“I was a member of a terrorist organization when I was 15 years old,” Uri Avnery explained on Democracy Now today. “I believe,” he said that “I understand the psychology of young people who join organizations which are called terrorists by their enemies, but which themselves think of themselves as freedom fighters.
Before his death on November 11, 2004, Yasser Arafat, who had spent his lifetime fighting for Palestinian self-determination, was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group, which he founded in 1959. Background reports on the decade’s long crisis in Palestine show one of the most severe PLO cross-border raids extending to March 11, 1978, when a force of nearly a dozen Fatah fighters landed their boats near a major coastal road connecting the city of Haifa with Tel Aviv-Yafo. There they hijacked a bus and sprayed gunfire inside and at passing vehicles. Thirty-seven civilians died. Israeli Defense Forces then launched Operation Litani aimed at taking control of Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. On June 6, 1982, the Lebanon war began when Israel again invaded this country for the purpose of attacking the Palestine Liberation Organization. An estimated 1,000 to 8,000 civilians died and the Israeli army laid siege to Beirut. In 1985 Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat narrowly survived an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli Air Force F-15s participating in “Operation Wooden Leg” bombed his headquarters in Tunisia. Seventy-three people died. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Lebanese_conflict; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat]
Hamas cannot be ignored, Avnery said. People abroad and in Israel have completely distorted what Hamas is. But Hamas is neither “militia” nor “military organization.” It is “a Palestinian political party which, in the last Palestinian elections, supervised by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter,” won by a majority vote: “Majority of the Palestinian people, including the Gaza Strip, voted for Hamas.”
You cannot wish Hamas away. You can do to Hamas whatever you want. You can kill all the 10,000 fighters of Hamas but Hamas will remain because Hamas is an ideology and Hamas is a political party accepted by the Palestinian people. In the end, he said, “after all the killing and after all this terrible destruction…, we will have to talk with Hamas.
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