Saturday, June 20, 2009

What do Palestinians make of the Iranian Events?

According to this report:

"Palestinian Hamas members are helping the Iranian authorities crush street protests in support of reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, two protesters told The Jerusalem Post On Tuesday."

"Hamas formally welcomed incumbent Ahmadinejad's ostensible reelection victory on Saturday. The Palestinian Islamist movement receives arms and funding from Iran, and its members have often received training there, including in terror tactics and weapons manufacture."

"Amid the violence, confusion and government restrictions on communication, the accuracy of conflicting accounts is hard to ascertain.

"The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran should be aware of," the young man went on, "is the participation of Palestinian forces in these riots."

Another protester, who spoke as he carried a kitchen knife in one hand and a stone in the other, also cited the presence of Hamas in Teheran.

On Monday, he said, "my brother had his ribs beaten in by those Palestinian animals. Taking our people's money is not enough, they are thirsty for our blood too."

It was ironic, this man said, that the victorious Ahmadinejad "tells us to pray for the young Palestinians, suffering at the hands of Israel." His hope, he added, was that Israel would "come to its senses" and ruthlessly deal with the Palestinians."

On CNN today it was reported that there were very strong rumours about the presence of foreign, non-Farsi speaking elements among the forces which try to clamp down on the demonstrations, though no specific nationality was mentioned.

In Iran, the presidential elections on June 12 saw 63 per cent of the electorate give incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another term in office. Though the supporters of Mir Hussain Mousavi, the incumbent's closest rival with 34 per cent of the vote, claimed the election had been rigged, it is more likely that the Iranian people wanted to deliver a powerful message to the West despite the so-called 'Obama effect'. Elected on a platform of continued opposition towards US hegemony and the assertion of Iran's right to develop its nuclear capacity, Ahmadinejad will prove a resilient counterweight to the new American president's undeniable charm.

The US and the western media have seized upon the continuing demonstrations by Mousavi supporters in Tehran, hoping they are a prelude to some kind of 'velvet revolution' which will undermine the Iranian religious establishment. The fact that most of the demonstrations have taken place in Tehran and not in smaller cities and rural areas strongly suggests that they represent the position of the well-heeled elite, rather than the poor Iranians who form Ahmadinejad's core support group.

The Palestinian Bari Atwan makes light of the demonstrators and dismisses the legitimacy of their complaints. He may yet get to be right. Or not. Or maybe...

Atwan wishes that the world will stop hoping for an Iranian counter-revolution, which, he tells us, does not at all reflect the true will of the Iranian people. Perhaps he suspects that a genuinely democratic Iran with a sane leadership more concerned with the interests of its own citizenry will not be a Palestinian champion any longer, and thus the Palestinian cause will be demoted to what it always was: a local political dispute over borders.

As Martin Kramer observes in his pithy analysis:

"...the Middle East doesn't revolve around the Palestinians, and young Iranians don't intend to wait for Mahmoud Abbas (emir of Ramallah, where there is a "good reality") to get off his derrière before demanding their freedom. Iranians rightly think they're no less worthy of the world's sympathy than the Palestinians. (One of the chants of Iran's protesters: Mardom chera neshastin, Iran shode Felestin! "People, why are you sitting down? Iran has become Palestine!") Events in Iran have left Obama's simplistic mental map of the Middle East, first learned from a few Palestinian activists and an old Hyde Park rabbi, in shreds."

"We'll see"

As decreed by the wisdom in one of my favourite scenes from "Charlie Wilson's War"

Gust Avrakotos: There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse...

and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. the boy got a horse"

And the Zen master says, "we'll see."

Two years later The boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "how terrible."

And the Zen master says, "We'll see."

Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful."

Charlie Wilson
: Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."


June 26 Update:

From Z word blog:

On June 24, they published a letter by “Y.B., activist from within 48 Palestine“ (meaning Israel) under the headline: “In Palestine Ahmadinejad could win any election with much bigger margins.”

“I’m aware of the crazy defamation of Ahmadinejad in the west, where the hypocrisy of the left is converging with the self interest of the exploiters and the oppressors to pose ‘democratic’ racist Israel and the ‘moderate’ Saudi royal family and the Egyptian police state as natural allies for the western democracies. Here in Palestine, where people experience Western imperialism at its sharp edge, Ahmadinejad could win any election with much bigger margins without even campaigning…At last, Iran is one of the few states in the world where there are meaningful elections where people can make real choice. In this sense it is one of the most democratic states in the world. Of course, nothing is perfect, and we always aspire for the better, but in the Iranian election the Iranian people had to choose and they did choose the leadership that proved its readiness to serve their interest best, and not those of foreign imperialism or the local elites.“


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