Thursday, January 26, 2006



Will Hamas Outwit all Americans?

I love the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. I have never met a Palestinian that I didn’t like (that’s my story, and I’m sticking by it). There. Now you know my bias.

You should know my “expertise” as well. It’s not much. I spent two weeks in East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Ramallah, Beit Sahour, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jayyous, and other places) and in Gaza in the summer of 2003. Since that time I have kept up with reading articles, both popular and scholarly, and following events in Palestine by corresponding with others who have spent time there (or who are currently there), and doing my level best to be an anomaly—a U.S. citizen who does not accept without scrutiny the Madison-Avenue-perpetuated myth that Israel is the victim and the Palestinians the aggressors in the “conflict” in the Holy Land.

[It is NOT, by the way, a “conflict;” it is a war of ethnic cleansing begun by the Zionists over a century ago and perpetuated by the Israeli government for the last sixty years.]

If you believe Israel is the victim here, check out
And if you want to understand the atrocity of the American/Israeli designation of Hamas as a “terrorist” organization, see
It’s a bit dated, but Bob Jensen’s understanding is still right on.

The one fact that Americans do not seem to grasp is that Hamas has NEVER threatened the United States. If Hamas is a terrorist organization rather than an organization of freedom fighters, it is so ONLY in reference to Israel. The United States has nothing to fear from Hamas. It has no place in our war on terror except that we have so closely intertwined our needs and desires with those of the government of Israel.

So now comes the Palestinian election. We all know what it means. Those “terrorists” of Hamas have somehow managed to hoodwink the Palestinians into thinking they will serve the people’s best interests, and, short-sighted as the Palestinians are, they have elected a majority of their legislature from Hamas, a “a shocking upset sure to throw Mideast peacemaking into turmoil” (

If the United States Administration is serious about peace in the Middle East, it will not make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. United States policy toward Israel and Palestine over the last sixty years has contributed to (perhaps caused—or at least allowed to happen) the situation.

Here’s another view: “Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, who apparently was re-elected on a moderate platform, said the Hamas victory was a dramatic turning point. She said she is concerned the militants will now impose their fundamentalist social agenda and lead the Palestinians into international isolation. She said Fatah’s corruption, Israel’s tough measures and international indifference to the plight of the Palestinians were to blame for Hamas’ strong showing. Washington miscalculated in pushing for the vote, as part of its pro-democracy campaign in the Arab world, she said. ‘The Americans insisted on having the election now, so they have to respect the results of the election, as we all do,’ she said” (MSNBC.COM NEWS).

Is George W. Bush’s speechmaking (November 6, 2003) mere doublespeak, or can we look to him for leadership on the matter of democracy, elections, and peace making:

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe—because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export… it would be reckless to accept the status quo.

“Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy [sic], a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace. The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.”

Let's hope Mr. Bush has the courage of his speechwriter's convictions. Free and fair elections are part of the advance of freedom. Nullifying them or refusing to work with the duly elected government of any country is NOT “the advance of freedom,” and allowing the government of Israel to dictate who can and cannot be in authority in Palestine is buckling under to tyranny.