Sources of Palestinian resistance

Image: Leon Ferrari


Historical-political retrospective of the war in Palestine

Hamas' roots go back almost half a century ago, and do not refer to any kind of “Islamic terrorism”. In the 1970s, Palestinian sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who used a wheelchair, founded an organization based on Islamic fundamentalism, which was initially viewed favorably by Israel, believing that it would weaken Al Fatah, the main organization of the PLO ( Palestine Liberation Organization).

In the early 1980s, in the wake of the Iranian revolution, Ahmed Yassin created the Majd al Mujaidin (“Glory of the Fighters of Islam”) being arrested in 1984 by the Shin Bet[I] for anti-Israeli terrorism. He spent a year in prison, freed in a prisoner exchange. In December 1987, Ahmed Yassin founded the “Islamic Resistance Movement”, which gave rise to Hamas.

Arrested again in May 1989, Ahmed Yassin was sentenced to life in prison in October 1991. Unperturbed, he listened to the verdict and replied: “The Jewish people drank from the cup of suffering and lived dispersed throughout the world. Today, it is these same people who want to force Palestinians to drink from this cup. History will not forgive them, and God will judge us all.” Ahmed Yassin was released in October 1997 by order of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and exiled to Jordan, thanks to the intervention of King Hussein, who provided discreet support to Hamas.

English journalist Robert Fisk highlighted Israeli responsibility in the rise of “Islamic fundamentalism”: “Hamas, the main target of Sharon's 'war on terror', was originally sponsored by Israel. In the 1980s, when Arafat was the 'super-terrorist', and Hamas was a nice little Muslim charity, albeit poisonous in its opposition to Israel; the Israeli government encouraged its members to build mosques in Gaza. Some genius in the Israeli army decided that there was no better way to undermine the PLO's nationalist ambitions in the occupied territories than to promote Islam. Even after the Oslo agreement, during a disagreement with Arafat, senior Israeli army officials publicly announced that they were talking to Hamas officials. And when Israel illegally deported hundreds of Hamas men to Lebanon in 1992, it was one of its leaders, hearing that I was traveling to Israel, who offered me Shimon Peres' home phone number from his address book.”[ii]

It was within the framework created by the survival, surprising for many, of the Iranian “Islamic Republic”, that changed the political composition of the Arab struggle against Israel, with the emergence and growth of political-religious groups, highlighting the Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia organization, the Hamas created by Sunni Palestinians when the first Intifada began, and “Islamic Jihad”, formed by young Palestinians in Egypt since 1980.

Contrasting with the growing political decadence of Al-Fatah and the PLO, Islamic organizations of various types quickly gained prominence in the Palestinian and Arab political scene in general. The old nationalist leadership, such as the government of Egypt, had strategically colluded with Israel. This position of secular and/or left-wing Arab currents opened space for Islamic organizations that maintained intransigence in relation to Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to gain mass influence.

The failure of Arab secular nationalism in the task of placing the national struggle in an anti-imperialist perspective (which would have required breaking its ties with the ruling castes of monarchical and reactionary Arab states), due to the formation of a parasitic and enriched state bureaucracy, led to the strengthening of the religious movement, which had a long tradition and organizational bases. The Palestinian Hamas (“ardor”) prepared a response to the Zionist State through the proposal of an “Islamic State”, and victoriously contested political space against the PLO.

It is not a paradox that the group's founding in 1988 was well regarded by Israeli politicians. The social aid network of Islam, Sunni especially, played an essential role in its expansion throughout Islamic societies. One “historian” wrote: “Hamas is an extension of the Islamic Brotherhood [of Egypt]. The language of both groups is the same. The territory of Israel is classified as Islamic, not Palestinian. Hamas and the Brotherhood refer to a kind of planetary Islamic republic”;[iii] on this observation, the entire story is reduced to “discourse”; its economic, social and political components are minimized, transformed into a secondary lever of ideology.

In Palestine, the second Intifada or “Al-Aqsa Intifada” began in September 2000 (the first was in 1987). The movement took place within a context marked by the impasse in the “peace process”, the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon (interpreted as a victory for Hezbollah), the dispute for influence between the Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas and the displeasure of a part of the Israeli population in relation to the concessions made by the Camp David agreements (July 2000) and by terrorist attacks.

On September 27, 2000, a Palestinian attack caused the death of a Jewish settler in the Israeli settlement of Netzarim, in the Gaza Strip. The following day, Ariel Sharon, at the time a parliamentarian from the Likud party, in opposition to Ehud Barak's government, visited, protected by a large security apparatus, the Esplanade of the Mosques/Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. More than a thousand Palestinians were present. The visit was interpreted by the Palestinians as a provocation, and gave rise to the second Intifada.

After Ariel Sharon's departure, violent clashes pitted Palestinians and Israelis at the Western Wall. Seven Palestinians were killed and hundreds were injured. In the following days, violence continued with Palestinian attacks on the Israeli army in the territories occupied by Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The conflict, which lasted from the end of 2000 to the beginning of 2005, left hundreds dead.

Violent fighting in urban areas, bombings and bombings and attacks in highly populated regions left a high toll of civilian lives. Palestinians resorted to launching rockets katiusha (almost artisanal, like firecrackers) and also, mainly, suicide attacks. The Israelis used tanks, artillery and aircraft. The infrastructure of the territories occupied by Israel was devastated. Between combatants and civilians, it is estimated that more than three thousand Palestinians and almost a thousand Israelis died, in addition to 64 foreigners.

A year after the start of the Intifada, on the day of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, at the same time that survivors were looking for survivors in the rubble in the North American city, Israel invaded Jericho, the first Palestinian city to achieve autonomy in the West Bank (in 1994), leaving thirteen dead and more than one hundred injured. In 2002, attacks against Palestine, its National Authority and PLO leader Yasser Arafat increased, attacks carried out by the Sharon-Peres government with full US support. The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) laid siege to all Palestinian cities and the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah, where Arafat himself was held hostage.

Israel invaded the west bank of the Jordan using methods of terror: massacre of defenseless civilians, including the elderly, women and children, murders and execution of unarmed prisoners, mass arrests and detention in camps in appalling conditions, demolition of buildings, destruction of hydraulic systems and electricity, social and health resources and infrastructure. The main objective of the expulsion of foreign journalists, medical teams and international observers was to prevent international knowledge of these facts.

