January 30, 2006

A word from the Wise

Here's a letter from Palestine News editor, Hilary Wise, in today's Guardian:
What an extraordinary spectacle. The media are dutifully lining up behind Israel to repeat the mantra "renounce violence!" to the newly elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Amid the hysterical outpourings, Israel's ongoing violence is never mentioned. For every Israeli who has died over the last five years, four Palestinians have been killed.

Suddenly, Fatah are the nice guys. But Israel refused to negotiate seriously with them, even when Mahmoud Abbas, its preferred candidate, was elected. As early as 1988 the PLO recognised Israel's right to exist within the 1967 borders. Israel's response was to keep pouring settlers into the occupied territories, as it does today. It was the realisation, after Oslo, that nothing was going to change, that led the Palestinian people to launch the intifada in 2000 and to turn to the only alternative political force in last week's elections.

Hamas could "renounce violence" tomorrow and formally recognise Israel's right to exist; but there is no evidence to suggest that Israel would renounce its policies of enlarging the settlements, building the settler-only roads across the West Bank and penning the Palestinians into shrinking ghettos.
There are others too including one this particularly hypocritical one from William Shawcross:
In your leader (January 27) you say that Hamas is "best known in Israel and abroad for the suicide attacks it used against its Israeli enemies". This is a description you have used before. You appear to have forgotten that under the laws of war, children and women and other civilians are not legitimately targeted as "enemies". Hamas has murdered many innocent people in brutal crimes against humanity. Why do you not say so?
Because Israel is so scrupulous about the rules of war.

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