The world is by now familiar with the violence between Palestine and Israel; For over fifty years since the creation of Israel, smack in the center of Arab land and front and center of Palestine country. It is safe to conclude that neither Palestinians nor Israelis are disciples of nonviolent political methodology made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Neither Palestine nor Israel can claim to have followed the teachings of Mother Teresa. It must be borne in mind that Israel is seen by Palestinians as occupier and usurper of Palestine lands. Israel has never limited itself to lawful tactics, Israel has not been shy to apply aggressive military tactics in Sabra Shatila, or in the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and everywhere else in Palestine and all of the Middle East of Arabia.
Israel has acted too often, outside of legal norms and United Nations conventions and protocols. In fact, Israel has been known, to have historically disregarded UN resolutions, including Nuclear non-proliferation rules, strategic ambiguities and all.
Hamas is reputed for its violent struggle with Israel and even with moderate Arabs. Hamas military wing, engaged in bloody campaigns and a zero sum policy toward Israel, all these, in search of a free Palestine that is not beholden to anyone. Palestine insists they are fighting colonialism and occupation, these are not friendly endeavors worldwide and history is my witness.
Hamas is not all military, and violent in their campaigns for a free Palestine. Hamas has provided social services, including medical services, schools and trainings etc which won the hearts and minds of the average man and woman in Palestine.
Hamas became synonymous with effectiveness and efficiency compared with the established government of the Palestinian Authority administered by the Fatah party, the offspring of the PLO, a brainchild of the late Yasser Arafat
Hamas has now nominated Mr. Haniya to be Prime Minister of Palestine, and all of a sudden there are threats and intimidations emanating from America, Israel and even Europe!
It is a wrong headed policy on the part of the United States, Israel and all others who are attempting to stifle or strangle democracy and governance in Palestine, just because, the ballot box has not produced a puppet or someone that is subject to sundry manipulations.
Hamas won their elections fair and square. Hamas is not accused of any electoral malpractices or frauds. Hamas must be allowed to form a legitimate and constitutional government without outside interference and intermeddling by the United States, Israel and Europe. Israel should unfreeze monies meant for Palestine. In the alternative, Palestine should declare nationhood and create her own currency and institutions!
President Bush should be proud of Hamas for accepting his preachment of democracy. Hamas has embraced constitutionalism and legality. Hamas accepted President Bush s favorite export to the Arabs in the Middle East. Now, who is afraid of democracy or the success of democracy?
It may well be the case that President Bush’s democracy export has worked in Palestine by default. But Hamas now stand as the elected representatives of the people of Palestine and the Americans, the Israelis and Europeans do not have to like that fact, but they must accept it. Accepting Hamas will put to rest, some concerns already expressed regarding the permanent double standards that the Western world frequently indulges in.
Two instances in the past several days stand out clearly. First, David Irvin was convicted in an Austrian court for saying the Holocaust never happened (which of course is contrary to the facts of history and therefore, a ridiculous and absurd thing for David Irvin to say, write or teach. But we must be reminded about freedom of expression and freedom of thought, even if such thoughts or expressions are absurd and illogical!
Soon after, the Mayor Ken Livingstone, mayor of London was suspended for one month beginning on March 1, 2006. Mayor Livingstone was suspended because he used inappropriate and insensitive language in addressing a journalist Mr. Oliver Finegold, who happens to be Jewish. Some have already described the suspension of the Mayor of London, as an overreaction. And they may be right, given the fact that the whole world, particularly Western Europe, have been deriding Muslims for reacting with umbrage to a “mere” cartoons and caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and Islam.
The bulk of the defense of the cartoonists and caricaturists, were hinged on press freedom and freedom of expression. But do these same fine rules of freedom also apply to David Irvin and Ken Livingstone? The world is watching and sees these manipulations and double standards.
Hamas on their part, has now has a very huge responsibility. Hamas must publicly accept peace agreements entered in the past by leaders of Palestine. Hamas must demonstrate to the world in words and actions that they have not engaged in gratuitous violence or violence for its sake! Hamas must reach for the olive branch and declare itself partner with Israel in the peace process. Hamas elected officials must now emphasize democratic credentials and the value of peaceful negotiations and diplomacy.
Both Israel and Palestine must renounce violence. Targeted killings must stop. Suicide bombing must stop. Israel and Palestine must now give peace a chance.
America, Israel, Europe and the whole world will do well to respect democracy and freedom as expressed through the ballots in Palestine. Hamas members elected by the people of Palestine remain the elected representative of Palestine and that is democracy at work.
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