Trying to escape a situation of permanent war, the US government formulated a political proposal. The “Road Map” proposed by the Bush administration was a caricature of the Oslo Accords concluded in 1993-1995, which were also a caricature of a democratic solution to the Palestinian question. The main triumph of the proposal was political. The Palestinian National Authority reported that “the PLO made a historic commitment in 1988, recognizing Israel's sovereignty over 78% of historic Palestine, on the understanding that Palestinians would be able to live in freedom in the remaining 22% under Israeli occupation since 1967. ”.

The “peace process” had been used as a smokescreen to continue the land confiscation, which doubled the number of Jewish settlers living on the West Bank of the Jordan, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – approximately 400.000 – and to carry out the policy of confinement of the population of the occupied territories, replaced in Israel by foreign workers brought from all over the world. The economic suffocation of workers on the west bank of the Jordan and Gaza – where unemployment had grown by 65%, and 75% of the population lived below the poverty line of two dollars a day – was the reason for the collapse of the Oslo Accords.

This economic catastrophe was the result of a long-term goal, shared by all Zionist parties, of getting rid of Palestinians everywhere. Eretz Israel. The temporary US victory in Iraq found its counterpart in the occupied territories in the design of the formation of a new cabinet, after Arafat was declared “incompetent”. In June 2002, Israel began building an isolation wall on the West Bank border.

With a planned length of 350 km, it was to cover the “Green Line” from north to south and also encompass the eastern sector of Jerusalem, annexed by Israel since 1967, where the Palestinians claimed the capital of their State. In certain places, such as the Palestinian city of Qalqiliya, which would be divided, the wall would reach eight meters high. What was occurring on the west bank of the Jordan was a process of land confiscation and segregation.

The construction of the wall would lead to the confiscation of approximately 22% of the West Bank, including 80% of agricultural land, the extirpation of tens of thousands of trees and the alienation by the State of Israel of 20% of the Palestinian population's water resources. At least fifteen villages would be trapped between the wall and the “Green Line”, in closed military areas controlled by the Tsahal.

The wall meant the inclusion in Israel of a vast number of illegal Jewish settlements, and would transform Palestinian villages and towns into camps similar to those existing in the Gaza Strip. The wall would cut off the Jordan Valley, leaving the so-called “Palestinian State” only 50% of the western bank. In reality, this “State” would consist of eight “bantustans”, separated, isolated and controlled by Israel: Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilia, Tulkarem, Jericho, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.

Palestinian civilians would not be allowed to move from one of these areas to others without special authorization from the occupation authorities. The “Palestinian State” would be nothing more than a set of cantons, dotted with routes controlled by the Israeli army, besieged by Zionist colonies and military establishments. Under these conditions, Gaza was the scene of a power struggle between the “old guard” of the Palestinian Authority, led by Arafat, and a younger generation of armed militants, who wanted reforms in the Palestinian power structure.

The old guard was accused of corruption and of not having acted to guarantee Palestinians security and a better life. They were also unable to form institutions capable of sustaining a Palestinian State. The Israeli invasion of the West Bank in March/April 2002 and the siege of Arafat in Ramallah, maintained until her death in November 2004, were significant. The name given to the invasion – Operation Defense Shield – actually hid the political objective of suffocating the ANP and making the construction of an independent Palestinian state unfeasible.

In response to a suicide attack carried out in Jerusalem by a Hamas militant, the Israeli army carried out strong attacks in the Gaza Strip in mid-2003, in which it injured Hamas' top leader, Abdul Aziz al-Rentisi, and killed 25 Palestinians. These facts put the “Road Map” proposed by the USA into crisis. The plan attempted to dismantle the time bomb of the Palestinian people's rebellion in the face of the repeated failures of Israeli repression, at a time when the military occupation of Iraq was becoming more complicated.

The first step in this project was to have the Palestinian authorities themselves repress their people. The plan was accepted by Yasser Arafat, powerless to stop the Intifada and accused by Sharon of not being tough against it. With some resistance, Arafat accepted the appointment of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas, a man trusted by the US and Israel) as Palestinian prime minister. Furthermore, Palestinian police bodies began to be trained by Yankee specialists. In the occupied territories, Israel should withdraw to comply with the 1967 UN resolutions.

The “Road Map” had been rejected by several Palestinian organizations, including the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Islamic currents Hamas and Jihad. Sharon had accepted Bush's plan which, in its first stage, only required collaborative measures from Israel in two aspects: starting to release Palestinian prisoners and starting to dismantle the illegal settlements of Jewish settlers (whose number had grown from 70 thousand to 200 thousand in the last decade) in territories that belonged to the Palestinian Authority.

Faced with the disheartening panorama, in an interview carried out in June 2003, close to his death, the prominent Palestinian intellectual Edward Said stated: “The only source of optimism, in my view, continues to be the courage of the Palestinians to resist. It was because of the Intifada and because the Palestinians refused to capitulate to the Israelis that we arrived at the negotiating table. The Palestinian people will continue to oppose illegal settlements, the occupying army, and political efforts to put an end to their legitimate aspiration for a state. Palestinian society will survive, despite all the efforts that have been made to suffocate it... (The peace plan) does not address the real problems and demands of the Palestinian people. We are talking about a nation that was destroyed more than fifty years ago. Its population was deprived of their properties, 70% of them were left homeless. Even today, four million Palestinians live as refugees in the Middle East and other regions of the world. Since 1948, the UN has reaffirmed the illegality of this situation and said that these people should be compensated or repatriated. The peace plan, however, does not touch on this point. The plan also says nothing about the military occupation that began in 1967.”

“We are talking about the longest military occupation in modern history. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and in their place nearly 2.000 Israeli settlements with around 200.000 settlers emerged. The East section of Jerusalem was wrongfully annexed by Israel, which has furthermore, for the past two and a half years, kept the three million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under humiliating curfews and rights restrictions. None of this was mentioned in the peace plan. Nor was the question of the borders of a future Palestinian state addressed clearly. There was no mention of the borders that existed before 1967, much less the idea of ​​reestablishing them. In other words, Israel apparently proposed recognizing a Palestinian state, but provisional and without established territory. In essence, all the plan said was that the Palestinians should give up resistance, stop fighting. In return, Israel would eventually lift some of the restrictions it imposes on the Palestinian people, without further specification. The plan did not provide for effective mechanisms for implementing its phases. As occurred in the Oslo negotiations in 1993, decisions would be made by the Israelis. In short, we are talking about a plan that leads nowhere.”

In 2004, 7.366 Palestinians were detained by Israel, 386 of whom were children; 760 of them were in administrative detention without having been formally charged or tried. From 2000 to 2004 the Israeli army demolished around 3.700 Palestinian homes: 612 homes were destroyed as punishment against families of Palestinians suspected of attempting to commit or having committed violent offenses against civilians or Israeli security forces; 2.270 were demolished on the grounds of “security”; more than 800 administrative demolitions were carried out against houses built without Israeli permission. It was also during the second Intifada that the activist member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003 by the Israeli Armed Forces while trying, along with other activists, to prevent the destruction of civilian homes.

The crisis of the “peace process” occurred at a time when Israel was experiencing its biggest economic crisis since 1948, with growing unemployment, cuts in social spending, the decline of large sectors of the Jewish and Arab population to the level of poverty, and a strong recession. The continuation of the war effort promised to further harm Arabs and Jews living within the “Green Line”, with the cut of more than two billion dollars from the government budget for military purposes.

In 2005, Abbas was elected president of the ANP, starting to administer in the West Bank with extremely limited powers. In 2005, Israel also withdrew from the Gaza Strip, territory occupied by its troops and settlers. With his departure, Israel ended 38 years of occupation. The withdrawal was part of the “peace process” agreements: hundreds of Jewish settlers signed compensation agreements with the Israeli state, around five thousand people who opposed the withdrawal entered the region to encourage resistance to eviction. Troops knocked on doors to tell residents they had 48 hours to evacuate their homes. The execution of the withdrawal plan did not go smoothly.

In the colony of Neve Dekalim, considered the capital of the Israeli colonies, the police and military had to intervene with force. The colonists, helped by ultranationalists, infiltrated the colonies to prevent evacuations, offered a lot of resistance. The police had to saw off the steel gates of the colony, in the early hours of the morning, to allow trucks to enter the site to take the goods of the families who agreed to leave their homes. In Neve Dekalim lived 2.500 people. Those who agreed to leave their homes would be entitled to compensation of between 150 thousand and 450 thousand euros per family.

Israeli President Moshe Katzav asked the settlers for “forgiveness”: “In the name of the State of Israel, I ask for forgiveness because we demand that they abandon the places where they have lived for decades,” he declared on television. According to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal plan, settlers would be removed from the Gaza Strip and four isolated colonies in the north of the West Bank.

To this was added the announcement, by the head of the Israeli army, Dan Halutz, of probable mass desertions of soldiers, and the formation of irregular militias, in opposition to the withdrawal,[iv] which was preceded, in July, by “ethnic cleansing”, including missile attacks, in Gaza itself; by the destruction, by the settlers, of most of the greenhouses in the Jewish settlements; and for the construction of the internal barrier of Jerusalem, which left 55 thousand Palestinians outside the “Holy City”.[v] And, mainly, by strengthening Israel's military presence in the West Bank, where the majority of Israeli settlements occupied during the 1967 war were located: in total, less than 4% of the almost 250 Israeli settlers would be affected by the withdrawal.

“Colonization will continue”, declared Ariel Sharon at the time of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Prime Minister assured that he would not give up the West Bank colonies, despite the withdrawal in Gaza: “Colonization is a serious program that will continue and develop.” The Palestinian Authority condemned the statements, classifying them as “unacceptable”. Shortly after the start of the withdrawal from Gaza, the Israeli Defense Minister announced that he would maintain control over six settlements in the West Bank, regardless of agreements concluded with the Palestinians.

During this period, a new wave of European anti-Semitism began, with attacks against synagogues and Jews in France and Belgium, with a strong presence by neo-Nazi and far-right groups. In Israel, the “peace camp”, the heirs of left-wing Zionism and the communist tradition, and the so-called post-Zionist intellectuals, began to defend the “two-state solution”, denouncing the horrors of the past and present, the colonialist dynamics of Zionism, the mechanisms for expulsion of the Arabs, the constant alliances and attempts at alliances between Zionists and imperialist powers, the legal possibility of using torture and the very absence of an Israeli constitution, the confessional nature of the State, racism against Palestinians and non-European Jews, the similarities between the “Law of Return” and the Nazi Nuremberg code, but always seeing the State of Israel as a fait accompli and irreversible, that is, not surmountable by a secular and democratic republic.

After the Israel/PLO agreements, in the January 2006 Gaza elections the most spectacular aspect was the participation of the Hamas group. At the time, he omitted from his political manifesto any reference to the end of Israel, his trademark after the recognition of Israel by the PLO. The declaration that all lands west of the Jordan River should belong to an Islamic Palestinian state – in other words, that the territory of Israel should become Palestinian territory – did, however, appear in Hamas' founding charter.

Despite this omission in the electoral manifesto, it contained a commitment to “a fully sovereign Palestinian state” and to “armed resistance to put an end to the Israeli occupation”. The crisis of the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian national movement was glaring, even raising the possibility of an internecine war in the event that Abbas' government continued to attack Hamas, in accordance with the siege that the government intended to impose on it. of Israel.[vi] This is despite the declared desire of Hamas, which had defeated Al-Fatah in the December 2005 municipal elections, to integrate its militias into a single Palestinian armed body.[vii] Al-Fatah appeared to be in a terminal crisis.

In Israel, political shocks provoked a “revolution” within the Labor Party, with the internal defeat of its historic leader Shimon Peres, and the explosion of Likud, abandoned by Sharon to form the coalition Kadima, a new political formation capable of guaranteeing, with its supposed “centrism”, the stability of a regime that was making waves on all sides, whose instability was mediated by the fact that it intended to lead Ariel Sharon himself as head of the ticket, despite the fact that he he was definitively away from the world of politics for serious health reasons.

The Israeli left and right agreed in describing the dying Sharon as the very incarnation of the State, in deep economic crisis due to the global crisis and dwindling external subsidies,[viii] and forced to support a war economy and a barely covert police state. In August 2005, at the same time as the withdrawal from Gaza, a law was approved by the Israeli parliament that did not grant citizenship or permanent residence to Palestinians married to Israelis, affecting more than one million Arabs residing in Israel.

