Abbas: “It is time to move forward…”

Source : PalestineChronicle

By Stuart Littlewood

The day before the United Nations vote on Palestine, UK foreign secretary William Hague was explaining his devious policy to Parliament.

“We support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair and agreed settlement for refugees.

“This is the only way to secure a sustainable end to the conflict…”

It’s always a “safe and secure” Israel and only a “viable” Palestine, never the other way round. A Palestinian state, it seems, cannot expect to be safe and secure – it must be vulnerable at all times.

He was desperate to extract a promise from President Abbas not to bring charges against Israeli war criminals, not to go for full UN membership, and to submit once again to direct negotiations. “We judge that if the Palestinians were to build on this resolution by pursuing ICC [International Criminal Court] jurisdiction over the Occupied Territories at this stage it could make a return to negotiations impossible.

“In the absence of these assurances, the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote… The only way to give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve, and the Israeli people the security and peace they are entitled to, is through a negotiated two-state solution.”

Hague was singing in close harmony with Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor who said: “Trying to circumvent direct negotiations will raise frustrations, raise expectations, will change nothing on the ground.”

And what’s on the ground, of course, is vitally important. In the past, off-on slow-grinding talks have bought Israel time to establish irreversible fact on the ground that have already rendered a viable Palestinian state impossible and are designed to make the occupation permanent. It has worked like a charm for Israel for the last 20 years… and Hague knows it.

And he surely knows that nothing worthwhile is likely to be achieved by a strong side bullying a weak side – by an Israel bristling with weapons of mass destruction facing a defenseless and impoverished Palestine across a negotiating table. It’s both obscene and immoral. I haven’t yet heard a convincing argument for returning to such a lopsided and discredited scenario, especially while Israel’s land-grab and colonization continue.

The way forward is already set out by international law and numerous UN resolutions, which are still waiting to be implemented. Therein lies justice. Direct negotiations require Palestinians to make “compromises” and give away what little is left of their lands and resources to a greedy, merciless ‘peace partner’ that has abused and humiliated them for 64 years. What justice can possibly come out of that?

A word search shows that Hague made no mention of the fact of the occupation nor did he call on Israel to end it. He expects Palestinians to return to talks with Israel’s jackboot still on their neck and while the Zionist regime maintains its illegal blockade.

In case you’re wondering what nationality Hague is, he was recruited into the Conservative Friends of Israel at the impressionable age of 15.

After his statement he faced dozens of questions. One MP wanted to know which Israelis he [Hague] spoke to before putting together “this miserable little offer that continues to treat the Palestinians as second-class citizens, if citizens at all. What, apart from the fact that Israel wants it, should lead the Palestinians to fetter their access to the Security Council and the International Criminal Court, and what in particular should make them enter negotiations for their own land when the colonisation of that land continues?”

Hague replied: “Their plight will be alleviated only if there is a successful negotiation between both parties… “

Another asked: “Given the blockades, the illegal settlements, the wall, the destruction of Palestinian farms, the arrests, the imprisonment, the decades of ignoring UN resolutions, the refugee camps, the abject poverty and the rest, how much worse does he think that it can get for the Palestinians?”

A third MP said: “What I am interested in is what he said to the Israeli Government about their threat to withhold the taxes that they owe the Palestinians. What is he doing to prevent that threat being carried out?”

Hague told Parliament he wanted to see Palestine in the United Nations but it would come about only as a result of a successful negotiation with Israel. “That is our guiding principle; it is an overriding principle… Any such negotiation requires both parties to conclude it successfully, and they must be prepared to make the necessary compromises…”

International law and UN resolutions are never mentioned Israel and the US and other opponents of the bid such as Hague keep saying, ad nauseam, that a Palestinian state should emerge only out of bilateral negotiations. They complain that the Palestinians are bypassing the negotiation process set out in the 1993 Oslo peace accords and going direct to the UN for statehood.

But those accords were of no benefit to the Palestinians. If the West had wanted to sow confidence in the negotiating process they would have ensured a measure of success – they had the leverage to do so. Confidence evaporated long ago not only in the process itself but also the gang of dishonest brokers promoting it.

Palestinians could argue that Israel and its allies are trying to bypass the law. Why shouldn’t the Palestinian question now go back to the international community for determination within the parameters of key UN resolutions and international law? That step must come before so-called negotiations, surely. The US and Israel would cut up rough but – who knows – the other states might discover a collective backbone.

On his big day Abbas trumped all of Hague’s mean-spirited delaying tactics with simple good sense, saying: “It is time to move forward – that is why we are here today.” The UN, he said, had a moral duty that couldn’t stand further delay. He invited member states to issue a birth certificate for the the emerging Palestinian state. Delegates stood and clapped.

