HRYÐJUVERKAMAÐUR EÐA FRELSISHETJA?

Eftir sigur Hamas samtakanna  í kosningunum í Palestínu hefur ekki staðið á harðorðum yfirlýsingum frá stjórnvöldum í Ísrael og bæði Bandaríkjastjórn og Evrópusambandið segja að afstaða Hamas til Ísraelsríkis valdi því að áhöld séu um framhald á fjárhagslegum stuðningi við uppbyggingu í Palestínu. Bush stjórnin tekur dýpra í árinni eins og við var að búast og er tónninn frá Washington harður og ógnandi.
Rétt er það að Hamas hefur sagt að Ísraelsríki skuli afmáð. Það er harkaleg yfirlýsing. Þegar hins vegar nálgunin er sú að eftirsóknarvert sé að afmá landamærin milli Ísraels og Palestínu; skapa nýtt ríki þar sem allir trúarhópar búi undir sama þaki, gyðingar, kristnir og múhameðstrúarmenn - eins og tíðkaðist áður fyrr - þá verður tónninn og allt yfirbragð annað og geðfelldara. Hvoru tveggja hafa talsmenn Hamas sagt. Hamas leggur að sönnu rækt við íslamskar rætur og áherslur en talsmenn samtakanna leggja nú mikið upp úr trúarlegu umburðarlyndi  (sjá grein hér að neðan eftir Mousa Abu Marzook, einn af leiðtogum Hamas sem birtist í Washington Post í dag. Einnig birti ég á ensku nýlega grein eftir John V. Whitbeck ).
Vissulega hafa Hamas samtökin iðulega verið herská í orðum og gjörðum á liðnum árum. Enda má spyrja við hverju megi búast við aðstæður þar sem kúgun og ofbeldi af hálfu hernámsliðs er hið daglega brauð. Hver maður spyrji sjálfan sig hvernig hann hefði brugðist við.
Á meðal Ísraela er upplifunin gagnstæð, þar er litið á herská samtök Palestínumanna sem ógn. Sagt hefur verið að hryðjuverkamaður í augum eins sé frelsishetja í augum annars. Mikið er til í þessu þótt ekki leggi ég alla "hryðjuverkamenn" og "frelsishetjur" að jöfnu.
Tilefni þessara skrifa minna eru Staksteinar Morgunblaðsins síðastliðinn sunnudag. Ekki skrifa ég upp á hvert orð pistilsins. En vitiborinn er hann að mínu mati, ber vott um víðsýni höfundar og er ég, þegar á heildina er litið, boðskapnum hjartanlega sammála.
Í þeirri afstöðu sem birtist í þessum Staksteinapistli er að finna lykilinn að friðsamlegri sambúð. Með aðferðafræði suður-afríska biskupsins Desmonds Tutu í ofanálag mætti síðan komast upp úr skotgröfunum. Þjóð Tutus hins blakka biskups hafði verið kúguð, pyntuð, rænd og fangelsuð um áratugi af valdhöfum og handbendum þeirra. Þegar svo kúgararnir gáfust upp, þá setti Tutu á laggirnar dómstól sem hét sættir og sannleikur. Allir sem höfðu orðið fyrir ofsóknum gátu kært kúgara sína og dómstóll sátta og sannleika réttaði í málinu. Þegar sannleikurinn hafði komið í ljós, þá fór fram fyrirgefning og sættir. Þetta var galdurinn sem kom í veg fyrir borgarastríð í Suður-Afríku eftir að hvíti minnihlutinn gafst upp fyrir svarta meirihlutanum.
Einnig þetta verður að gerast í Mið-austrinu. Fyrsta skrefið er ágætt að stíga með eftirfarandi boðskap Staksteina í huga:

Sunnudaginn 29. janúar, 2006 - Staksteinar

Um hryðjuverkasamtök

STAKSTEINAR

Ísraelsstjórn tilkynnti í gær, að hún hefði útilokað viðræður við Hamas-samtökin í Palestínu og skoraði á erlend ríki að viðurkenna ekki stjórn "hryðjuverkasamtaka".

Ísraelsstjórn tilkynnti í gær, að hún hefði útilokað viðræður við Hamas-samtökin í Palestínu og skoraði á erlend ríki að viðurkenna ekki stjórn "hryðjuverkasamtaka".

Þessi hryðjuverkasamtök unnu sem kunnugt er meiriháttar sigur í lýðræðislegum kosningum í Palestínu og hefur enginn borið brigður á, að þær hafi farið fram með réttum hætti.

Smátt og smátt er að koma skýrar fram, að Fatah-hreyfingin, sem stjórnað hefur á þessum slóðum, hefur verið gjörspillt.

Það hefur áður gerzt í okkar samtíma, að einstaklingum og hreyfingum hefur verð lýst sem hryðjuverkamönnum og hryðjuverkasamtökum.

