Twice I have been shocked lately, first by the Sheikh Ra’ed Salah; the Sheikh of al Aqsa -as he likes to be called- and second by a person called Laura, a new convert to Islam. In both cases the problem that I faced was none other than sectarian Islam and NGO. The notorious Sheikh Raed Salah had succeeded for many years in deceiving us by projecting the image of a committed person, a religious reference defending fiercely al Aqsa and rallying people for this cause all over the world; the image of a passenger on the Mavi Marmara who exposed his life and was about to get killed, of a prisoner incarcerated constantly by Israelis.
I feared for Sheikh Raed Salah, I feared for his life and for his freedom and considered him a symbol of the Resistance in the occupied Palestinian territory. Never the idea would have occurred to me that the Sheikh was a hired NGO, a person promoting –above all-his own self in order to sell his stands in the Turkish and Qatari markets at a the highest price. He had fallen even lower than Azmi Beshara, who had also defected from Palestine to Qatar to join the prince of Qatar and Sheikha Moza in their “dubious ” endeavors ; what an end for the leftist intellectual that he posed for!
As for the sheikh Raed Salah he reserved us a special surprise when he started -from Palestine and Turkey- rallying against Syria and calling for liberating Damascus as if Palestine had already been liberated. The Sheikh was just playing the sectarian card, the winning card that Qaradawi had played before him , calling – like Qaradawi -for division and for civil war in Syria, siding with NATO and the western establishment and Israel, waging enmity to the country that hosts half a million of refugees, the country that hosted for years the leaders of HAMAS where they were welcomed and honored and catered to.
Shame on such a Sheikh who forgot Palestine and forgot Israel that has usurped his country and village, to call for war on Syria under the pretext that Assad is a dictator depriving Sunnis from the rule! Where is Palestine from all this and where are Palestinians and where is the Resistance and where is the struggle and where is religion? There is nothing in here except utter sectarianism that serves best the world order and Israel.
As for Laura the new convert to Islam, her story is the saddest of stories for -while she thought she had converted to Islam- she had actually converted to sectarianism which meant that she would never know what true Islam is. The converted lady that seems a respectable person –-wants -like Sheikh Raed Salah – the Sunnis to rule Syria, it does not matter who are the Sunnis who would rule- whether they are good or bad-as long as they get to rule, and for this there is need to overthrow Assad and create all this havoc.
Long live the Sunnis! This is what the new convert understands by Islam which is a total misconception of religion and a total misunderstanding of Islam. Sectarianism is not Islam, it is Islam as conceived by the Intelligence Services of the western establishment, it is Islam as conceived by the enemies of Islam, by the enemies of Arabs and Palestinians. Sectarianism is the Islam prepared especially to the taste of NGOs whose goal is to distort the religion and everything that relates to it and to replace it by its fake projection so as to get an Islam that compromises and normalizes with the state of Israel.
This Islam waged by Secret Services and NGOs is neither Sunni nor Shi’a because Sunni and Shi’s are not exclusive of one another but complement each other in every respect. This is nothing but sectarian Islam that seeks the destruction of religion to make it co exist with Israel for which true committed Islam represents a real threat. Sectarianism is nothing but the liquidation of the Palestinian and Arab cause at the hands of Zionists and their clientele all over the world.
He who does not recognize Islam as the religion of unity and solidarity and commitment that transgresses all differences will never know what Islam is, for Islam is something that will never-under any circumstance- coexist with something called Israel. Let this be known to all sectarians- like Sheikh Raed Salah and the new convert Laura -who want to undermine the Resistance seeking a compromise with Israel at the expense of religion.
Delegates returned home last week from a vote that divided the United Presbyterian Church (UPC) down the middle. Known as commissioners, the delegates to the 220th General Assembly (GA) considered a proposal to divest from three companies supplying the Israeli military. It was voted down 333-331, with two abstentions.
This reporter spoke to one dejected but resolute delegate upon her return:
So is this the end for Presbyterian participation in BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel?
