Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews’

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Yes, hello.

Hello to senior Hamas official Dr. Ahmed Yousef, former diplomatic adviser to former Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. This is Nir Gontarz from Haaretz.

Hi, how are you?

I’m good…

Nir, your name is Nir?

N-i-r?

Yes. Gontarz.

Gon Gon?

Gontarz. Can you tell me a little bit about Hamas’ plans for this holiday season in Israel?

What do you mean, holiday season in Israel?

To the best of my knowledge, there’s supposed to be a march to the fence [on the Gaza-Israel border] during the Passover holiday in Israel, and after that on Independence Day, your Nakba Day.

Aha.

Is Hamas moving from military action to civil action?

Actually, Mr. Nir, it is not Hamas who made the decision, but the youth. The main idea was thought up by the youth. There are people who think there is no hope, no future, and that we have to do something – ya’ani, to remind the whole world that we as Palestinians are still suffering, we are still living in the diaspora or in refugee camps, and there’s a certain decision by the United Nations, [Resolution] UN 194, that we are trying to implement, ya’ani, and to send a message to the world community that our problem is not solved and we’re still suffering, and continue to see our land being abused by the occupation, or Israelis trying to squeeze us to the corner, punishing the Palestinians, and this is something that this generation of Palestinians is not going to accept. And so they’re doing their own civil march, they don’t intend to do anything belligerent, and I think this is the message they would like to carry to the whole world, about the situation and the suffering in Gaza.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HAARETZ 

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Palestinian Christian: Western Christians Don’t Understand Gaza/Israeli Conflict

gaza“The Christians in the west, most of them, they don’t know the realities here. They don’t know who is occupying who, who is oppressing who, who is confiscating whose land, who is building walls to try and separate people from one another,” Alex Awad, who also pastors East Jerusalem Church, told The Christian Post.

“In the United States and much of Europe people — they just don’t understand the realities on the ground,” he added.

According to Awad, the reality is that the root causes of the Gaza conflict date back further than the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers. Instead, he blames Israel for not following through with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan under which the country was required to free Palestinian prisoners, whom he suggested were unfairly imprisoned after protesting the West Bank settlements. Awad believes that its failure to follow through with this condition enraged an already angered (and economically deprived) Palestinian population. He also called the current fighting a “cover-up” for the settlements and a diversion to focus attention to Gaza, even as the real crisis took place in the West Bank.
“The news media doesn’t tell [a] comprehensive story where the average person will understand the causes and effects,” said Awad. “This thing did not happen in a vacuum. What’s happening today in Gaza — the Israelis attack on Hamas’ rockets in Israel — it did not happen in a vacuum. The way that the Israelis dealt with the prisoners on one side, and also the collapse of the peace process on the other side, created that anger that brought us to the position.”

A spark of good news from the Mideast

muslims4peaceNYEditor’s note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for the Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of “The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television.” Follow her on Twitter@FridaGhitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — It’s time for some good news from the Middle East. The region is a tangle of sectarian bloodshed, territorial clashes and ideological disputes. But there is one bright light, an important, positive development that we should pause to appreciate.

recent poll of 14 Muslim-majority countries by the Pew Research Center has come up with startling, highly encouraging results: Muslims are becoming increasingly opposed to extremism.

Muslims are turning against organizations that support violence and terrorism. Public approval for suicide bombings is way down, and so is support for the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and Boko Haram.

It’s a dramatic change from the days just after 9/11 when any Westerner traveling through the Muslim Middle East and Asia could see troubling signs. I remember the Osama bin Laden T-shirts flying off the shelves in the bazaars, the burning Twin Towers shirts hawked by street vendors, the jaw-dropping conversations, even with some educated people who found justification for every manner of terrorist activity.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN