Friday, January 27, 2006

Friend or foe

Olha só, tava lendo na internet notícias a respeito da eleição do Hamas na Palestina pra me inteirar. Aí li inúmeros artigos que falavam mais ou menos a mesma coisa: fudeu, fudeu, agora com os terroristas no poder na Palestina, Israel vai ficar puto, vai ter guerra, o escambau, Bush e Blair falando que não negociam com terroristas (bah! piada!), pessoal todo catastrofista.

Aí fui no site daquele que acho que é o melhor jornal do mundo, o Guardian, pra checar o que eles achavam e vi um artigo super bem escrito - um editorial que via a eleição do Hamas como algo bom, e que coloca os palestinos como vítimas ao invés de terroristas. Essa impressão eu já tinha depois de conhecer alguns palestinos ano passado, e também depois de ler uma matéria sobre os assentamentos na Cisjordânia feit pela National Geographic.

Achei que o jornalista fez um argumento super sólido e resolvi publicar trechos aqui. Enjoy. Fonte:,,1696158,00.html

The Palestinians' democratic choice must be respected
The excuses given for refusing to deal with Hamas will not wash. This is a chance for Europe to have an independent role
Jonathan Steele
Friday January 27, 2006
The Guardian

Hamas's triumph in Wednesday's Palestinian elections is the best news from the Middle East for a long time. The poll was a more impressive display of democracy than any other in the region, outstripping last year's votes in Lebanon and Iraq both in turnout and the range of views that candidates represented.Whereas in Iraq parties that opposed the occupation had to downplay or even obscure their views, Palestinian supporters of armed resistance to Israel's expansionist strategies were able to run openly. It is true that Hamas candidates did not make relations with Israel the centrepiece of their campaign. They focused on reform in the Palestinian Authority. But few voters were unaware of Hamas's uncompromising hostility to occupation and its record in fighting it.

Wednesday's election was remarkable also in owing nothing to Washington's (selective) efforts to promote democracy in the Arab world. Instead, it was further proof that civil society in Palestine is more vibrant than anywhere else in the region and that Palestinian politics has its own dynamics, dictated not by outside pressure but the social and economic demands of ordinary people in appalling conditions. Providing a forum to freely express hopes and fears, debate policy and seek agreed solutions is, after all, what democracy is about.
Among several Hamas leaders I met in Gaza last summer, Mahmoud Zahar, one of its last surviving founders, exuded the clearest sense of inner steel. Trained as a medical doctor in Cairo, and now a short middle-aged figure with combed-over grey hair, he left several impressions. This is no mosque-driven revolutionary or wealthy jihadi of the Osama bin Laden type, motivated by ideology or a desire for adventure. Like other Gazans, he has felt the occupation on his skin. His wife was paralysed and his eldest son killed by an Israeli F-16 attack on his house in 2003. Zahar was in the garden and lucky to survive. In spite of that, he took the lead last year in persuading colleagues that Hamas should declare a truce or period of "calm" with Israel. For 11 months no Hamas member has gone on a suicide bombing mission. That is no mean achievement, which foreign diplomats rarely credit.

Zahar's reasons were not just tactical - a desire to deny Sharon a pretext for abandoning his retreat from Gaza. His strategy is to de-escalate the confrontation with Israel for a long period so that Palestinian society can build a new sense of unity, revive its inner moral strength and clean up its institutions. He feels western governments give aid and use the issue of negotiations with Israel only as a device for conditionality and pressure, not in the interests of justice.

So he wants Palestinians to have a broad-based coalition government that will look to the Arab and Islamic worlds for economic partners and diplomatic support. It's a kind of "parallel unilateralism", matching the mood in Israel where the peace camp clearly has lost all real purchase. "Israeli attitudes show they don't intend to make any agreement. They're going to take many unilateral steps," Zahar told me. "In this bad unbalanced situation and with the interference of the west in the affairs of every Arab country, especially Syria and Lebanon, we can live without any agreement and have a 'calm' for a long time. We're in favour of a long-term truce without recognition of Israel, provided Sharon is also looking for a truce. Everything will change in 10 or 20 years."

Zahar also left me with no sense of embarrassment about the imminence of power. He pointed out that Mahmoud Abbas would remain president for three more years, as though implying he could be a convenient front for inevitably unproductive talks with Washington and Israel while Hamas acted as a watchdog on the main issues. "There will be no contradiction between the Palestine legislative council and the president," he said. "We will be the safeguard, and the safety valve, against any betrayal."
Above all, Europe should not get hung up on the wrong issues, like armed resistance and the "war on terror". Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus. Hamas's refusal to give formal recognition of Israel's right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem. History and international politics do not march in tidy simultaneous steps. For decades Israel refused even to recognise the existence of the Palestinian people, just as Turkey did not recognise the Kurds. Until 15 years ago Palestinians had to be smuggled to international summits as part of Jordan's delegation. It is less than that since the Israeli government accepted the goal of a Palestinian state.

Hamas may eventually disarm itself and recognise Israel. That will be the end of the process of establishing a just modus vivendi for Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. It cannot be the first step. Today's priority is to accept that Palestinians have spoken freely. They deserve respect and support.

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