Netanyahu and Haniyeh: the Common Denominator

From the Israeli website, Challenge, by Yacov Ben Efrat

What do the top leaders of Israel and Hamas have in common? They share the same enemy: PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Abbas embodies all that Ismail Haniyeh despises: secularism and compromise with Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, hates Abbas because his moderation threatens Israel’s control of the West Bank. Abbas wants to achieve peace with Israel on the basis of the 1967 lines, including dismantlement of the settlements. He threatens Netanyahu’s political future, for in paying the price of peace, the Israeli PM would have to part from his extremist right-wing allies, as well as the Land of the Patriarchs.

Netanyahu and Haniyeh, who have led their citizens into yet another round of bloodletting, share something else in common: their tacit agreement concerning the fate of the Gaza Strip, and in consequence of the West Bank too. Netanyahu greatly loves the schism within Palestinian ranks between Hamas and Fatah. It gives him a marvelous pretext to continue his mantra that “There is no partner for peace.” Haniyeh, for his part, in order to preserve the separate status of Gaza, deepens the rift with Fatah at every opportunity, ever seeking ways to destroy the “partner,” Abbas.

The real partners, then, are Netanyahu and Haniyeh, and they know it. Neither believes in peace. Haniyeh repeats ad nauseam that he will never recognize Israel. Netanyahu, though compelled by Obama to utter the words “two states,” has clearly demonstrated by his behavior that he will never recognize a Palestinian state. The ideal for both is not peace, rather an amorphous situation that goes by various names, such as hudna, tahdiyya, cease fire, or mutual deterrence.

Like Siamese twins

These things came to clear expression in a speech of Haniyeh’s on the second day of the current conflict. The TV channels hyped it in advance. We waited in suspense: Haniyeh’s words would no doubt determine the fates of people on both sides of the Gaza fence. At precisely 8:00 p.m., the man appeared, features somber and tense. For the first twenty minutes of his half-hour speech, he eulogized Ahmad Ja’abri, the Hamas commander whose assassination by Israel sparked the current round; he heaped praise on the other Hamas martyrs as well. In the remaining ten minutes he praised Egypt for its energetic steps, which amounted, in fact, only to the recall of its ambassador from Tel Aviv and the sending of its prime minister, Hisham Kandil, for a visit on the following day. Haniyeh included himself in the Arab Spring with the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood. He had only one more thing to ask of Egypt. Not the cancellation of its peace with Israel, not to threaten war, only this: to open the Rafah Crossing (the border point in Sinai between Egypt and Gaza).

Haniyeh’s speech showed what he was aiming for. He made no mention of a Palestinian state. He didn’t threaten to turn to the United Nations for international recognition. Nor did he bother to appeal to the entire Palestinian people. In fact, when he named the Palestinian martyrs, he mentioned Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, but he had no word for the PLO leaders who had likewise been murdered by Israel, such as Fatah founder Abu Jihad, author Ghassan Kanafani, and Abu Ali Mustafa, leader of the Popular Front. Palestinian history according to Haniyeh began with Hamas, whose mission is to establish the State of Gaza, which is slowly gaining recognition.

In tandem with Haniyeh’s speech, the Israeli TV studios hosted Likud ministers who were sent to justify the operation, which Israel calls “Pillar of Smoke” (Exodus 13:21). Their job was to blur the facts and mobilize the public for this new round. Yisrael Katz, who is coordinated with Netanyahu, explained that the operation’s purpose is not to unseat the Hamas regime, but to arrive at a long period of quiet like that on the Lebanese border since 2006. Katz claimed that Israel needs gradually to stop supplying Gaza with electricity and fuel, as well as essential products. That is exactly what Haniyeh demands from Egypt: Open the Rafah Crossing for the passage of goods and people to Egypt, and then the border between Gaza and Israel will be quieter.

