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Hamas: Israel must change its flag

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    Zahar: Israel must change its flag By JPOST.COM STAFF Jan. 28, 2006 A senior Hamas leader indicated Sunday that his group s landslide victory in Palestinian
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2006
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      Zahar: Israel must change its flag
      By JPOST.COM STAFF
      Jan. 28, 2006


      A senior Hamas leader indicated Sunday that his group's landslide
      victory in Palestinian legislative elections changed little in its
      stance toward Israel.

      Mahmoud Zahar's comments came after Minister Shaul Mofaz said in
      Sunday's cabinet meeting that Hamas was, at this point, acting
      "responsibly," and added that he believed that the organization would
      soon attempt to rein in terror.

      Asked if a Hamas-led Palestinian government would accept Israel's
      right to exist, Mahmoud Zahar of the Gaza Strip told CNN's "Late
      Edition": "The question should be answered first by Israel, because
      they are not accepting us, except as minority, not the owner of the
      land."

      Among his several conditions he placed on israel was a request that it
      change its flag. "Israel must remove the two Blue stripes from its
      National flag", said Zahar. "The stripes on the flag are symbols of
      occupation. They signify Israel's borders stretching from the River
      Euphrates to the River Nile."

      Zahar was also asked if Hamas, which America views as a terrorist
      organization, would renounce terrorism.

      "What is the international definition of terrorism?" he responded.
      "When (Israeli forces) attack houses by F-16, just when they are using
      helicopters, when they are killing people and children and removing
      our agriculture system, this is terrorism."

      Zahar said Hamas planned to work with Palestinian President Mahmoud
      Abbas, also called Abu Mazen. Abbas leads the Fatah Party; he was
      elected to a four-year term last year and remains in power.

      "We are going to cooperate with Abu Mazen, according to the
      Palestinian national interests, to help the Palestinian people to live
      as in a purified system, to fight against corruption," he said.

      US President George W. Bush said Friday that the United States would
      cut millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian government unless
      Hamas abolishes the militant arm of its party and stops calling for
      the destruction of Israel.

      Zahar said Sunday that "we are looking for this money, but this money
      should not be conditioned."

      Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

      ===

      What Hamas Is Seeking
      By Mousa Abu Marzook,
      Washington Post,
      Tuesday, January 31, 2006; A17


      DAMASCUS, Syria -- A new era in the struggle for Palestinian
      liberation is upon us. Through historic fair and free elections, the
      Palestinian people have spoken.

      Accordingly, America's long-standing tradition of supporting the
      oppressed's rights to self-determination should not waver. The United
      States, the European Union and the rest of the world should welcome
      the unfolding of the democratic process, and the commitment to aid
      should not falter. Last week's victory of the Change and Reform Party
      in the Palestinian legislative elections signals a new hope for an
      occupied people.

      The results of these elections reflect a need for change from the
      corruption and intransigence of the past government. Since its
      creation 10 years ago, the Palestinian Legislative Council has been
      unsuccessful in addressing the needs of the people. As the occupation
      solidified its grip under the auspices of "peace agreements," quality
      of life deteriorated for Palestinians in the occupied territories.
      Poverty levels soared, unemployment rates reached uncharted heights
      and the lack of basic security approached unbearable depths. A
      grass-roots alternative grew out of the urgency of this situation.

      Through its legacy of social work and involvement in the needs of the
      Palestinian people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) flourished
      as a positive social force striving for the welfare of all
      Palestinians. Alleviating the debilitative conditions of occupation,
      and not an Islamic state, is at the heart of our mandate (with reform
      and change as its lifeblood).

      Despite the pressures of occupation and corrupt self-rule, Palestinian
      civil society has demonstrated its resilience in the face of
      repressive conditions. Social institutions can now be given new life
      under a reformed government that embraces the empowerment of the
      people, facilitates freedoms and protects civil rights.

      Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the unique
      history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing
      Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the
      greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three
      Abrahamic faiths. In addition, fair governance demands that the
      Palestinian nation be represented in a pluralistic environment. A new
      breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based
      principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

      In that vein, Hamas has pledged transparency in government. Honest
      leadership will result from the accountability of its public servants.
      Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant
      role in public life. The movement has forged genuine and lasting
      relationships with Christian candidates.

