Tanya Reinhart - Israeli Human Rights Defendant
Tanya Reinhart, speaking in New York, February 2007.
TANYA REINHART: So, in the present world, not only the international community does not impose sanctions on Israel. In fact, it elected to impose sanctions on the Palestinians. Since the Palestinian elections, all funds to the Palestinian Authority, all funds to the even NGO organizations have been frozen. And Israel itself is holding tax monies that it owes the Palestinian. And the Palestinian economy is completely paralyzed with no salaries, no social services, no medical care or functioning hospitals.
Just two years ago, the Western world hailed “the best of democracy in the Middle East” with Arafat departing and the Palestinian people getting ready for their elections. According to Jimmy Carter, in a report he wrote in the Herald Tribune, the Palestinian elections were, I quote, “honest, fair, strongly contested, without violence and with the result accepted by winners and losers.” Among the sixty-two elections that had been monitored by the Carter Center, these are among the best in portraying the will of the people.
In a just and well-ordered world, it would be unthinkable that a government that was elected in this kind of a process will be ignored just because Israel does not like the choice of the Palestinian people. But in a world in which the US rules, might is right, and might can define democracy as it wills. Thus, it was announced that the outcome of the Palestinian elections will not be recognized, and until this changes, the Palestinian people as a whole should be punished and starved.
What we see now, since then, is that the US is trying, together with Israel, to impose a longstanding policy that they have always had of trying to push the society into civil war. They are doing this in Palestine by supporting collaborating forces like the forces of Dahlan in Gaza. They are trying to do the same in Lebanon. They are trying this in Iraq. This is the US policy.
The Palestinian people so far have resisted this attempt to push them into a civil war, and they have managed to form a unity government. But just as we heard just yesterday, the US will not recognize—following Israel’s demand—will not recognize the new unity government and will continue the boycott.
The way this is packed is the demand of the Palestinian—the Palestinians are demanded to meet the quoted three demands, the three mantras that keep repeating. The first mantra is that the Palestinians should renounce violence, specifically Hamas should renounce violence. It’s very hard to understand the content of this demand. Already in January 2005, when the Hamas announced that they are—Hamas announced that they are going to move from armed struggle into political struggle and enter the elections, and since then, there wasn’t a single terror attack perpetrated by the Hamas. According to Israeli security sources, the Hamas didn’t even participate in launching of Kassams to Israel until the events of last summer, when Israel attacked Gaza.
The second demand is that the Palestinians should recognize previous accords. In an interview with the the Washington Post already a year ago, Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh explained that according to the Oslo Accords in 1993, five years later in ’98, there should have been already a Palestinian state. Instead, what Israel did during this whole period was appropriate more land, continue to colonize, to build settlements, and it did not keep a single clause of the Oslo Agreements. “From now on,” Haniyeh said, “we will only accept and respect agreements that are good for the Palestinian people.”
Now, the third and crucial mantra that is being used to suffocate the Palestinian people is that the new government should recognize the existence of Israel. But the reality of the matter is that it is Israel that is not willing to recognize the right of the Palestinians to exist as a state. In the meeting of the Palestinian National Council in 1988, the Palestinian people have decided already that they are willing to accept a two-state solution within the borders of the ‘67—before the ’67 War, which for them means accepting to live in 22% of their historical land. Since then, Israel has not done a single thing to show that it’s willing accept this, to show that it’s willing to give the Palestinians a state in this little portion left of their land.