Palestinian Repression -
The Intended Consequences

By Terrell E. Arnold

Following the January 2005 election of Hamas as the ruling party in Palestine, the United States, Israel, the European Union and the UN conspired to withhold assistance to any Hamas-led government in order to bring it down. The agreed procedure, clear and callus in its brutality, was to teach the Palestinians a lesson in modern western concepts of democracy: Having a fair and open election was great, but selecting a leadership the Western cabal did not like was a costly mistake, and the Palestinian people collectively would be punished for their bad judgment. From that point onward the financial screws on Palestine have been tightened, and on Monday, June 12, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the situation could turn into a "major humanitarian emergency."
The ICRC judgment, predictable from the first day of the collective Western decision to deny Palestinian aid, is unlikely to have any effect on the perpetrators of this humanitarian crime. The intent, loosely put, is to bring down any Hamas government, however constructive it might be, and bring the Palestinians back to a negotiating frame of mind with Israel. That means they must buy into a Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas led process of agreeing to everything the Israelis want, while the Israelis will continue to agree to nothing the Palestinians want or need. Here, once more, the Israelis have enlisted the West to do the dirty work for the Zionists, while Israel's new leadership under Ehud Olmert prepares openly to add more settlements, to complete walling in the Palestinians and to add the Jordan Valley to Israel.
This all began when Hamas broke the house rule on negotiations with Israel: They proposed preconditions to recognizing Israel that required actual Israeli concessions. But under Israeli rules--tacitly accepted by the West--the Palestinians simply cannot ask for anything in return for concessions; they can only agree with Israeli dictates. Shortly after it won the January 2006 election, Hamas indicated it would accept a two state solution based on a return to the 1967 green line, a capital in Jerusalem and recognition of other Palestinian rights. That is a basic position previously agreed upon by the Arab League. A recent survey of key Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons showed they also accept that basic position.
By denying aid to the Hamas-led government, the Israeli goal is to get back to safe but pointless negotiating territory with Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas in charge. That, the Israeli Zionist leadership thinks, will quash, once and for all, any prospect of a Palestinian state. That cannot be done with Hamas in power, so Hamas has to go.
But where will Hamas go? With the known history of Middle East violence, that question urgently needs consideration. The West and Israel seem hell-bent on skewering themselves, and, as the well-known maxim holds, ignoring history and living to repeat it.
Ever since Yassir Arafat began to mobilize the Palestinians around the idea of a national home, Middle East violence has been on the rise. This pattern of violence has been fired by the fact that the Israelis ruthlessly have emptied hundreds of Palestinian villages of their people, and they forced those people into refugee camps or exile. Palestinian insurgency and, by export, international terrorism had their main roots in this problem. There were few international terrorist incidents of any kind before the Israelis began wholesale dispossession of the Palestinian people. No Middle East terrorist group of international consequence existed before wholesale expulsion of the Palestinians began. Al Qaida is a late-comer in this picture.
As a direct consequence of Palestinian repression, the groups proliferated. The Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO (Yassir Arafat's creation), the Abu Nidal group (that split off from the PLO in the mid 1970s), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the PFLP General Command, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas, and variations of those groups or lesser clusters all sprang from the fertile soil of resistance to Palestinian repression.
Only when there was some hope among Palestinians that their situation might improve through negotiation did the growth of terrorism of Middle East origin begin to level off. It has waxed and waned in loose fashion with the promise, or lack of promise of the peace process as perceived by the Palestinian people or their supporters. Before the Iraq War, at least half of the known Middle East militant groups were outgrowths of the Palestinian problem. The others were local groups aimed at bringing change or bringing down their local governments in places such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others. In short, virtually all Middle East terrorist groups Westerners know anything about sprang from Israeli repression of the Palestinians.
That Palestinian repression is the mother of most Middle East terrorism has been obvious to anyone who cared to examine the situation. However, the point seems lost on the loose Western cabal now bent on bringing about the political downfall of Hamas. But here are some critical facts. Sabri al Banna, whose war name was Abu Nidal, the earlier of two "heroic" terrorist enemies of the West, grew out of the Palestine problem. Credited, or better, charged with over 900 attacks, he was eased into semi-retirement partly by the peace process, partly by US and other efforts to contain him, until he died in 2002 in Baghdad. However, his disagreement with Arafat over the utility of negotiations with Israel has been proven more right than wrong over the years.
The second "heroic" terrorist enemy of the West has been Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was a Jordanian born Palestinian. Hardly known before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, al Zarqawi's work has been in the context of the Iraqi resistance against the US/Coalition occupation of Iraq. While the Iraq War has become its own breeding ground for terrorists, the odds are that any "terrorist" with enough experience and recognition to succeed al Zarqawi will have been brought up on the Palestine resistance experience.
Three Middle East countries have borne the brunt of Western irritation with Middle East terrorism. Syria, Iraq, and Iran, all charter members of the US State Department log of terrorism sponsoring states, are on the list principally if not entirely for their support of Palestinian groups. In effect, they are labeled "terrorism sponsoring states" because they have abetted the Palestinian insurgency against Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinian people. The United States could support the Contras in Nicaragua or Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola (both insurgent/terrorist groups in the 1980s) without being labeled a terrorism sponsoring state, while at that same time pinning the label on the three Middle East countries.