The glum Israelis did not applaud. They knew the score…

Yes: 138
No: 9
Abstain: 41

A sour United States representative called the vote “counter-productive” and warned that Palestinians would wake up in the morning to find “the prospect of a durable peace had receded”.

If so, no-one will be in doubt that it’s largely America’s fault.

Great Britain explained that it abstained because it received none of the assurances demanded of Abbas. In other words the blackmail failed.

It was very noticeable how so many delegates were reading from the same script word for word. The mantra: “only through direct negotiations without preconditions” was tediously repeated throughout the proceedings. That insistent phrase “without preconditions” presumably means without reference to international law and the pile of unimplemented UN resolutions.

But the world outside, I suspect, is tired of diplomatic claptrap and will see the vote as a long-overdue turning point.

- Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

The Forbidden Truth : Israeli Aggression in the Gaza Strip

Who Started The Latest Round of Escalation: Gaza Palestinians or Israel? A Timeline.

Source: 

Here we go again.

Israel has started bombing Gaza using one of the most superior air-force in the world against one of the most inferior resistance in the world. As always, two narratives carry the day.

One that is dominant in most Palestine-friendly and neutral countries that decries Israel for everything, from occupation to siege to the use of heavy weaponry against a defenseless people; and the other narrative dominating USA and some other strong Israel allies: Israel is acting in self-defense against a barrage of rocket attacks.

Pandering to Israeli narrative becomes so dominant in America that one sees despicable headlines such as this in USA Today

Gaza strikes intensify, frightening Israelis”

You will see many of the sources below from the States read like IDF press-releases; nearly every headline or story always mentions the rockets before relaying the news of “bad, but deserved” deaths of Palestinian civilians.

But obviously both narratives cannot be right.

There is truth out somewhere, and one can see that based on factual time-lines, it is clear who is responsible for this latest salvo. Furthermore, one can corroborate responsible party with a more subjective evaluation of motives.

As for timeline, one can begin at the occupation and apartheid, but that would be laborious. One can also mention the ongoing siege that continues to cripple Gaza, the largest open-air jail in the world. But let’s move to more specific and timely events and the culprit becomes obvious.

After weeks of lull:

November 8th: Israeli soldiers invade Gaza and exchange gunfire, and end up killing a 13-year old boy. [Source]

November 10th: Palestinians fighters attack Israeli soldiers (NOT civilians) and would 4 using anti-tank missile. [Source]

November 10th: Israel responds to this non-civilian attack by killing 4 civilians, all between16 and 18, including two more civilians gathered at a funeral. 25 more wounded [Source]

November 10th: Palestinian militants send rockets into southern Israel- no report of injuries.

November 11th: Israel continues attacks, killing one more civilian and wounding more than 30. [Source]

November 12th: Palestinian militant factions agree to a truce as long as Israel ends its attacks. Israel sends similar signal. [Source]

November 14th: Israel re-ignites violence by illegal assassination of Hamas leader and also ends up killing Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing and according to reports, kills another 10 Palestinians, including an 11-month-old baby and a woman pregnant with twins. [Source]

Besides the facts as outlined above, it is clear that as is almost always the case, Israel is the original provocateur and besides the timeline, one can also consider motives. With upcoming election, right-wing hawks in Israel led by Netanyahu know that such escalations play in his hand. By using death for politics, Netanyahu once again is displaying to the world that his thirst for power and his desire in establishing Israel’s apartheid know no bounds. On the other hand, let’s consider the Gazans. There are actually motives that would push Gazans to act responsibly. First of all, they are in an ill-position to have their infrastructure destroyed again. Secondly, they know that Egypt hasn’t quite settled down and they cannot let their own problems become dominant in Egypt, causing their new ally Morsi all sorts of issues.

In conclusion, both the timeline and motives are clear that Israel is responsible for this latest Gaza escalation and as such bears responsibility for all the additional hatred and disgust of the world that this new round of killing will bring to it.

See also:

Israel’s Latest Assault on Gaza: The Lie of Who Started It

Timeline: Israel’s Latest Escalation in Gaza

Interview: Ali Abunimah on the situation in Gaza

‘Extremism’ and Islam: The Forgotten Letters

- by Felicity Arbuthnot – London | Source: palestinechronicle

‘We are the indispensable nation.’– US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, NBC, 19th February 1998.

On 21st September 2001, George W. Bush addressed Congress and the nation. He stated: “Americans are asking ‘Why do they hate us?’ “He gave the nation the answer: “They hate us for our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech …” By “they” of course, he meant the vast, great ancient Muslim diaspora, where ever they were.

