Sunday, December 23, 2007

Open Letter From a Hamas "Senior Political Advisor" to Condoleezza Rice

The following is excerpted from a letter which may be found in full in Haaretz and which originally appeared in The Palestine Chronicle.

The writer is described as "a Senior Political Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Gaza" and "the top advisor to deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Hanyieh."

Appropriately sarcastic comments are interspersed, in brackets, with the excerpts.

Open letter to the Secretary of State

Dr. Ahmad Yousuf - Senior Political Advisor
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Gaza

The Honourable Secretary of State
Ms. Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice,

I am writing to you in light of the conference in Annapolis to fulfill our obligations to the Palestinian voters who have overwhelmingly legitimized our governance. Your administration cannot want peace more than the Palestinian people want and need peace.

[The fact that the Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories overwhelmingly elected the terrorist Hamas group into office demonstrates they have little interest in peace.]

However, peace initiatives and conferences are ineffectual if the basic ingredients for success are not present.

[True enough. Until the Palestinian Arabs decide they want peace, the most basic ingredient will be missing and any peace initiatives and conferences will be ineffectual, if not downright counterproductive.]

Meaningful steps toward a resolution cannot take place while the legitimacy of the elected government in Palestine continues to be ignored by your administration.

[Nor can they be made when the elected government of the Palestinian Arabs continues to strive for the destruction of Israel.]

Not only is the policy to isolate Hamas unethical it is ineffectual as well.

[Yousuf is half-right: the policy to isolate Hamas has been half-hearted, so though it is certainly ethical it has been relatively ineffectual.]

Your administration ignores the realities on the ground. The Change and Reform Party, the name of the new political party we formed for the Palestinian elections, won an overwhelming majority in the occupied territories. To pretend otherwise is not only futile but detrimental to US interests in the region for many years to come and likely to add to the anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world. You cannot preach about exporting democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and ignore the democratic process in Palestine.

[Part of the democratic process is to take responsibility for the results. If voters elect a collection of terrorists, they cannot expect to be treated the same way they would be if they elect reasonable leaders.]

Many people make the mistake of presuming that we have some ideological aversion to making peace.

[From the Hamas Charter: "[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement." "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad."]

Quite the opposite; we have consistently offered dialogue with the U.S. and the E.U. to try and resolve the very issues that you are trying to deal with in Annapolis.

[They might try offering dialog rather than Kassams to the people of Israel.]

Our conflict with the Israelis is a grievance-based conflict.

[True enough; their basic grievance is that Israel exists.]

We want to end the occupation of our land and the systematic human rights abuses that our people suffer from daily.

[From 1967 until the outbreak of the first "intifada," the Palestinian Arabs in teh disputed territories had more freedom and more rights than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East except for those living as citizens of Israel. They continued to have more rights that their brethren elsewhere in the Middle East until most of the areas they lived in were turned over to the Palestinian Authority.]

We do not have any ideological problems with living side by side with Christians and Jews.

[From the Hamas Charter: "Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect. The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region."]

When we have not been occupied we have successfully done this for thousands of years. However, they can not live in peace and security in a land that was usurped. Indeed if you asked a Jewish person where they would have been safest to live over the last two millennia, with Arabs or Europeans, the answer would be obvious. Nor do we have any ideological arguments with the West. We are not anti-American, anti-European or anti-anyone. The root of the problem which neither Israel nor the US is willing to acknowledge, let alone address, is the dispossession of the Palestinian people upon the creation in their homeland of Israel in 1948.

[For Hamas, the disputed territories are not the issue; the issue is the mere existence of Israel. Hamas is willing to live in peace without Israel, but not with Israel.]

It would come as no surprise to us if this letter were to be met with dismissal, in keeping with this administration?s policy of not dealing with "terrorists," despite the fact that we entered the democratic process and held a unilateral ceasefire of our own for over two years.

[The Hamas concept of a cease fire is highly an interesting one: Israel is to cease defending its civilians while Hamas keeps firing at them.]

Meanwhile the entire Palestinian people are being punished for having the temerity to hold a free and fair election and choosing us as their government.

[See above. The Palestinian Arabs have the right to choose terrorists as their leaders, but when they do not have the right to expect to be free of the consequences.]

It is hard to get across the appalling level of privation that the Palestinian people and in particular the 1.3 million Palestinians who live in Gaza currently suffer from.

[The Palestinian Arabs have indeed suffered the consequences of their war against Israel. It's unfortunate they continue to choose war over peace, desperation over prosperity. It's difficult for normal human beings to understand why, nearly sixty years after a few hundred thousand Arabs left their homes as part of the drive to destroy Israel, millions are still forced to live in squalid refugee camps, not only by their Arab brethren but by their own elected government.]

Our isolation is complete, confining us in a ghetto (worse than the Jewish ghettos of Warsaw) where our sewage, power and water systems have been destroyed, all normal supplies constrained and even humanitarian aid withheld.

[Humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Arabs has actually increased since they elected Hamas.]

Many people have not been paid for nearly two years, over 75% are unemployed and now the Israelis are threatening to cut off fuel and power supplies and to invade us once again.

[Hamas has launched thousands of Kassam missiles at Israeli towns, yet expects Israel to continue to supply the energy needed to manufacture them!]

You have made it a precondition to any engagement with us that we accept certain conditions. Yet you don't apply the same preconditions to the Israelis. You don't require of them recognition of Palestinian rights or a renunciation of the terrible violence that they daily invoke on us. Nor do you require that they comply with previous agreements or the settlement building would long since have stopped.

[To a degree, he is correct. There is no comparison between demands that Hamas stop murdering people and demands that Israel stop providing needed housing for its people. The fact that the American government even considers pressuring Israel to restrict where its citizens are allowed to live is testament to how successful Arab terrorism and rejectionism has been.

Still, there is little reason not to talk to Hamas, although there will be virtually nothing to talk about unless Hamas completely changes its character. Talking can be done while still physically isolating Hamas, something that should be done with more vigor than has been heretofore.

One slight inconvenience is that the talking must be via electronic means, since everyone in Hamas is a wanted terrorist who we would have to imprison if they left Gaza.]

Your predecessor General Collin Powell stated that the U.S. has to find a way to engage with Hamas because it won the Palestinian elections and it continues to enjoy support among a large portion of the Palestinian people. He did not make that statement because he is less of an American or less committed to the service of America. He simply practiced at home what you are preaching about democracy abroad.

[See above. Engage (in talks) and isolate.]

If you were even-handed in this conflict, if you engaged with us openly then the chances of peace would dramatically increase.

[Quite true. It's time we stopped pandering to Arab terrorism. We should demand of the Arabs as much as we demand of the Israelis. Here's one place to start: if we insist Israel should not build in the disputed territories, we should tell the same thing to the Arabs. Their continuing expansion of settlements in the disputed territories prejudices any future negotiations, in violation of the principles of Oslo.]

In the meantime, the people will hold steadfast to their rights and national constants. The internationally sanctioned resistance will not be quashed until the occupier packs its bags and leaves.

[See the Hamas Charter again. He is not speaking about leaving Gaza - Israel completely left Gaza in 2005. He is not speaking about leaving Judea and Samaria - Israel long ago gave to the Palestinian Authority the areas where most Palestinian Arabs reside. He is talking about leaving Israel.]

And the aspiration of a free and independent Palestinian state is realized.

[Those aspirations could have been realized at any time in the last sixty years, had the Arabs felt such a state was more important to them than the destruction of Israel.]

No comments: