Sunday, August 3, 2014

Charlie Rose talks to Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal

Khaled Meshaal
What effect is the conflict in Gaza having on world opinion?  It seems to me that the battle is being won by the Palestinians through this heroic struggle in the face of an onslaught by a most brutal enemy. In terms of loss of life, the Palestinians have suffered greatly, but as the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal explains in this interview with Charlie Rose, The Palestinian people have had enough. They do not make distinctions between slow death and instant death.”   It might be said that the Catholics of Northern Ireland felt the same way when they blockaded the Bogside in 1972, they had enough.

Norman Finkelstein has referred to Israel as a “Lunatic State” (watch him demolish the pro-Zionist BBC interviewer below Rose’s interview) and there is certain truth to this.  There are those in Israel, in positions of power that are crazed there is no doubt about it. Their intention is to destroy every remnant of Palestinian culture.  But Israel’s polices, its racism and violence directed at the Palestinian population as shown in the slaughter in Gaza are undermining support world-wide. The mass media, and serious journals of the US capitalist class like the Wall Street Journal rarely, if ever, stray from the Israel the victim line. The elected government of Gaza, Hamas, was labeled terrorist by the US in order to isolate them from world opinion.  The Palestinians did not elect the government Washington and Tel Aviv wanted.

But what is happening in Gaza is all over social media, it makes restricting information more difficult.  Even the New York Times has had to open up a bit. For the Zionists there is no way out of this mess but to annihilate the Palestinian population, to kill them all.  The present policies are threatening the entire region and also increasing support for religious fanatics like ISIS for example. What if Jordan falls, and other Arab regimes?  The US capitalist class, including its Jewish members can see no light at the end of the tunnel through Zionist policies.  That this interview appears in BusinessWeek, owned by the ardent Zionist Michael Bloomberg who is worth some $30 billion, is significant in my humble opinion as they say. I say this because it is is very favorable to Hamas for the US big business press.  This is no accident.

I have mentioned before that the US ruling class, overwhelmingly Gentiles, have no love for their Jewish competitors. Their support for Israel is a political and economic decision as Israel up to now has been the most reliable ally in an oil rich region between two continents.  Increased public opinion and weakened support from American Jews for the policies of Israel will, as Finkelstein points out, act as a counter to the powerful Israeli lobby also.  Here is the interview with Meshaal, it’s short but Meshaal’s answers are powerful and to the point. Do check out the interview with Finkestein as well. Richard Mellor

Charlie Rose Interviews Khaled Meshaal
BusinessWeek,  8-4-14

Will the people of Gaza continue to support Hamas despite the terrible consequences?
The Palestinians of Gaza are saying we are suffering because of the crimes of Israel. Even with the carnage and their homes reduced to rubble, they say, “Mr. Khaled Meshaal, we don’t want to emerge from this war without breaking the siege. We were dying slowly. Now we are dying instantly because of the F-16s and all the Israeli and American technology.” The Palestinian people have had enough. They do not make distinctions between slow death and instant death. They say, “Our families are targeted in their homes. However, we want to resist, to insist on lifting the siege.”

How does the killing stop? What do you want?
Human beings have to defend themselves. If we are starved, if we are besieged, we have to defend ourselves. When [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu stops every effort to reach peace, the rest of the world ought to expect an explosion in the West Bank and Gaza. What do I believe Hamas needs or wants? Peace. But we want peace without occupation, without settlements, without Judaization, without the siege. We want to live on par with every single nation. We need to live in Palestine.
“You think the key is trust. We actually are enemies. They are the occupiers. The solution doesn’t start with trust. … How could I trust my enemy?”

Will you pledge not to eradicate Israel? Do you want to live in coexistence with Israel?
I do not coexist with occupation and with settlements. Do you think that Palestinians who suffer from occupation and settlements can eradicate Israel? No, this is beguiling, misleading propaganda. … We in Hamas believe in moderation of Islam. We are not fanatics. We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews per se. We fight the occupiers. I’m ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians, with the Arabs, with the non-Arabs. I do coexist with other religions. … When we have a Palestinian state, then the Palestinian people can have their say. There are disproportionate standards, but we have the upper hand. Every single occupation ends, and the people are victorious.

How do you create trust between Israelis and Palestinians?
You think the key is trust. We actually are enemies. They are the occupiers. The solution doesn’t start with trust. The international community’s full mission is to say to the Israeli occupation, “Stop. Enough is enough.” They ought to compel Israel to withdraw. How could I trust my enemy? We had a number of negotiations. The negotiations failed.

Some suggest, to preserve Israel’s security, the sovereignty of a Palestinian state must be restricted.
Why does the world understand Israeli security issues and not take heed of Palestinian security issues? In order to have a Palestinian state, why ought that state be demilitarized? Who accepts a state without arms? It will be subject to the aggression of others. I cannot accept any tutelage of any other entity. If you say, “Come, you are Palestinian. We can give you a piece here and a piece there in piecemeal fashion”—no. No.

Do you need the approval of the military wing of Hamas to commit to any agreement?
We are not two heads or two bodies. We are one single movement. When the political leadership commits to something, then the military wing will commit itself, too. If the leaders take a decision, then every single person, whether militant or civilian, they will follow.

Why are you in Qatar and not Gaza?
This is a very reasonable question. You can ask not only Khaled Meshaal, you can ask the 6 million people in the diaspora. Why are they not in the West Bank? Why are they not in Gaza? Because Israel expelled the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967. I’m from the West Bank. Since 1967, I was expelled. I used to live in Jordan, in Kuwait, when I used to be a student. Then I moved to Syria and now Qatar. You have hundreds and thousands of Palestinians in America. They long to go back to Palestine. Although they are American citizens, Palestinians long for their home country. That’s why we insist on the return of the refugees, for me and for others to return. My natural existence is there, but I’m compelled to be here.
Norman Finkelstein on BBC's "Hard Talk"

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