“Participation in BDS? We would never propose such a thing! BDS is about sending a message to Israelis and Palestinians about what is ethical. That is not our purpose. This is about us, not them. We just don’t want our money to be part of the ethnic cleansing. We want to do the moral thing – or at least not to do the immoral thing.”
But isn’t the D in BDS for divestment?
“Even if we divest, it doesn’t mean we’re part of a movement. As I said, this is about us. We’re only talking about unloading a small amount of stock from three companies. And we are not giving up. We’ll be back at the next GA two years from now. We’ve been at this for ten years, and we’re nothing if not persistent.” The Presbyterian General Assembly meets every two years and is its highest decision-making body.
So why do you think your proposal failed?
“Some delegates truly felt that it is immoral not to make money from companies that profit from Israeli ethnic cleansing activities. But others felt that even if it is morally justified to divest, it would harm relations with our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Excuse my ignorance, but as a church, aren’t you obligated to prioritize moral concerns? And weren’t there Jewish voices on both sides of the issue?
“We’re talking about the important Jews, the ones who have the financial resources to support their views. And there is a higher moral concern, which is to avoid the charge of anti-Semitism. Even if our Jewish brothers and sisters (the important ones) support Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, we feel that it is more important for them to know that we are not anti-Israeli, that we support Israel’s right to exist on a minimum of 78% of Palestine (and possibly more), and that we will never let anything bad happen to them.”
What about your Palestinian brothers and sisters that are Christian and Muslim?
“No problem there. Palestinians are grateful for whatever we do, no matter how small, and we managed to pass a proposal to boycott dates and cosmetics made by Israeli companies in the West Bank.”
So how much progress do you think you’re making
“We realize that we’re slow, but Palestinians are patient people. This is the fifth time we’ve brought the matter of divestment to the GA, starting in 2004, and we think the sixth will be the charm in 2014. Besides, look how long it took for the Catholic Church to retract its condemnation of Galileo for arguing that the earth revolves around the sun.”
Followers of the occult may wish to note that the number of commissioners voting on the divestment resolution was 666.
In response to the report by respected journalist Gideon Levy that the Israeli Civil Administration (i.e. military administration) in the Jordan valley had taken new steps to prevent abuse of water resources by Palestinians, this reporter spoke directly with Inspection Coordinator (i.e. military controller) Avi Regudju.
“Is it true,” I asked, “that Bedouins and other Palestinians are not permitted to carry water containers in this area?”
“Yes, I can confirm that. We are performing our duty to the best of our capacity.”
“And what is that duty, exactly?”
“We must prevent the stealing of water by Palestinians, and we know for a fact that some of these containers have been used for that purpose.”
“So whose water is it?”
“I’m sorry. That’s beyond the scope of my responsibility.”
“So are you applying the same rules to Israelis who steal water?”
“No, of course not.”
“We are the civil administration of the Israeli military. Our job is to protect Israelis. And there are Israelis out here. It’s not our business whether they are stealing water or land or anything else. Our instructions are very specific about this.”
“So how are Palestinians supposed to get water?”
“Let them use their own water.”
“You mean by digging wells on their land?”
“That would be stealing.”
“So what rights do Palestinians have and who protects them?”
“I have no idea about Palestinian rights. Our job is to protect Israelis, and part of that means protecting the resources where they live. That is why we try to prevent theft of those resources – by Palestinians. The Palestinians have their own government. Let their military protect them.”
“But the Palestinians have no military.”
“I should hope not! We go to great lengths to assure that they don’t.”
“In that case, what use is the Palestinian Authority?”
“Sorry, but I’m not going to touch that one.”
The 2nd conference of Paris and 3rd conference of Paris and 10th conference and the hundredth conference of the Syrian opposition in Paris or elsewhere; before in Tunisia and in Istanbul and now in Cairo and in Paris and tomorrow only God knows where. So many conferences, and this one- the last one- had one hundred countries rallied to support the hired thugs of the Syrian opposition and the hired NGOs that are the new promoters of democracy in the Arab world. It was not enough for Arabs to deal with Zionist Democracy now they have to deal with the sectarian thug democracy of the Gulf princes and kings. Syria has really divided the world, and Hillary was boasting about how half the world wants to oust Assad.
If half the world wants Assad out then Assad should go according to Hillary. Mind you the so called half of the world who met in Paris do not vote in Syria and are not Syrians and Hillary brought them together by cheat, bribery and deceit they were summoned to plot and conspire against innocent civilians. And what about the ones who want Assad to stay? Those who want Syria to be well and the Syrians to be safe? Those who are not treacherous and biased and prejudiced , who do not seek retribution or reward, who do not seek to be materially compensated for their stand and attitude, who derive inner contentment from their position, who are convinced that this is the right thing to do and they do it and who-even if they are not doing much – will not be easily swayed from their position.
Those people whom Hillary did not succeed in rallying against Syria are not one person. They do not belong to one sect or one religion or one ideology; they probably differ regarding all these things, they come from all religions and all sects and from many ideologies, they are of different origins and cultures and beliefs but they have one thing in common and it is that they are the well wishers of Syria and they are the well wishers of humanity as a whole. We cannot say that they are Muslims or Buddhists, literate or illiterate, that they are working class or upper class, intellectuals or not. All we can say that they have this inner feeling, this openness that makes them open up to truths and follow the right track. What they have in particular is that they know the evil ones and identify them while the evil ones do not know them.
These good intentioned people who stand by justice and equity against oppression and cruelty, who identify life as good and full of promises for the deserving ones, are the ones who will carry on the will of life or the will of Allah or the Creator. They are the Party of Goodness or the party of God, the party of Allah –“Hizbullah “ in other terms, as it is mentioned in the Holy Quran- They are the ones who live in the proximity of God and the Holy Ones; where there is goodness you find them, where there is evil you feel them trying to uproot and straighten and correct. These are the brothers and sisters not only of Syria, but of Palestinians as well, and of Iraqis and Lebanese and others. They are the brothers and sisters of the helpless and the oppressed, the brothers and sisters that your mother did not conceive or bear but who- as Jesus said -are such because they carry the will of God.
Away from the headlines, a revolution is taking place in the Middle East. On the last two days of August 2012, the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement will take place in Tehran, Iran. The encounter, which happens once every three years, will bring together key figures from Palestine, Egypt and Iran. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was invited today, July 8, by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s behalf. The meeting took place in Jordan, and Abbas agreed to participate. Earlier, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh visited Tehran for the celebration of 33 years to the Islamic Revolution there. It seems that Iran is making efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions. No less relevant is the fact that the newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi—Egypt’s first Islamist president—will preside over the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. For the first time in a generation Egypt may be righteously called a “non-aligned country.” These two countries, Sunni Egypt and Shi’ite Iran, are among the biggest and most influential countries in the Middle East. They haven’t had diplomatic relations since 1980, following Iran’s Islamic Revolution and Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, but after the recent Egyptian elections, the countries became closer. The upcoming summit will be the perfect place to cement a new reality in the Middle East; a realignment of the non-aligned, a coalition of Sunni and Shi’a Islam. Israel’s worst nightmare.
In its internal and external policies, Israel always favored the “Divide and Conquer” doctrine. The Palestinian society had been a main target of it, having been divided into several segments. The clearest divide is between Palestinians who are Israeli citizens and those who are denizens of the Palestinian Authority or refugees; Israel forbids marriages between them. Subtler manipulations include political polarization of the Palestinian society. The main result of the latter is the Hamas-led Gaza and the Fatah-controlled West Bank. This divide was created after Arafat’s assassination and has created an obstacle for Palestinian independence. The situation on the ground is of two completely different administrations; there isn’t even territorial contiguity between them.
