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For The Sake of Life, Kill the Myths in Palestine and Israel! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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&#34Our existence is tied to that of resistance,&#34 said Sheikh Mohamed Yazbak of the Shura (consultative) council of Hezbollah in Lebanon as he discussed the future of the armament of his organization within Lebanon during a funeral service in Libya , Western Biqaa. Israel appoints a religious figure (the identity of whom is always concealed) as commander of the Special Forces (Sieret Mitkal), which carries out operations including assassinations. Abdulaziz Al Hakim, the head of the Iraqi Supreme Shi”a Council asserted during a meeting with an Iranian official that the blood of the martyrs was the basis of victory against the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, rather than American intervention. Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Zahar, with reference to Israel”s withdrawal from Gaza, said that resistance should continue in the West Bank, and that the disapproval against Israeli presence in Palestine is as strong as ever. Mohamed Al Dayf, (Abu Khaled) the fugitive leader of the Ezz El Din Al Qassam brigade promised to carry out operations inside Israel in Jaffa, Akre, Haifa, Safed, not merely in response to Israel”s actions but to drive it out completely.

So what is the common element that binds all these statements together? They all indicate that they are engulfed with idealist demands rather than seeking realistic demands of regular people. Let us not forget that the very word &#34realistic&#34 is subject of cursing for many who consider it a low and despicable standard of achievement.

Could the fanatical Jews live in peace? Could they live in a secular climate with secular aspirations? Could the Mujahideen of ”Hamas” and ”Jihad” live only for the sake of life, instead of playing on nostalgia and imagination? Is it true that Hezbollah”s presence is based on the concept of resistance? Could those obsessed with the imaginative notion of popular Shi”a fundamentalism in Iraq bypass the manic concepts of revenge and sacrifice causing blood, blood, and more blood? I”m not discussing the details, events and the course of political conflict here, but rather attempting to address the spirit behind the conflicts, as this is the real cause of the continuation of such violence.

I state as a given fact that the Palestinian issue is just and fair as a cause for a people who rightfully seek to inhabit their occupied land and establish their own independent state. However, with the widening increase of the balance of power tremendously for the sake of Israel, most Palestinian forces recognized from a realistic perspective the right of Israel to exist. This recognition was not different from any political settlement throughout history including the history of Islam.

Thus, in November 1988 the Palestinian Independence Document was created in Algeria. It had defined the limits of demands and the limits of the Palestinian dream, a state within the 1967 borders. Even Marwan Bargouthi was struggling for this defined goal. There was a large, but not complete consensus on this goal, namely a Palestinian state on the land that remained after the well-known U.N resolution to divide Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. On this foundation, the peace process was launched and since the Madrid conference, has been crippled several times due to Israeli obstinacy and to the actions of Palestinian fundamentalism that sought to continue fighting. Because the Palestinian fundamentalists do not believe in the foundation of the peace process, they see that any settlement is religiously prohibited because for them the entire land of Palestine is an Islamic site that was forcefully annexed by the Jews. Furthermore, as Hamas and &#34Jihad&#34 have stated, &#34All Muslims are obliged to wage Jihad in order to regain Palestine and drive the occupiers off its soil.&#34 From here, we can clearly note that Hamas”s strategy is based on maintaining the fire of conflict in order to destroy the secular basis for settlement.

One of Hamas”s documents entitled, &#34Conflict with Zionism in Hamas”s belief&#34 says, &#34Hamas sees that the best way to manage the conflict with the Zionist enemy is to mobilize all the efforts of the Palestinians towards raising the banner of Jihad by all possible means. We must also maintain resistance until the necessary conditions for settling the conflict is completed with the rise of the Arab and Islamic nations.&#34 With such perspective and thought that puts the whole matter in an incredibly religious and &#34infinite&#34 framework, it is hard to perceive an end to the conflict as it is a conflict of the mind rather than of reality. In fact, under such a perspective reality is twisted and shaped to suit belief and ideology. Therefore, Israel”s withdrawal from Gaza becomes nothing but evidence of the success of Hamas and Jihad, and is completely independent from Abu Mazen”s achievement of a political deal to regain parts of the land via political means. If Israel commits acts of killing, invading, or demolishing, Hamas leaders will quickly declare that Israelis do not want peace. On the other hand, however, if the Israelis take the necessary steps towards peace, Hamas will claim that the move is &#34just a trick,&#34 just as the member of Hamas”s political bureau, Ismail Haniya had said about Israel”s withdrawal from Gaza.

In the same way, one is obliged to pose the following question with regards Lebanon. Was Hezbollah”s aim to liberate part of Lebanon, which is internationally recognized, or rather to continue the confrontation with Israel to maintain the glowing image of the freedom fighter and to use it to control the political picture of that region? In this respect, I recall a story that the prominent Palestinian journalists Nazeer Megalli, and ”Ali Al Saleh, both from Asharq Al Awsat once told me. They said that back in May 2003, while they were the guests” of late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, he said that, &#34Hezbollah exaggerates in assessing its role. What made Israel decide to leave South Lebanon was the pressures of Israeli public opinion which the Palestinians successfully helped in forming. With regards to Hezbollah”s military skills, it was we who trained them.&#34 If we set aside Abu Amar”s ridicule, we can clearly see that these statements carry an objection to the attempts of organizations such as Hezbollah to ridicule the realistic non-mythical perspective in Lebanon and Palestine. Such ridicule is apparent in Iraq as we witness blatant insistence to transform the conflict into one based on religion and myths.

Under such obscure climates; the task of Abu Mazen becomes extremely difficult especially that his counterpart, Sharon, is himself not free from the Zionist myths, despite usually opting for pragmatism at the suitable moments. Abu Mazen, however, is a man who is armed merely with hope and realism, in comparison to the catchphrases, clichés, and military attire of Yasser Arafat. We do not seek to defend Fatah and attack Hamas and Jihad, especially as everyone is aware of the mere dialogue of Fatah and the corruption within the Palestinian authority. Perhaps, the inability of Fatah to establish peace is because it remains unable to forget or change the previous mentality of war. As for Sharon, the more he tightens control on the freedom of Palestinians and especially that of workers, the more Hamas and Jihad will carry out their suicide operations. The more Sharon pursues the Zionist mythical dream, the faster the prospect for peace will abandon the Arab world.

It is disappointing that most parties become obsessed with fairy tales and illusions, especially in the case of Eden Nathan Zaada. This 19-year-old Israeli was a follower of Rabbi Kahane and opened fire on innocent Palestinian passengers on a bus in Galilee. What would truly be terrifying is if members of every religion and ethnicity who seek to protect such illusions are victorious over those who are pragmatic. Such dreams could easily destroy all hopes and attempts for peace and stability. To break out of a dream can be more difficult than achieving it; this remains the biggest challenge.

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi is a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism, as well as on Saudi affairs. He is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page editor. Mr. Zaydi has worked for the local Saudi press, and has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

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