad and the armed resistance are the true and correct way to liberation and to the restoration of our rights. There are different types of struggle — political, diplomatic, public, legal, etc. — but they are worthless without the resistance. This missile [Mashaal points to the model] is a symbol of the fact that policy is a product of the resistance. A true statesman is a product of the rifle and the missile.”

B. “Palestine from the river to the sea”

“Palestine — from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea, from the north to the south [i.e. all of Israel] — is our land and our right and our homeland; there will be no surrender of even the smallest piece of it. Palestine was and still is Arab and Islamic. Since Palestine is ours, and it is the land of the Arabs and Islam, it is unthinkable that we would recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of it. There is no legitimacy for the occupation and no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how much time passes. Palestine belongs to us and not to the Zionists. Let me emphasize that we adhere to this fundamental principle: we do not recognize Israel or the legitimacy of the occupation or anything that’s happened in Palestine — the occupation, the settlements, Judaization, hijacking [our] history, falsifying [our] character … all of that is nullified. The Palestinian resistance will crush it and sweep it away, be it Allah’s will.”

“The West Bank, Gaza, the 1948 territories [Israel] — these are Palestinian lands, they are all Palestine. Not one part will be separated from any other part, and whoever thinks that Gaza can be separated from the West Bank is mistaken. Gaza and the West Bank cannot surrender Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Safed [Israeli cities].”

C. Jerusalem

“Jerusalem is our eternal capital. We cling to her and we will liberate her inch by inch, quarter by quarter, stone by stone — Jerusalem and all the other places holy to Islam and to Christianity. Israel has no right to Jerusalem.”

D. Common platform with Fatah, based on “resistance”

“I am happy to see the diversity here among the leadership and the diversity in Fatah's flags… We are prepared to reach political agreements — on the Palestinian and on the Arabic level — on political platforms that are compatible with our political platform … we must not let any national plan come at the expense of our fundamental principles concerning the land, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the resistance… Let us reassess, draw conclusions, look for the options open to us, use our bargaining chips and bet on the resistance — the resistance that will continue to be the backbone of our plans.”

E. On the PA’s political moves

“Listen well, colleagues in the factions and forces: first liberation, then a state; a real state is a product of liberation and not of negotiations. There is no alternative to a free Palestinian state, with genuine sovereignty over all of Palestine's territory.”

F. The refugee question

“The right of return of all the refugees, the uprooted and the expelled, to Palestinian land — in Gaza, in the West Bank, in the 1948 territories [Israel] — the right of return is sacred to us, and we will not give it up… In this context I would like to say that this is an unshakable principle of Hamas. There will be neither a permanent settlement for refugees nor an alternative homeland. There is no substitute for Palestine…”

Peace? With that worldview? And if all of that wasn’t enough, here are a few more choice quotations (or alternate translations) from the transcript provided by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute):

  • “Politics are born from the womb of resistance. The true statesman is born from the womb of the rifle and the missile.”
  • “Oh Palestinian statesmen, oh Arab and Muslim statesmen, learn your lesson from Gaza. Anyone who wishes to take the path of diplomacy must take a missile along with him. He must rely upon the infrastructure of the resistance. Your value, oh statesman, is derived from the value of resistance.”
  • “How wonderful was your shelling of Tel Aviv. May your hands be blessed. May your hands be blessed. We are proud of what you have done.”
  • “For us, resistance is the means, not the end. I say to the entire world, through the media: If the world finds a way other than through resistance and bloodshed to restore Palestine and Jerusalem to us, to implement the Right of Return, and to put an end to the loathsome Zionist occupation — we will welcome it. But we gave you a chance for 64 years, and you did not do a thing. That is why we opted for resistance. Don’t reproach us. If we had found another way — one that did not involve war and battle — we would have proceeded upon it, but history and the laws of Allah tell us that victory and liberation cannot be achieved without resistance, battle, and sacrifice.”

And I can’t omit this responsive chant:

Man: Oh Mash’al, our beloved…

Crowds: Oh Mash’al, our beloved…

Man: Your army shelled Tel Aviv…

Crowds: Your army shelled Tel Aviv…

Man: Your army struck Tel Aviv…

Crowds: Your army struck Tel Aviv…

Man: Oh Qassam, do it again…

Crowds: Oh Qassam, do it again…

Man: But this time, strike Haifa…

Crowds: But this time, strike Haifa…

Man: But this time, strike Jaffa…

Khaled Mash’al: Allah willing…

Man: Say: “Allah Akbar.”

Crowds: Allah Akbar.

There really isn’t much that I can say about this speech; it largely speaks for itself (sorry for the pun). That said, there are two quick historical clarifications to make for those who may read this speech but who don’t have a deep knowledge of the history of the region:

  • Mashaal makes reference to “Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Safed” as a part of Palestine that cannot be separated from the West Bank and Gaza. The most important point to note here is that Safed has been the home to Jews since the time of the Biblical Twelve Tribes; in the 1500s, the Ottoman census recognized that the town was about one-half Jewish families with 32 synagogues. The other cities are within present-day Israel.
  • Mashaal also claims that “Jerusalem is our eternal capital”. However, this simply isn’t so. Jerusalem has never been the capital of a Palestinian state (and, for that matter, there has never been a Palestinian state). When Jews pray, they turn and face Jerusalem. When Muslims pray, including Palestinians, they don’t face Jerusalem; they face Mecca. When Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinians weren’t demanding return of their “eternal capital” from Jordan. Most importantly, Jerusalem has always had a Jewish population (controversy exists over precise demographic data and the relative percentages of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Jerusalem).

Here is video for those interested in seeing excerpted portions of Mashaal’s speech (with translation from MEMRI):

Finally, in last week’s post Palestinian Statehood (repost plus a few new thoughts) I included the yellow flag of Fatah, the largest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization and the party in control of the Palestinian Authority. Well just this past weekend, the Palestinian Authority published the new logo that Fatah is using to celebrate it’s 48th anniversary:

Once again, note that the logo depicts all of Israel and not just the West Bank and Gaza. Two states fro two peoples, huh?

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