PLO negotiates with Israel.
The intifadhah saw a radicle shift in the position held by Israel on PLO. Israel has vowed not to recognise PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The events of 1987 changed all that. Facing a bigger threat from the popular Islamic movement (HAMAS), Israel has little choice but to seek a peace partner. Efforts were orchestrated to bring PLO to the negotiating table. This lead to the Madrid agreement in 1981 between the PLO and Israel, shrouded in secrecy. Mahmoud Abbas played a pivotal role in the early negotiation between the two parties. The Madrid meeting paved the way for the historic Oslo Accord concluded in 1993.
What are the agreements reached by both parties at Oslo? 1. PLO recognises Israel, acknowledging the partition plan endorsed by the UN 181 resolution of 1947 and the additional territory endorsed by the Rhodes armistice of 1949. The legal implication of this is PLO will never lay claims again on the 78% of the historical Palestine, wrested by the jews from their rightful Palestinian owner. 2. Israel recognizes PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. 3. The occupied West Bank will be categorically designated as Area A, B and C. They represents area of complete Palestinian control, areas under shared Palestinian-Israeli jurisdiction (civil authority under the Palestinians, security arrangment under Israel) and areas under complete Israeli control. In areas wherby Palestinians were given full control, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was created to oversee the security needs. By the way Oslo designated a small area - Jericho (Ariha) to be administered by PNA according to a scheduled withdrawal of Israeli administrative and security forces. Oslo was not without preconditions imposed on the PLO. They must ensure the security of Israel by putting down the intifadhah (resistance) by the other Palestinian factions particularly HAMAS. This is a classic example of 'clean imperialism' wherby you engaged a willing section of the subjugated colonize people to deal with the unruly and those that undertake resistance. With the conclusion of Oslo, PNA comprised of FATAH bears full responsibility to see to the security needs of Israel in the occupied land.
The question of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees were not touched at Oslo. The future of Jerusalem was also not deliberated. Oslo was the first attempt at peace that actually lead to the sell out of the Palestinian cause. Yasser Arafat turned his back against his own people. Israel continued with the Judaization of East Jerusalem, and there was no sign of slowing down of settlement activities in the West Bank.
The al-Aqsa intifadhah 2000
Based on the Oslo agreement, a liberated Palestinian state would be a reality by 1998 -the final boundaries were still imaginary at best. However by the year 2000, nothing substantial has happened on the ground, apart from discontiguous cantonments criss-crossed by Israeli network of roads connecting jewish settlements that seems to be ever expanding in area. There was no evidence of a viable Palestinian state or a semblace of it as stipulated by the Oslo accord. Oslo paved the way to a host of other peace negotiations, Sharm-ul-syeikh I, II, Taba, Oslo II. These so called peace negotiations were nothing but a process of continuous humiliation and a complete disgrace to the Palestinians.
Than in 2000, Ariel Sharon, the then Prime Minister provocatively lead 2,000 Israeli soldiers into the compund of Haram as-Shariff (The al Aqsa mosque). This lead to a massive protest and the flames of intifadhah was rekindled anew. The zionist regime used all its might to put down the resistance. Israeli soldiers were given the orders to 'shoot to kill'. One such shocking image captured on film by a Frech journalist was circulated around the world - depicting an Israeli soldier aiming his rifle on a 10 year old boy, Muhammad Ad-Durrah with his father. They went out to get something for the house and 'was caught in the crossfire' when clearly there were no gunfights with Palestinian fighters. Muhammad ad-Durra and his farther were seen desperately waving at the Israeli soldiers not to shoot as they crouched against a wall, in full view of the Isareli patrol. One of the soldier took aim and rained them with a hail of bullets, instantly killing Muhammad ad-Durrah and seriously wounding his farther. Muhammad ad-Durrah was but one of the countless Palestinians of all ages including children to die summarily on the streets by trigger-happy zionist soldiers. The statistics of Palestinian casualties rose by the scores on a daily basis reaching more than 4,000 death and close to 10,000 injuries during the peak of the al Aqsa intifadhah. Palestinian of all ages suspected of supporting the intifadhah were picked from the streets and dragged from their homes to face incarcerations in notorious Israeli prisons. The number of Palestinian languishing in Israeli prison now stands at more than 13,000 including at 300 women and at least a thousand minors. They did not have the right to stand trial and were subjected to every kinds of torture.
