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Ismail Haniyeh: "A Just Peace or No Peace" (GUARDIAN)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Transmitted below is an eminently sensible article by Ismail Haniyeh,
the new Palestinian prime minister, published yesterday in the GUARDIAN.


*A just peace or no peace  *

/Israeli unilateralism is a recipe for conflict - as is the west's
racist refusal to treat Palestinians as equals  /

Ismail Haniyeh
Friday March 31, 2006
The Guardian

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/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1743652,00.html
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