We should note that whenever the Likudniks appear in a studio, the Opposition is also invited—an election campaign is on, after all, so time must be apportioned equally. As expected, the representatives of the “opposition” express total support for the government’s military moves, while trying nonetheless to insert now and then a shy little word for peace. They agree that it’s important to impose a long-term cease-fire on Hamas, but if one wants to solve the problem and prevent the renewal of warfare, one should talk to Abbas and reach a comprehensive solution. The Likudniks, in turn, break into the “opposition’s” remarks with phrases like, “What’s the connection?” or “We won’t do Abu Mazen’s job and overthrow Hamas,” and of course, “Abu Mazen is weak and doesn’t have control, so there’s no one to talk to.”

It isn’t so easy

These then are Siamese twins: the Israeli Right, which hopes to perpetuate its rule in the West Bank, and Islamic fundamentalism, which hopes to perpetuate its rule in Gaza. There is, however, a fly in the ointment. In order for this common dream to be realized, the Rafah Crossing must be opened, freeing Israel from the yoke of Hamas and Hamas from dependency on Israel. Without Egypt that won’t happen. The opening of Rafah would mean the political demise of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), hence the death of the never-born Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s desire is the nightmare of Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi, who conditions the opening of Rafah on the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, of Haniyeh and Abbas, so that the Crossing will come under PA control.

Thus everything comes back to Abbas, the non-partner, the irrelevant and impotent butt of ridicule. The Americans, the Europeans, and the Egyptians understand very well that the de facto recognition of Hamas will prolong the conflict in the West Bank. It will cement the fundamentalist group’s control of Gaza, while the Palestinian question will continue to bubble and endanger the region.

Four years ago, just before Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, Hamas accused the Mubarak regime of collaborating with the Occupation because it refused to open the Rafah Crossing. Today the issue of Rafah remains unresolved, despite the fact that Mubarak has been replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The key to a solution in Gaza does not depend on broadening the military operations. Seventy thousand Israeli soldiers won’t do the trick, and like Cast Lead, this Pillar of Smoke will disperse. The only way to secure calm in the south, as well as in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Four years ago, after the conclusion of Cast Lead, I wrote the following in a piece called, “Israel and Hamas Won, So Who Lost?”:

“Today, when the truth is clear to all—that a solution requires return to the 1967 borders—Olmert, Barak and Netanyahu do all they can to shirk an agreement. The Israeli leadership refuses to negotiate about East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. It continues to finance the settlers. The ineluctable result of this policy will be more blood, without justification, point or aim.”

Four years later, amid sirens and blasts, these words again become relevant. Operation Cast Lead, headed by Olmert and Livni, brought Netanyahu to power. Today, as elections approach, it is upon everyone who wants to build an alternative to the fundamentalist right wing, and prevent more wars, to proclaim loud and clear: Stop this war, end the Occupation, tear down the settlements, and at last make peace!

43 comments on “Netanyahu and Haniyeh: the Common Denominator

  1. Fuck the IDF on said:

    We should be absolutely clear on this: Israel is attacking Gaza, again. The responsibility for that lies solely with the government and military of Israel, and those supporting and arming them. Not Hamas, not Fatah; Israel.

  2. Fuck the IDF,

    But while the Palestinians are victims of the situation, Palestinians are still actors with agency of their own.

    To ignore the political division between hamas and Fatah is a mistake, especially as Hamas now draws closer to the strategy of creating Gaxa as a de facto state, and looks to Turkey, Egypt and Qatar as its main allies.

    Hamas are not political allies of the left, and their srategy is not one predicated upon palestinian unity.

  3. Andy Newman: To ignore the political division between hamas and Fatah is a mistake,

    Yes, but the responsibility for that political division cannot be levelled at Hamas. Israel and its allies, along with corrupt Fatah leadership, tried to oust Hamas in a coup in 2006 after they won the election. It failed in Gaza but succeeded in the West bank.

    We really have to be careful not to engage in blame the victim. Hamas are doing the best with the cards dealt them. You say they have agency. Perhaps, but not much I contend. It is undeniable that Hamas are attempting to administer a part of the world that is under siege and assault. With that in mind they have the absolute right to seek alliances, aid, and friends anyway and from anywhere they can. And we as anti imperialists and anti colonialists should understand and support them in that.

