by M.S. Ahmed (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 28, No. 10, Rabi' al-Thani, 1420)
Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, the leader of the Islamic resistance in Palestine (Hamas), has renewed his recent warning of an even greater sell-out to Israel. He dismissed the hope for a Middle East ‘peace’, that Arab leaders have been pinning on the recently-confirmed Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, as ‘baseless’, and declared in no uncertain terms that Hamas will continue its resistance to the Zionist occupation of the West Bank and the Ghazzah Strip. Both warnings, not surprisingly, have been generally suppressed by the Arab and western media, with those few featuring them denying them the prominence they deserve.
The 63-year-old leader of Hamas made his latest statement on July 6, following the formation of Barak’s cabinet and ‘president’ Yassir Arafat’s public endorsement of it. “There is no justification whatsoever for the Palestinian Authority and Arabs to pin such high hopes on Barak, given his bloodstained history”, he said, adding that the true situation would turn out to be vastly different from their expectations. Shaikh Yassin said that Hamas would continue to pursue its own strategy, to resist tJewish settlements, and to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
His statement was in direct contrast to Arafat’s favourable reaction to the inauguration of Barak as prime minister on July 6. Arafat expressed his readiness to deal with Barak to achieve what Barak called the ‘peace of the brave’.
Shaikh Yassin had earlier made an even stronger statement, issued in Ghazzah on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday, in which he warned Palestinians of the dangers of ‘normalization’ with Israel and of reliance on Barak to liberate them, explaining what it takes to achieve true independence. He was quoted at saying : “Beware of normalization, and remember that those betting on Barak will have their hopes dashed... You want Palestine without using force, without jihad or martyrdom. You want a gift from Barak and the US, the ones that attacked Tunis and killed Abu Jihad, attacked Lebanon and killed Abu Yusuf al-Najar and his colleagues”.
The Hamas leader added that the enemy understands nothing except the language of force from a generation of strength, jihad and martyrdom; that anyone believing that he can recover Palestine without this is dreaming; and that what is happening now is surrender, not peace, which will never be accepted by the Palestinian people. “Our people have proven throughout their history that they do not bow, and will succeed in liberating al-Quds and Palestine and in saying no to injustice”, he said. “We will never surrender a single grain of our soil or a drop of our water as well as our seas. We consider Palestine to be Islamic from the river to the sea.”
He concluded his statement by categorically rejecting what is on offer under the Oslo and Wye accords: a tiny Palestinian ‘state’, criss-crossed by Israeli roads connecting Jewish settlements dotting the small portion of Palestine conceded to Arafat, which is fast becoming a ghetto and a prison for Islamic activists rounded up by the PLO’s brutal security forces, doing the work which the zionists failed to do.
“What I want is not a meaningless and weak state shredded into bits by settlements but a victorious and sovereign one capable of waging jihad”, he said, adding, for good measure, that Arafat should free all political detainees in the Palestinian Authority’s jails.
This defiant restatement of the case for a free Palestine, and declaration of jihad, was naturally ignored by those plotting yet another sell-out to Tel Aviv. Israel’s reaction was simply to declare that it would take necessary steps to ‘prevent terrorists from scuttling the peace-process’, while Arab leaders heaped praise on Barak as a ‘trustworthy man of peace’.
Syria’s president Hafez al-Assad was quickest off the mark following Barak’s confirmation, declaring the new Israeli leader to be ‘a strong man who wanted peace’. Ailing and desperate to secure the presidency for his eldest son, he needs to recover the Gholan heights captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Both Israel and Syria have signalled their intention to negotiate a peace deal in the near future. If this happens, it will have serious repercussions for Palestinian groups based in Damascus, as well as the Hizbullah. Assad’s move was to visit Russia, apparently hoping it may act as a counter-weight to the US’s massive pro-Israeli presence in any talks. But the west’s tolerance of Russia’s recent uppishness is unlikely to extend to interference in matters concerning its favourite pet, Israel.
Egypt’s president Husni Mubarak, who as Sadat’s vice-president was co-author of the Camp David sell-out, and is spearheading the latest capitulation, praised Barak as a man of peace, and travelled to Washington to confer with president Clinton and leaders of Jewish organizations in America. A US newspaper report described Mubarak as ‘Clinton’s number-one advisor on the Middle East peace-process after King Hussain’s death’.
On his way back from Washington, he stopped at Paris to brief French leaders. While there, he admitted in a newspaper interview that he knew Barak well and found him trustworthy. In an interview with Le Figaro published on July 5, Mubarak was quoted as saying: “I know the new prime minister well because I used to meet him frequently. I believe he is trustworthy. And he will apparently adopt the same line [followed by Yitzhak Rabin before his assassination]. I believe that things will move quickly!”
Mubarak, in an obvious attempt to cover his tracks, added that as the central issue was the Palestinian question, Barak must first implement the Wye agreement (signed in the US last October between Netanyahu, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, and Arafat) before cutting any deals with Syria and Lebanon. But the Wye accord itself is a sell-out to Israel which Shaikh Yassin categorically rejects, and the Egyptian leader’s words are merely for public consumption.
As a new government in Israel came to power, Mubarak said, “It holds the promise of better days for all the people of Israel”. When a leading Arab president comes to view Palestinian and Israeli interests to be synonymous, then there must be something tragically wrong and a sell-out in the making. All Muslims, not only Palestinians, must heed Shaikh Yassin’s warning.
Muslimedia: July 16-31, 1999