Amid Sunday‘s ‘Nabka Day’ violence on Israel’s Lebanese and Syrian borders, as well as within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas-controlled Gaza, commemorated the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s re-formation by declaring before a reported crowd of 10,000 at Gaza City mosque that “Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine.”
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the organization with which the Palestinian Authority is re-uniting after the bloody 2007 battle that left Fatah in charge of the West Bank, Hamas in charge of the Gaza Strip, and the latter’s political opponents flattened after being tossed off the rooftops of high rises. This reunification of Palestinian governing organizations has been made in preparation for a unilateral declaration of statehood this fall. That declaration is expected to be made to the United Nations, the vast majority of whose individual states will recognize a nation of Palestine complete with self-declared borders that extend to the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel. This means, of course, that it would include the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, eliminating Israel’s buffer against attack and dividing the Jewish state’s capital.
Aside from the obvious result of such a move – the taking of Israeli land and the splitting of its capital by unilateral decision – the constant drumbeat by both parties for eliminating the Jewish State altogether makes this a very concerning development, as even the New York Times has noted:
Other reconciliation attempts between Fatah and Hamas have imploded, but Mr. Abbas seems to believe this will advance his push to get the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state. Above all, his sudden willingness to deal with his enemies in Hamas is a sign of his desperation with the stalled peace process.
Hamas’s goals are far harder to game, although there are reports of new frictions with Syria and a desire for better ties with Egypt’s new government. In an interview with The Times last week, Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, declared himself fully committed to working for a two-state solution. Just a few days earlier Hamas’s (supposedly more moderate) prime minister, Ismail Haniya, was out there celebrating Osama bin Laden as a “Muslim and Arab warrior.” Huge skepticism and vigilance are essential. But more months with no progress on peace talks will only further play into extremists’ hands.
Haniya is not the only one spewing such rhetoric, of course, though most Westerners can’t be blamed for not knowing that, as the media are either too ignorant or too lazy to bother reporting what leaders throughout Palestine and the greater Middle East say to their people in any language other than English. Even Palestinian textbooks make statements that would at very least raise eyebrows in the West if reported, such as a 12th grade book which declares that “The Zionist gangs stole Palestine…and established the State of Israel.”
The belief and repeated declaration that Israel is illegitimate and/or must be destroyed is commonplace not only in Hamas-controlled Gaza, but throughout the Territories and the greater Middle East. This has been tragically under-reported in Western media, which, whether due to their lazy nature or desire to fit information to their pre-conceived narratives, is satisfied to unquestioningly run English-only statements and poor translations of speeches and sermons given by Palestinian and other anti-Zionist leaders, while paying no attention whatsoever to the far more inflammatory, threatening, murderous, and terrorist-supporting statements those leaders make in their own languages. Without media watchdogs like Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI, the statements and threats made by Israel’s enemies may never be translated and made available to those who wish to bypass the lazy, biased media and actually find out what Palestinians and others are saying and doing in their decades-long effort to destroy the state of Israel.
The events of Sunday’s “Nabka” riots and incursions, and the move toward the establishment of a Palestinian state that incorporates lands which are currently part of Israel, are a natural extension of the real results of the “Arab Spring” that has swept the Middle East and North Africa over the last four months. Given this, Sunday’s events, the Fatah-Hamas reunion, and the push for unilaterally declared Palestinian statehood should give great pause to those who cheered on this anti-dictator sentiment which has swept the Middle East and North Africa since January, and who considered its results to be both a victory for western-style “democracy” and an unalloyed good for all involved. The evidence from places like Egypt, which is moving toward ending its long-standing peace treaty with Israel, normalizing its relations with Iran and Hamas (the latter being a natural reunion between the Muslim Brotherhood and their spawn), and consigning its relationship with America to the garbage pile of history, clearly demonstrated to any who are actually paying attention that the outcome of this Spring’s revolutions will negatively impact people both within and without many of these nations.
Despite waiting almost three weeks and cautiously watching events in the Land of the Pharaohs to see who would come out on top before taking a side, President Barack Obama and his administration still managed to utterly whiff on the actual fallout and implications of these events, which he declared to be “a victory for a nation determined to accept ‘nothing less than genuine democracy’,” mere weeks (if not days) before it became clear that Egyptians – particularly the Coptic Christian minority – would get nothing of the sort from the sweat and blood they gave over their weeks of Tahrir protests. Unfortunately, based on its statements and actions to date, the Obama administration appears poised to act even more stupidly on Israel and Palestine than it has to date on Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other burning nations in the region.