Press Action Hero of the Week: Ali Abunimah

If you ever need a dose of clarity on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, go to the Electronic Intifada website and read Ali Abunimah’s excellent analysis. In his latest article, Abunimah explains that Hamas’ success in this week’s Palestinian parliamentary elections is as much an expression of the determination of Palestinians to resist Israel’s efforts to force their surrender as it is a rejection of Fatah.

“It reduces the conflict to its most fundamental elements: there is occupation, and there is resistance,” Abunimah writes.

Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, argues that it’s still entirely too early to speak of a Palestinian “government” being formed out of the election results. Israel still holds ultimate authority over activities inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which negates Palestine assuming the status of a sovereign and independent state.

If the first duty of a government is to protect its people’s lives, liberty and property, then the Palestinian Authority does not deserve to be called a government, he explains. Since its inception, Abunimah reminds his readers, the Palestinian Authority has failed to protect Palestinians from “lethal daily attacks by the Israeli army in the heart of their towns and refugee camps, or to prevent a single dunum of land being seized for settlements, nor to save a single sapling of the more than one million trees uprooted by Israel in the past ten years.”

The United States and its client Israel probably wouldn’t mind seeing a larger number of personal militias crop up in the West Bank and Gaza. Internal conflict among the Palestinians would serve Israeli and U.S. interests by giving the occupiers another reason to intensify the clampdown on Palestinians.

Abunimah directs some of his harshest criticism against the “peace process industry,” which includes the United States, the European Union and the United Nations as well as a “coterie of well-funded NGOs and think tanks” that “chose to hail Israel’s tactical withdrawal of eight thousand settlers from Gaza last summer, while ignoring the far larger number of settlers Israel has continued to plant all over the West Bank effectively rendering a two-state solution unachievable.”

Abunimah concludes his article with this astute observation:

“The instant US demand that Hamas ‘recognize Israel’ is like rewinding the clock twenty-five years to when this same demand was the pretext to ignore and exclude the PLO from peace negotiations. But as Hamas has observed, all the PLO’s submission to these demands did not lead to any loosening of Israel’s grip or any lessening of US support for Israel. Hamas is unlikely to do as the US demands, and even if it did, it would probably only give rise to new resistance groups responding to the worsening conditions on the ground generated by the occupation.”

The U.S. mass media will be reporting nonstop about how the United States, Israel and the European Union have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization and how Israel will refuse to negotiate with Hamas until it disarms its militia and renounces terrorism. If you grow tired of reading and hearing the same, old rationalizations for maintaining the status quo in Israel and Palestine, be sure to make regular visits to Electronic Intifada where Abunimah and other writers provide a clearer picture of life under Israeli occupation.

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