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Home arrow Palestinian Elections arrow The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participations
The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participations PDF Print E-mail
Aug 21, 2005 at 12:00 AM
by Graham Usher [Middle East Report Online, August 21, 2005]
(Graham Usher, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, covers Palestine for Middle East International and al-Ahram Weekly.)

“In March 2005, Hamas, the largest Islamist party in Palestine, joined its main secular rival Fatah and 11 other Palestinian organizations in endorsing a document that seemed to embody the greatest harmony achieved within the Palestinian national movement in almost two decades. By the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Hamas agreed to "maintain an atmosphere of calm" -- halt attacks on Israel -- for the rest of the year, participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July and commence discussions about joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In the eyes of many, the Islamist party had not come so close to reconciliation with Fatah since it emerged as a political force in the late 1980s, and certainly not since Fatah became the dominant party within the Palestinian Authority (PA) created in 1994. “This is a turning point for the region,” said top PA negotiator Nabil Abu Rideina of the Cairo Declaration.

In July, Hamas and PA police forces squared off in armed clashes in Gaza that left two dead and scores wounded in the worst intra-Palestinian violence since the second intifada erupted in the fall of 2000, and arguably since November 1994, when the PA police shot dead 14 Palestinians during a Hamas demonstration outside Gaza’s Palestine mosque.

What brought about the fall from concord in Cairo to confrontation in Gaza? ...”

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<Previous
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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