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PLO op-ed: Israel, USA and Europe are blackmailing PA

Excerpt of an op-ed by former Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake

“The latest Zionist threat to the banks that are active in Palestine of arrests and being put on trial due to the opening of accounts for prisoners, Martyrs’ [families], and wounded (refers to the application of much of Israel's Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank, including rendering banks liable to punishment for facilitating PA terror salaries -Ed.)… comes after the occupation authorities’ pressures have not succeeded throughout all the recent years in causing the Palestinian leadership to abandon the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded on the pretext of support for terror, and after [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas emphasized many, many times that the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded are the most precious thing to us, and that any amount that is in our hands will be allocated for them…

The goal that Israel, the US, and Europe are seeking to achieve through this blackmail and through the pressures on the PA and the banks is not monetary; the goal is to put the entire Palestinian national struggle under the category of terror and crime, [and to claim] that the Palestinian resistance to the occupation – which is represented by the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded – has become illegitimate, and that its legal and human foundations and international legitimacy – which has allowed every occupied people to resist the occupation for its freedom and dignity – have been revoked from it…

The interference began with the Israeli calls to disband UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and erase the cause of the [Palestinian] refugees. The interference reached the Palestinian schoolbooks and the transparent policy of stealing, thieving, and pilfering everything in the Palestinians’ lives: stealing the water, the [freedom of] movement, the air, the freedom of knowledge, the land, and the trees, stealing the prisoners’ money in the Israeli military courts and collecting millions in fines and the policy of compensation (i.e., of terror victims -Ed.). In the Zionist period, the victim pays compensation to the murderer and the executioner…

The Palestinian people is dealing with a state of gangs and lowly people, who our poet Mahmoud Darwish already warned when he said: ‘I do not steal from anyone, But if I starve I will eat my oppressors' flesh; Beware, beware of my starving, And my rage.’”

Israeli army legislation which applies parts of Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank (taking effect on May 9, 2020). The law prohibits numerous terror related offenses, including terror funding/rewarding and holds heads of terror organizations responsible for murder committed by members of the organization. The law criminalizes the provision of funds for or the payment of rewards for the commission of terrorist offenses, such as the salaries the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. The provision also applies to any person or body - such as a bank - that facilitates such funding or rewarding of terror offenses. Based on this last provision, PMW sent letters in April 2020 to the heads of banks in the PA areas warning them that they must freeze the accounts of terrorists and their proxies and transfer them to the Israeli army or face legal consequences.

Mahmoud Darwish is considered the Palestinian national poet. He published over 30 volumes of poetry and 8 books of prose and has won numerous awards. He joined the Israeli Communist Party in 1961 and the terrorist organization PLO in 1973, becoming a member of the PLO Executive Committee in 1987. He left the PLO in 1993 because it signed the Oslo Accords with Israel. Many in Israel see his poetry as inciting hate and violence. One poem he wrote in 1988 at the height of the Palestinian wave of violence and terror against Israel in which approximately 200 Israelis were murdered (the first Intifada, 1987-1993) calls to Israelis: “Take your portion of our blood - and be gone… Live wherever you like, but do not live among us… Die wherever you like, but do not die among us… Leave our country, our land, our sea, our wheat, our salt, our wounds, everything, and leave the memories of memory.” In 1964, he wrote a poem entitled "ID Card" in which he said: "I do not hate people, And I do not steal from anyone, But if I starve I will eat my oppressors' flesh; Beware, beware of my starving, And my rage." He also wrote “Silence for the Sake of Gaza” in 1973, which many see as glorifying terror: “She wraps explosives around her waist and blows herself up. It is not a death, and not a suicide. It is Gaza's way of declaring she is worthy of life.” His defenders have claimed that Israel misinterprets his poetry and that he sought reconciliation with Israel. One wrote in 2017: “Darwish arranged meetings between Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals, and published essays on their discussions. He was optimistic that, through mutual understanding, the two sides could eventually reconcile.” []


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