At this juncture, HAMAS and other factions including FATAH's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigade resorted to the so-called 'suicide bombing' as a means of fighting back. It has triggered a wave of condemnation from around the world. But such actions were viewed as permissible and legitimate from the Islamic jurisprudence. According to the erudite scholar, Prof Dr Yusuf al-Qardhawi the act of laying down one's life in Palestine is the highest form of jihad.
Before touching on the subject of jihad, it is pertinent to put one's judgement based on the Islamic perspective. Jihad is not about killing the infidels or non-muslims as the media made it out. Jihad is an Arabic word which translate as striving to do one's best in seeking the pleasure of all-mighty Allah. It is an obligation of every muslim and it covers every aspect of a muslim's endeavour in life be it in the field of personal spiritual advancement to the greater political and social spheres. One important aspect of jihad is the obligation to defend one's homeland in the face of external threats.
In the Palestinian case, they were driven out from their homes and their homeland occupied by settlers who came from Europe claiming biblical rights on Palestine, ignoring the indisputable fact that thousands of years before Abraham (Ibrahim A.S.), the patriach arrived from Iraq, Palestine was already peopled by the Canaanites, the ancestor of the Arabs of Palestine today. Abraham was survived by his two son's, Ishmael (Ismail A.S.) and Isaac (Ishak A.S.). While Isaac was considered as the father of the jews, through his son, Jacob (Yaakub A.S.). Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, from whose lineage came prophet Muhammad S.A.W. (Peace and blessings be upon him). The Arabs and the jews are both Semitic people, and no one has the right to drive away the descendants of the original inhabitants, the indegenious Palestinian people.
What then justifies the act of blowing oneself up in defense of the homeland. Islamic rulings are always based on the circumstances, in other words, the same act of sacrificing oneself by detonating explosives strapped to the body done somewhere else (for instance in Bali, Jakarta, Pakistan) is never endorsed by Islam. Make no mistakes, Islam denounced such acts and there was no question that these are crimes, wrongly ascribed to Islam. However the situation in Palestine warrants such actions. The scholars have deliberated on it's permissibility by the following arguments. The palestinian are not only oppressed and persecuted, they do not have the means of defending themselves. Thier lives and that of their families were at the mercy of Israel and her military might. They were strafed and bombed by Israeli jet fighters and their homes shelled by Israeli tanks and heavy guns. The Palestinians freedom fighters on the other hands were only equipped with small arms, and these weapons by the way were in short supply. They were under occupation, the borders were completely sealed and surrounded by Arab countries who are more inclined to serve Israeli and American strategic interest. To the condemnation that these attacks targeted the Israeli public (not servicemen), this was argued that the Israeli people is a party to the zionist project. Since they willingly took up residence in Palestine and lived on land stolen from the original Palestinian inhabitants, they essentially declares war and became a legitimate target. It is unfortunate that sometimes women, children and the infirm became victims in such attacks. But compare this to the justifications of bombing the cities of Europe by the American and the British during the second world war. Hamburg, Frankfurt, Bonn, Munich were flattened to the ground and the bulk of the casualties were civilians. Too bad German military installations and factories were built in the cities making them perfect military targets. It was just unfortunate that civilians got in the way. What about the American military adventurism in Vietnam. B-52 bombers dropped bombs on hamlets, town and cities sometimes wiping the whole population to rid them of suspected Vietcong guerillas and sympathizers.
