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Op-Ed by new Palestinian PM

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    Israeli unilateralism is a recipe for conflict - as is the west s racist refusal to treat Palestinians as equals A just peace or no peace Ismail Haniyeh Friday
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2006
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      Israeli unilateralism is a recipe for conflict - as is the west's
      racist refusal to treat Palestinians as equals


      A just peace or no peace
      Ismail Haniyeh
      Friday March 31, 2006
      The Guardian
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1743652,00.html


      Do policymakers in Washington and Europe ever feel ashamed of their
      scandalous double standards? Before and since the Palestinian
      elections in January, they have continually insisted that Hamas comply
      with certain demands. They want us to recognise Israel, call off our
      resistance, and commit ourselves to whatever deals Israel and the
      Palestinian leadership reached in the past.

      But we have not heard a single demand of the Israeli parties that took
      part in this week's elections, though some advocate the complete
      removal of the Palestinians from their lands. Even Ehud Olmert's
      Kadima party, whose Likud forebears frustrated every effort by the PLO
      to negotiate a peace settlement, campaigned on a programme that defies
      UN security council resolutions. His unilateralism is a violation of
      international law. Nevertheless no one, not even the Quartet - whose
      proposals for a settlement he continues to disregard, as his
      predecessor Ariel Sharon did - has dared ask anything of him.

      Olmert's unilateralism is a recipe for conflict. It is a plan to
      impose a permanent situation in which the Palestinians end up with a
      homeland cut into pieces made inaccessible because of massive Jewish
      settlements built in contravention of international law on land seized
      illegally from the Palestinians. No plan will ever work without a
      guarantee, in exchange for an end to hostilities by both sides, of a
      total Israeli withdrawal from all the land occupied in 1967, including
      East Jerusalem; the release of all our prisoners; the removal of all
      settlers from all settlements; and recognition of the right of all
      refugees to return.

      On this, all Palestinian factions and people agree, including the PLO,
      whose revival is essential so that it can resume its role in speaking
      for the Palestinians and presenting their case to the world.

      The problem is not with any particular Palestinian group but with the
      denial of our basic rights by Israel. We in Hamas are for peace and
      want to put an end to bloodshed. We have been observing a unilateral
      truce for more than a year without reciprocity from the Israeli side.
      The message from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to the world
      powers is this: talk to us no more about recognising Israel's "right
      to exist" or ending resistance until you obtain a commitment from the
      Israelis to withdraw from our land and recognise our rights.

      Little will change for the Palestinians under Olmert's plan. Our land
      will still be occupied and our people enslaved and oppressed by the
      occupying power. So we will remain committed to our struggle to get
      back our lands and our freedom. Peaceful means will do if the world is
      willing to engage in a constructive and fair process in which we and
      the Israelis are treated as equals. We are sick and tired of the
      west's racist approach to the conflict, in which the Palestinians are
      regarded as inferior. Though we are the victims, we offer our hands in
      peace, but only a peace that is based on justice. However, if the
      Israelis continue to attack and kill our people and destroy their
      homes, impose sanctions, collectively punish us, and imprison men and
      women for exercising the right to self-defence, we have every right to
      respond with all available means.

      Hamas has been freely elected. Our people have given us their
      confidence and we pledge to defend their rights and do our best to run
      their affairs through good governance. If we are boycotted in spite of
      this democratic choice - as we have been by the US and some of its
      allies - we will persist, and our friends have pledged to fill the
      gap. We have confidence in the peoples of the world, record numbers of
      whom identify with our struggle. This is a good time for peace-making
      - if the world wants peace.


      Ismail Haniyeh is the new Palestinian prime minister and a Hamas
      leader. Email: ihaniyyeh @ hotmail.com

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