Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Open Letter to Abu Mazen from the Israeli Professors for a Just Peace

An Open Letter to Abu Mazen from the Israeli Professors for a Just Peace

Forwarded by Steven Plaut

Dear Mister President:

We are shocked, speechless, alarmed. We have just learned that
activists and militants from the democratic resistance organization of the
Fatah, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, have proposed using violence against
the Hamas and have even issued a call for the assassination of the head of
the Hamas living in Damascus, Khaled Meshaal. The Fatah-linked .Brigades.
also are threatening to kill other leaders of the Hamas, including
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Since issuing this call, a number of Hamas leaders have in fact been
targeted by anti-Hamas terrorists. The bodyguard of a Hamas member of
parliament, Yunis al-Estal, was just murdered in an attempt on al-Estal.s
life. Hamas leader Mohamed Odeh, 37, was killed by Fatah gunmen near
Kalkiliya. The streets of Palestine have erupted in Hamas-Fatah fire
fights, in which dozens have been killed and injured. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades have said they hold Hamas leaders Meshaal, Interior Minister
Saeed Seyam and senior Interior Ministry official Youssef al-Zahar
responsible for all these deaths.
Meanwhile, Mister President, Fatah gunmen have closed several schools
in central Gaza by force. They also blocked a major intersection, shouting
"Down, down with Hamas!" burning tires and garbage and shooting in the
air. Mister President, something must be done to stop this unjustified
Mister President, we are horrified by this outbreak of violence. It
is almost as if nothing has been learned by the Palestinian leadership in
the past decade.
First, it should be clear that the outbreak of killings in Gaza and
the West Bank, in which Fatah and Hamas gunmen battle one another, should
not be blamed on the Hamas at all but rather should be blamed on Israel.
After all, Israel has only completely withdrawn from the Gaza Strip but it
has not yet carried out a unilateral complete withdrawal from the West
Bank and Jerusalem. Hence you are playing into imperialist hands when you
falsely blame the shootings and killings on the Hamas.
Second, if the past 13 years have taught us anything at all it is that
there are no military solutions to the problems of violence and armed
conflict. If the Fatah and the PLO leadership have problems with the
Hamas, then you should conduct talks and negotiations with its legitimate
elected leaders and work out differences.
Don.t you in the Fatah realize that if you fail to come to terms with the
Hamas, then it will be eclipsed by the real terrorists, and by that we do
not mean only the Israeli army! The ordinary Palestinians will feel
frustrated and abandon democratic groups like the Hamas, devoted to a
peaceful Middle East, if the Hamas is prevented from pursuing its agenda.
And they will then start supporting radical violent groups!
It is also anti-democratic of you to shoot Hamas leaders. After all,
the Hamas Other won the Palestinian elections fair and square. These
people you are shooting are now the legitimate leaders of the Palestinian
nation. You had begun talks with the Hamas to form a national unity
government for Palestine. Why abandon such a promising path to peace?
When Fatah gunmen shoot Hamas members and leaders, you are simply
contributing to the cycle of violence. You are almost as bad as Israel.
And the violence is over such unimportant matters. Sure, Hamas militiamen
use beatings and gunfire to put down protests by Palestinian Authority
civil servants and members of the security forces, who demand payment of
their salaries. But why should not the Hamas use force to suppress the
unreasonable demands of trouble-makers, inciters, and enemies of
Palestinian democracy? After all, it was not exactly like Israel using
force to stop protests against the security fence, which constituted
anti-protest action we all agree must be condemned and repudiated!
The armed confrontations among Palestinians seeking liberation from
occupation and Zionist oppression have now escalated. Fatah militants
have even torched the Cabinet building in Ramallah and trashed Hamas
Mister President, don.t you realize that you cannot use force to stop the
people from seeking peace and prosperity in a New Middle East! Moreover,
when you fire at Hamas members, you may in fact injure some innocent
civilians and bystanders. Just as we have been demanding that Israel
never ever use force if a civilian could get hurt, you and your Fatah
militia activists must similarly deal with the Hamas without guns.
Otherwise, a French TV crew might stage a scene in which Palestinian
children are injured by Fatah gunfire directed against the Hamas.
If you do not abandon the use of force against the Hamas Other at once,
also revoking your threats against the Hamas leaders, we are afraid we
will have to take concrete steps to remedy the situation. We will then
have to petition the International Court of Justice in the Hague to indict
the Fatah leadership for war crimes against the Hamas, and we will
organize an international boycott of the Palestinian schools and colleges
still controlled by the Fatah!

Peacefully yours,
On behalf of the Israeli Peace Camp,
Israeli Professors for a Just Peace

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