Today’s Australian featured an article entitled ‘Steep Decline in Hamas Support’ in which Abraham Rabinovich reports on a recent poll that shows Hamas winning only 15 per cent of the vote if Palestinian elections were to be held now. The poll was conducted in both the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The poll also showed that 68 per cent of Palestinians favoured early elections in order to resolve the current crisis.
Not surprisingly, this story was not covered by The Age’s Jerusalem Correspondent, who, according to Crikey.com.au, has been reappointed to his post for another twelve months. Ed O’Loughlin recent coverage of events from the region has been strongly supportive of Hamas. His article of 21 July entitled ‘Israel Selects Friends and Foes’ opened with the suggestion that because Fatah’s last suicide bombings have been more recent that Hamas’, Israel is wrong or hypocritical in choosing to deal with Fatah.
This failure to view both sides of the conflict is a position that is not only reserved by Ed O’Loughlin, but also others such as the ever reliable apologist for Palestinian terror groups, John Pilger whose latest offering entitled ‘Palestine remains a nation imprisoned’, suggests that “Israel is destroying any notion of a state of Palestine and is imprisoning an entire nation”. There is of course, no mention made of the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 – simply a collection of half-truths and lies (the list too long to mention here) that completely ignore one side of this conflict altogether.
The article also mentions the Hamas Charter, suggesting that despite what is within the charter, there is the possibility for Hamas to negotiate with Israel. This is despite numerous clear statements to the contrary by the Hamas leadership. For those who wish to familiarise themselves with the content of the charter, please click here.
Some of the more interesting statements include:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam with obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
“Article Six: The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…”
“Article 13: There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.”
While the Israelis do not have an equivalent document, the Proclamation of Independence from 1948 states:
“‘The State of Israel… will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions…
“We appeal – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.
“We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”
Meanwhile, in the broader scope of the Middle East, there has been much talk about President Bush’s call to resume a Middle East peace initiative. Two of Israel’s leading papers have run with stories on it – Haaretz with an article entitled ‘Arab League welcomes “positive elements” of Bush Plan for Mideast’ and Jerusalem Post with an article ‘Arabs sceptical of ME peace conference’. The main sticking points were for the focus to be on talks with Syria and a Golan Heights withdrawal, as well as making it a priority to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions. In the meantime, Ynet has run with a story entitled ‘Golan residents call for talks with Syria’. Keep your eye on this issue in the coming weeks.