Thursday, November 09, 2006

A post Beit Hanoun sampler

The Gaza-based newspaper Al-Samidun ("those who resist") says in its edition of Thursday November 9 that a number of armed factions are calling for a resumption of suicide operations inside Israel in response to the Beit Hanoun massacre--"technical error", I beg your pardon--which it says brought the death toll of Palestinians to 5557 since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, citing figures compiled by Agence France Presse. The paper quotes a Hamas leader Nazar Riyan calling on "mujahideen everywhere to resume martyrdom operations within Palestine-48, in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and elsewhere, in response to the Israeli crimes and massacres." And the paper says the same appeals were made by the military wings of Fatah and other factions. Palestine-48 is a name for Palestine as it existed prior to the creation of Israel in 1948.

Another Palestinian paper, Al-Quds (not the UK paper) cites a statement by Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based political leader of Hamas, in which he echoes in more general terms the call for each of the resistance factions to resume its resistance programs. Meshaal didn't mention the silence of the Arab regimes, but he called on ordinary Arabs to step up to their shared responsibility in this. He said the Palestinians would like to see "the street bestir itself, in Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Amman and the Gulf", and elsewhere from South Africa to Indonesia. Finally he added the Palestinians would like to see "the clerics of the ummah, and in particular Yusuf al-Qaradawi, join in with us..." Qaradawi hosts the very popular "Shariah and Life" program on Al-Jazeera.

Al-Quds also quotes Hasan Nasrullah, the leader of the Lebanese Hizbullah, calling for the sending of "money and arms and medicine to the defiant ("samid", same word as the name of the Gaza newspaper) Palestinian people, who are capable of repeating the kind of victory that has occured in Lebanon." Then in a prophetic tone, Hasrullah asks: "Where are the Arabs? Where are the rulers of the Arabs, and their proud people?..."

Finally, Abdulbari Atwan, editor and publisher of Al-Quds al-Arabi in London, but himself a Palestinian, has had it with asking where are the Arabs. Today he writes: "It grieves me when the bereaved mothers ask about the Arabs and their armies, these calls for help which they perhaps know that no one is listening to, or if they are listening they turn aside, or they turn off the television, or they look for another channel with music and dancing to soothe them..." because the Palestinians know what the Iraqis have also learned, that their blood means nothing to the leaders of the Arab regimes. The regimes are complicit in the oppression of the Palestinians, he says, and it is useless to try to deal with them. It would make more sense, Atwan says, "to look for help from leaders of Asia, or of Africa, or of Latin America like Ortega and Chavez; or Ahmedinejad, or Vladimir Putin. Because the chances of a positive response from them are far greater than [the chances of any help] from the majority of the Arab leaders."


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