Ef Morgunblaðið frá sjötta áratugnum er lesið má sjá reglulegar fréttir á forsíðu um hryðjuverkamanninn Jomo Kenyatta í Kenýa og hryðjuverkahreyfingu hans Mau-Mau.

Svo kom að því að Kenyatta var kjörinn forseti Kenýa í lýðræðislegum kosningum og gegndi því embætti í áratugi. Hann varð virtur gestur Elísabetar Englandsdrottningar.

Sú var tíðin að miklar fréttir bárust frá Suður-Afríku af hryðjuverkamanninum Nelson Mandela. Að lokum tókst að loka hann inni í fangelsi þar sem hann sat í aldarfjórðung.

Að fangelsisvistinni lokinni varð hann forseti Suður-Afríku, eftirsóttur gestur bæði í London og Washington og raunar hvar sem er í heiminum. Margir telja, að Nelson Mandela hafi verið einn af merkustu stjórnmálaleiðtogum 20. aldarinnar.

Að þessu er ekki vikið til þess að draga úr því að Hamas-samtökin hafi framið voðaverk. Það gerði Fatah-hreyfingin líka á fyrstu árum sínum undir stjórn Arafats. Og það hafa Ísraelsmenn líka gert.

En alveg með sama hætti og hinn herskái Sharon varð að lokum sá leiðtogi Ísraels, sem mestar vonir voru bundnar við varðandi frið í Mið-Austurlöndum, er ekki hægt að útiloka, að hin herskáa Hamas-hreyfing, sem augljóslega nýtur stuðnings meirihluta Palestínumanna, verði áhrifamesta friðarhreyfingin í Palestínu.

Hér koma svo greinarnar tvær sem áður er vikið að:

What Hamas Is Seeking

By Mousa Abu Marzook, Washington Post, Tuesday, January 31, 2006; A17
DAMASCUS, Syria -- A new era in the struggle for Palestinian liberation is upon us. Through historic fair and free elections, the Palestinian people have spoken.

Accordingly, America's long-standing tradition of supporting the oppressed's rights to self-determination should not waver. The United States, the European Union and the rest of the world should welcome the unfolding of the democratic process, and the commitment to aid should not falter. Last week's victory of the Change and Reform Party in the Palestinian legislative elections signals a new hope for an occupied people.
The results of these elections reflect a need for change from the corruption and intransigence of the past government. Since its creation 10 years ago, the Palestinian Legislative Council has been unsuccessful in addressing the needs of the people. As the occupation solidified its grip under the auspices of "peace agreements," quality of life deteriorated for Palestinians in the occupied territories. Poverty levels soared, unemployment rates reached uncharted heights and the lack of basic security approached unbearable depths. A grass-roots alternative grew out of the urgency of this situation.
Through its legacy of social work and involvement in the needs of the Palestinian people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) flourished as a positive social force striving for the welfare of all Palestinians. Alleviating the debilitative conditions of occupation, and not an Islamic state, is at the heart of our mandate (with reform and change as its lifeblood).

Despite the pressures of occupation and corrupt self-rule, Palestinian civil society has demonstrated its resilience in the face of repressive conditions. Social institutions can now be given new life

under a reformed government that embraces the empowerment of the people, facilitates freedoms and protects civil rights.
Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the unique history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. In addition, fair governance demands that the Palestinian nation be represented in a pluralistic environment. A new breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

In that vein, Hamas has pledged transparency in government. Honest leadership will result from the accountability of its public servants. Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant role in public life. The movement has forged genuine and lasting relationships with Christian candidates.

As we embark on a new phase in the struggle to liberate Palestine, we recognize the recent elections as a vote against the failures of the current process. A new "road map" is needed to lead us away from the path of checkpoints and walls and onto the path of freedom and justice. The past decade's "peace process" has led to a dramatic rise in the expansion of illegal settlements and land confiscation. The realities of occupation include humiliating checkpoints, home demolitions, open-ended administrative detentions, extrajudicial killings and thousands of dead civilians.

The Islamic Resistance Movement was elected to protect the Palestinians from the abuses of occupation, based on its history of sacrifice for the cause of liberty. It would be a mistake to view the collective will of the Palestinian people in electing Hamas in fair and free elections under occupation as a threat. For meaningful dialogue to occur there should be no prejudgments or preconditions. And we do desire dialogue. The terms of the dialogue should be premised on justice, mutual respect and integrity of the parties. As the Israelis value their own security, Palestinians are entitled to their fundamental rights to live in dignity and security. We ask them to reflect on the peace that our peoples once enjoyed and the protection that Muslims gave the Jewish community worldwide. We will exert good-faith efforts to remove the bitterness that Israel's occupation has succeeded in creating, alienating a generation of

Palestinians. We call on them not to condemn posterity to endless bloodshed and a conflict in which dominance is illusory. There must come a day when we will live together, side by side once again.

