Between November 18, 2012 (during recent Gaza-Israel fighting) and the UN vote for Palestine eleven days later (following a Gaza-Israel ceasefire), UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Human Rights, Richard Falk, wrote three essays on Al Jazeera English (November 18, 24 and 29). His remarks should interest us, for two reasons.
First, they provide insight into a new war ‘Palestine’ plans to wage against Israel through ‘lawfare’—using international law to attack and then, hopefully, destroy Israel. For Falk, part of that new war will be based on claims that (1) Israel brutally oppresses Palestinians who seek only moral justice, and (2) Israel is an illegal occupier who inflicts such massive and disproportionate violence against defenceless Palestinians that she becomes the world’s worst human rights violator. As for Israel’s brutality in Gaza—the subject of his essays—he claims that Israel started the fighting after it ‘broke the truce’ [sic] and then fooled the world (with talk of self-defense). Israel has therefore again broken international law because, Falk claims, Israel has the legal obligation under international law to protect Gaza, not attack it.
While such language and polemics are not new, they are noteworthy because the November 29, 2012 UN de facto recognition of Palestine gives the Arab war against Israel a shot of legal adrenalin; what was once political propaganda now becomes terminology for legal briefs in court. As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already told us, recognition means that the political war against Israel can now become a legal war.
If you have ever been taken to court, you understand Abbas’ intent: the court-room could transform his war against Israel.
The second reason for interest in these essays focuses on reader comment that today accompanies every on-line essay. One reader stands out. His name is Ahmed. We don’t know if Ahmed is a real name. But that’s irrelevant because Ahmed cites sources. It’s those sources that attract us.
To address Falk’s accusations against Israel, Ahmed cites the Hamas Charter, a TV interview and a newspaper essay. You should note that Ahmed’s translation of the Hamas Charter may not be exact. But even as he appears to deviate from linear translation, his deviations are instructive. His changes capture the intent and tone of the Charter, so you can understand the Charter’s essence.
Listen to Ahmed (I edit for clarity).
You portray Palestinians as brave people fighting against a monstrous Israel and you cry out for the innocents in Gaza? Look at your innocent people. They drag bodies around the streets? They execute people with no trial? Sixteen [sic] Palestinians are executed by Hamas in the most brutal manner. Where is your outcry over that brutality?
60% of Palestinians [sic] voted Hamas into power. Look at the Charter they voted for. You think they voted for peace? The Charter says otherwise. It says that Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad [Holy war] that confronts the Zionist invasion [Jews in Israel]. It links up with martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam [a Muslim cleric who created armed groups to kill Jews] and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood [Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood] who fought Holy War in the 1930s; it relates to the Jihad of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 war and to the Jihad of the Muslim Brothers of the 1960s. But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if obstacles have been erected by Zionists to obstruct the road before Jihad fighters—nevertheless, Hamas looks forward to implementing allah’s promise, whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said, ‘the time will not come [for the fulfilment of allah’s promise] until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.
Ahmed reveals to us that the Hamas Charter is not about innocents longing for peace. It’s not about political self-determination. It’s about a religious war to kill Jews and erase Israel. Richard Falk may speak of the morality of a ‘Palestinian struggle’ against a brutal colonizer. But he ignores the brutality of a Palestinian immorality which provokes that fight; and he ignores the obviously colonizing intent of the Hamas Charter, which (if you read the Charter) explicitly calls to conquer Israel.
So as to make sure we understand the practical consequences of the Charter, Ahmed quotes the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah: armed resistance and armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river—Al Aqsa TV, December 14, 2011.
For Haniyah, Palestine is all of Israel. Indeed, the fight for Palestine must be a fight to eliminate Israel (Kana’an Obeid, advisor to Hamas government, writing in the Hamas newspaper, Al-Risala, October, 2012).
What is the real Palestinian story? Richard Falk speaks of victims. He calls Israeli self-defense immoral. He calls Palestinian aggression ‘moral’.
Perhaps you should listen to Ahmed. Read his sources. They’ll tell you what Arabs really want.