Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gaza, again and again!

I have said before that in Palestine, there is never a dull moment, and the last few days has been far from dull.

I have to say that I was dismayed by the attack on the Israeli base, because it was outside of Gaza, so in front of everybody, they left our internationally recognized area and we crossed over to their territory and attacked them. Also, the people who have done this wanted to abort the national dialogue and now completed national consensus on recognizing the reality of Israel existence, so it was directed more internally than externally.

The people who did this, brave as they maybe, did not stop to think of the repercussions this will bring to the people of Gaza. I was horrified to see the bridges and power station hit, and responsibility clearly lies with the Israelis, but those geniuses in Hamas could clearly foresee a harsh reaction that spread the suffering upon the civilian population, as if they needed any more.

Also, it is totally ludicrous to think that they are in the same negotiating position as Hezbollah regarding the kidnapped soldier, unlike Lebanon, Israel hold the whole Palestinian population as a hostage by the reality of occupation in the West Bank and the surrounding of Gaza and control of its airspace and shores. So it is quite easy for the Israelis to refuse to negotiate and start hitting civilian facilities and say we will only stop once you return the soldier. I am not a defeatist, but you should only play a game you have a chance at winning.

This development have shown a big fissure between Hamas the political entity inside Palestine and outside leadership and the militia they control inside Gaza primarily. The prime minister was reduced to pleading with his own organization to release the Israeli soldier. The Hamas government are now tasting some of their own medicine, the same disruptive process they applied to the Late Yasser Arafat is now applied to them by their own people.

I am just sad and angry (and worried about my father who is in Gaza at the moment), because somebody with a non-Palestinian agenda sitting outside Palestine has made a decision that will impact more than a million Palestinians in Gaza negatively, and they defend this decision on TV screens without flinching, shame.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ahmad Humeid's misplaced idealism!

Anyone who read Ahmad Humeid article (A question for the Israeli Blogsphere!!) must have been as dismayed as me by the quality of comments that this post generated, , it went from the Israeli apologist for the occupation's crimes to Arab absolutists who espouse blatant anti-Semitism. Needless to say I don't care for neither.

Now Ahmad Humeid is one of my closest friends, and I admire him for his ability to have the highest hopes in Homo Sapiens and generally have a positive outlook on humanity, and unlike me, he has not one iota of prejudice in his body. Hence, he had the mistaken notion that it is possible to have a rational and objective discussion about what is happening in Palestine, and actually invited Israelis to share their opinions. The result he got was predictable, of people seeing the world from their side of the Wall, and no one dares venture into "unsafe" territory.

Unlike Ahmad, I lived in Palestine for several years and experienced the first 3 years of the 2nd Intifada, what I have seen in those years have killed any hope of being able to communicate with the other side without emotional issues and flag waving sabotaging the argument. Before the start of the Intifada, I used to socialize with many Israelis, and called some of them my friends, and in many ways, I am not proud to say, I was culturally closer to them than to the majority of my countrymen.

The Intifada changed all of that, while anybody who read my posts know how critical I am of those in my society who propagate hate and murder of innocent Israeli civilians, what I saw of my Israeli "friends" in that period was a total withdrawal to traditional stance, accepting the official line of propaganda, and totally justifying all action by the occupation army, regardless how vile. There were always explanations of clearly intentional murder of civilians, the prized Tsahal is above targeting civilians, even when I saw tank gunners with my own eyes doing just that during the invasion of Ramallah in 2001. I proudly say that I tried my best to attend the funeral of Smadar El-Hanan, an Israeli teenager (and daughter of an acquaintance) murdered with several other innocent Israelis in West Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber, I was stopped by the same roadblocks that failed to stop him.

I simply lost hope that there can be an objective and dispassionate discussion with the other side, and unlike Ahmad, I no longer venture out of my own way to engage with Israelis, and I guess that I will probably never again sit to dinner with one, or have any view of Israelis other than the soldiers who man the roadblock who take special pleasure in humiliating Palestinians like me.

So Ahmad, it is far better for us to keep observing, analyzing and criticizing our own society and governments, there is a good chance of inducing change there, and some of it is happening already because of people like you. As for the "other side", I abandoned all hope, and I regretfully advise you to do the same.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tired thoughts.

I have been though another reflective period, agonizing over macro issues, reading abstract political theory and depleting my tiny "cellar".

I have been working non-stop for a while, and while work is definitive instrument of reaching your objective in life, it is not sufficient by itself. The more I work, the more I feel something is missing, whether it is intellectual fulfillment, more permanent companionship, less whimiscal friendships, the ability to wear my identity on my sleeve, and the search for the perfect pants to cover my ever expanding "back area".

Some friends have left this country for good, and more are leaving in the next 30 days, and with them goes lots of hopes and emotions, I just said goodbye to a Lone Star State native, so goodbye Mitchy-Lee, our loss is Austin's gain.

I have been doing some wandering lately, physically and mentaly, in quite despicable territory, yet I chose to wade into the swamps for some unknown higher reason. The search for intelligent life continue.