  4. Fuck the IDF on said:

    Of course, Palestinians have “agency of their own”, but there is no equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli state. Israel is attacking Gaza because it chooses to do so, and will continue to oppress and kill Palestinians whatever Hamas or any other Palestinian organisation does. Israel wants Palestinian land, minus the Palestinians. That is what it comes down to. Neither ‘moderation’ nor ‘extremism’ on the part of Palestinians will change that. As long as Israel can slaughter Palestinians with virtual impunity it will continue to do so.

    Hamas may not be “political allies of the left”, but that isn’t the point. Whatever their ideology, they are not responsible for Israel attacking Gaza. Israel is. And on Palestinian unity, wasn’t it the “moderate” Fatah that attacked Hamas after they were elected? Not that I’m particularly in favour of Hamas as such, but again that isn’t the point.

  5. It is self evident that at the current juncture Gaza is under military assault from israel, and the task of the left is to unequivocally comdemn the Israeli military action, demand an immediate ceasefire, and demand an end to the siege.

    It is also undeniable that Israel bears a heavy responsibility for the divided nature of the Palestinian polity. The discrediting of Fatah was at the hands of Israel, who failed to deliver on their commitments under Oslo; and who refused to permit fatah politicians to travel to Gaza to campaign during the 2006 election.

    What is more, it is Israel who has closed the border to Gaza, effectively incarcerating the population in an open prison; and it is Israel who fragments and disrupts any possibility of economic deevlopment in the West bank.

    Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    Reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas in some form or another is necessary. Let us be clear, there is no military or political solution possible for Hamas acting on its own.

  6. Andy Newman: Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    But they’re fighting for their lives. They do not have the luxury of picking and choosing their friends and allies. I really think you’re being a bit hard on them.

    With regard to a separate state in Gaza, I personally see no evidence of this. But, again, if so this is not their doing at all. It is a consequence of the huge external pressure that’s been arrayed against them by the US, Israel and its allies in the region. Gaza’s been cut off physically and politically, which combined with the extent to which the PA has been compromised due to its cooperation with Israel, has left Gaza as the only redoubt of Palestinian resistance at this point. I really don’t think Hamas have had anything to do with that.

    I also think the attempt to conflate Netanyahu with Haniyeh is ludicrous. Both are products of their respective histories. Both histories, though linked due to the conflict, are completely at odds when it comes to the balance of power. Only the strong can compromise and only equals can reach agreement. There is a world of difference between them.

    Liberal Zionism would have us believe that one side is as bad as the other. They’re not.

  7. John: I also think the attempt to conflate Netanyahu with Haniyeh is ludicrous. Both are products of their respective histories. Both histories, though linked, are completely at odds.

    Agreed, it is a provocative assessment offered here by a writer obviously more sympathetic to Fatah.

    John: Gaza’s been cut off physically and politically, which combined with the extent to which the PA has been compromised due to its cooperation with Israel, has left Gaza as the only redoubt of Palestinian resistance at this point. I really don’t think Hamas have had anything to do with that.

    I think that judgement is a little more problematic. I don’t accept that the PA has been compromised to that extent, it still has the alliegance of most palestinians living in the West Bank to some extent or another. Nor do I accept that Hamas is the sole redoubt of resistance.

    John: They do not have the luxury of picking and choosing their friends and allies. I really think you’re being a bit hard on them.

    I think they very much do pick their friends and allies depending on how they see their political future, and their long term objective.

    It maybe a harsh judgement, but I think there is enpormous pressure on all Palesinian forces to accomodate to the asymmetry of power and influence that Israel enjoys. The power lies with israel, and that is where responsibility for the death and suffering also lies.

  8. I agree with John and Fuck the IDF (which doesn’t scan very well btw)

    There may or may not be truth in some of the objective analysis in this article, but where does that take us in terms of our role in the West?

    I mean. we can’t change the Palestinian leadership in Gaza, even if it was appropriate for us to try.

  9. #9 I hadn’t seen #8.

    No, you’re right that there is also resistance from the West Bank of varying types, not to mention smaller groups within Gaza.

    As far as any growing divergence between Gaza and the West Bank though, doesn’t the Fatah leadership bear some responsibility for this? After all let’s not forget the small matter of Hamas being elected in Gaza and the local Fatah leadership trying to overthrow them.

