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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2008 arrow April 12, 2008

April 12, 2008
WAWA Blog April 12, 2008: Stephen Colbert is famous for saying he doesn't see color. I don't see enemies... 

I see human beings and know that good and evil cuts through every human heart. In 2006, I spoke with democratically elected members of Hamas in Bethlehem. Jimmy Carter maybe talking to Hamas too.




In 2006, Carter monitored the Palestinian elections in which Hamas toppled Fatah by winning 76 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.


In 2006, Carter said, "If you sponsor an election or promote democracy and freedom around the world, then when people make their own decision about their leaders, I think that all the governments should recognize that administration and let them form their government. If there are prohibitions -- like, for instance, in the United States, against giving any money to a government that is controlled by Hamas -- then the United States could channel the same amount of money to the Palestinian people through the United Nations, through the refugee fund, through UNICEF, things of that kind" [1]

He also expressed hope "for the people of Palestine -- who already suffer ... under Israeli occupation -- will not suffer because they are deprived of a right to pay their school teachers, policemen, welfare workers, health workers and provide food for people" and that there's a good chance "that Hamas, which has operated a network of successful social and charitable organizations for Palestinians, could become a nonviolent organization. They told me they want to have a peaceful administration. They want to have a unity government, bring in Fatah members and independent members."


The US State Department has advised Carter against meeting the leader of Palestinians Islamic group Hamas in Syria next week during his nine-day trip to the occupied territories, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The Carter Center said in a statement: "This is a study mission and our purpose is not to negotiate but to support and provide momentum for current efforts to secure peace in the Middle East. Our delegation has considerable experience in the region, and we go there with an open mind and heart to listen and learn from all parties."[2]



The Carter Center aims to promote global peace, health, democracy and human rights.


During my third of five visits to Bethlehem in March 2006, I attended a conference coordinated by Sabeel [ Arabic for The Way] Liberation Theolgy Center established in Jerusalem. Sabeel is supported by growing numbers of ecumenical international Christians who have learned from the life of Jesus; who was born, lived and died under military occupation how to respond to  injustice.

This theology connects the true meaning of Christianity; nonviolent and forgiving with the daily struggles of all who suffer under occupation, violence, discrimination, and human rights violations.


While in occupied Bethlehem, my Sabeel group met with four newly elected Hamas members, but we never got to meet any terrorists.

Two had been elected to the Palestinian Parliament/PLC and two to the Municipality/local government. PLC Representative, Anwer M. Zboun, lives in the Abiet refugee camp and has a Masters Degree in Physics.

Thirty-three year old Mahmoud Alkhatib lives in Aida refugee camp and has obtained a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies. Khaled Saada and Salah Shuka were elected to the Municipality/local government.



Mr. Zboun greeted us in English with a broad smile on his face and stated, “We welcome you to our home and the Holy City of Bethlehem. We are suppose to be terrorists, are you afraid?”
[3]

We laughed as Zboun continued earnestly, “We are a Palestinian resistance movement and we are not against any people. We are against the occupation. We want to rebuild what the occupation has destroyed. Hamas was born from the suffering of the Palestinian people and we belong to the global Muslim movement. It was on December 14, 1987 after an Israeli driver killed nine Palestinians that the first Intifada [uprising] began and the Islamic Resistance movement in Palestine was renamed Hamas.
[Ibid]

“Hamas is a national liberation movement based on Sharia; Islamic Laws and Orders. Hamas is not against any religion. We are not a terrorist movement, but we resist the occupation. Christians voted for us for many reasons and they know we are faithful to this cause: that God knows better than we ourselves know what is for our benefit. We do not force anyone to believe as we do. The public and private schools both teach Islam and Christianity.
[Ibid]

“In November 1988 Arafat issued a birth certificate for the Palestinian State and under religion he stated: ‘None.’ This is because we are a secular state. As Muslims and Christians we live together peacefully and our attitude is citizenship is for everyone. Everybody should have freedom of belief, traditions and a personal life. Hamas does not propose anything that contradicts Christianity.
[Ibid]

“Our slogan is: Remove Suffering for everyone. The issue of Israel is about the occupation. We have no problems with religious beliefs; our problem is that Israel is illegally occupying our land. Since March 2005, we have honored a unilateral cease-fire. But Israel martyred 200 Palestinians, injured 1,200 and has detained 3,500. Many are under the age of sixteen. In the last two weeks Israel has killed twenty-five Palestinian and yet we have maintained the cease-fire. Israel does not recognize us and recognition takes both sides.
[Ibid]

“Abbas has stated that we do recognize Israel, but there must be clear borders and Israel does not yet have them. The PA recognized Israel ten years ago but we Palestinians are detained in an open air prison. We resist the occupation which is our right guaranteed under International Law. International Law demands Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, release the prisoners, and stop the assassinations, illegal wall and home demolitions.
[Ibid]

“Hamas defines terrorism as a violation of the rights of others and their property. Bush defined terrorism as evil. We are weak with resources and our voice is not heard in the West, only the voice of America and Israel gets press. America asked us to hold democratic elections and we did. We thank everyone who was involved in our transparent and democratic elections. We did what the USA asked and now they are punishing our people. Democracies are supposed to respect and not intervene in what others want.
[Ibid]

“We had democratic and transparent elections and how are we rewarded? By the EU and the USA who have cut funds to the poorest of people who live under occupation. Hamas suggested that the International community monitor all the financial aid to assure that it went to the people and not to Hamas. We offered this suggestion to the world and we have been ignored.
[Ibid]

“So now we look to the Arab and Muslim world to strengthen our local infrastructure and economy and hope to bring back investors. We know there are people in Europe and America who will not allow us to go hungry. We believe aid and support are in Gods hands and not governments.”
[Ibid]

Might it also be in the hands of the man from Plains who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his untiring efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts and advance democracy and human rights.



1. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/02/01/carter.hamas/
2. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/BBE18D00-B8B4-4A87-8FA1-6494A9EC2676.htm
3. pages 66-68, MEMOIRS OF A NICE IRISH-AMERICAN 'GIRL'S' LIFE IN OCCUPIED TERRITORY


   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
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The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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