The election of the general secretary of the Histadrut (union central), Amir Peretz, as president of the Labor Party, precipitated the crisis of the entire political system, removing labor from the government of national unity with Sharon, provoking a call for elections in early 2006 , and split Likud. Amir Peretz had distanced himself from the Labor Party (PTI) in 1996 to form a new party, Am Hehad (United People).

For the first time, the PTI would be governed by an Israeli born in an Arab country: Amir was Moroccan and had migrated with his parents to Israel when he was four years old, in 1956. In Israeli society, the domination of descendants and even immigrants from the country had always prevailed. from Europe. Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, North Africa and the Middle East have always been considered second-class citizens.

Former Prime Minister Menachem Beguin himself, a right-winger, had used these divisions and differences to win elections in 1977 for the first time, for the Likud Party, breaking a thirty-year hegemony of Labor, which had governed and set the direction of Israel since its creation. by the UN in 1947. During Peretz's administration, the Histadrut sold – privatized – the Bank Hapoalim (“workers’” bank), the largest health service in Israel (Kupat Holim Klalit) and the Klal industries conglomerate, in addition to large and medium-sized companies that were in their possession.

At the end of 2005, Sharon declared that he wanted to establish a presidential regime in Israel. After his unilateral withdrawal from all settlements in the Gaza Strip and the agreement to open the Palestinian border with Egypt, internal differences within his party were becoming unavoidable. Several more right-wing, radical ministers were leaving the government with harsh criticisms of Sharon. His government was only supported by the PTI's decision to participate in it again. This situation was completely reversed with the election of Peretz as party leader and with his express request for new elections to be called.

However, the most unusual thing was Sharon's announcement of his disaffiliation from Likud, a party he had helped to form in 1973, when he was still a general and an active participant in all the wars in which Israel had been involved in its sixty years of existence. existence. This decision was classified by Israel's largest newspaper, the Yedioth Aharonot, as an “unprecedented political earthquake”.

When making this decision, Sharon, following the Israeli constitution, asked the president of Israel to dissolve the parliament, which, in the Israeli case, is only unicameral (it does not have a senate). The British government denounced the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem, carried out through the expulsion of Palestinians, the construction of a dividing wall and thousands of homes for the Jewish population.

The United States asked that the Israeli evacuation of the Gaza Strip “take place peacefully”, so that the plan would be successful and “boost the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians”. “Our goal is, primarily, for it to be a success,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: it was necessary to focus attention so that there was “a political horizon in this process”, on the intention that the implementation of the Disengagement Plan would help improve the prospects of the peace process.

To this end, the spokesperson said that ANP President Mahmoud Abbas “must be successful in his fight against terrorism”: “Abbas understands that he has an obligation to dismantle terrorist networks.” But, before withdrawing, Hamas made it clear that it would maintain the armed struggle. In addition to subsidizing the occupation of Gaza for almost four decades, Israel gave each evacuated family US$200 in compensation.[ix] In other words, in addition to the 38-year subsidies, Israel (and the USA through it) would allocate at least 600 million dollars, just for evacuated families, to guarantee regional political balance.[X]

The total cost of the withdrawal would reach, with all expenses, US$2 billion, the equivalent of Israel's entire annual military budget, the highest per capita in the world.[xi] And yet, the Jewish settler who murdered four Palestinians on August 17, 2005, Asher Weissgan, declared, in the Jerusalem Court charged with trying him: “I regret nothing,” and “I hope someone kills Sharon ”.[xii] Before going to Washington, Sharon visited Maale Adumim, in East Jerusalem, the largest settlement in the West Bank. Addressing the settlers, he promised them that their homes would remain part of Israel 'for all eternity.'”[xiii]

There were 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza, with 9.500 settlers, among 1,4 million Palestinians; in the West Bank there were 120 settlements, with 230 Jews among 2,4 million Palestinians (only four settlements were planned to be withdrawn). And there was the problem of water supply to Israel, from the groundwater in the West Bank. All settlements were favored by the Israeli government with housing subsidies and living costs much lower than those in Israel, via state subsidies.

In the West Bank, during the first half of 2005, the pace of construction in settlements grew by 85%. Arab Palestinians, in turn, numbered 3,8 million across the Gaza and West Bank strips, plus another four million living as refugees in neighboring Arab countries (2004 data), totaling eight million people. Sharon's policy, therefore, met the supporters of the dream of Eretz Israel: a strong political crisis triggered, however, because the concessions that the US forced it to make constituted a new factor in the degradation of Israel's critical economic and social situation.

And this is to give the weakened ANP a weak charter to confront the growing influence of “Islamic radicalism” among the population. The reformist policy promoted by the USA to save its disastrous war adventure in the Middle East, threatened by the growth of Iraqi resistance against military occupation, instead of resolving it, made the contradictions inherited from the imperialist policy towards the region more acute.

For the British magazine The Economist,, the US government was faced, in the Middle East, with a test that could provoke “the worst strategic defeat for the US since the Vietnam war”.[xiv] It was not an empty statement: on January 25, 2006, the Islamic movement Hamas won the legislative elections of the Palestinian National Authority, which added a new element to the political crisis of the Zionist regime. Hamas obtained 74 parliamentary seats out of a total of 132 (56%); while Abu Mazen and Marwan Barghouti's Al Fatah only got 45 (34%).

Entire districts such as Hebron, the northern district of the Gaza Strip and Dir el-Balah were gained en bloc by Hamas. In others, such as Nablus, Tul Karem, Ramallah and East Jerusalem, Hamas obtained between 75% and 90% of the votes. The Palestinian left only obtained 10% of the votes in some districts (the FPLP obtained three deputies; the FDLP, only two; Mustafá Barghouti's National Initiative Party, two, after having obtained 20% of the votes in the presidential elections). Turnout in the elections in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem was 77,69%. Turnout in the Gaza Strip was 81,65%, while in the West Bank it was 74,18%. In total, 1.341.000 Palestinians were called to the polls to choose the 132 deputies of the Legislative Council.

