The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Haniyeh in the WaPo

I don't know if Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh writes his columns himself, but this one is really well written:

As I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure -- the largess of donor nations and international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made missiles -- my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think of this?

They think, doubtless, of the hostage soldier, taken in battle -- yet thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, remain in Israeli jails for resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation that is condemned by international law. They think of the pluck and "toughness" of Israel, "standing up" to "terrorists." Yet a nuclear Israel possesses the 13th-largest military force on the planet, one that is used to rule an area about the size of New Jersey and whose adversaries there have no conventional armed forces. Who is the underdog, supposedly America's traditional favorite, in this case?

I hope that Americans will give careful and well-informed thought to root causes and historical realities, in which case I think they will question why a supposedly "legitimate" state such as Israel has had to conduct decades of war against a subject refugee population without ever achieving its goals.
There is some ambiguity in the concluding paragraph. What does he exactly mean when he says:

If Israel is prepared to negotiate seriously and fairly, and resolve the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967, a fair and permanent peace is possible. Based on a hudna (comprehensive cessation of hostilities for an agreed time), the Holy Land still has an opportunity to be a peaceful and stable economic powerhouse for all the Semitic people of the region.
He should have been clearer here about whether he means a return to the 48 borders rather than 67 ones or, more likely, underlining the need to look at the right of return and other 48 issues. This, and his definition of hudna (why not just talk about a peace treaty?), leave too much ambiguity in an otherwise fine column.