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The one clear solution PDF Print E-mail
Aug 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Al-Ahram Weekly
16-22 August, 2007
A workable and just solution in Palestine is predicated on one principle, tested in South Africa: side with racism or be against, writes Azmi Bishara

The world looks different from the southern tip of Africa. There, in that country that liberated itself from a colonialist apartheid regime a decade ago, the people have embarked on a bold venture to build a nation. They have a sophisticated democratic constitution that officially recognises 11 languages within the framework of a multi- ethnic, multi-tribal, multi-religious civil polity founded on the concept of equal citizenship. This constitution embodies different aims and different priorities. It embodies a revolution that has transformed itself into a state, not only by means of the fight until victory but also by means of the arts of negotiation and compromise that made the transition possible.

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The Palestinian people have been torn by the occupation and by the consequences of the occupation. They need a unified national liberation programme opposed to the artifice of the current Palestinian-Israeli negotiating scheme. But this alternative programme must tell the Palestinian people and the world what Hamas truly wants (merely to return to a power-sharing formula with Fatah, for example?) and what Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a large segment of Fatah want. These forces must assume this responsibility before it is too late, even to the extent of neutralising conflicting ideologies so as to produce a truly democratic national alternative and to emerge as a strong and cohesive political force. Is this not what leadership is all about?

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Rachel Corrie verdict exposes Israeli military mindset
Corrie's parents have not received justice, but their quest reveals the lie of the IDF's claim to be the world's 'most moral army'
Rachel Corrie's family – father Craig, mother Cindy and sister Sarah Corrie Simpson – at the Haifa district court where a judge ruled that Israel did not intentionally kill the pro-Palestinian activist in 2003. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

Reporters covering Israel are routinely confronted with the question: why not call Hamas a terrorist organisation? It's a fair point. How else to describe blowing up families on buses but terrorism?

But the difficulty lies in what then to call the Israeli army when it, too, at particular times and places, has used indiscriminate killing and terror as a means of breaking Palestinian civilians. One of those places was Rafah, in the southern tip of the Gaza strip, where Rachel Corrie was crushed by a military bulldozer nine years ago as she tried to stop the Israeli army going about its routine destruction of Palestinian homes.

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