Thus, just ten days after the collapse of the World Trade Centre, dismissed were the messages of sympathy from around the world, from leaders of countries, threatened by the US, from those who had been victims of the US. It was a historic opportunity to respond in kind, to truly build bridges and to make that America’s homage and memorial to the dead – of eighty countries – as he reminded that day.

What marked the messages was compassion and humanity. Three, however, in the light of recent and current events are particularly notable.

Libya’s Colonel Quaddafi- accused of aiding terrorism by the US and in international isolation, in his communication, also urged Muslim aid groups to offer all assistance:

“… regardless of political considerations or differences between America and the peoples of the world. Irrespective of (conflicts) with America it is a human duty to show sympathy with the American people, and be with them at (the time of) these horrifying … events which are bound to awaken human conscience”, he wrote. (i)

That was three years before Tony Blair’s visit to Libya (25th March 2004) and his Judas kiss. The BBC’s Andrew Marr called that meeting: “… an absolutely pivotal moment in the history of the region, possibly even in the history of the war against terrorism.” (ii) Quaddafi agreed to dismantle Libya’s weapons, trade with the West. Shell gained a $550 million deal the same week,

“Trust on both sides will take time to establish,” Blair said at the time. Tragedy for Libya, arguably is that Colonal Quaddafi was not more judicious with his.

Syria’s President Al Assad sent condolences to the White House, calling for: “… world cooperation to eradicate all kinds of terrorism.”

President Mohammad Khatami of Iran – which had been and still is stringently embargoed by the US since 1979 and ever increasingly threatened – wrote of his: “ … deep regret and sympathy with the victims”, urging: “It is an international duty to try to undermine terrorism.”

Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein stood alone, as a leader not personally sending his nation’s sympathies, but Foreign Minister Tareq Aziz did, transmitting condolences via former US Attorney General Ramzy Clark. (After the invasion, of course, Aziz was arrested by the Americans and subsequently sentenced to death. He remains under death threat, in jail since 2003.)

However, on October 18th 2001, Iraq’s President responded to an American citizen, software engineer, Christopher Love, who, apparently referring to the US Administration already pointing the finger at Iraq for the tragedy it had nothing to do with, had emailed Saddam Hussein. (iii)

Love wrote that he was an ordinary American with a daughter of seventeen and a son of thirteen and that: “I, and the majority of people here in (the US) only want to live together with all the nations in the world.”

Saddam Hussein’s response began:

“Dear brother in the family of mankind, I read your email message of October 2nd carefully and I have well pondered over your emotions regarding the victims of the two towers.

“All I can say in presenting my condolences to you (is) ‘God has created us, and to him we return. May God give you long life’ “, the traditional Muslim consolation in bereavement.

A lengthy response included: “I don’t think that your Administration deserves the condolences of Iraqis, except if it presents its condolences to the Iraqi people for the 1,500,000 Iraqis it (has) killed, and apologizes to them …” (resultant from the strangulating US-driven embargo which denied even cancer medicines, Ventolin inhalers and paediatric syringes.)

Referring to the nine years of US/UK bombings which had not alone killed uncounted numbers, but routinely targeted precious, scarce harvests and livestock, he wrote:

“Do you know, brother Christopher, that your Administration, in its war against the people of Iraq, has been burning not only the cereals in silos, but even the harvest by throwing flares in order to make Iraqi people starve?

“Iraq has been harmed severely by the fanaticism of others, including America … “

Outlining some of the massive complexities (iv) of the Iraq-Kuwait dispute, he wrote of George W. Bush, that a war had been waged:  “against Iraq, in a way that had nothing to do with the issue of Kuwait.

“(Bush’s) objective was to destroy all Iraq, and to deprive its people of the (nation) built, over several decades, and not merely getting the Iraqi armed forces out of Kuwait … he and his Administration, are still doing so under different pretexts and justifications. “

The letter concluded: “Wishing that you will have the opportunity to see the facts as they are, and not as your administration present them.” It ended:

“Yours truly,
Saddam Hussein.”

[Complete Text of E-mail From Saddam Hussein here]

Less than two years later his country was invaded and “destroyed” under entirely false “pretexts and justifications.”

After the London train networks and bus bombing on 7th July 2005, leaders from across the world, again regardless of their differences with London’s aggressive backing of US assaults and threats, also sent sincere condolences, including Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad, in a personal message to then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Syria was, of course, daily, quietly absorbing thousands of now destitute, bereaved, distraught, sick, maimed and traumatized Iraqis resultant from Blair’s offices misinformation (“dodgy dossiers”) to the US Administration.