The main antecedent of the result was the withdrawal of the Israeli army and Jewish settlers from Gaza, perceived as a political triumph for Hamas, the favorite target of Israeli attacks. The corruption of the ANP leadership was one of the axes of the “repudiation vote”, corruption that reflected the degradation not only of a political leadership, but of a social class, the Palestinian bourgeoisie. Furthermore, Hamas had a huge charitable network in its favor in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was even stated that “with regards to Hamas’ victory… the election campaign was not a referendum on war or peace with Israel. Hamas did not win because it promised to wipe Israel off the map. He won because he promised to resolve some of the terrible imbalances and chaotic distortions that have defined internal Palestinian society in recent years”;[xv] “Hamas itself is not a homogeneous organization and has internal disagreements. It can be said that by casting doubt on 'Israel's right to exist', Hamas tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to place the Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakbah, of which in 1948 there was no awareness”.[xvi]

Hamas' victory called into question the entire strategy promoted by the George W. Bush administration or, as a columnist for The New York Times: “The dominant feeling among politicians and intellectuals in the Middle East in recent days was that the US's little chemical experiment had blown up in the country's face. President George Bush had been promoting democracy with free elections as his main solution to the region's ills – and when Hamas overwhelmingly won the Palestinian elections, Bush reaped results that could not have been more contrary to the interests of the US and its ally Israel".[xvii] There were also those who assured – such as former minister Israel Katz, from the Likud party – that the Israeli unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip “guaranteed Hamas’ victory”. According to Katz and other spokesmen on the Israeli right, leaving Gaza “without conditions, without receiving anything in return, presented Hamas as the big winners who had removed Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar also stated that their party's victory in the legislative elections would have international consequences: “Our victory is a lesson to the international community and will change the attitude of Israel, Arab countries and the West in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. Al-Zahar stated that “the armed struggle against Israel will continue, and our victory will lead Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians and will change the attitude of Jordan and Egypt towards the conflict.”

And also: “Our victory is a blow against the United States and Israel.” Haniyeh reiterated that “the victory reaffirms our beliefs and our strategy, and we are committed to what we announced before the elections.” Regarding relations with Israel, Haniyeh called for “resistance against the occupation until we expel it (from the Palestinian territories) and return our rights, and, above all, Jerusalem, refugees and the release of prisoners.” Al-Zahar called on all Palestinian factions to join Hamas' political program.

The working class and the Palestinian masses demonstrated sporadically, as in the teachers' strike in the West Bank in 1997, or in the creation of independent committees of workers and unemployed in Gaza in 2005. Candidate Mariam Farahat (A Nidal), mother of two suicide bombers, addressed thousands of Palestinian women in Khan Younis, Gaza; in Hebron, 60 people gathered at the final rally of the Hamas campaign. Abu Mazen had received a “little help” from Bush of two million dollars for his election campaign, while threats from Israel, the USA and the EU were growing that they would not recognize a Hamas government. Hamas was included on the United States State Department and European Union (EU) lists of “terrorist organizations.” Echoing him, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that any group that wants to participate in the democratic political process “must disarm”.

Regarding the United States' relationship with Hamas, if it were included in the new Palestinian government, the American president said: "The answer is: we will not negotiate with you until you renounce your desire to destroy Israel." The United States had pressured the Palestinian president to exclude Hamas from the government. “Our views on Hamas are very clear,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan: “We do not deal with Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization. Under the current circumstances, we do not see any change in this.” He left open, however, the possibility of the US continuing to work with the Palestinian Authority, but not with its representatives linked to Hamas. This is what was already happening in Lebanon, where the US dealt with the government, but did not maintain contact with a minister linked to the Shiite group Hezbollah.

Hamas said it would intend to maintain its “policy of resistance” when it took over the Palestinian government: “On the one hand we will maintain our policy of resistance to aggression and occupation and, on the other, we will seek to change and reform the Palestinian landscape.” And also that “we want to form a Palestinian entity that unites all parties around an independent political agenda”: ​​“We want to be open to the Arab world and the international community”. At the same time, the top leader of Hamas in Gaza reiterated that his movement would not transform itself into a political party, and would not negotiate with Israel, “unless it has something to offer us, in which case we would negotiate through third parties ”.

But the main Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, when admitting the defeat of his party, Al Fatah, stated that the party would not participate in a coalition government. Arafat's successor at the head of Al Fatah was officially Faruk Kadumi, who lived in exile in Tunisia. Mahmud Abbas, co-founder of the movement, presided over meetings of the Central Committee, the main body of Fatah, but the most popular authority was Marwan Barghuti, who was serving a life sentence in Israel and had contested the elections. The movement's last congress, the fifth since its creation, was held in 1989, in Tunisia. The general conference scheduled for August 2005 had been postponed indefinitely.

Speaking in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh stated that “Americans and Europeans say to Hamas: arms or legislature. We say there is no contradiction between the two.” According to a journalistic commentary: “If Americans and Europeans have the ability, they will guide Islamic radicals into the path of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which over time has split between political and military factions, with the former patiently stifling the latter. But to do so, Hamas will need to recognize Israel’s right to exist and take effective steps towards its disarmament.”

In the most “pessimistic” view, Hamas would live the contradiction to its ultimate consequences: taking advantage of the institutional spaces in Palestinian democracy, but also maintaining the armed struggle against Israel. In the absence of options, Abbas was the Americans' interlocutor. But in Washington and other capitals, he was seen as incapable of disarming Hamas, turning the Islamic militia into a political party guarantor of a nascent Palestinian democracy. Both Israel, the United States and the European Union repeated that they would not be willing to negotiate with Hamas unless the group renounced armed resistance.

Abbas tried to save his position as a multiple intermediary, the only one he had left. He praised “the democratic spirit of the Palestinian people,” and reiterated his willingness to negotiate with Israel. He recalled all the problems and inconveniences that both his government and the Palestinians had to overcome to hold the elections, and thanked international observers for the help they provided during the electoral process to the ANP. At the same time, he reaffirmed to the “international community” his desire to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

The main line of intermediation between the US and Hamas began to be defined through the Arab regimes of the Middle East. Muslim leaders called on Israel and the world to accept Hamas' victory: “If Hamas forms the government, occupies the PNA, has the responsibility to govern, negotiate, obtain peace, it will be different from Hamas which is an organization whose people are on the streets,” said the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa.