It is clear even to the Palestinians that under these circumstances they can’t expect to get formal recognition as a unique state. Maybe this is the reason why Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas gave up so quickly after Israel demanded from him to stop the independence efforts at the UN last year (see Israel Hits Back at UN, Palestine and Germany and Palestine awarded first UNESCO World Heritage Site). If Palestine is not unified at the independence declaration moment then two micro-states would be formed.
The unification task is not simple. The Palestinian Authority is in fact one of several similar (though much smaller) organizations owned by the State of Israel. Its budget is provided by the State of Israel and it has military and political limitations, but towards its population, the PA is almost the sovereign. The PA is in fact run by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” by the United Nations and over 100 states; it holds a permanent observer seat in the United Nations General Assembly. The PLO is an organization of political parties; the largest among them is Fatah, which had been founded and led by Yasser Arafat. Hamas—the party leading Gaza—doesn’t belong to the PLO. Founded in 1987, Hamas won the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating Fatah. Israel, the USA and Europe imposed sanctions on the Palestinians in an attempt to block the rightfully elected party. Eventually, the Palestinian Authority was split between the PLO-run West Bank and the Hamas in Gaza. In the current situation there aren’t suitable political tools allowing the unification of the Palestinians. In order to achieve that, Hamas must be made member of the PLO. Israel will oppose. Moreover, both Palestinian sides will oppose—each one for different reasons—unless a unifying leader appears.
Fatah Poster | Yasser Arafat and Marwan Barghouti
Given the circumstances, the combined Iranian-Egyptian pressure on the Palestinians may not be enough. There is a growing estrangement between the Palestinian enclaves. In Gaza, Palestinians face an enemy who lives beyond a clear border, while in the West Bank there is little separation between settlers and Palestinians. It is difficult to see how a unifying leader can emerge under such conditions. Unless he already exists.
Former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is now jailed in Israel. Regarded as a leader of the First and Second Intifadas, Barghouti supported the peace process, but in 2000 he became disillusioned. He became the main figure behind the Second Intifada—also known as Al-Aqsa Intifada—in the West Bank. In 2002 Barghouti was arrested in Ramallah by the IDF and Israeli authorities accused him of murder of Israeli civilians and attacks on Israeli soldiers. He was tried and convicted on charges of murder, and sentenced to five life sentences. Marwan Barghouti refused to present a defense to the charges brought against him, maintaining throughout that the trial was illegal and illegitimate. In jail since then, he has not been part of the Palestinian Authority split. Barghouti is remarkable not only in the eyes of the Palestinains. He occupies a place of honor in the memory of all Israelis, due to things said by one of his lawyers. Shamai Leibowitz is an Israeli lawyer, better known for being the son of the polemic Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz (see Diskotel). During his defense of Barghouti, he compared Barghouti to Moses. He said in the Israeli court: “According to some lawyers, he should be called a terrorist, but according to Exodus, he is a freedom fighter.” Mr. Leibowitz argued that Moses killed an Egyptian not because he hated Egyptians but because the man was beating a fellow Jew. While the Israeli audience was shocked, Barghouti smiled. He may not be Moses, but many consider him the Palestinian Mandela, the only leader capable of amalgamating Palestinians into unity.
As of now, Barghouti is still in jail while holding a seat at the Palestinian Parliament, seat that he won while in jail. Palestinians are desperately waiting for an earthly Messiah capable of liberating them from a generations-long oppression. Meanwhile, Egypt and Iran show all the signs that an alliance between them was born. Both countries have common interests in the newly discovered gas fields of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and in solving the Palestinian issue. Both may find Barghouti a suitable candidate for leading Palestinians into a new era. Even in jail, he can serve as an efficient political figurehead. Next month, the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran may witness a dramatic realignment in Middle Eastern politics. Away from the headlines, a revolution is taking place in the Middle East.
“I have been to Palestine where I’ve witnessed the racially segregated housing and the humiliation of Palestinians at military roadblocks. I can’t help but remember the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid. We could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world using the nonviolent means of boycotts and divestment to compel governments and institutions to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu