Palestinians have endured decades of ruthless occupation. World leaders decline support. They're left largely on their own despite growing millions globally supporting them.
Life in occupied Palestine is harsh and repressive. On December 26, Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barakat, delivered another blow. The Municipality will classify 70,000 Israeli Arab citizens non-residents and involuntarily transfer them to West Bank locations.
At issue is entirely Judaizing Jerusalem through forced ethnic cleansing to facilitate escalated settlement construction. It's also part of creating a greater Jerusalem and preventing a two-state solution.
Two new Haaretz reports are also significant heading into 2012, one by writer Barak Ravid.
After refusing peace negotiations with Israel unless illegal settlement construction stops, he said:
"The Palestinian leadership submitted a proposal to renew peace talks with Israel that drops their longstanding demand that Israel ceases all West Bank settlement construction, a top Israeli official said on Wednesday."
In mid-December, PA officials told Quartet members peace talks could resume if Israel releases 100 long held Palestinian prisoners in good faith.
Abbas faced heavy pressure for months, no matter decades of past peace process futility because Israel won't tolerate it. It needs enemies to justify confrontation and violence.
Nonetheless, EU and other Quartet members told Abbas he'll share responsibility if talks don't resume by late January.
"There's real concern in the Quartet that after that date, Abbas will return to UN initiatives," an unnamed Israeli official said. At the same time, Netanyahu vowed no talks if Fatah/Hamas unity government plans proceed, saying:
Fatah will have to "choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas." Reconciliation shows "weakness. There cannot be peace" if both sides unite. "What happened....in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism."
Israel wants Hamas marginalized, isolated, and bogusly accused of terrorism. In fact, it's Palestine's legitimately elected government.
Baseless accusations are Israel's stock in trade. Hamas wants peace, equity and justice for all Palestinians. Numerous times its present and past leaders expressed willingness to recognize Israel in return for self-determination in peace inside pre-1967 borders - 22% of historic Palestine. Moreover, they agreed to unilateral ceasefires in spite of repeated Israeli violations.
Nonetheless, defensive responses follow continued Israeli provocations. Washington and Israel call it "terrorism." Under international law, it's legitimate self-defense.
Despite Abbas' offer, Israel rejected it out of hand, claiming one precondition replaces another and his proposal is too vague. Will full or preparatory talks follow? Will new conditions be demanded?
In fact, Israel negotiates one way. Its long suit never included equity, justice and fairness. Negotiations at any level will prove futile like earlier. Both sides know it, but the charade continues whether or not talks resume.
According to Palestine's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, no preconditions were set, saying:
"A freeze of settlement construction, holding negotiation on the 1967 lines, and the release of prisoners are not preconditions but Israeli obligations, without which we can see no renewal of negotiations with Israel."
Netanyahu countered, saying Israel rejects talks if Palestinian unity proceeds, and "(t)he peace process can only advance while maintaining security arrangements, which is becoming more difficult in light of the current situation in the region."
At the same time, Haaretz writers Yanir Yagna and Gili Cohen headlined, "IDF confirms preparations for extensive future Gaza military action," saying:
Following on and off air strikes and ground assaults since summer, the IDF's "Gaza Division is preparing for a possible large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip...."
According to Gaza Division's Southern Brigade General Tal Hermoni:
"We are preparing and, in fact, are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence."
Stopping short of saying war, he left little doubt what he means. So does IDF chief General Benny Gantz. Commenting on Cast Lead's third anniversary, he called it "an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas."
However, warning about new emerging cracks, he said expect more conflict. Israel will initiate "swift and painful" punishment. "I do not advise Hamas to test our mettle." The next Gaza campaign will be shorter than Cast Lead with much greater firepower, he stressed.
Gantz and Hermoni left no doubt. Israel plans war. Perhaps its timing will coincide with expected Washington belligerence against Syria and Iran. At risk is inflaming the entire region.
General war may follow. Nuclear weapons may be used. Humanity will be threatened.
Washington, key NATO partners, and Israel plan world dominance, even if destroying it happens in the process.
A Final Comment
Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government. At Israel's behest, Washington spuriously calls it a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Al-Zatouna Center contributer Dr. Mohen Moh'd Saleh discussed its eight distinct features. His narrative diverges greatly from hostile Western discourse. Notably, Hamas is characterized by:
(1) "moderate Islamic discourse."
(2) "high dynamism" that lets it function "under difficult circumstances and regain its strength and vitality after harsh strikes."
(3) "Shura-based" consultation that keeps it cohesive and strong regardless of Israel's response.
(4) emphasis on polity, social needs, charity, jihad for liberation, and education.
(5) effective resistance.
(6) popularity at home and abroad.
(7) remaining corruption free.
(8) legitimacy to gain moral and financial support.
It also wants Palestinian unity through elections. However, participation entails perils under occupation. Washington and Israel won't permit a legitimate process unless assured Fatah, not Hamas, will win and maintain Israeli imposed harshness.
Moreover, authority and resistance conflict. In part, getting along entails going along to assure needed financial and other aid continues.
Yet liberation depends on resistance. It also requires Palestinian consensus and replacing farcical peace talks with real ones.
Palestinians deserve leaders able to deliver what they've long been denied - to live free on their own land, in their own country securely in peace.
If equitable unity government is possible, perhaps it's how to get it, but not without considerable more struggle ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.