by Fahad Ansari (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 37, No. 3, Rabi' al-Thani, 1429)
In recent years, there has been increasing awareness of the true nature of zionism and the Israeli state in the West. FAHAD ANSARI discusses the reasons for this change, and finds them in the determination of Palestinians to resist their oppression and dispossession.
“The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria ... The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with someone who must be involved.”
These were the words in late April of a former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, after a visit to Syria to meet Khalid Meshaal, the political head in exile of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. That such a visit, let alone such a statement, could be made by a former US president on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel, indicates howrealpolitik has changed in the Middle East over the last six decades. Twenty years ago, Hamas had just been officially founded and was heavily involved in the first intifada, drawing up its notorious Charter, which is now quoted regularly by Zionists and their supporters in their desperate attempts to discredit Hamas.
Ten years ago it was impossible for any senior politician to suggest that Hamas be involved in peace talks, while Arafat and his cronies surrendered more and more land to the Israelis in return for an endless series of invitations to the White House. Today, having been given an indisputable mandate by the Palestinian people in January 2006 in what hundreds of independent monitors, including Carter, have described as the fairest elections ever to be held in the Middle East, Hamas enjoys a legitimacy that can no longer be ignored. Despite the best endeavours of the international community to discredit and undermine the Hamas administration by two years of economic sanctions and an attempted coup, Hamas enjoys greater popularity than ever before. Reuters reported that on 17 December last, up to 500,000 Palestinians (nearly one third of Ghazzah's population) converged on Katiba Square in CentralGhazzah to mark the twentieth anniversary of Hamas' founding, undermining Western propaganda that the movement has little support amongst Palestinians. Even after losing several of its most charismatic leaders by way of assassination, including Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Dr Abdul-Aziz Rantissi, Hamas has emerged stronger than ever.
Such has been the result of the Islamic movement's refusal to compromise and its determination to remain loyal to its founding aims and objectives. With conviction that the Truth will always prevail, Hamas has resisted calls from all quarters, including the Muslim and Arab world, to compromise on its core purpose of liberating Palestine. When Carter announced to the world that Hamas was willing to recognise Israel after his meeting with Meshaal in Damascus, Meshaal immediately set the record straight. Reiterating the terms which the Hamasleadership has proposed for several years, Meshaal stated that what he had offered was a truce for ten years in exchange for Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the removal of all settlements. Lesser men might have “gone with the flow”, comforted by the fact that a former US president and Nobel Peace Prize winner was lending him his support: but not KhalidMeshaal, who proves the indomitable spirit of Hamas and absolute refusal to surrender a land which it knows does not belong to its leaders or even to the Palestinian people, but in fact is a trust given by Allah to His righteous servants.
And the Truth has prevailed. In the sixty years since the creation of Israel, the beast has slowly come to be recognised for what it is and for what it always has been. The veneer is finally coming off as the myth surrounding Israel slowly fades away. Israel has for sixty years presented itself as an island of freedom, democracy and human rights in an ocean of repressive Arab and Islamic dictatorial regimes. This image has been tainted, however, by comments from numerous world leaders, NGOs, veteran anti-apartheid activists, and Israeli academics and writers, which have exposed the real racist and oppressive nature of the Zionist entity. In 2002 Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote a series of articles in major newspapers, comparing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank to apartheid South Africa, and calling for the international community to withdraw support from Israel until the territories are no longer occupied. In one such article in the Guardian, Tutu compared Israeli might and power with that of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin. Other prominent South African anti-apartheid activists who have made similar analogies, and in fact stated that Israeli policies towards the Palestinians exceed apartheid in their oppressiveness, include Farid Esack, Ronnie Kasrils, Winnie Mandela, Dennis Goldberg and Arun Ghandi. The writing was even on the wall as long ago as 1961, when Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa's apartheid policies, said that “The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”
Other world leaders who have drawn this comparison include Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski and John Dugard, a South African who is a professor of international law and judge on the International Court of Justice. In 2007, in his capacity as special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories, Dugard described the situation in the West Bankas “an apartheid regime...worse than the one that existed in South Africa.” His proposed successor, Richard Falk, went a step further in this year, comparing the crimes of Israel to those of the Nazis.
As the people of the world have slowly woken from their slumber and begun to observe the utter immorality of supporting Israel against the Palestinians, they too have taken whatever action they can. Calls for a boycott of Israel are now more popular than ever, whereas proposals for such action just twenty years ago would have been stifled by obscure allegations of anti-Semitism. Today demands for boycott and divestment from Israel come from all four corners of the globe, with NGOs, trade unions and churches all voting to boycott Israel in various ways, including tourism, academia, sport and culture. The most prominent attempt to boycott was that proposed against Israeli academia by the national executive committee of the University College Union, London, in May 2007. The motion was subsequently withdrawn after an international outcry on the basis that it would be “unlawful”. In March 2008, the UCU again voted to submit a motion to its annual conference to revive the proposal.
Moreover, it has gradually come about that Israeli war criminals can no longer simply come and go around the world as they please without hindrance or accountability for their actions. Although we have not yet reached the stage at which Israeli soldiers are being brought before war crimes tribunals, such as those established for the former Republic of Yugoslavia and forRwanda, we are on that road. In November 2002 Lieutenant-General Shaul Mofaz, then Israeli defence minister, was forced to cut short a speaking tour in Britain when the Director of Public Prosecutions asked the British police to investigate war crimes allegations against him.
In September 2005 Major General Doron Almog was unable to disembark from an El Al flight at Heathrow airport: he was tipped off about his impending arrest while in the air, and stayed on the plane for two hours to avoid capture, until it flew back to Israel. Scotland Yard detectives were armed with a warrant naming Almog as a war crimes suspect for ordering the demolitions of 59 civilian Palestinian homes. The arrest warrant, issued at Bow Street magistrates court, central London, was the first warrant for war crimes of its kind issued in Britainagainst an Israeli national over conduct in the conflict. Despite the fact that British detectives refused to board the plane for fear that attempts to arrest him could lead to a firefight, it was a landmark in the struggle for justice for the Palestinians that an arrest warrant was issued at all. Subsequently, then Israeli chief-of-staff Dan Halutz and his predecessor, Moshe Ya'alon, were warned against visiting Britain for fear of similar arrests. In November 2006 Ya'alon, did have a warrant for his arrest issued by a district court on a trip to Auckland, New Zealand. He was ultimately also spared by the Attorney General, but the message is becoming clear: Israeli war criminals will be hunted down around the world until they refuse to even leave Israelfor fear of prosecution. In February 2006 IDF Gaza division commander Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi cancelled a leave to study in England for fear that he would be arrested and tried for war crimes. Kochavi had played a key role during Operation Defense Shield in 2002, in which hundreds of Palestinians were massacred during an Israeli offensive. An Israeli security source was quoted at the time as saying, “At this point, to send him to London, or any other officer who fought in the territories, is a danger.”
In 60 years, Israel's image as a peaceful victim of Arab and Islamic aggression has evaporated as the true nature of the Zionist entity has become clear to the world. An increasing number of voices from every tier of human society are demanding that Hamas be included in any decision-making process. Palestinian scholars such as Dr Azzam Tamimi have predicted that the state of Israel in its current state will no longer exist after another 40 years – studying the pattern that has emerged in the last six decades, this prediction may well come true.