After The Ghaza rejoicing is over Faisal Hashmi (sept. 7, 2005)

After The Ghaza rejoicing is over

A lot of loose ends still remain to be tied in Ghaza. The difficult questions of Palestinenian sovereignty have been left unanswered, and the future may not be half as easy as Western media and their Indian surrogates suggest, writes Faisal Hashmi

The Ghaza strip is to be handed over to Palestinians on October 3, if everything goes according to schedule. While the Jewish settlements were being cleared late in September, Israeli armed forces killed five Palestinians, as usual without much rhyme or reason. Hamas vowed to avenge the killings, and true to its word, a human bomb exploded in Israel seriously wounding several people at the end of August.

These developments would have been enough to stop dismantling of illegal Jewish settlements, but American pressure forced Israelis to continue moving on the Roadmap to Peace. (Coincidentally, around this time the Jewish-controlled US media started focussing on the Condy Sheehan protest. This was eerily like the Monica Lewinsky affair flaring up when President Clinton tried to pressure Israel to move towards peace with Palestinians.)

Apparently, it is time for Palestinians to rejoice over the dismantling of Jewish settlements in Ghaza, occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Palestinians have valid reason to rejoice because all this has happened only after tremendous suffering of nearly four decades and extraordinary sacrifices their young men and women have offered during the two intifadas. This is like the Lebanese celebrating Israeli withdrawals before schedule under pressure from freedom fighters. The Palestinians have paid a heavy price for regaining some of their lost territory.

The media in India has created the impression that all Jewish settlements in Ghaza have been dismantled. The fact remains that there are still half a million Israelis there, besides the usual number of Israeli military and paramilitary forces. The borders of Ghaza will remain under Israeli control, except at Refah, where Egyptians will be controlling the border. The Palestinians’ access to their harbours would be controlled by Israel, and their airport closed, in 2001 after Israeli bombing, would not be allowed to function. Water resources too would remain under Israeli control.

The Palestinians are justified in their rejoicing because whatever small shred of success they have got is largely because of their relentless sacrifice. Israel is not stepping back because suddenly it has realised that world opinion is important, or the UN matters. On the West Bank their illegal wall construction goes on heedlessly, and they are bolstering their existing settlements there. Even East Jerusalem, which has to be Palestinin capital, is being surrounded by Jewish settlements, making future progress nearly impossibile.

Palestinians have refrained from attacking the leaving settlers although they had been routinely killing innocent Palestininas. The UN has always regarded these Jewish settlements built on Palestinains lands illegal. Even the US and European Union, along with the rest of the world, has been regarding them as illegal. Still the Western media and their Indian surrogates have been playing up the demolition of these settlements as a great “concession”, never bothering to report or comment on the illegal Israeli demolition of 28,000 Palestinian homes over the last five years.

Further ahead, the road to peace in the area is heavily mined. Israel will make it difficult for Palestinians to get back the lands occupied in the 1967 war. The focus will now shift to West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has to vacate to follow the Roadmap. Although it has been allowed by the US, European Union and Russia (all of whom are concerned about Israel’s whims rather than Arab rights) to keep eight per cent of the occupied land, Israel will try to hide behind one excuse or the other to delay the process in the rest 92 percent of West Bank.

It is not only the Israeli leadership that has been spoilt by American and European pampering, but a sizeable section of the population too has self-hypnotised itself into the belief that Palestinians (and other Arabs) don’t matter, and they are free to do whatever they like. That’s why even the slightest move towards peace alarms them. That is why Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a religious school student for trying to forge peace with neighbours. Of course, such people exist on the other side as well, which explains President Anwar Sadat’s assassination for the same reason.

Now the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being threatened with extermination by his own right-wing colleagues. It is time for both sides to step back from maximalist positions and allow the peace process to continue and a Palestinian state to be formed. Already the deadline for the creation of the state has been extended. Care has to be taken not to extend it any further.g

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