Hamas celebrates its ‘victory’

Hamas celebrates its ‘victory’

I was mortified and bemused by the report of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s triumphant visit to Gaza, including his emergence from a plastic representation of a missile (not exactly like a stripper popping out of a birthday cake, but I guess the closest Hamas would ever come to such frivolity), with the violent symbolism lost on nobody. As Hussein Ibish indicates at the Daily Beast, this “victory celebration,” after Gazans sustained at least 165 deaths as compared with Israel’s five, with an attendant disproportion in injuries and property damage, is surreal and delusional; he is also not sparing of the cynical role of Israel in the use of Hamas as an excuse and diversion from negotiating peace with the Palestinian Authority:

At Hamas’s anniversary celebration in Gaza last week, the organization’s Politburo leader Khaled Meshaal delivered one of the most cynical, damaging and dangerous speeches in the history of the Palestinian national movement. …

The cost of this “victory” to the people of Gaza has been enormous: over 175 deaths and at least $300 million in damage to property and infrastructure. But the cost of Meshaal’s “victory” speech to the Palestinian national movement could be even more devastating in the long run. It locks him and Hamas into the most hardline, confrontational and maximalist positions, making both Palestinian national reconciliation and progress towards independence far more difficult in the coming years. …

The central theme of Meshaal’s speech was a total rejection of any recognition of, or compromise with Israel, under any circumstances. “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land,” he declared. He emphasized that armed struggle, and not negotiations, where the only way forward, under the strange slogan, “Liberation first, then statehood.” He said there was “no legitimacy for Israel,” and that Hamas would never recognize it. And, of course, he emphasized the right of return for every refugee.

…. no one in their right mind can imagine that there is any prospect of a Palestinian “military victory” against the Israeli armed forces.

As for the project of ending the occupation, Israeli settlers and their friends can only have been ecstatic at Meshaal’s hyper-bellicose positions, all of which strengthen their two main contentions: 1) there is no Palestinian partner for peace; and 2) Israel settlements are, among other things, forward defenses against an implacable existential enemy.

… Hamas is a disaster built on a calamity. From its outset, it has sought to undermine the mainstream nationalist movement by outbidding it on patriotic rhetoric, maximalist demands, violence, intractability and phony Islamic credentials. ….

Its formation during the first intifada was facilitated and smiled on by Israeli leaders who were hoping to split the Palestinian national movement between nationalists and Islamists. And its present rise is being facilitated, wittingly or unwittingly, by Israeli and international policies that have created the appearance that nonviolent diplomatic efforts by the PLO and institution-building on the ground in the occupied West Bank by the Palestinian Authority are futile projects that are not advancing independence or even improving Palestinians’ daily lives. …

By | 2012-12-11T14:40:00-05:00 December 11th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

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