What marked all the messages in both disasters was the lack of triumphalism. If there were subliminal undertones they were with tact and care and the doors were clearly open, on both occasions, for fresh starts.

Response with reciprocal door unlocking was trenchantly absent, door destruction ruled.

The contrast in reaction’s to the tragedy of others by Washington and London’s politicians, the sneering, crowing, gleeful, jubilance at murder, mayhem, heartbreak and barbarity shames all who believed those countries stood for decency, legality and values of benefit to human kind.

When Saddam Hussein’s two sons and nephew just in to his teens were murdered, shredded by US firepower and surely near vaporized by the ten missiles dropped on their dwelling in Mosul (v) George W. Bush sneered: “their deaths show that the former Iraqi regime will not be coming back” – and the rule of law also died.

When Saddam Hussein was arrested in December 2003 by US occupiers, “Viceroy” Paul Bremer crowed to the gathered media and military: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got ‘im.” The country’s President was then shown on television having a medical examination. Medical privacy and human rights breathed their last gasp. Moreover, whether a supporter of Saddam Hussein or an opponent, he represented an ancient and fiercely proud nation, US behavior humiliated all. Arguably the blue touch paper to serious and sustained resistance to the occupation was lit that day.

That he was barbarically lynched, under America’s stewardship of the country, by black-masked, and hooded men and at the time of the great Muslim feast of Eid al Adha is probably expressed best by Abdel-Bari Atwan, Editor of  Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper:

“The timing of this execution is an affront to all Arabs and Muslims. It is an act of scorn against a great religion by the United States and the Iraqi government.

“Arab public opinion wonders who deserves to be tried and executed: Saddam Hussein who preserved the unity of Iraq, its Arab and Islamic identity and the coexistence of its different communities … or those who engulfed the country into this bloody civil war.”

More recently, the sickening spectacle of Obama and his Administration’s gleeful jubilance at an illegal incursion into and assault on ally Pakistan and the lawless extra-judicial assassination of Osama bin Laden on 1st May 2011 can only have been seen as a further “affront.”

The Nobel Peace Laureate crowed on the day of the death of one: “who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.” Ironically a glance towards Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria shows  “thousands of innocent men, women and children “ murdered at his behest or backing.

Of course another vexing elephant or ten in the room is apart from lynch mob rule, if the numerous and consistent reports of bin Laden’s death years before are true, who was the sacrificial soul? Since we are told the body was chucked to the sharks, bin Laden or not, the identity will never be verified. How convenient.

Just five months later (October 20th) Libya’s Leader Colonel Quaddafi, was horrifically mutilated and murdered at the hands of insurgents whose leaders Hillary Clinton had met and declared every support for in March and September 2011, meetings in Paris. Far from being taken aback at illegality of enormity and utter bestiality, she laughed on global television a and boasted: “We came, we saw, he died.”

Now Syria and President Assad are in the crosshairs with even a former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst, James Jatras, stating that Washington has violated the UN Charter by arming insurgents in Syria. (vi)

“Arming an insurgency in a recognized State is already an act of war and let’s be clear, the United States has acknowledged that we give “non-lethal” aid” – arguably the promised mega financial aid to the insurgents – “and we wink at the notion that some of our allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, are giving lethal aid to … these terrorists”, he stated, adding: “This is already a violation of the UN charter in every standard of international law.”

On Wednesday (18th July), Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, his deputy Assef Shawkat and Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani were killed in a bombing that hit the headquarters of the Syrian National Security Bureau. Two days later General Hisham Ikhtiyar, Head of Syrian National Security also died of his wounds.

Jatras noted: “There is a great deal of glee here in Washington”, following the Damascus attack:

“It is stunning the extent to which the American establishment is essentially cheering on this kind of terrorism, killing government officials with this kind of terrorist bombing that has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda type jihad terror operation”, he concluded.

“We’re looking at the controlled demolition of the Assad regime”, trumpeted Andrew J. Tabler, a “Syria expert” at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy shortly before. Sovereignty and rule of law are becoming a distant memory.

After the Aurora, Colorado cinema shootings, President Obama said: “We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this.” And “Our time here is limited and it is precious.” And: “Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.”

He said: “Now, even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil, is senseless. It’s beyond reason … we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another …”

“The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.”

His statement mirrors all America’s victims, all those facing decimation, as did the twenty seven people killed by US drones in Pakistan recently over three days, alone, 2nd – 4th June.  

“I will hug my children closer tonight”, he told Americans from Fortress White House. America has left uncounted parents with no children to hug – not enough left of them to even bury.

In the seconds this was ended, a news feed showed six un-named human beings killed by US drones in Pakistan. “Why do they hate us?”

The US-UK alliance has lost its mind.

- Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Notes:

i. www.september11news.com/InternationalReaction.htm
ii. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3566545.stm
iii. www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/22/iraq.afghanistan
iv. http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20510
v. http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO307E.html
vi. www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/20/251810/us-violates-law-by-arming-syrian-gangs/

Forgiveness : The Glue for a Broken Heart

Crash.

Bang.

Smash.

‘What was that?!

That was the sound of a once sound heart, shattering into a million pieces. Imagine you are the person carrying that heart: covered in pain and soaked in tears. Maybe you don’t have to imagine, because maybe that is your heart.

We are the broken-hearted.

Betrayal, oppression, deception, whatever it may be that happened to us—the result is the same, a broken heart at the hand of a human. A broken heart that feels like it can never be fixed, and it was entirely someone else’s fault. It would be enough if they had just hurt us, and all we had to do is deal with the pain that came from their actions, but no. Rather, the hurt, the pain, the brokenness…it brought out the worst in us, allowing us to see our own faults, and painful ones at that. How do we go on? How do we move on with life and shift our focus back to the One who deserves it? How do we stop obsessing over the wrongs that occurred and start focusing on the only One who should be obsessed over? One word: Forgiveness.

When a person is soaked in sin and wants to return to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), they begin with repentance. The person whole-heartedly turns to Allah, asking Him to forgive utterly and completely, even though the asker may not be deserving. Likewise, the path back to Allah (swt) after a severely broken heart, at the hand of a human, is forgiveness.

When it comes to forgiveness, the key is shifting how we see forgiveness. As always, Allah (swt) has given us a beautiful tool to make this shift, and that is the story of Prophet Yusuf `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him).

Of the many fruitful parts of the story of Prophet Yusuf (as), is that of his being wronged by the wife of his master. She attempted to seduce our beloved Prophet Yusuf (as). Not only did she attempt to seduce him, but she landed him in jail by blaming him of the unthinkable instead of taking the blame! IMAGINE! This is a woman whom, as the wife of his master, he was supposed to be able to trust. This was a woman whom he served during the day. Yet when her desires took over, she wronged him many times over!

Despite all of this, Prophet Yusuf (as) did not act wrongfully, nor did he hold a grudge. Why? Prophet Yusuf (as) knew the reality of forgiveness. When all was exposed and the truth revealed, Yusuf (as) made a revolutionary statement. He said: “I do not free myself from all blame. Truly, the nafs (base self) is inclined to evil, except for those who my Lord grants His Mercy. Truly, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater!) A huge, humbling, life-changing lesson we can take from his statement is: You are not the oppressor in this situation only because Allah (swt) has blessed you with His Mercy. Every soul has the ability to wrong others, every soul has the ability to be the oppressor, and only Allah’s mercy prevents that.

The next time we begin to feel this immense and absolute anger towards the person who has harmed us—let’s make that shift, and forgive. Forgive the one who has wronged us not because that person deserves it; rather, forgive them as a sign of gratitude to Allah (swt). Forgive as a symbol of our thanking Him for blessing us to be of those who have never thought of hurting a person in the manner that we have had to endure. Forgive as a symbol of our thanking Him for making us the oppressed and not the oppressors. There is no sin in being the oppressed; rather, Allah tells us that He is with the one who has been wronged and is constantly answering their du`a’ (supplication). But what of the oppressor? They have the anger of Allah (swt) and the displeasure of Allah (swt). And realize that the one who has oppressed you has oppressed themselves more. For it is that person who will have to stand in front of Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment and have their oppression accounted for, if they are not of those who have repented. So on that Day, they will be their own greatest victims.

Forgive as a statement that says, ‘Oh Allah I’m not forgiving them for their own sake, rather I am forgiving them as a sign of gratitude to You for steering me clear of those desires. I’m forgiving them out of my love for You. I’m forgiving them because I know You love it when a slave of Yours is merciful to others and I want to be of the ones that You love. My desires tell me to wish evil for them and to hold this grudge, but I put You over my own desire and I forgive them.’

Pray for those who hurt you. Pray for those who do not accept you. Love them for the sake of God. Pray that they realize their wrongs before they face their Lord. Pray that no one ever has to go through the same thing you did at the hands of this person. Love your oppressor for the sake of God, because love is the only emotion that is strong enough to penetrate a hardened heart, but know it will take time. Perhaps years, but you will be a better person because you chose to take the higher route: Forgiveness. 

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