The zionist army targets and kill Palestinian children and the whole world look the other way.. But when Israeli children got in the way of the so called suicide bombing, the Palestinian were labelled as 'baby killers'.
What was the result of the 'Amaliah ishtihadiyah? For the first time in history, this martydom operations managed to cause comparable casualties to Israel. It turned out to be an effective deterrent measure as in some months following al-Aqsa intifadhah, there were substantially less atrocities and wanton killings of Palestinians for fear of more 'suicide bombings'.
HAMAS political programme
Israel puts the blame squarely on PNA for failing to fullfill the preconditions for peace i.e putting down the resistance or intifadhah by various Palestinian factions. To convice her 'peace partner' (Israel) the PNA turned her security force against fellow Palestinians, arresting suspected activists and subjected them to torture. They became a tool for Israel to persecute their own people, a perfect recipe to sow hatred and turn Palestinians against Palestinians. However the leadership of HAMAS have constantly reminded the Palestinians that their enemy is the zionist. Syeikh Ahmad Yassin, the spiritual leader of HAMAS said these words to the Palestinian authorities 'We will take the que from the Quran and adopt the position of Habil when threatened by Qabil (the biblical Cain and Abel), "you can kill me, but I will not kill you". With this principle, the Palestinian people was urged to remain steadfast under persecution and observe self restraint, all in the name of preserving unity in the face of the zionist occupation.
In the meanwhile Israel continue to persecute Palestinian freedom fighters, which they conveniently labeled as terrorist, and wherever possible cut them down. Covert military operations were carried out to track down top HAMAS leadership and make attempts on their lives, often killing family members and associates instead. Yaseer Arafat was seen to have failed to do the zionist bidding. Eventually Ariel Sharon lost his patience and declared Yasser Arafat as an accomplice of the Palestinian uprising and decided to rid him off. Yasser Arafat holed up in his headquaters in Ramallah and barely escape when the Israeli army closed in on him. Yasser Arafat has done everything to convince his zionist counterparts that he is committed to the peace process and will never let HAMAS and other Palestinian factions gets in the way. Even when as-Syahid Syeikh Ahmad Yassin and Dr Abdul aziz Rantisi met their martyrdom in the hands of the Israeli army, Yasser Arafat arrested no less than 11 Hamas activists whom the Palestinian authority has identified were planning for a retaliatory attacks on Israeli targets. But these were not good enough, and Yasser Arafat eventually died in the most mysterious circumstance. He died in a hospital in France and no post mortem report was forth coming. Rumours has it that Yasser Arafat was killed by his own close associates, bought over by the zionist.
The assasinations of the two top leadership of HAMAS, as-Syahid Syeikh Ahmad Yaasin, (the wheelchair bound HAMAS spiritual guide) and as-Syahid Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi were executed with the objectives of weakening HAMAS, especially in Gaza. Ariel Sharon was planning for a total pull-out from Gaza in 2005. Jewish settlers were forced to vacate their homes in Gaza. The settlers put up 'a brave resistance'. The truth is each family was given no less than USD300,000 in compensation and resettled in the East Jarusalem and other strategic settlements in the West Bank. It was just a strategic maneuvre to tighten the zionist grip on the Jarusalem.
Legislative election 2006
As an Islamic movement with a strong base and public support, HAMAS must continue to reassess its policies, objectives and modus operandi to achieve those objectives. One of the options that should be seriously considered is the political process and involvement in elections. HAMAS decided to stay out of the Presidential election, which saw the election of Mahmood Abbas @ Abu Mazen from FATAH as the President, taking over from Yasser Arafat at the helm. Such decision has its own merit based on the prevailing circumstances. However when the first legislative election was planned for the occupied territories, HAMAS adopted a different position and decided to participate. The legislative election was part of President Bush strategy to undermine HAMAS and gives legitimacy to FATAH, to represent the Palestinian people. The Carter (former US president) foundation was chosen to oversee to the fair and free electoral process. But to everyone's dismay, HAMAS turned out as the clear winner, grabbing 67 seats as opposed to Fatah, 45.