Given that history, the chances are that Zarqawi's reported successor, Sheikh Abu Hamza al Muhajir ( Muhajir means "immigrant" in Arabic), will have a history in one or both of the world's major terrorism generators the Palestinian struggle or the US supported Mujahidin fight against Russia in Afghanistan. A US military spokesman in Iraq has suggested that Abu Hamza al Muhajir may be a pseudonym for Abu Ayyub al Masri (Masri means "Egyptian" in Arabic), but the dominant theme in his description is that he is an "experienced jihadist". If he is Abu Ayyub, his experience appears to have been gained alongside Osama bin Laden in the Afghanistan war with Russia. If true, ironically he, as well as Osama, is a product of American training in Afghanistan. It can pretty much be taken as given that he shares Osama's support for the Palestinians, or more accurately the hate born of Israeli repression of the Palestinians.
The clear message for US, European, Israeli and UN leadership is that the principal training ground for Middle East terrorists has been the Palestine insurgency. That being so, the West collectively, and the Israelis specifically are taking a horrendous chance by causing Hamas to fail. If Hamas fails, the likely prospect is that everybody in the West will pay for this with a resurgence of terrorist violence, first in Israel and more widely spread among Western targets. Failure to give the Hamas political wing the time needed to bring the hardliners along on a political process will simply undercut any Hamas effort to transform the movement into a political party.
For more than half a century the Israelis have slowly stolen Palestine from its people, and they have done that with more or less constant US aid and support. The effort to suppress Hamas turns that pattern into a collective Western assault on Palestine. As the Palestinians suffer, their treatment by the west will be seen by Muslims as a generalized assault on Islam, a repeat of the Crusades. Added to numerous reported abuses by US forces in Iraq, legend will center not merely on treatment of the men, but on the brutal starving, killing and abuse of women and children.
Many Israelis do not agree with the agenda being pursued by Ehud Olmert's ruling coalition. Based on reports from Israeli peace activists such as Gush Shalom, the odds are that a majority would settle for a two state solution bounded by the 1967 Green Line, if that brought enduring peace. A significant number disapprove of the occupation and repression of the Palestinian people. How is it then, one might ask, that the occupation, the land grab, the creeping Israeli expansion go on, if so many people oppose them?
Politics in the United States is now a model for the answer. The US is following policies that are driven by a small cabal of single-minded military expansionists who are supported by a Congress whose members grow fat on the contributions of the military, industrial and financial lobbies who profit from military expansion. America's reputation, economic security, the lives of young men and women killed and maimed in a pointless war, all are sacrifices to the profits of that Washington cabal. What the people may want, as the cabal sees it, is unimportant.
Israeli politics operate much the same way, no matter how democratic the process may look. The Ashkenazi Zionist cabal that makes Israeli decisions on war and peace has never been out of power. In their hands, with no regard for Palestinian rights, the slow absorption of all of Palestine goes on, regardless of what many Israeli citizens may want.
Some powerful individuals, such as former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, have said publicly that causing Hamas to fail is a mistake. Under a Zionist leadership that brutally suppresses dissent, there are simply not enough opposing voices.
The world was sufficiently divided when only the US was paired with Israel in repressing the Palestinians. A virtually total Western alliance aimed at starving the Palestinians to suppress Hamas, or to bypass Hamas and force its failure, will strengthen the Islamic extremist charge of a Western war on Islam.
According to some observers, a very active version of the Western strategy is to provoke a civil war in Palestine. There are enough deep-seated differences between Fatah and Hamas to bring that about, and Hamas has sufficient reason to believe Fatah, at least Mahmoud Abbas, is supporting the assault being launched on the Hamas government, mainly by the US and Israel. The Europeans, perhaps without enthusiasm, are supporting this effort.
The tragedy of the likely outcome is that the West must take credit for the renewal of terror in and around the Middle East. As a result of the boycott of assistance to Palestine, Hamas has already ended its unilateral truce. The superficial intended consequence may be a US-Israeli effort to jolt the Palestinian people back into a placid compliance with Israeli wishes. The actual intended consequence for the Zionists is to restore the enemy they need to cover their continuing takeover of what is left of Palestine.
The Palestinians, as always, will be the losers, because they will have made no progress toward a settlement with the Israelis, and, with the failure of Hamas, they will have lost their only promising political sponsor. Fortunately for humanity only a few of the repressed Palestinians become militants and insurgents. In the West, in the United States particularly, those few who fight back against Israeli repression will be blamed for all the violence in Palestine. But the next generation of "heroic" enemies of the West and Israel will grow in that newly re-fertilized soil.
The next "heroic" enemy of the West may not be a Palestinian, but, if not, he is very likely to be someone who thinks, quite sanely, that the Palestinian people are being brutally repressed, and that the perpetrators should be made to pay for it. In either case, the Bush administration War on Terrorism will be given new life, and Israel will get the violent cover it needs to complete the rape of Palestine. Those are the likely outcomes of a collective failure of judgment by the United States, the European Union, Israel, and the UN. Both intended and unintended consequences are future horror stories.
The writer is the author of the recently published work, A World Less Safe, now available on Amazon, and he is a regular columnist on He is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions were as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counterterrorism, and as Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War College. He will welcome comment at



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