July 7, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3083

PA Columnists: Instead of Sending Flotillas, Persuade Hamas to Reconcile with Fatah

July 7, 2010
Palestinian Authority | Special Dispatch No. 3083

Recent articles in the PA dailies express disappointment that Hamas has scored political points following the flotilla events despite its ongoing refusal to sign the reconciliation agreement with Fatah. Columnists wrote that sending flotillas to Gaza is pointless, because what the Gazans need most of all is not food and clothes but inter-Palestinian reconciliation and a change in Hamas' policies, which would be the best way to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip. The writers also accused Hamas of gambling with the blood of the Gazans and of pursuing foreign agendas.

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Following are excerpts from two of the articles:

The Gazans Don't Need Food and Clothes but a Change in Hamas Policy

Muwaffaq Matar, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote: "To the brave Lebanese women of [the Gaza aid ship] Maryam... I thank each and every one of you for leaving her family and home, [and for] deciding that Gaza comes first... I know you are too brave [to heed] our concerns for your safety, yet I [nevertheless] urge you not to sail the waters of the Mediterranean and not to come close to the dangerous [places of] ambush.

"My honorable Lebanese ladies, mothers and sisters... the people of Gaza do not need food or clothes. What they need is love, peace, reason, realism, reconciliation, national unity, and tolerance. They need to heal their wounds, transcend petty [arguments], and take a sober look at the supreme interests of the [Palestinian] public.

"We know your hearts are full of love and good wishes of peace, freedom, and life [for the people of] Gaza, but we wish you would direct your [efforts] towards [certain] figures who are familiar to you, because their names are well-known and so is their flag and the location of their offices in the capital and in other capitals [around the world], including in our sister [Arab] states. I ask you to appeal to them, though I fear that when you approach them you will find that their hearts have turned to stone. [Still,] there is no harm in trying.

"Take the safe land route [instead of the dangerous sea route]. Approach the Hamas officials in Beirut and Damascus, and persuade them that national reconciliation and unity are the best way to break the siege [on Gaza]. Tell them โ€“ since [as Lebanese], you [yourselves] have been singed by the flames of civil war and political and sectarian division โ€“ that what they have done and are still doing in Gaza is a crime. I would have you know that the decision-makers in Hamas bear [responsibility for the death of] 700 Fatah members, and for the thousands of victims of the Cast Lead attack [i.e., the 2009 Gaza war]. They deliberately subjected themselves to this crazy war, just so that Hamas' name would be mentioned in the news broadcasts on the satellite channels, and thus become a household name. [Hamas] political bureau head [Khaled] Mash'al gambled with the blood and the body-parts of children and the elderly in Gaza...

"Honorable ladies, I know that you only want what's good for us, but good [things] will not come from the sea. I [really] wish you would appeal to Khaled Mash'al. The road from Beirut to Damascus is open. If you pour some of your mother[ly love] onto the stone of his heart, perhaps he will relent. If you tell him about the horrors of [internal] division, perhaps he will be persuaded. For he was only a teenager when Lebanese bodies were torn asunder by the daggers of [civil] war, [so] he never learned [what harm can be caused] by placing the homeland's assets and supreme interests in the hands of foreign forces, and the scenes of Lebanese bloodshed could not persuade him to avoid political escapades whose failure is known in advance. We [older people, on the other hand,] shared in the pain of your disaster, and the losses [suffered by] our Lebanese brothers sharpened our political and national awareness. Your blood-soaked experience taught us that nationality is meaningless unless one believes in peace with himself and with others...

"If you persuade [Mash'al] to reconcile [with Fatah], you will know that you have [truly] succeeded and that you have entered history through its widest gate. Who knows? Perhaps the women of the Maryam will perform a miracle greater than [Jesus'] miracle of walking on the water."[1]

The Turks and Iranians Won't Liberate Palestine

Columnist 'Abdallah 'Awwad wrote in the PA daily Al-Ayyam: "There is no value in the fictional tales of heroism and the heroic speeches that permeate the media, for Palestine will not be liberated by the descendents of the Ottomans nor by the Iranian descendents of Cyrus. The Arabs are outside history, and the Palestinians are committing suicide as a result of the stupidity of 'great' leaders who see nothing but their own portraits and read nothing but news reports that glorify them...

"Hamas presents itself as a movement of resistance and heroism, though it is [quite] unclear where its heroism [lies]. Is it heroism to starve the masses and create a situation where filling their stomach is their top priority? Is it heroism to open the Rafah [border] crossing, as well as new crossings on the Egyptian [border], while closing the crossings [between Gaza] and the 1948 territories? Is it heroism to annex the Strip to Egypt? And before all that, is it heroism [to perpetuate the] division and transform the struggle from a battle against the occupation into an internal battle? The cost to the people, the land and the future โ€“ do they count as heroism [too]?...

"Hamas wants the blockade to be lifted not for the sake of the [Palestinian] people but in order to preserve its own existence. As long as it exists, nothing else matters: people can starve, the country can die, and the Palestinian future can go to hell... The Palestinians are proceeding confidently and inevitably towards the realization of the Zionist plan to annihilate what is still left of the West Bank and establish a state [only] in the Gaza Strip..."[2]


[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 24, 2010.

[2] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 17, 2010.

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