HAMAS did not win the election because of it's ideological leanings. HAMAS did not make any reference to the implementation of Syariah in its campaign menifesto, as an Islamic party would understandably and typically commits. HAMAS only promised to undertake a comprehansive reform to the present PNA government, then dominated by FATAH, to sustain the struggle to end the occupation and restore the honour and rights of Palestinian to their homeland. The people voted in HAMAS because they have lost hopes on FATAH. The national coffers was completely dried when HAMAS took over. FATAH leaders have been implicated with a widespread practice of grafts, misappropriation of public funds and colluding with the zionist regime, and these are not mere allegations.
HAMAS became the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people through an election that has been announced by the Carter foundation as free from any fraudulent practices, so rampant in the third world countries and developing nations. However, the US which is supposed to be the guardian of democracy chose not to recognise the elected HAMAS government. Instead the US and her allies in the Middle East quartet, comprising of the EU, Russia, the UN and the US set an ultimatum for HAMAS. The latter must recognise Israel, cease resistance (by complete disarmament) and honour every prior peace arrangement conluded between the Palestinian authority and Israel. Failure to comply to this would only meant one thing - a comprehensive economic blockade and complete siege on Palestinian territories. Scores of HAMAS member of parliament and lawmakers in the West Bank were arrested by Israel shortly after the election win.
From 2006 to 2008, every attempt was made to topple the HAMAS government in Gaza, but to no avail. HAMAS enjoys an overwhelming support from the Palestinians public instead even in the face of the most debilitating economic strangulation the world has ever seen. (I have published a book entitled (In bahasa Malaysia - 'Dalang di Palestin, Hamas atau Israel, which documents the economic blockade faced by HAMAS and the Palestinian over the two year period 2006-2007). Such barbaric collective punishment by the zionist on the Palestinian showed no signs of abatement, but instead culminated into the massive military strike from December 2008 - 2009 on a completely defenseless population. But Israel has failed to comprehend the resolve of the Palestinian people, they remain committed to uphold the national aspirations, even in the face of near annihilation.
The concluding part.
Having explained in 10 parts the historical background, now I will conclude byexplaining HAMAS position on the 'Two State Solution'
HAMAS like any other peace loving community around the world would like to see an end to the sufferings of both the Palestinian people and the citizens of Israel. They are not the blood thirsty monster, or a terrorist organization who has no regard for human lives, bent on seeing the annihilation of the jews, as potrayed by the western propoganda. The media keep feeding the myth that if HAMAS gain control of Palestine and takes over Israel than they will 'drive the jews into the sea'.
The problem is, Israel and her western sponsors have failed to engage HAMAS. They keep on telling the whole world that they would never talk to a terrorist organization. Whether the world likes it or not, we must come to face the reality and accept the fact that HAMAS is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, democratically chosen through a free and fair election (A fact that even the losing party, FATAH acknowledges). The world insist that HAMAS is a terrorist organization but the Palestinian may have a different veiw alltogether. If HAMAS is a terror organization the world makes it to be, than why would the Palestinians cast their votes in favour of HAMAS. They knew HAMAS, the leadership and their activists long before her inception in 1987.
Perhaps these true stories will reflect some of the virtues of some wellknown personalities in HAMAS. Syeikh Ahmad Yaasin for instance, a resident of Gaza, was incarcerated by Israel for years. Upon his release, HAMAS approved a monthly allowance for the Syeikh. Syeikh Ahmad Yassin only took a portion of the allowance, an amount deemed enough for the household and return the remainder. All his life he has been living amongts the refugees and displaced Palestinians in Gaza. He vows that the Palestinian people will die standing facing the enemy, and not facing away from them (fleeing from the enemy). His martyrdom was a testimony to his conviction. Every morning without fail, his helpers will push him on the wheelchair to a nearby mosque for the daily fajr (dawn) prayer. He was advised to pray at different mosques to avoind becoming an easy target by the zionist. Upon this suggestion, he calmly said, If Israel wants to kill him, they can do so, I am here on my wheelchair and I have no intention of fleeing from the enemy. One fateful morning as the Syeikh left the mosque after Fajr prayer, he was fired on by at least three missiles by an Apachee helicopter...
In 1995, Israel banished 500 people from HAMAS to a no man's land in Southern Lebanon. They were left in the cold without much provision. The group with their leader, Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi, a paedetrician, (also met his martydom just a couple of weeks after Syeikh Ahmad Yaasin) scour the surrounding area for anything to eat. They came across an orchard. Failing to locate the owner, they picked the ripening apricot fruits and tied their money to the branches. When the owner arrived, he looked for them and with tears in his eyes, said 'I have not seen someone who is driven by hunger, refusing to accept the food without paying for them'
These are the virtues and the qualities of these people that have won the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people. Even in the most desperate of situation they put the Palestinian cause before their own comfort and security. This is the reason behind the resounding victory of HAMAS in the first ever legislative Palestinian election of January 2006.
What did HAMAS offer to Israel to bring a lasting or prolonged peace in the occupied territories. HAMAS nor any Palestinians will never recognize Israel. How would you recognize settlers from Europe who came to claim your land and evict you from your houses at gunpoint. No man will take this form of humiliation, if he has any honour left in himself. But HAMAS is prepared and willing to engage in a long term ceasefire or HUDNA. This would only be possible if Israel agrees to abide to the UN resolution 242 of 1967 i.e. to pull back to the borders prior to 1967 (The green line). By pulling back from the West Bank and East Jarusalem and uplift the economic blockade and siege on Gaza, HAMAS will negotiate for a long term ceasefire. It may last for ten years or more, and renewable for an indefenite period, accepted by both parties. But to the question of recognizing Israel, this is not only possible but forbidden by Islam. In no circumstances that you recognize any form of annexation and colonization on the homeland. That has been the guiding principles of the muslim ummah, the world over. That is why, even though muslim countries came under hundreds of years of colonization, in principle they have never accepted the colonial rule, which in principle, is bondage and enslavement. They continue to resist, sometimes through an arm struggle, at other times through political means, until they free themselves from the colonial yolk and achieve independence.
What would HAMAS hope to achieve through this long term peace arrangment. The objective is to restore the rights of nealy 5 million Palestinian refugees who have been driven out from thier homes and has been living as refugees for the past sixty years. Israel is an artificial entity created by the Britsih colluding with the US and the UN. Anything artificial and unnatural is not sustainable. There will come a time when the illegitimate entity called Israel will expire. This is unavoidable with the weakening US grip on the global political hegemony. Empires have come and gone down the ages. We have seen the demise of the Roman empire, the Portuguese sea empire, the British empire and the US will not escape this natural fate that has befallen even the most invincible of empires in history.
What would happen than to the people of Israel. HAMAS and the Palestinian people will not 'drive them to the sea'. Instead they will be given an option, either they stay and become a full citizen of the restored Palestinian State, after they returned what has been wrongly taken from the rightful Palestinian owners and resettled to other areas, or they can return to the countries where they came from. They came from Russia, from all over Europe and even the US. These European and Western governement must be willing to accomadate their returning subjects, it is the only right thing for them. But rest assured, HAMAS will do exactly what Sallahuddin al Ayyubi (Saladin) has commendaly undertaken. The Cristian crusaders who wants to leave Jarusalem after their defeat were allowed to do so. No want was put to the sword, contrary to what the crusaders did when they ransacked the city a hundred years earlier (this is the truth, and no one can belie history).
This is HAMAS position on the 'Two State Solution'
Assoc. Prof Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor
PACE (Palestine Centre of Excellence)