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Salute the Tenth Anniversary of Second Palestinian Intifada

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Salute the Tenth Anniversary of Second Palestinian Intifada

For your information:
Reaffirming the Rights of the Palestinian People

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Salute the Tenth Anniversary of Second Palestinian Intifada

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the second Palestinian Intifada of September 2000, sometimes known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada. In that year the Palestinian people rose up to demand their rights to statehood and self-determination and in opposition to the occupation of their homeland by Zionist Israel, backed by the US, Britain and the other big powers. The Intifada of September 2000 had been precipitated by the failure of the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David, which had been brokered by the US, and the provocative actions of the Zionist Israel, including the visit of Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. The Intifada continued for some five years, led to the loss of thousands of lives and eventually to the withdrawal of Zionist Israel from Gaza and some areas of the occupied West Bank.

On the tenth anniversary of the Second Intifada, it is significant that many of the conditions that led to the uprising of 2000 are still present in the Middle East. The Palestinian people are still denied their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination; Zionist Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestinian land, to build settlements which have also been declared illegal under international law and to oppress the Palestinians by economic, military and other means; peace talks are being held, again brokered by the US, Zionist Israel’s greatest ally, and widely referred to as potentially crucial and perhaps heralding a significant breakthrough.

There is also an apparent international agreement that Israel should be criticised for its recent provocation, the refusal to extend the moratorium on the illegal building of settlements on occupied land. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, hypocritically declared that he was “deeply concerned” about the failure of Israel to extend the moratorium but also held talks with the Foreign Minister of Israel in which he mainly stressed that Britain was Israel’s friend and wished to continue to pressurise Iran over its nuclear programme. No such pressure has been applied to Israel, as the recent vote in the International Atomic Energy Authority illustrates. Indeed Anglo-American imperialism exerts no pressure on Israel for its illegal actions, for its war crimes in Gaza, nor its attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza, which the UN Human Rights Council has also recently declared illegal. Just as in 2000, the US, Britain and their allies claim that they are committed to a resolution of the problems in the Middle East but in fact continue to support Zionist Israel and its crimes and therefore to deny the Palestinians the right to their homeland.

Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas which constitutes the government of Gaza but is not represented in the current peace talks, has recently pointed out that there are always peace talks, which always end with no major advance for the Palestinians, while on the ground Zionist Israel builds more illegal settlements on occupied land. Such talks are held, he added, mainly to deflect public opinion and as part of the strategic plans of US imperialism throughout the Middle East and particularly in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan. He maintained that there is a requirement that Israel retreats to its 1967 borders, relinquishes East Jerusalem, and recognises the right of Palestinian exiles to return to their homeland. He explained that this was the compromise that the Palestinians had accepted as the basis for statehood and sovereignty. Israel has not only rejected this compromise but now backed by the US, Britain and the other big powers was trying to get the Palestinians to accept further unacceptable compromises. The view of Hamas is that not only is the armed resistance of the Palestinian people entirely legitimate and their cause just but that the time might soon come when the intervention of the US and its allies is completely exposed and rejected and the Palestinians rely on their own strength to achieve their liberation.

On the tenth anniversary of the Second Intifada, another boat is nearing the shores of Gaza in support of the Palestinian people and in defiance of the blockade imposed by Zionist Israel. The small boat is carrying eight activists of Jewish origin from Europe, the US and Israel, including one survivor from the Nazi holocaust. It is yet another illustration of the support that exists for the just cause of the Palestinians throughout the world. The tenth anniversary should be the occasion when all democratic people raise their voices in support of the just cause and struggle of the Palestinian people and their condemnation of Zionist Israel. At the same time, it must lead to a redoubling of efforts to oppose the machinations of Anglo-American imperialism and its allies throughout the Middle East.

Salute the Heroic Resistance of the Palestinian People!

Break the Siege of Gaza!

End Britain’s Backing of the Zionist Regime!

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For Your Information

Reaffirming the Rights of the Palestinian People

September 27, 2010

CNN's Nic Robertson carried out the following interview in Damascus, Syria, with Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal. The text is taken from the CNN blog “Inside the Middle East” under the title “Talking to Hamas” with some minor editing.

Nic Robertson:

So when president Obama at the UN General Assembly says that next year we could have a Palestinian state announced, is that unrealistic?

