Chutzpah Alert. “Hamas asks US to free Gaza ‘ghetto,'” by Martin Chulov in The Australian (thanks to Larwyn):
THE Hamas rulers of Gaza have implored the US to bring an end to the crippling boycott of the Gaza Strip, which they have likened to the World War II siege of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto.
In the militant group’s first public appeal to the US since it won democratic elections in the Palestinian Territories in January last year Hamas said yesterday it did not have “any ideological arguments with the West”.
Say what? Well, I suppose after Annapolis, it isn’t so farfetched to think that the West subscribes to the Hassan Al-Banna epigraph in the Hamas Charter: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
Hamas spokesman, Ahmed Yousef, said the group had tried unsuccessfully many times to directly contact US and European Union officials.
Sorry, Ahmed, but I doubt that, particularly when it comes to the EU, where I am sure you wouldn’t have to work hard to find a number of people eager to take your call.
Israeli Government sources also claim that deposed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya attempted to contact officials in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office in the weeks following his poll win.
However, in an open letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice released yesterday, Hamas made public its bid for dialogue, underscoring the increasingly desperate predicament of the leadership and of Gaza’s 1.4 million residents.
Mr Yousef, who has recently urged Hamas to seek a dialogue with arch-enemy Israel, accused the US of hypocrisy for urging the Palestinian Authority to hold democratic elections for the first time in 10 years, then refusing to accept the result.
At the time of the poll result, the US expressed surprise that the Fatah party of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had been defeated after almost four decades of often ineffective rule.
After its emphatic electoral win, Hamas embarked on a law-and-order program, vowing to end corruption and turn the attention of the administration towards domestic affairs. But the US, the UN, the EU and Russia then launched a boycott of the new government that has intensified ever since.
Yes, a gratituitous boycott of fine, upstanding, Nixonian law-and-order advocates. Why, just look at Gaza! A model of law-and-order efficiency! And if it isn’t, you know whose fault that is.
In the letter to Dr Rice, Mr Yousef said: “It is hard to get across the appalling level of (hardship) that the Palestinian people, and in particular the 1.3million Palestinians who live in Gaza, currently suffer from.
“Our isolation is complete, confining us in a ghetto (worse than the Jewish ghettos of Warsaw) where our sewage, power and water systems have been destroyed, all normal supplies constrained and even humanitarian aid withheld. Many people have not been paid for nearly two years, over 75 per cent are unemployed and now the Israelis are threatening to cut off fuel and power and invade us once again….
Now, why is that? Just incorrigible imperialism on the part of those wicked Israelis, who (lest we forget) voluntarily handed you Gaza on a platter within recent (however rapidly dimming, under the barrage of propaganda like this) memory? Or are your desperate conditions perhaps your own doing, because you’d rather spend your time assembling Qassams, and lobbing them at Israeli cities, rather than building infrastructure?
“You cannot preach about exporting democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and ignore the democratic process in Palestine,” the letter continues.
“On a personal note, we found it amusing that a black person empathises with Israeli deaths on the one hand and Palestinian segregation on the other – if media reports are accurate. It is a military occupation, Dr Rice.
Is it? If it is by any stretch of the imagination, it is made necessary by your relentless bloodlust. Yes, Rice’s double-sided analogy was absurd, but mainly because it cast Palestinians as the victims of “segregation” without noting that maybe if they stopped blowing things up, they wouldn’t be so segregated.
“Their citizens face insecurity and death because that is the situation they have created for themselves … If you were even-handed in this conflict, if you engaged with us openly, then the chances of peace would dramatically increase.
“As it is, you are setting yourself up for failure and … more pain and anguish for the Palestinian people, a further colonisation of our lands and a blank space in history for the Bush administration’s role in making peace in the Middle East.”
The “more pain and anguish” part is certainly true, and not just for the Palestinians.