  10. Vincent Doherty on said:

    It really is astonishing, mind boggling even, that anyone proclaiming to be of the left, and possessed of even half a brain could accuse Hamas of being responsible for the partition of Palestine. I know we need to be careful who we talk too and about sometimes, but I rarely trust people who lurk behind pseudonames, particularly pantomime pseudonames which no one can take seriously. Our duty at this time is to show our solidarity with the Palestinian people as a whole, but at this moment with those under attack from Israeli genocide. When the stench of death and destruction clears it might again be possible to postulate from afar what is best for the Palestinian people as a whole. End the slaughter! Hands off Gaza! Hands of Palestine!

  11. Is this Harry’s place I have stumbled into?

    Socialist Unity should take this article down and issue an apology to the people of Gaza.

  12. Andy Newman: Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    Dunno about that Andy. They are not allies in a proper sense, they are clients, as is Israel, it makes for a complex dynamic. Like all clients in such situations they still try to follow their own agenda. Israel of course is the least constrained.

    Never the less key USA Arab clients cosying up to Hamas and vice versa cause additional headaches for the USA. You can see signs of this in the MSM where their is much bleating about Hamas getting more and better weapons.

    Hamas maybe exploring the benefits of being friends of the ‘friends’ of the USA and these might include minimising their diplomatic isolation as well as better armament but the bigger prize for both Hamas and Fatah is undispuited leadership of the Palestinian nation in the broadest sense of that term.

    settling for the Gaza strip as an independent political entity would deliver very little for anyone – including Hamas. On the otherhand causing Israel pain diplomaticaly or through casualties in a land war will only enhance Hamas’ status. Hence in my view Hamas’ new pals. New pals who of course are delighted to be involved for a variety of reasons.

  13. I would be very interested if someone who knows a shed load more about the Middle East than I do could explain what exactly is Qatar’s agenda in the region.

    They seem to be the main funders, albeit very selectively, of the Syrian opposition, as well as hosts of the recent ‘unity’ congress which was notable in its exclusion of the left and the Kurds. They have been upping their funding in Gaza, more than replacing the Iranian withdrawal, and have a heavy presence in the Lebanon – I would be very surprised if they were doing this merely on orders from the US as they are funding exactly the type of organisations the US list as ‘terrorists’.

    None of that however detracts from my total horror at and condemnation of the actions of the IDF in Gaza.

    To put my question in context I have just finished reading the recent IEA report on the future of the world’s energy, they predict that the US, through exploitation of ‘unconventional’ energy source- deep sea drilling, tar sands and shale gas will be energy independent in less than 20 years time (At a hell of a cost to the environment and the global climate)- and China is likely to be the buyer of nearly 90% of Gulf oil.

    Will this change in energy sourcing already be influencing US policy on the Middle East or is it too early to tell?

  14. Awful position on Palestine in this article. Abbas’s ‘moderation’ is of the same order as that of Sadat and Mubarak – it goes hand in hand with pro-imperialist dictatorship. There have been no elections in ‘Palestine’ (its not a real Palestine, even a partial one, because it doesn’t have soveriegnty over any land) since the Abbas/Israeli coup against the elected Hamas-led parliament. In any case, ‘moderation’ never won the Palestinians anything – except the booby prize at Oslo – an acceleration of the settlement of the West Bank.

    Andy Newman,

    “Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    “Reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas in some form or another is necessary. Let us be clear, there is no military or political solution possible for Hamas acting on its own.”

    I dont think that is an accurate reading of the situation at all. Hamas is in a more powerful position because it has mass support – and not just among the Palestinians, and others are being forced to reckon with it in the context of the Arab spring. Including some US allies. It is getting a lot of new weaponry, including from places like Libya.

    The Arab revolutionary wave is not over: the imperialists have tried very hard to channel it in a harmless direction (to them) by their intervention in Libya and their more covert attempts to get a toehold in Syria, but they do not and cannot control what is going on. Some of their clients and semi-clients are attempting to adapt to it, and the Palestinians and particularly Hamas are benefitting from it and to an extent surfing the wave.

    The Qatar strategy, by the way, is similar in form to the American strategy in Libya etc – to seem to ‘help’ those fighting and retain (they hope) a smidgeon of influence over events that are very difficult for the imperialists and their clients to control at the moment. Though they are doing more for their own benefit than that of the US right now.

    The problem the imperialists have is that even those who in desperation are prepared to accept their ‘help’ against a particular regime are often pretty hostile to the imperialists just below the surface. This is probably also true of smaller players dealing similar cards like Qatar, or even the Saudis who have some similar ideas but are much more hesitant to put their head in the lion’s mouth as a ploy/bluff/camouflague to try to avoid being eaten.

    No, Hamas cannot defeat Israel on its own. There is a strong objective possibility, however, in the context of this Israeli attack and the Arab upheaval, of a third intifada that could topple Abbas in the West Bank and really extend the Arab spring into Israeli occupied territory. That is a huge wild card here. It would not, given present consciousness, be a proletarian revolutionary event, but it could be the precursor of something along those lines since religious utopianism really has its limits when confronted with questions like this.

  15. Fuck the IDF on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Well, the problem with the above article is precisely that it doesn’t “unequivocally condemn Israeli military action”. It equates Hamas with the Israeli government and curses both their houses. Whereas the standard Israeli propaganda holds the Palestinians wholly responsible for their oppression and murder by Israeli forces, this holds them only partly responsible. Like I said, we should be clear: Israel is solely responsible for it’s own aggression.

    And given the circumstances, what right do Israelis have to be supporting Fatah over Hamas (or, for that matter, vice versa)? Especially on the grounds of “moderation” and willingness to “compromise with Israel”. Where has compromise ever gotten the Palestinians? When has Israel ever made the slightest concession?

    Surely an “alliance” with Egypt would be amongst the best things that could happen for the Palestinians, even if it only meant free movement of people and goods across the Egypt/Gaza border? While Egypt remains a client of the US, it is far from totally controlled or stable. The Egyptian people also have agency.

  16. jock mctrousers on said:

    Yes to all the skeptical comments above. This article should have come with a disclaimer, like ” SU doesn’t endorse this, but it’s a novel point of view”.

    I sure hope SW doesn’t endorse it, because I can’t think of anyone who I take seriously who doesn’t consider Abbas and co as quislings, and Oslo as a complete, and totally illegitimate (remember it was deliberately done behind the backs of Palestine’s experienced negotiators)sell-out. Many years ago Edward Said described Abbas as a ” corrupt and deeply ignorant man”. So has he had a change of heart with this bid for recognition at the UN? Or is this some new sell-out in disguise? What would you bet?

    Whatever, the model of Netanyahu and Haniyeh straining at the leash, and Abbas as Mr Nice Guy keeping them apart, is ridiculous.

    #3 Andy Newman ” Hamas now draws closer to the strategy of creating Gaxa as a de facto state, and looks to Turkey, Egypt and Qatar as its main allies.”

    Any evidence for this ‘strategy’? I haven’t encountered this notion anywhere but here. Have you any links to anyone else who discusses this?

    SA: Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip., and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    “hamas’s trajectory … to align itself with America’s allies in the region ”

    But Hamas has alway. been backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, i.e. Saudi Arabia i.e. the USA … if the Saudis did anything the USA disapproved of, their bank accounts would go the same way as Qadaffi’s, and they would go the way of Qadaffi and Saddam.

    But that doesn’t mean that Hamas aren’t a real resistance, or that we shouldn’t support them, for reasons which have been discussed well enough above. Even if Hamas are a ‘preferred (by the US) resistance’, Fatah are no resistance at all.

  17. jock mctrousers: if the Saudis did anything the USA disapproved of, their bank accounts would go the same way as Qadaffi’s, and they would go the way of Qadaffi and Saddam.

    That’s not how client relationships work the Saudi’s do lots of things the USA dislikes but non of them are viewed as worth upsetting the relationship over.

    Likewise visits to Gaza by Egypt, Turkey and Qatar won’t please the USA but are not sufficent to warrant action. The fact they acted in unison, and doubtless with Saudi approval, exerts political pressure.

