Palestinians Need a Commission of Truth
By Khalid Amayreh
There are portents of reconciliation in the air, and Palestinians and their friends and allies are quite optimistic that Fatah and Hamas may finally be on their way to close one of the saddest chapters in our recent history.
Needless to say, the national rift which emanated from manifestly treacherous efforts by American-backed elements within the Fatah movement to effectively undo the outcome of the 2006 elections, which Hamas won decisively, wreaked havoc on the Palestinian cause and thoroughly poisoned inter-Palestinian relations to an extent never seen before.
We all know how the former Bush administration utilized the bribable and buyable elements within Fatah to carry out a bloody coup aimed at decapitating Hamas once and for all in the Gaza Strip. Which eventually forced Hamas to do what it did in July, 2007?
Likewise, and looking retrospectively, one might safely claim that had the Fatah leadership refused American and Israeli solicitations and incitement, the Palestinian arena would have been spared the hateful ramifications of the rift.
I know for sure that Hamas didn’t enjoy the so-called ”victory” over Fatah three years ago. In the final analysis, a victory against one’s brother and countryman is not a real victory; it was rather a real defeat for both Hamas and Fatah and the entire Palestinian people and its just cause.
None the less, what could Hamas have done, watching treacherous elements, enjoying Israeli and American backing, sharpen their swords and daggers, and preparing their guns to gang up on Hamas in order to consign the movement into oblivion.
Hamas had to defend itself and thwart criminal American designs to eliminate every anti-Zionist and revolutionary Islamic movement in the context of its ill-conceived “global war on terror.”
The ensuing propaganda war on Hamas effectively turned the white into black and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by many. Hamas was caricatured as the main party under the sun that impeded the achievement of peace in the Middle East. Zionist spin doctors would disseminate their poisoned lies in Europe and North America, claiming that if only Hamas didn’t exist, Israel and Fatah would make peace in a matter of a few weeks. The lies continue unabated and are unlikely to subside soon. After all, mendacity has always been a key component of the American-Israeli discourse toward the Palestinians.
Unfortunately, Fatah and bankrupt Arab regimes played an effective role in disseminating these lies as international Zionism was using Hamas as a sort of a red herring to justify murderous Israeli hegemony and criminality against the Palestinian people.
It is somewhat reassuring that many people within Fatah have realized, though belatedly, that America and Israel and their monies and nice words will not advance the Palestinian cause even one millimeter.
The opposite is true. Fatah, or more correctly the Fatah leadership, has done every conceivable act of treachery in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from American and Israel. Fatah detained and imprisoned Palestinians by the thousands. Fatah tortured and killed and humiliated Palestinians, with Fatah security leaders going as far as assuring their Israeli “counterparts” that Israel was no longer the enemy and that the real enemy was Hamas.
Fortunately, the Fatah leaders in Ramalalh have discovered before it is too late that no mater how deep they sink in the sea of treason, and how virulently anti-Hamas their general discourse becomes, America and Israel will not give them a state or even a semi-state. After all, both Israel and the US don’t really seek peace partners but seek collaborators and slaves and puppets.
None the less, the Palestinian people must learn the necessary lessons from what happened. This is because we are bound to repeat the same blunders over and over again, including the bloody mistakes, if we fail to draw the necessary lessons from the dark periods that followed the 2006 elections.
To begin with, and while we should refrain as much as possible from finger-pointing and futile mutual recriminations, the Palestinian people need to create a commission of truth, not to malign and criminalize those responsible for what happened, but rather in order to establish the truth. Know the Truth, for the truth shall set you free.
The Palestinian people have the right to know what was happening during these secret meetings between American and Israeli officials on the one hand, and Fatah officials on the other hand.
The Palestinian people need to know the amount of coordination against Hamas involving Fatah, especially with regard to the perpetuation of the criminal siege on the Gaza Strip as well as the Nazi-like Israeli onslaught against the coastal enclave nearly two years ago which destroyed much of the Strip and killed or caused the death of thousands of innocent people.
I know that “explosive chapters” ought to remain closed and unhealed wounds must be given more time to heal. However, it is also important not to decapitate the truth in the name of national reconciliation.
Again, the purpose of a grand commission of truth, whose members would have to be carefully chosen from among the crème de la crème of the Palestinian intellectuals, people with high rectitude and sense of justice, wouldn’t be to erect a Guillotine in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza to execute the guilty.
The purpose of such a commission would be to establish the truth, nothing more and nothing less.
More over, while we can’t bring those who were unjustly killed back to life, we are supposed to be able to give justice, as much as possible, to those unjustifiably wronged by both sides.
Blood money is an effective mechanism stipulated by the Islamic Sharia whereby people wrongly killed or injured can receive monetary compensation. The compensation itself will not revive the dead, but it does help their families lead a dignified life and above all gives them a feeling that at least a semblance of justice has finally been done. In the final analysis, God will be the ultimate judge, and whoever escapes justice in this world will not escape justice in the hereafter.
Another point which must be carefully discussed and resolved in order to give national reconciliation a real meaning. Following Hamas’s military intervention in Gaza in the summer of 2007, the Fatah authority in the West Bank carried out a real inquisition whose purpose was to eradicate Hamas as much as possible.
All Islamic social, religious, educational, athletic, medical, and youth institutions were systematically closed or seized by Fatah. The draconian measures must be reversed if national reconciliation is to take root and be irreversible.
Second, thousands of people, suspected of affiliation with Hamas, have been summarily dismissed from their jobs. These wronged people must be reinstated in their previous jobs immediately.
Finally, the police-state structure, now permeating throughout the West Bank, must be immediately terminated, because there can be no genuine national reconciliation in the shadow of police brutality and suppression of human rights and civil liberties.
Source: Palestine Information Centre
In short, the Palestinian people want and need a real national reconciliation, not a short-lasting truce. (end)
Khalid Amayreh is a Journalist living in Dura, Hebron District, West Bank, occupied Palestine . He has BA in journalism: University of Oklahoma , 1981 MA in journalism, University of Southern Illinois , 1983
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