Khaled Meshaal:

Is he the only US president who promised an independent Palestinian state? For years now and every time a US President comes in, every president and in his first term promises the Palestinians and the Arabs that he will work on making sure a Palestinian state will be formed in two or four years at the max and the outcome is always the same. Their presidential term is over and nothing happens; actually instead we get the very opposite. The Palestinian cause gets diminished and the Israeli leaders immerse themselves in building settlements changing the land’s identity, killing, arresting our people and biting off more of our Palestinian land. These are promises made for the US own domestic consumption and they do nothing but sell the Palestinians and the Arabs free and empty slogans so that they can have the Arab official policies be part of the American policy plan, and this way they can assist them with the other main issues like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a trick that no one believes in anymore because if anyone wants to talk about a true Palestinian state, they need to provide the realistic means to create a Palestinian statehood. In order to do so, there should be a strong international determination led by the United States that will force Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders including East Jerusalem and make the Israelis acknowledge the right of return and the Palestinian rights. This is the only gateway to the true solution. So when an American president comes in and surrenders himself to the Israeli arrogance and refusal to stop the building of settlements and when the US president doesn’t speak clearly on the issue of East Jerusalem and the Palestinians’ right to have East Jerusalem as their capital, their right of return and the 1967 borders, all these promises end up having no value whatsoever.

Nic Robertson:

If Fatah made an agreement right now that accepted the 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as a capital would you accept that? And support that if that’s the agreement Fatah gets?

Khaled Meshaal:

Look, we do have a national public consensus since the result of the national accordance agreement in 2006 that any negotiation taking place must be first based on the rights of the Palestinian people which all factions already agreed upon as a joint political agenda back in 2006 – and these are the 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return, the dismantling of the settlements and total sovereignty on the ground – and therefore we know that the Palestinian negotiator must commit to these rights, then the results of the negotiations must be presented to the Palestinian people inside the territories and abroad for a referendum or let a newly elected Palestinian national council vote on it. This is the mechanism that we agreed upon and we are committed to these agreements for four years now. This is our first step but the problem that we are facing today is that Israel rejects all of this and the international community doesn’t pressure Israel so they can accept our rights. The United States despite the fact that they keep talking about a Palestinian state doesn’t want to do anything to pressure Israel to accept anything. Can you see the painful contradiction in terms? The international community demands the Palestinians and the Arabs to accept a compromise based on the 1967 borders. The Arabs and the Palestinians agreed. But Israel rejected that after we said yes. So instead, the international community started asking us for more instead of forcing the Israelis, the arrogant side who didn’t accept the compromise, and they started asking us for more compromises and they want to pressure the Palestinians and the Arabs so we can give up more of our rights. So instead of acknowledging that everyone should accept a compromise based on the 1967 borders, they want us to compromise even more in regard to the borders, in regard to east Jerusalem, the settlements, the right of return. Can you see the true injustice, the prejudice against us? This is bias and hypocrisy that only serves Israel and therefore it will never help in getting the negotiations to succeed and will not lead in my opinion to a true Palestinian state. And I say that to you, this may be very excruciating for the Palestinian people but the international community must realise that the Palestinian moment may get to that moment when they know that the policies of the international community will not bring them justice and will not force the Israelis to respect the borders; the Palestinian people will seek their rights on their own and let the whole world deal with the consequences of that Palestinian decision, and I can tell you that the Palestinian people are heading in that direction.

Nic Robertson:

What is Hamas’s strategy to bring about a situation where the international community puts pressure on Israel to change its position which is what you want? Your strategy so far seems to be shooting four Israeli settlers a few weeks ago... doesn’t that isolate you from the international community rather than win their support?

Khaled Meshaal:

Do you mean that right before the killing of the settlers in the West Bank, the American and western policy was any better and helping the Palestinian people and were there any true pressures on Israel whatsoever? Unfortunately not. To begin with, the Palestinian resistance is a natural way of expressing our way of confronting the Israeli occupation from one end and also from another perspective is a Palestinian reaction to that general feeling that the Palestinians and the Arabs have that relying on the pressure of the international community is a wrong and useless option because we all know that the international community isn’t capable or willing to force Israel to go for the true peace option in the West Bank, and this is why we rely on the option of the resistance because it is our legitimate right of defending our people and confronting the occupation.

Hamas is practicing its legitimate right; we are defending our own people. Why does the international community get upset when we kill illegal settlers on our land? The international community considers the lands of the West Bank and the Gaza district an occupied land and its occupation is illegal based on the international law and this is the international concept of occupation and since the building of settlements in the West Bank is illegal. Therefore it is clear that the presence of the settlers in the West Bank is illegal, so they get upset when the Israeli soldiers and the settlers must get out of the West Bank. The blame cannot be put on the Palestinian resistance when we are defending our own people. You know that there are a half million settlers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, they are heavily armed, they kill the Palestinians kids, they are burning the olive trees, they violate the land, they desecrate the holy places. Theses settlers are behind every violation and we are only defending our people by confronting the Israeli killings and the constant violations whether carried out by the soldiers or by the settlers. Yes, it is true that we are so keen on managing and having a balanced relationship with everyone in the international community in Europe, including the United States, but managing and having these relationships with anyone in the international community will never be at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people and our people’s right in determining its destiny in choosing the resistance option against the occupation and the settlers.