    The USA is weakening, Afganistan and Iraq damaged US prestige and the clients push their own agenda a bit more.

    jock mctrousers: Even if Hamas are a ‘preferred (by the US) resistance’

    There is no evidence at all that Hamas are ‘preferred’ by the USA rather the contrary really. But yes, Hamas are a real and popular resistance.

    jock mctrousers: SA: Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at Nevertheless, I do think it is also necessary to look at hamas’s trajectory, which is increasingly to align itself with America’s allies in the region, and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip., and to seek de facto independence of the Gaza strip.

    You have attributed a quote to me that I never said. Why?

  18. jock mctrousers on said:

    #19 ” You have attributed a quote to me that I never said. Why?” SA

    I used the blogger’s quote mechanism to take this quote from Andy you quoted at #14, and so it automatically attributed the quote to you. I didn’t notice, anymore than I noticed that I’d quoted everything twice.

  19. andy newman on said:

    redscribe: There is a strong objective possibility, however, in the context of this Israeli attack and the Arab upheaval, of a third intifada that could topple Abbas in the West Bank and really extend the Arab spring into Israeli occupied territory.

    This is based upon a knee jerk assumption that toppling Abbas would be a good thing.

  20. jock mctrousers on said:

    ” … a knee jerk assumption that toppling Abbas would be a good thing.”

    Well, let’s see… how about – his term of office expired years ago, so he has no mandate to represent the Palestinians, as I said before and as EVERYONE says he is a quisling, and the almost the entire elected Palestinian parliament as we all know is in Israeli jails?

    It may be debatable whether the demise of the Palestine Authority would be a good thing, but if you can think of good reasons why anyone should want Abbas to hang around any longer, much less trust him with negotiating whatever it is he’s up to at the UN – share it with us. What was said a few days ago about ‘ tiger-shoots’ holds here too.

  21. jock mctrousers: as I said before and as EVERYONE says he is a quisling

    nonsense. Fatah continue to have mass support, including from the Palestinian trade unions, and Abbas’s picture hangs in the town halls, refugee camps and community centres throughout the West Bank

  22. jock mctrousers on said:

    Fatah and Abbas are not the same thing. Abbas’s picture no doubt hangs where his largesse flows, or where they are afraid of being arrested and tortured to death by the PA’S paramilitary thugs.

  23. Jellytot on said:

    @3To ignore the political division between hamas and Fatah is a mistake, especially as Hamas now draws closer to the strategy of creating Gaza as a de facto state, and looks to Turkey, Egypt and Qatar as its main allies.

    Splitting off Gaza with Hamas “tamed” by Egypt with the full connivance of the US and EU and the tacit consent of Israel ?

    Stranger things have happened.

  24. jack ford on said:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel were quite happy for Gaza to go back to Egypt provided Egypt guaranteed to discipline Hamas. Not so sure Egypt would want Gaza back.

  25. Jellytot on said:

    @27Not so sure Egypt would want Gaza back.

    Thinking more along the lines of ‘spheres of influnce’ rather than direct annexiation. Beginning to think that Egypt could be the big winner from this.

  26. jack ford on said:

    Possibly. Egypt is a big concern for Israel and they will ensure Uncle Sam continues to give Egypt considerable economic aid in return for not giving Israel problems although the Muslim Brotherhood government may find it harder to resist public pressure to support Gaza than the dictator Mubarak did. He was a total collaborator with the Israelis.

  27. This has been reblogged at Israeli loving Shiraz Socialist (home to the worst scum on the left), with a h/t to Andy Newman!!

    I say again, take this down and apologise to the people of Gaza.

    And Newman, give yourself a good flogging and reflect on where it went wrong.

  28. #30 I’d be more inclined to agree with you if the article didn’t finish with a call for an end to the occupation and for the settlements to be torn down, by an Israeli Jew.

    I say that having, I’m confident, no more time than you for the individual who runs SS or the types who congregate there.

  29. Marko: I say again, take this down and apologise to the people of Gaza.

    And Newman, give yourself a good flogging and reflect on where it went wrong.

