Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday continued his efforts to gain the support of the global public opinion in favor of the Hamas-les Palestinian Authority.
In an article published on the Washington Post, Haniyeh pointed a finger at the American administration, stating that together with Israel the United States had tried to bring the Hamas-led government down using different methods.
The current crisis - the soldier's abduction and the Israel Defense Forces' response - broke out as a natural continuation of the attempts to make the Palestinian government illegitimate.
In his article, Haniyeh clarified that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis can be reached, but only if a number of conditions are filled. First, he said, Israel must recognize the basic disagreement over Palestine. In addition, the problem of the refugee expelled from their lands in 1948 must also be solved.
Israel, Haniyeh said, must give back the lands robbed in 1967 and allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Another condition before the sides can start negotiating is a stop to the Israeli aggression, assassinations and military expansion.
Haniyeh, in his article, tried to explain to American citizens that their leadership doing injustice to the Palestinian people and is discriminating between them and Israel.
"As Americans commemorated their annual celebration of independence from colonial occupation, rejoicing in their democratic institutions, we Palestinians were yet again besieged by our occupiers, who destroy our roads and buildings, our power stations and water plants, and who attack our very means of civil administration. Our homes and government offices are shelled, our parliamentarians taken prisoner and threatened with prosecution," he wrote.
"Surely the American people grow weary of this folly, after 50 years and USD160 billion in taxpayer support for Israel's war-making capacity – its 'defense,'" Haniyeh added. "Some Americans, I believe, must be asking themselves if all this blood and treasure could not have bought more tangible results for Palestine if only US policies had been predicated from the start on historical truth, equity and justice."
Haniyeh clarified that the Palestinians "do not want to live on international welfare and American handouts. We want what Americans enjoy – democratic rights, economic sovereignty and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps.
"America's complacency in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical green light: 'Israel has a right to defend itself.' Was Israel defending itself when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month or three members of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public.
'Forcing average Palestinian to reconsider her vote'
Haniyeh explained that he was not surprised by the recent IDF operation in the Gaza Strip.
"The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to 'reconsider' her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The 'kidnapped' Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.
"In addition to removing our democratically elected government, Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively. The Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic 'shura,' or mutual consultation; suffice it to say that while we may have differing opinions, we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our people.
"Furthermore, the invasion of Gaza and the kidnapping of our leaders and government officials are meant to undermine the recent accords reached between the government party and our brothers and sisters in Fatah and other factions, on achieving consensus for resolving the conflict. Yet Israeli collective punishment only strengthens our collective resolve to work together."
As expected, Haniyeh slams Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to carry out another unilateral withdrawal and criticizes last summer's disengagement.
"Israel's unilateral movements of the past year will not lead to peace. These acts – the temporary withdrawal of forces from Gaza, the walling off of the West Bank – are not strides toward resolution but empty, symbolic acts that fail to address the underlying conflict. Israel's nearly complete control over the lives of Palestinians is never in doubt, as confirmed by the humanitarian and economic suffering of the Palestinians since the January elections," he said.
"We present this clear message," Haniyeh concluded. "If Israel will not allow Palestinians to live in peace, dignity and national integrity, Israelis themselves will not be able to enjoy those same rights. Meanwhile, our right to defend ourselves from occupying soldiers and aggression is a matter of law, as settled in the Fourth Geneva Convention. 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."