      As we embark on a new phase in the struggle to liberate Palestine, we
      recognize the recent elections as a vote against the failures of the
      current process. A new "road map" is needed to lead us away from the
      path of checkpoints and walls and onto the path of freedom and
      justice. The past decade's "peace process" has led to a dramatic rise
      in the expansion of illegal settlements and land confiscation. The
      realities of occupation include humiliating checkpoints, home
      demolitions, open-ended administrative detentions, extrajudicial
      killings and thousands of dead civilians.

      The Islamic Resistance Movement was elected to protect the
      Palestinians from the abuses of occupation, based on its history of
      sacrifice for the cause of liberty. It would be a mistake to view the
      collective will of the Palestinian people in electing Hamas in fair
      and free elections under occupation as a threat. For meaningful
      dialogue to occur there should be no prejudgments or preconditions.
      And we do desire dialogue. The terms of the dialogue should be
      premised on justice, mutual respect and integrity of the parties.

      As the Israelis value their own security, Palestinians are entitled to
      their fundamental rights to live in dignity and security. We ask them
      to reflect on the peace that our peoples once enjoyed and the
      protection that Muslims gave the Jewish community worldwide. We will
      exert good-faith efforts to remove the bitterness that Israel's
      occupation has succeeded in creating, alienating a generation of
      Palestinians. We call on them not to condemn posterity to endless
      bloodshed and a conflict in which dominance is illusory. There must
      come a day when we will live together, side by side once again.

      The failed policies of the U.S. administration are the result of the
      inherent contradiction in its position as Israel's strongest ally and
      an "honest broker" in the conflict. World nations have condemned the
      brutal Israeli occupation. For the sake of peace, the United States
      must abandon its position of isolation and join the rest of the world
      in calling for an end to the occupation, assuring the Palestinians
      their right to self-determination.

      We appeal to the American people's sense of fairness to judge this
      conflict in light of the great thoughts, principles and ideals you
      hold dear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the
      democracy you have built. It is not unreasonable to expect America to
      practice abroad what it preaches at home. We can but sincerely hope
      that you use your honest judgment and the blessings of ascendancy God
      has given you to demand an end to the occupation. Meaningful democracy
      cannot flourish as long as an external force maintains the balance of
      power. It is the right of all people to pursue their own destiny.

      The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance
      Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was
      indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on
      racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with
      activities on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the
      organization was placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was
      deported to Jordan in 1997.

      ===

      ELECTIONS IN PALESTINE – TREND CONTINUES
      Shamim A Siddiqi - tsidd96472 @ aol.com
      February 1, 2006


      Parliamentary Elections were held in Palestine last week on January
      24, 2006 and the pro-Islamic party Hamas won with a landslide victory
      by capturing 76 seats in the house of 132, enabling it to form its own
      independent government shortly. Seventy eight percent of the
      registered votes were cast. The Elections were peaceful, free, fair
      and transparent by all the standards as confirmed by Ex-President
      Jimmy Carter of the USA who was the chief of the team of International
      Observers. This confirms the view that I expressed in my Editorial
      Comments of "Muslims", NY on November 28, 2005 under the caption:
      "Elections in Egypt – What it connotes?" I would like to share its
      paramount theme with the readers:



      "This shows that democratic process is very much akin to Muslims as a
      faith for a collective body and whenever they get the chance they
      adhere to it whether it is Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Egypt."
      The trend has continued as demonstrated and confirmed by the Muslims
      of Palestine. [Interested readers may visit the Website:
      WWW.dawahinamericas.com and go through the article under Section "C" -
      the Muslim World to understand the trend that I have elaborated therein]



      If President Bush and the "freedom" loving people of the "enlightened"
      world are interested and serious in the outflow of "freedom and
      democracy" in the Middle East, Central Asia, and North African
      countries, they must "force" the tyrant-undemocratic regimes of the
      Muslim world to hold fair and unfettered elections forthwith and
      wither away, the only way to regain peace and security in Asia, Africa
      and around the world. It is the open challenge to the secular
      leadership of the world, especially its advocates, President Bush and
      PM Tony Blare. But see how "hypocritically" these so-called democratic
      countries and their "freedom-loving" leadership, both of Europe and
      America are reacting to the miraculous success of Hamas in Palestine?



