I simply have to record my revulsion over the latest developments in Palestine. In the face of the Hamas victory over Fatah thugs supported and instigated by the United States to start a civil war, the hypocrites on every level cheer the latest moves of the U.S. and its allies—to support Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah cohorts as the "legitimate" government of the West Bank. Finally, everyone chortles, we have a legal and moderate government we can deal with. And Israel rushes to agree, and promptly frees up the tax moneys they have been illegally withholding from the Hamas government, and rains them on Fatah to dispense upon workers who have been deprived of salaries for months. And the U.S. promises billions in aid. And the European Union agrees to lift the boycott that it has maintained since the Hamas victory in 2006. And Egypt vows to close off its border with the evil Gazans. And Saudi Arabia chirps in its agreement.
And we are all expected to cheer. Hurray for the West Bank. Hurray for Fatah. Hurray for Mahmoud Abbas, the legitimate ruler. Let Hamas and those stinking Gazans rot in their miserable strip of land.
And we are of course expected to ignore the truth: that the truly legitimate government of Palestine is Hamas, elected in free and fair elections 18 months ago. The legitimate recipient of the moneys now being showered on Fatah is Hamas, the elected government of the Palestinians. And the corollary: that the only real beneficiary of the civil war promoted by the United States, and the lifting of sanctions to permanize the split between the two artificially divided segments of the Palestinian people, is Israel. Because now, it can pretend to make peace with Fatah and the West Bank, which of course must be grateful for this magnanimous dispensation of Israeli funds and approval and willingness to talk, and therefore be inclined—so the Israelis and their henchmen in the Bush Administration seem to think—to make peace on Israel’s terms. Thus permanizing the illegal settlements that make the West Bank a joke. For remember, the Israelis withdrew from their settlements in Gaza, but the West Bank is still a series of bantustans separated from Israel by the apartheid wall, which also rings dozens and dozens of illegal settlements which will be there indefinitly. And Mahmoud Abbas, that quisling, that traitor, along with the quisling Arab governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will be inclined, so the hope no doubt goes, to agree. So that they—the "moderate" leaders—can at long last claim victory and go back to repressing their own peoples.
And all anyone with the slightest understanding of history and the vaguest notions of fairness can do is work and hope and vow that this shall never come to pass. For if it does, then what will have been ratified, what will have been sanctified is the greatest theft of land, the most vicious persecution and ethnic cleansing of a people in our time. That is what is happening here. Hamas is condemned and isolated for not "recognizing the right of Israel to exist." But to do so, as a recent piece in the Christian Science Monitor rightly maintains, leaves open the question of "which Israel?"—the 55 percent of historical Palestine recommended by the UN General Assembly in 1948? The 78 percent of historical Palestine seized by the Zionist movement in 1948? Or the 100 percent of historical Palestine occupied by Israel since June 1967? More important, there is the question of "right." This word implies not diplomatic but moral acceptance. It is to require Palestinians to accept the justice in Israel’s theft of their land, the moral right of Israel to expel 750,000 Palestinians in 1948. And finally, it is to demand that "a people who have been treated as subhumans publicly proclaim that they are subhuman." (John V. Whitbeck, "What Israel’s ‘right to exist’ means to Palestinians," Christian Science Monitor, 2/2/07)
Any government that agreed to such a "right" would have betrayed its own people. Hamas has steadfastly and rightly refused to do so. Now the U.S. and Israel, supported by the dictators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, hope they can goad Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah into accepting the unacceptable—at least for the West Bank. If they succeed, it will be the ultimate triumph of hypocrisy, and, simultaneously, not the beginning, but the end of any hope for Middle East peace for a very long time.