Nic Robertson:

What you are saying is your strategy is to continue to shoot and to kill?

Khaled Meshaal:

No. Hamas’ strategy is the following. Holding on to the national rights of the Palestinian people. Resisting the occupation since the resistance is a legitimate right, just like every country around the world confronted their occupiers in the name of the resistance, just like the American people who fought the British occupation, waging their independence war. Hamas’ strategy relies on reaching a way of determining our own destiny, taking back our land, defending our people against the occupation and the settlements and then working on establishing a true Palestinian state that will have true sovereignty. This is Hamas’ strategy, and at the same time we will continue dealing with the Arab and Islamic worlds and the international community and all the effective key players and demand them to stand by the Palestinian right and the just Palestinian cause. We just want them to be fair to us and we tell the international community very clearly and openly that you have two options ahead of you. Either you pressure Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian land to the 1967 borders, or if you fail to do so the Palestinian people will have one option and that is the resistance. We want the final product no matter what the way will be. If the Palestinians can be spared the sacrifices through an international determination to pressure the Israelis to withdraw, we will welcome that for sure. But if the international community stands in silence and does nothing while the Palestinian people suffer, while they get killed, and they get oppressed, right then, no one can ask us to stand by and not use our basic right to defend ourselves. The international community has the responsibility of its decisions and we want the easiest way to obtain our rights. If we can get that by peace, ahlan wa sahlan [welcome], but we cannot have peace and occupation. This is worthless. We want our rights and if we can only get them by the means of the resistance, this is our legitimate right and duty and no one can blame us. The true blame falls on the occupation, and those who defend and lie defending the occupation.

Nic Robertson:

Don’t you need to be realistic? Israel is far militarily stronger than Hamas. How can you convince the international community to support you and pressure Israel? Israel can outfight you.

Khaled Meshaal:

How did the Vietnamese people force you to withdraw from their lands? How did the colonial British forces withdraw from the United States and many other places around the world in defeat? How did people around the world fight for their freedom? How did the French stand defiant facing Hitler? How and how and how? This is a general rule or law. The people who get occupied resist their occupiers. They don’t have to be stronger than their occupiers, but because they have a noble cause. They have the right in facing the injustice of their occupiers. These people will end up winning their freedom even if they were weaker on the military level when they face the occupation. This is a basic human right that everyone knows. Therefore we rely on this. The Israeli occupation is unjust and illegal. We are the people of the land. We have a legitimate and just cause and therefore we will win no matter what. The proof was shown inside Palestine. Why did Sharon withdraw from Gaza? Why did the Israelis withdraw from Lebanon? Israel is stronger than Hamas, mightier than Hezbollah, but they had to retreat. Why did the 2006 war against Lebanon fail? Why did the 2008-2009 war against Gaza also fail despite the fact that Israel is stronger than us? Power is not the only answer in ending battles. I believe that today and after all its wars that Bush got the US involved in, America finally realised that power cannot resolve anything in the battlefields and in managing the conflicts among the people and the nations. There are various other angles that need to be considered and I say yes if the international community doesn’t realise that. And here I don’t only say Hamas but the whole Palestinian people will win in this just war. If the international community isn’t convinced that we will finally win, in five years from now we will meet again and there will be a new conviction that the international community will have and the United States and the international community will finally realise that Israel is nothing but a political and a moral burden on their shoulder and that the halo of that Israeli superpower in the region no longer exists. They proved to be incompetent in all of their wars, in the recent years and in the coming ones, God willing.

Khalid Meshaal said the following about captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip:

Of course his health situation is much better than that of the 8,000 Palestinian prisoners who are suffering in Israeli jails. By the way, yesterday there was a general strike in the Israeli enemy prisons and there is an anger raging in the Palestinian streets in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad because of the repulsive and harsh treatment of our Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli occupation. But when it comes to Gilad Shalit, I can assure you that we treat him very well based on our principles and our religious doctrines. Despite the fact that he is not a civilian, he is a soldier that we captured in a battle and not like the thousands of Palestinian civilians who were kidnapped by the Israelis, among them ministers, national council members, scholars, political figures and many others. But despite everything, we say that when it comes to Gilad Shalit, we are ready to hand him back over to his family but we demand that Netanyahu releases in exchange the numbers and the names that we previously demanded so we can release our men and women from Israeli prisons.

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