The failed policies of the U.S. administration are the result of the inherent contradiction in its position as Israel's strongest ally and an "honest broker" in the conflict. World nations have condemned the brutal Israeli occupation. For the sake of peace, the United States must abandon

its position of isolation and join the rest of the world in calling for an end to the occupation, assuring the Palestinians their right to self-determination.

We appeal to the American people's sense of fairness to judge this conflict in light of the great thoughts, principles and ideals you hold dear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the democracy you have built. It is not unreasonable to expect America to practice abroad what it preaches at home. We can but sincerely hope that you use your honest judgment and the blessings of ascendancy God has given you to demand an end to the occupation. Meaningful democracy cannot flourish as long as an external force maintains the balance of power. It is the right of all people to pursue their own destiny.

The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with activities on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the organization was

placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was

deported to Jordan in 1997.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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DE-DEMONIZE HAMAS AND SUPPORT DEMOCRACY By John V. Whitbeck

If one views the world through the eyes of Israeli and Western governments and media, one is likely to believe that the primary obstacle to Middle East peace has for the past several years been Fatah's failure to "dismantle the infrastructure of terror" and has now become Hamas' desire for the "destruction of Israel". A greater obstacle may be the failure to question what, if anything, such catch phrases actually mean and to move beyond them to rational thought.

What does "dismantling the infrastructure of terror" mean? What "infrastructure"? Roads? Bridges? Office buildings? Given the distinctly personal and low-tech nature of the acts characterized as "terror" in the Palestinian context, "dismantling the infrastructure of terror" sounds rather like tearing arms and legs off people. It was not surprising that Israel and the West never sought to be precise about what they had in mind, since the objective of insisting that negotiations could not be resumed until the "infrastructure of terror" was dismantled was never to stimulate any conceivable action on the Palestinian side but, rather, to justify inaction on the Israeli side -- the avoidance of negotiations, which Ariel Sharon, with his unilateralist proclivities, was determined to avoid while building walls and fixing "permanent borders" as he saw fit. What was surprising was that the former Palestinian leadership did not point out the absurdity of this demand, choosing instead to issue public assurances that it would love to do so and would when it could, thereby implicitly accepting the Israeli and Western argument that the Palestinians, uniquely, have no right to resist occupation -- reason enough (even if there were no others) for them to be voted out of office. Now that Hamas' smashing election victory has rendered "dismantling the infrastructure of terror" moot, it appears that the "destruction of Israel" (already recited in the Western media virtually as though it formed part of Hamas' name) will become the new catch phrase used to justify avoiding negotiations or even "talks", as well as Israel's withholding of Palestinian customs revenues, the West's withholding of financial aid for Palestinian subsistence under occupation and a concerted effort to make the Palestinian people regret their flirtation with democracy and starve them into submission.

It is therefore worth asking, early on, what wishing for the "destruction of Israel" actually means. The country's land surface sinking beneath the waters of the Mediterranean? Not likely. All Israelis being "pushed into the sea"? Neither likely nor practical. The end of the current settler-colonial state structure, which discriminates, both in law and in practice, in favor of the immigrant ethnic group and against those members of the indigenous population who have not already been ethnically cleansed? People may in good faith believe that such state structures are a good thing and deserve to endure (or, uniquely, to endure in this one instance), but is it really "beyond the pale" to believe otherwise -- particularly if one belongs to the people whose homeland has been conquered and occupied?

Is anyone who believes that that the transformation of the Arab land of Palestine into the Jewish state of Israel, necessarily involving the dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people, represents a great injustice that should be rectified, by virtue of so believing, so morally debased that they should not even be spoken with? When the South African liberation movement called for the replacement of their country's settler-colonial, white-supremacist state structure by a fully democratic state, free of any form of discrimination based on race, religion or national origin and with equal rights for all who live there, this was not characterized as advocating the "destruction of South Africa" -- except by the apartheid regime itself. The peaceful transformation of that race-based state into a fully democratic one has been the most inspirational event in human and international relations in recent decades. Concepts and aspirations may be formulated in positive or negative ways.

The "destruction of Israel" is clearly a negative formulation. The "creation of a fully democratic state with equal rights for all" in all of Israel/Palestine could be a positive reformulation which would be recognized by the world as just and offer genuine hope for peace and reconciliation. Israel and the West appear to be gearing up to punish the Palestinian people for having achieved the Arab world's first peaceful change of government through a genuinely democratic election (a truly breathtaking achievement), recycling the old mantra that "we will never talk with terrorists" ("never" having historically meant "until we wish to do so").

If Israel and the West were genuinely interested in peace, it would surely be wiser and more constructive to preemptively de-demonize Hamas (as the PLO was de-demonized when finally deemed convenient), to draw some enlightening conclusions from its election victory and to try, through engagement, to encourage it to adapt its aspirations and its quest for justice in a more positive and universally acceptable direction.

John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer, is author of "The World According to Whitbeck". 

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