The president of Lebanon, Émile Lahoud, stated that “no one could deny” the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their territories. Around 400.000 Palestinians lived in Lebanon in very precarious conditions in just over ten refugee camps. The Egyptian government stressed that it maintained a good working relationship with Hamas. Mohamed Habib, deputy leader of the Islamic Brotherhood, said that Hamas' victory pointed to the Palestinians' option for the path of “resistance”. Arab-Israeli deputies said that the Israeli government had sown Hamas's victory: “Israel is reaping what it sowed all these years.”

Hamas' “pragmatic” line had its main exponent in Ismail Haniyeh, number one on the list of deputies. In his “victory speech” he did not speak of destroying the State of Israel, but that Hamas could accept “the limits of 1967”. Hamas said it was willing to call a truce. He also signed the El Cairo Accords (March 2005), where he pledged to “maintain an atmosphere of calm”. Ahmed Hajj Ali, member of the Hamas Supreme Shura Council, said: “Our priority is to address the internal Palestinian situation rather than confront Israel. We will negotiate with Israel because it is the power that has usurped our rights, if Israel agrees to our recognized international rights, including the right to return of refugees, (in that case) the Shura Council would seriously consider recognizing Israel in the interest of world peace.”[xviii] Khaled Meshaal, the movement's highest political leader, asked the European Union to continue economic aid to the ANP “desirous of engaging in dialogue with the United States and Europe”.

specialists of International Crisis Group had been pointing out Hamas's change: “The movement should also ratify a law on security that will progressively lead it to disarm its militias and respect a ceasefire. The report advises Israelis to put an end to political assassinations and release political leaders from Palestinian factions.”[xx] The “Madrid Quartet” itself, made up of the United States, the European Union (EU), Russia and the UN, asked that Hamas’ victory be respected. The Quartet congratulated the Palestinian people on the success of the electoral process.

The European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, responsible for the European Union's financial aid to the ANP, stated that the bloc would be willing to work with any government, “if the government is willing to advance peace with peaceful methods”, highlighting that the The European Commission's cooperation was with the ANP and not with “one party or another”, and he said he “did not expect” that Hamas' victory would hinder ongoing European projects in Palestinian territory. For the US, however, Hamas remained a terrorist organization; and former president Jimmy Carter, who led a team of observers to the Palestinian elections, recalled that “by law” the American government could not negotiate with a Palestinian government with a Hamas presence.

One of the main leaders of Hamas denied that the movement had transformed into a political party with its participation in the parliamentary elections: “Hamas remains a resistance movement, and its participation in the elections does not imply a conversion to a political party.” On his side, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, together with the general secretary of labor, Amir Peretz, announced that they would not dialogue with the new Palestinian parliament and government. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned that Israel would continue with a policy of targeted killings.

Still, the political crisis in Israel manifested itself: “Israel must be tough with the new Palestinian authority after the victory of the radical Hamas movement,” said former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; he also said that Israel's departure from the Palestinian territories was a sign of weakness and that Hamas's victory was a major setback for peace. The cracks don't just appear on the right. Israel's official stance was not to dialogue with a government made up of members of Hamas.

In a coordinated reaction to pressure Hamas, the Madrid Quartet released a statement in which they made demands: “A two-state solution to the conflict requires that all participants in the democratic process renounce violence, accept Israel's right to exist, and disarm.” In our latitudes, a Mercosur-Israel Treaty has been negotiated in secret since December 2005, when a “landmark agreement” was signed in Montevideo. The commercial importance of the agreement was quite relative, compared to its political importance. The agreement did not respond to any commercial interests of Mercosur countries. Total exports from its members to Israel reached just 330 million dollars in 2003 (making up just 0,2% of the regional bloc's exports). Israel occupied forty-third place as a destination for exports from Mercosur countries. The “Treaty”, therefore, had nothing commercial, being entirely political.

The Israeli response to Hamas' victory began to be prepared immediately, in the West Bank: “Prime Minister Olmert said that he intended to put into practice a unilateral plan to separate the Palestinians in the West Bank, by which Israel would keep the eastern part under its control ( Arabic) of Jerusalem, the large blocks of Jewish settlements near the current Israeli border, and the Jordan Valley on the border with Jordan.”[xx] This policy aimed to respond to the joint Jewish-Palestinian mobilization against the dividing wall in the West Bank.[xxx]

Since January 2006, Israel's reaction to the newly elected Palestinian government has been to extend its military operations in the Gaza Strip and finally provoke, after six months of continuous violence, a Palestinian reaction: an operation against an Israeli military post on the border southeast of the Gaza Strip. A military action by a Palestinian guerrilla group against a military unit of the Israeli army was responded to with a general massacre of the Palestinian population. Against the kidnapping of a single soldier, Israeli forces in the West Bank kidnapped 65 Hamas leaders, including eight government ministers and 21 deputies. Ministers, deputies and other leaders chose to go underground. The actions of the guerrilla groups (the Popular Resistance Committees, Jihad, the armed wing of Hamas, and the Islamic Army) followed precise objectives. Palestinian organizations demanded that Israel release all Palestinian women and minors imprisoned in the country, but the Israeli government rejected this proposal. In total, nine thousand Palestinians were detained in Israeli prisons, including 95 women and 313 minors.

Israel launched an offensive that aimed to destroy the foundations of the existence of the Palestinian nation. In the early hours of June 28, less than ten months after its “unilateral withdrawal”, Israel launched a brutal military attack with bombings and missiles against the Gaza Strip. The operation, known as “Summer Rain”, surrounded the autonomous Palestinian territory of Gaza by land, air and sea, with around 5.000 soldiers and 100 tanks. The military offensive was an attack against the entire Palestinian population. Israel intended to depose the government elected by Hamas.

Israel's Interior Minister told Israeli public radio that "Israel's hand will reach Ismail Haniyeh." Aerial attacks, bombings, missile launches from helicopters, artillery fire, and sound bombs at night to terrorize the population were used. As “terrorist infrastructure”, the bombings destroyed three bridges, the University of Gaza, the power station that fed 75% of the population, not to mention numerous houses and highways destroyed when the tanks passed. The president of the ANP, Mahmoud Abbas, classified the Israeli incursion into the Palestinian territories as a “crime against humanity”.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the actions in Gaza were part of a “premeditated plan” to overthrow the Hamas government. Jamal Abu Samhadana, leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, was killed in a militant training camp. It was the first time that Israel killed an official appointed by the Hamas government. By killing him they sent a message: all members of the government, from the prime minister to junior officials, were potential targets for assassination.

