Amira Hass
Haaretz (Opinion)
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

It is difficult to compete with the phallus that the Hamas movement displayed publicly during its celebrations in Gaza at the end of last week, especially when those dragged into the competition were nondescript functionaries in ties, the remnants of the fatigued Palestine Liberation Organization's leadership. In this competition, European countries waver between the role of observer from the sidelines and that of the functionary's prompter. The result is that, by treading water, they end up supporting Hamas and its messages.

The festivities of the Islamic Resistance Movement sent a message of "We told you so." In 1994, Hamas officials warned those who applauded the Oslo Accords that Israel would not stand by its commitments if the method was negotiations. Israel would not make it possible to establish an independent Palestinians state, would not withdraw, would not dismantle settlements and would not free (important ) prisoners, and the world would stand idly by. Therefore, what was taken by force must be freed by force, and the liberated princedom of Gaza is proof of this.

This voice is stronger and more convincing than that of those Hamas members who propose other ways, to avoid the bloodshed and destruction that can be expected until an as-yet invisible victory. The strong voice promises blood, sweat, glory for the heroes, more blood and more tears until paradise is reached, or else the final victory, which is substantiated by Koranic verses (competing with our Torah's substantiating verses ). It turns out that not only Israelis get an immediate satisfaction from the blend of missiles and holy writ.

A nation under a violent foreign government will always look for ways to free itself. Whether they are PLO or Hamas, what all Palestinians have in common is that they haven't grown accustomed to the tyranny of Israeli rule, even if sometimes Israelis believe the contrary. Whether they are PLO or Hamas, all are convinced that no matter what path the Palestinians choose - negotiations, armed struggle or popular uprising - Israel will not change its ways; it will sustain its tyrannical domination.

The armed struggle that senior Hamas official Khaled Meshal called for provides immediate satisfaction on one hand and promises to the great-grandchildren on the other. Go try to prove that today's promises won't be fulfilled in another 80 years. At all events, in the current competition, Hamas' popularity is surging.

Turning to the United Nations also offered a kind of immediate satisfaction: the large number of supporters. But its glow fades faster than the glow of phallic missile models. The European countries who voted in favor of the Palestinian bid, or abstained, explained that they wished to strengthen the status of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. By so doing, they made a grave mistake - because one prevalent Palestinian suspicion is that going to the UN was a survival tactic aimed at maintaining the status of the PLO leadership and the benefits that these leaders and their offspring enjoy.

If Europe does not want Hamas' way to be proven right, it must go beyond Abbas' status and show that unarmed struggle, too, can bear immediate and promising fruits. This struggle does exist, though it does not attract the masses, who are weary of their role as a modern Sisyphus.

This is almost a last call for Europe to take responsibility. It could impose triple taxes on Israeli imports because of products from the settlements. It could finance the building of schools, clinics and solar energy systems throughout Area C, the larger part of the West Bank, where Israel does not allow Palestinian development. For every building demolished, European states could lower the rank of another Israeli diplomat or recall another ambassador to his/her capital. Europe could decide that from now on, Israelis will have to apply for visas to enter its territory, and European leaders could stop meeting with Israeli government representatives as long as Israel is violating international law.

If all this sounds delusional, it's a sign that it is easier to imagine still more rounds of bloodshed and destruction.


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