Haniyeh targets public opinion in US

Says solving refugee issue from '48, reclaiming lands taken in '67 key to peace.

Haniyeh 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Haniyeh 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
In an opinion piece written for the Washington Post Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority wrote that he wondered what Americans thought of the "ruins" of the Palestinian infrastructure following Israeli military operations. Haniyeh asserted that the international community was concerned for the hostage soldier, who, he pointed out, "was taken in battle," but did not consider that thousands of Palestinians were incarcerated in Israeli prisons for "resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation."
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Israel has won admiration, Haniyeh argued, for standing up to "terrorists" [original quotes]. Yet it utilizes the world's 13th -largest army to rule a region whose residents do not posses armed forces of their own. "Who is the underdog," he asked. "Supposedly America's traditional favorite, in this case?" Haniyeh urged the American public to consider carefully "root causes and historical realities", and wonder why Israel was compelled to wage war against a "subject refugee population." Regarding Israel's disengagement from Gaza, Haniyeh insisted that "Israel's unilateral movements of the past year will not lead to peace." He called Israel's recent gestures, such as the withdrawal from Gaza, "empty, symbolic acts." Israel has failed, the prime minister argued, to deal with the fundamental conflict. He characterized Israel's control over the Palestinian population as "complete," and said that the government espoused "expansion, military control, and assassination." "The 'separation barrier … is hardly a good-faith gesture toward future coexistence," Haniyeh declared. Haniyeh wrote that the "remedy" included recognition of Palestinians' rights to the historical land; resolution of the 1948 refugee problem; and reclaiming all lands annexed after 1967. The Palestinian prime minister was unwavering in his demand for Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital in East Jerusalem. Finally, Haniyeh appealed to the Americans' business sense, arguing that taxpayers must be tired, after sending some $160 billion to Israel, of supporting "Israel's war-making capacity." "Some Americans, I believe," he wrote "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."