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PA daily columnist calls for critical, honest discussion of successes and failures of Gaza campaign

Op-ed by Hafez Al-Barghouti, regular columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
     “Some say we won in Gaza. Others say the opposite – that we destroyed Gaza. A third group says [something] in between… Historically, in general, the Palestinian arena has lacked self-criticism. Therefore, all criticism is considered slander, all ignorance of reality is considered praise and all acknowledgment of [our] shortcomings is considered humiliation.
After the [Israeli] invasion of Beirut [in 1982], the late Yasser Arafat came to Kuwait, held a meeting with PLO members, and spoke at length about the battle and siege of Beirut. I interrupted him and asked: ‘Hasn’t the time come for us to conduct [some] self-criticism – to examine and investigate what happened?’ He stared into space for a while, and then continued to talk about the siege of Beirut. I repeated my question, but he ignored it. A few minutes later, I repeated my question [again], and one of the participants said, ‘Hey, Hafez, he doesn’t want to talk about criticism now. He wants to talk about Beirut’s resolve and about the victims.’
At present, no one is capable of subjecting what happened in Gaza and the course of the events of aggression to scrutiny and criticism. There are two opposing opinions: The first says we won, and [describes] ‘what we did’ to the occupation. The second says the campaign was simply a Hamas campaign, and that it destroyed Gaza. Between these two opinions, there is no room for self-criticism.
This is a call for self-criticism, so that we may learn from our mistakes and from what we did right. There is no need to bite, curse or slander. Rather, [we must] arrive at the facts, so we may learn from them, and teach the [next] generations that criticism is the beginning of the right path, from a democratic, national and religious standpoint... Brothers, criticism is neither a curse nor slander.”