By Stuart Littlewood – London
Inappropriate use of the term "terrorism" by people with despicable motives is probably the most serious obstacle to peace.
Can somebody please explain – Mr Brown? Mr Miliband? – why Britain (or any other nation for that matter) blindly accepts America’s decree that Hamas must be regarded as a terrorist organization? It is, in the words of John Pilger’s illuminating piece, (Holocaust Denied: The Lying Silence of Those Who Know), the Arab world’s only democratically elected government and draws its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians’ oppressor and tormentor of 60 years.
As Pilger points out, when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007 the event was reported in the western media as ‘Hamas’s seizure of power’.
"Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic,” he says.
“Neither is its proposal of a ten-year truce as a historic recognition of the ‘reality’ of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition: that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders."
Nor was it Hamas that broke the latest truce, by the way.
But note the twisted comments of Alejandro Wolff, US Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, facing journalists’ questions at the Security Council that fateful day, 3 January, when Israel’s tanks rolled into Gaza to deal out further death and destruction to a community that had already been air-blitzed for 8 days and suffered siege and blockade for nearly 30 months:
Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, you made no mention, sir, of any Israeli violation of those agreements that you’ve referred to, particularly in the opening of the crossings. And then there is a major development today, which is Israel’s land attack and that’s threatening to kill hundreds of civilians. Doesn’t this deserve some request for Israel… to stop its ground military attacks, sir?
Ambassador Wolff: Well, again, we’re not going to equate the actions of Israel, a member state of the United Nations, with the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. There is no equivalence there.
This Council has spoken on many times about the concerns we had about Hamas’s military attacks on Israel. The charter of this organization [the UN] respects the right of every member state to exercise its self-defense, and Israel’s self-defense is not negotiable…. The plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza is directly attributable to Hamas.
Reporter: But Hamas represents the people, because they voted, over 70 percent of them, for Hamas in the last election.
Ambassador Wolff: Hamas usurped the legitimate authority of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.
A sensible conversation on the Middle East conflict with the likes of Wolff and his employers is impossible.
There’s nothing actually wrong with the definition of terrorism in GW Bush’s Executive Order 13224, Section 3, which the US uses without restraint to outlaw and crush any individual, any organisation or any nation that gets in its way. The joke is that the US itself, and its special buddy Israel, fall straight in. It is tailored made for them. And they can’t see it.
So, again, no sensible conversation can take place and all discussion is shut down.
Britain and Europe ought to find the moral backbone to decide for themselves who are the terrorists and who are the freedom fighters, who are the good guys and who are the bad. There should be no exemption from terrorist status just because a regime is bristling with weapons technology.
I imagine it would be very difficult objectively to classify Hamas as a terror government, given the context of decades of brutal occupation, economic suffocation, ethnic cleansing and denial of human rights at the hands of a lawless neighbour. On the other hand it wouldn’t be difficult to classify Israel and the US as such, given the evidence of their conduct.
Time to de-classify Hamas, bring them into the fold and move forward.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.