The attack had been prepared before its formal pretext, with the death of more than 60 Palestinians, including women and children. The attack was preceded by a blackmail and isolation operation by the Palestinian government. The siege imposed by the West on the Hamas government has led to a dramatic situation in the West Bank and Gaza. Thousands of people did not have money, food, medicine or gasoline. Hospitals suspended non-urgent treatments. These sanctions also provoked internal tensions between Fatah and Hamas.

Aid from the Arab and Muslim world (70 million dollars from the Arab League, 50 million promised by Qatar, 20 million from Saudi Arabia, 50 million or 100 million from Iran and 50 million from Libya) did not materialize, the ANP had no access to the money, as banks were under pressure, particularly from the US, not to transfer it to the Palestinian government. The European Union and the US imposed three conditions on the Hamas government: denounce the violence; recognize the State of Israel; accept the agreements already signed between Israel and the Palestinians. No demands were made to the Israeli government. The message was clear: either Hamas capitulated completely and recognized Israel, or it would not govern the Palestinian territories.

On July 5, 2006, Israeli troops settled in northern Gaza and bombed the Palestinian Interior Ministry. At the same time, they kept the Erez border crossing closed, causing the isolation of almost one and a half million Palestinians, without electricity. Israeli troops destroyed civil infrastructure, bridges and the main power plant, and with the collaboration of the Egyptian police, prevented the population from leaving the Gaza Strip.

Helicopters flew over the residence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, whom Israel accused of providing protection to Hamas political leader Khaled Mesha, exiled in Syria. The Israeli government ordered the kidnapping of a third of the ministers of the Palestinian Authority government, including the deputy prime minister, the minister of finance and the minister of labor, as well as 30 parliamentary members and officials, launching a missile attack against the office of Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh. In Israel, a small minority of pacifists mobilized to repudiate these attacks.

The reformist policy, driven by the US to save its war adventure in the Middle East, instead of resolving it, made its contradictions more acute. In this context, Israel prepared and carried out a new invasion of Lebanon, in June-July 2006, to occupy the country for as long as it considered necessary, until transforming it into a buffer state, or a protectorate, lacking any real political independence. . This objective was set long before the events that were used as pretexts for the attacks on the Gaza Strip and the invasion of southern Lebanon.

Israeli military action did not have the character of self-defense: it began a series of attacks with a view to an offensive war. It was this Israeli offensive, fought with scarce means by Hamas, that triggered the new war in Lebanon. The economic blockade imposed in January 2006 progressed into a full-scale military blockade of Gaza. Since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah had avoided confronting the Israeli army on Israeli territory. The moment chosen by Hezbollah guerrillas for the first attack against Israel indicated that their intention was to reduce pressure on the Palestinians by opening a new battle front. His action was the first military act in the Arab world of solidarity with the Palestinians in many years.

At the same time, the situation of the Palestinians was worsening day by day due to the Israeli military occupation. The city of Hebron, in the West Bank, 35 kilometers south of Jerusalem, was historically characterized by its Muslim-Jewish mix; Israeli authorities expelled part of the 150 Palestinians who lived there, in addition to supporting the development of Jewish colonies.

Around 650 ultra-right Jewish settlers occupied parts of the old city, destroying Palestinian neighborhoods and economic infrastructure. Hebron became divided into two parts, called H1 and H2, by a line that separated the settlements from the rest of the city. Most Palestinians could not approach the H2 zone. What was a residential and business area became a ghost town, inhabited only by settlers protected by Israeli soldiers and police.

But the Israeli invasion of Lebanon failed. Israel's defeat in Lebanon strengthened more right-wing political options in Israel. Avigdor Lieberman, head of the far-right party Yisrael Beytenu returned to government as deputy prime minister. Defender of ideas such as the transfer of Israeli Arabs to the West Bank, the deputy prime minister represented a fascist sector of the Israeli bourgeoisie, calling for the militarization of the country and an openly racist political system. But Palestinian resistance continued, as did the crisis in Israel, whose prime minister offered the withdrawal of Palestinian territories still occupied and the dismantling of Israeli settlements. Hamas criticized the proposal, which did not establish deadlines or borders for Palestinian sovereignty. To the extent that the Lebanon war led to Israel's political-military defeat, it also precipitated an internal political crisis.

The Saudi initiative to form a Hamas-Fatah Palestinian unity government has collapsed, mainly due to Israeli intransigence. Fatah forces were defeated and expelled from Gaza by Hamas militiamen. The political contradictions and limits of the Palestinian national movement, the corruption of the secular leadership of the Palestinian Authority, the role of the Palestinian “security” forces, co-opted by Israel and the CIA, pushed the Palestinian masses to seek the type of alternative proposed by Islam politician and Hamas.

With the separation of the “cantons” between the Hamas-controlled area and the West Bank under Abbas/Fatah control, the “two-state solution” imploded, as did the “Plan B” drawn up by the US and Israeli foreign ministers. The Israeli government approved the transfer of 2.000 automatic rifles, 20.000 bullet magazines and two million bullets from Egypt to Fatah security forces in the Gaza Strip to combat Hamas. Arms for Fatah sought to create a process of civil war in Palestine.

In this stagnant situation and characterized by growing political instability, almost a decade passed, when “Operation Protective Edge” was launched, a military campaign launched by Israel against the Gaza Strip, which began in July 2014. On August 26, the fighting broke out. ended after seven weeks of fighting. The conflict began shortly after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in mid-June 2014.

As part of the operation, the Israeli military killed ten Palestinians and arrested between 350 and 600, including almost all Hamas leaders in the West Bank. In response to the Israeli abduction, a young Palestinian boy, Muhamed Abu Khdeir, was abducted and burned alive by Jewish extremists. A series of protests broke out in the Palestinian territories and rockets were fired at southern Israel, which, in turn, began an aerial bombardment of Gaza and, later, a land invasion; fighting became widespread, killing hundreds of people (mostly civilians). It was the deadliest military operation to occur in the region since the 2008 Gaza War.