The near prospect of "losing" a sibling to matrimony also brought home to me my distance from my family, physical and otherwise, and I cannot say that the exile is involuntary, it is definitely by choice, and a well thought one. Yet I ponder whether shaking off all the expectations and burden of the first born son was done in too harsh a way, whether by carving out my independent zone I dug a gulf of estrangement, way more question than answers. I have no regrets, but no satisfaction either.

attachment, or the lack of it figures large in my mind, upon taking on my current job, I took a decision to withdraw from the "scene' and not to pursue anything half-way serious until I reach a stable point in my job when I can give proper time and attention. The downside is, I am less and less satisfied with non-serious encounters, which leaves a bitter aftertaste most of the time.
Another question to chew on.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A series of unfortunate events

Last week has bee rather eventful, all but one of the sad kind, and they had an adverse effect on my outlook and disposition.

The massacre on the beach in Gaza: I could not help but tear up at the sight of Huda Ghalia, the 11 years old girl that lost almost all of her family, their only crime was being Palestinian and imagining that they are entitled to a family picnic on the beach. The Israeli shells sought to end that transgression, to the result we all saw. My dad have met the girl in Gaza City 3 days ago and told me that she is totally dazed and lucid, very sad indeed.

The death of Zarqawi was the only positive development of the week, while it is not right to celebrate a state sanctioned murder, if anybody deserved it, that murderer did. I am against the American occupation of Iraq, but if Zarqawi is the alternative, I never want the Americans to leave. His victims were mostly innocent Iraqis, and his takfiri discourse is the most dangerous element in the Iraqi swamp. I will shed no tears on account of this zealot, I actually had a toast to the F16 that caught the bastard, even that I felt bad about it afterwards.

The shameful chaos and internal fighting in Palestine is driving me into depression, insane acts as torching the parliament building, shooting at a security HQ, firing those idiotic rockets at Israel that bring back ample death, the media war, the people left without salaries, the desperation, the Israeli pleasure at our situation, I could go on for ever, I am just sick of it. I am actually dreading my trip back to Ramallah in late July.

I will post again when I am in slight better state of mind.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Democracy but no democrats!

One of the sayings of Azmi Bishara that stuck with me (I am not a Bishara fan usually) is that you cannot create a true democracy in the Arab World without democrats, i.e. a political class that believes in and practices democratic values, most importantly the concept that the power resides with the people.

That is especially true in Palestine today, with the simmering crisis over the referendum to be called by President Abbas, for the life of me I cannot understand how Hamas can explain their opposition to it. A party elected to government by the people should not fear consulting them about a major decision, especially when it can serve as a face-saving way to make a compromise that is anathema to the dogmatic bunch in Hamas leadership.

An absolute majority of the Palestinian people inside the West Bank and Gaza support a recognition of Israel within the Green line in return for a Palestinian in the whole of the West Bank and Gaza and a just solution to the refugee issue. A Palestinian in Tul Karem does not need much imagination to recognize that Israel exist, he can see it with his own eyes.
While the counter argument that the Palestinians outside Palestine are the majority and they should have a vote is valid as well, the politics of dispossession inside the camps and the realities of the 'host" states makes consulting the whole population impossible, besides, the people under the occupation are for better or worse, the last standing presence on historical Palestine, and hence, they are its custodian, almost by default.

Mahomud Darwish once commented on the difference between "Al-haq" what is right, and "Al-haqiqa" the reality, the reality is, through a great historical inequity, our land was taken from us unjustly, but in order for us to continue to exist as a nation, we must recognize the current realities, and realize that Israel cannot be "wiped off the map", once we do that, we have a frame of reference of a compromise with our "neighbors". This does not imply that we have accepted their historical right to what is our land, but we have accepted the fact that they are there right now, and we have to live next to them, rather than to die under their fire.

In this light, the Hamas dogmatic stance stands hollow, they refuse to acknowledge the majority acceptance of the realities, and are fiercely against a referendum that will formalize the public will and turn it into a de facto national policy. They cannot claim public mandate without listening to the people.

I am afraid that this argument will be settled with guns rather than by compromise, which is why the referendum is a good idea, and that is exactly what scares Hamas.

One thing that you can say about Palestine is that there are never dull moments.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Back from the (near) dead!

I am finally back to posting after a hiatus of almost two months, as I fell sick and my new job has taken all the time I could spare, so all my energies were focused on that.

A lot has happened in the past two months, a family member got engaged, to be married very soon, so I have to travel home for the ceremony, some friends are leaving the country, others settling here. An uncle of mine came here with the intention of setting up shop in the UAE and leaving his business in Palestine, a very depressing thought.

I also got to go and see Chicago the Musical, which was swell, it was refreshing to see this amusing tale of notoriety and infidelity displayed in all its "glory", fishnets and all.

Yesterday I made the mistake of going to see the Da Vinci Code, I should listen to critics more, as I will never get those two hours plus back, all I can say that it was a one dimentional performance, shame.

I am back to my posting schedule, so I will be posting again by the middle of the week.