      They all, including SG Kofi Annan, are unanimous in their demand that
      they will not negotiate with Hamas and its government unless it
      recognizes the "disputed" State of Israel, gives up its arms and the
      "politics" of violence. They have already threatened to stop all the
      financial help to the State of Palestinian so that it fails right at
      the very outset. However, the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
      and other Muslim countries have appealed to the Leadership of Europe
      and America to accept the legitimate results of Palestinian Elections
      and continue their financial support. The Government of SA has openly
      confirmed that it will continue its financial support to the
      Government of Palestine and asked the leadership of Hamas to be
      realistic to the ground situation of the area. The people of
      Palestine, through the recognized process of democracy, have given
      their clear verdict in favor of Hamas to lead the destiny of its
      people and the democratic world have now no choice but to accept it
      and deal with the leadership of Hamas with open hearts in the sate of
      peace and not of threats, intimidations and confrontation. Only a
      peaceful cooperative dialogue will pave the way in persuading Hamas to
      be gradually "accommodative" to the existence of Israel. The Israeli
      State, in its best interest, must give a free trial to the concept of
      friendship and cooperation and see the miracles of brotherly attitude.



      The elected Hamas leadership ship is highly educated and well
      conscious of the situation. They all are talking sense and are
      desirous to live in peaceful co-existence. Fadel Saleh, a Hamas
      politician from Ramallah clearly declared: "Hamas wants cooperation
      with all Palestinian parties and a national agreement on policy". The
      other successful candidates like Ahmad Mubarak would say: If Israel
      pulled back to its 1967 boundaries, Hamas would consider a long time
      truce" [Ref: NY Times dated January 27, 2006]. The leadership of Hamas
      appears to be in reconciliatory mood and it would be in the best
      interest of Israel to be just and realistic and give up their mood of
      "arrogance". They must know that they cannot have peace and safe
      borders unless they offer the "olive branch" to Palestinians who are
      sufferings indescribably at their hands beyond any human imagination
      since the promulgation of Belford Award in the wake of First Great War
      of 1914-18. Israelis must learn that the so-called "support" of the
      West will only prolong the cold-blooded war in Israel, increase the
      sufferings of Palestinians and negate the peace process till doomsday
      as it is one sided and ignores the legitimate rights of Palestinians.



      The success of Hamas in Palestine is a God-gifted "opportunity" for
      Israel, rather the "last" chance to live on the basis of two states
      living side by side in peace and harmony. They have got their
      "promised" land as they "claim" and should be contented with it. Any
      "greed" to grab more Arab lands will be an invitation to
      self-destruction. Perhaps the ailing Prime Minister of Israel, Aerial
      Sharon realized the shortcomings of the impossibilities Zionist
      "dream" of Greater Israel, resolved to quit Likud, established the new
      party Kadima and live within its current secured boundaries surrounded
      by high concrete walls as the "Greater Israel" could be had only on
      the dead bodies of millions of people on both sides or never. The
      emerging of Iran as a mini Shiia-superpower with nuclear ambitions is
      bound to create stumbling block in its way. Equally, the Muslim world
      would never accept this Zionist fantasy. A reconciliatory approach
      from the Israeli leadership, at this juncture, will encourage Hamas
      leadership to think and plan to live together in peace.



      The "peace process" now lies in the hands of Israel and Hamas and not
      in Washington, London or Oslo. The historic success of Hamas has
      changed its directive and sensitiveness altogether. The leadership of
      both should give up their hard-line attitude against each other and
      think like humans as how to mitigate their centuries old sufferings in
      the name of Crusades perpetuated and thrust upon this sacred land of
      Qudus by bigotry of papal leadership and "prejudiced" Church where the
      Jews and Muslims were no party to the repeated onslaughts of Europe
      and its combined forces time and again. Unfortunately, these forces
      have again joined hands to prolong the tragedies of both the
      communities in the name of "peace". In fact, Christian world is not
      "interested" in the peace of ME but keeping it in a perpetual state of
      turmoil, limbo and in their "pawns" of exploitation deeply engraved in
      its oil-rich-economy. Israelis know this game very well and,
      therefore, must now extend the hands of friendship to Hamas and Hamas,
      as it appears, will grab it with an open heart of a Muslim. Such
      opportunities come rarely and Israelis should not miss it. Christian
      world was never "friendly" to them nor is today. Let them grab this
      opportunity lest it becomes too late. It would solve one of the
      thorniest issues of global politics. It would be possible only if
      Israel thinks "standing" on its own legs and not on the false
      "crutches" of Washington, London or Paris that fish only in trouble
      waters. Centuries old history of Euro-American colonization confirms it.


      Shamim Siddiqi

      *********************************************************************

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