The United Nations Office estimated that 697 of those killed were civilians, of whom 256 were women or children. By the end of August (with seven weeks of fighting), more than 2.000 Palestinians and 60 Israeli soldiers had died. Israel accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields; an allegation denied by the Palestinian group. The temporary peace was taken advantage of by the civilian population in Gaza, who rushed to international aid centers in search of supplies.

On August 26, 2014, Palestinian and Israeli representatives agreed to a ceasefire, mediated by Egypt. Hamas leadership stated that “the resistance was victorious”, despite the high number of deaths and damage to local infrastructure: it was estimated that more than US$6 billion would be needed to rebuild this infrastructure. The inhabitants of Gaza denounced not only the Israeli repression, but also the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority. This influenced the rupture of the unity government between Hamas and Al Fatah.

In the last decade, the situation of the Palestinian people has worsened considerably, until it reached a desperate situation, in which their very survival was compromised. The need to undertake a military initiative became imperative given the expectation of a new Intifada, the growing colonialist expansion of Israel, the confiscation of homes and properties, and the declared Israeli intention to annex the West Bank, expel the entire population of that territory and end any possibility of independent Palestinian government. One interpretation of Hamas' military operation attributes it to the objective of blocking the recognition of the State of Israel by the Saudi monarchy, as other Arab monarchies have done. In Israel, part of the military reserve had abandoned their training, in opposition to Netanyahu's clerical and right-wing government.

Finally, on a weekend with overlapping Jewish religious holidays, Hamas and other armed groups carried out an unprecedented lightning military operation around Gaza. Due to the scale and complexity, it demonstrated great planning and preparation. However, it went completely unnoticed by Israel's immense intelligence and security apparatus. Assault groups from Palestinian organizations crossed Israeli security lines through tunnels, breaches in fences and even using aerial vehicles, and carried out attacks on Israeli military bases, towns and cities around Gaza within a radius of up to 30 kilometers.

In addition to the hundreds of deaths among soldiers and civilians, the Palestinians also captured soldiers and civilians as hostages, transferred to Gaza with the expectation of exchanging them for Palestinian prisoners. The crisis in Israel was intense, and its response with the bombing of Gaza was deadly. The path of apartheid and permanent territorial expansion was denounced by a large part of Israeli public opinion, and also by a large part of international Jewish opinion, as an existential threat and as a call for permanent war in the Middle East, which proves to be the only means of subsistence of the Zionist State.

The policy that aims to overcome this hostile environment through alliances with Arab monarchies and bourgeoisies is not just a double-edged sword: it is a gamble that puts Israel's destiny in the hands of reactionary Arab regimes, whose stability has already been put to the test. proof in the “Arab springs”. More than a decade ago, the defeat and withdrawal from Lebanon highlighted the limits of Israeli military power. The new ongoing massacre against Palestine may have immediate results, mainly by postponing the serious political crisis in Israel, but it will not put an end to the political upheavals in the Middle East.

Together with the war in Ukraine, this scenario heralds the direction of the world crisis towards an increasingly warlike terrain, in which lasting peace can only be the product of an anti-imperialist policy on an international scale, which can only be proposed by a independent movement of workers and oppressed peoples around the world. The ongoing war conflicts have a global reach and do not tolerate positions of neutrality, as the future of humanity is at stake in them. Which today depends, in substantial part, on the fate and destiny of the Palestinian people, the “wretched of the earth” of the XNUMXst century.

*Osvaldo Coggiola He is a professor at the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of Marxist economic theory: an introduction (boitempo). [ ]


[I] Sherut haBitachon Haklali (“General Security Service”, known by the acronym shabak); Officially, Israel Security Agency commonly referred to as Shin Bet or Shin Beth, is Israel's internal security service. Its motto is “Magen Velo Yera'e” (“defend without being seen”, or rather, “the invisible shield”). It is one of the three main organizations in the “Israeli intelligence community”, alongside Aman (IDF military intelligence) and Mossad (responsible for intelligence and espionage work abroad).

[ii] The Independent, London, December 5, 2001.

[iii] Ephraim Karsh. Islamic Imperialism: a History. New York, Yale University Press, 2005.

[iv] Meron Rapoport. Quitter Gaza pour mieux garder la Cisjordanie. The Diplomatic World, Paris, August 2005.

[v] Israel, via the Gerusalemme barrier. Corriere della Sera, Milan, July 11, 2005.

[vi] Hussein Agha and Robert Malley. Palestinian power, without alienation. The Diplomatic World, Buenos Aires, January 2006.

[vii] Craig S. Smith. “Political” Hamas will remain hostile to Israel. Folha de S. Paul, January 15, 2006.

[viii] Telma Luzzani. The redistribution of income and peace, great urgency for the Israeli future. Clarín, Buenos Aires, January 15, 2006.

[ix] Michel Gawendo. Door to door, Israel begins its exit from Gaza. Folha de S. Paul, 14 of August of 2005.

[X] US President Bush also promised $50 million to Palestinians for housing and infrastructure projects in Gaza. US$50 million for one and a half million Palestinians (just over 30 dollars per capita), and US$600 million for less than nine thousand Israeli settlers…

[xi] Folha de S. Paul, 17 of August of 2005.

[xii] I hope someone kills Sharon, Clarin, Buenos Aires, August 19, 2005.

[xiii] Mustafa Barghouthi. Sharon's nightmare, Arab World, 8 of August of 2005.

[xiv] Peter David. Hard going. In: The Economist, The World in 2006, London, January 2006.

[xv] Rami G. Khouri. The West does not understand Hamas' victory. Folha de S. Paul, January 29, 2006.

[xvi] Oren Ben-Dor. A new hope? Hamas's victory, counter punch, New York, January 21, 2006.

[xvii] James Glanz. Democracy releases uncomfortable forces for the US. The State of S. Paul / The New York Times, February 5, 2006.

[xviii] Middle East Report, London, August 2005.

[xx] Stéphanie Le Bars and Gilles Paris. Entrée du Hamas au gouvernement? Le Monde, Paris, January 20, 2006.

[xx] Olmert announces plan to annex blocks of colonies in the West Bank. The State of S. Paul, February 8, 2006.

[xxx] Jews and Palestinians march united against the wall that divides the West Bank. Clarin, Buenos Aires, January 21, 2006.

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