    I think you’re being a bit dramatic, Marko.

  30. This article is ahistorical crap, full of spin and a distortion of the truth.

    Isreali left and right have both played an equal part in the long oppression of the Palestinians.

    That will not change anytime soon.

    It should be obvious why the odious Shiraz should like this article.

  31. Marko: Isreali left and right have both played an equal part in the long oppression of the Palestinians.

    Elements of truth but a gross over-simplification (ie in itself a distortion).

    Someone who calls for the settlements to be torn down and an end to the occupation is equally as bad as someone who wants to continue the occupation and maintain or even extend settlement?

  32. There is a difference between a radical leftist and the left/right that is official Israeli politics, this is true.

    But back to reality, there will be no end to Isaeli oppression whether Israeli right/left are in power or Hamas or some ‘moderate’ group are leaders in Gaza. The truth is that radical opposition to Israel is required. An increase in the boycotts, more work from Viva Palestina etc.

    To remind everyone, Netanyahu did not create Hamas, he may or may not like them but he didn’t create the conditions where they came to power. Both Israeli left and right did that.

    There is no attempt to highlight the very significant differences between Hamas and the Netanyahu regime – one born from oppression, the other from the belly of the beast.

    It is just a vulgar spin on events, at a time when outright, unconditional support for the Palestinians is required, not speculative political intrigue.

  33. Jellytot on said:

    @35It is just a vulgar spin on events, at a time when outright, unconditional support for the Palestinians is required, not speculative political intrigue.

    Are you trying to shut down debate?

    Don’t expect everybody to fall in line on here ‘Marko’ and act as some kind of Hamas Fan Club. Anyway, it’s easy to talk of the need for “radical opposition” (terrorism?) from the safety of Europe or North America.

    Aspects of Hamas’s strategy, tactics, overall orientation and beliefs are deeply problematic for many on The Left.

  34. “Aspects of Hamas’s strategy, tactics, overall orientation and beliefs are deeply problematic for many on The Left.”

    Aspects of many political Islamist movements are problematic for the left, JT,but that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored or smeared in a manner such as this. THEY are at the sharp end of the struggle against imperialism (speaking of the safety of Europe or North America). Hamas are legitimate representatives of their oppressed population and probably have a fair bit of support amongst disgruntled former Fatah supporters in the West Bank, I suspect. To compare Haniyeh with Netanyahu is absurd.

  35. redscribe: The Qatar strategy, by the way, is similar in form to the American strategy in Libya etc – to seem to ‘help’ those fighting and retain (they hope) a smidgeon of influence over events that are very difficult for the imperialists and their clients to control at the moment. Though they are doing more for their own benefit than that of the US right now.

    Thanks for that, I’m not sure I agree though. Qatar’s regional policy seems to have radically ramped up, rather than ‘retaining’ its influence, which before had been rather marginal Al Jaz apart, it seems to be actively pushing to massively expand it’s influence. It provided air power in Libya, has replaced Iran to be the second largest supporter of Hamas in Gaza after Saudi Arabia, the Hamas offices seem to now be hosted by Qatar rather than Syria, it has active links and financial supports Hezbollah, as well as Hamas and the Taliban, it also has very cordial relations with Iran. Hardly the stuff of an imperialist lapdog. It’s role in funding parts of the Syrian opposition is fundamentally distorting the nature of the uprising, and not in a direction that the US seem to like from recent news reports.

    It seems to be playing a very strange tight rope policy as it still hosts US military bases and its a key part of the US communications and intelligence presence in the region.

  36. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Good points, Pete. I don’t have time to add properly to it and give my take. But I just wanted to highlight one factual matter. It is true the Qatar contributed to Lebanese reconstruction, including the south, after 2006. But it isn’t true that Qatar supports Hezbollah financially.

  37. Thanks Kevin, looked into that and you are right, and I’m wrong. Qatar did try and support the inclusion of Hezbollah in a unity Govt in 2011 but seems to that seems to have been rejected by Syria and Hezbollah- I had heard that money changed hands in an attempt to sweeten Hezbollah as Iranian monetary support was running low but can’t find any confirmation of that.