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Palestinian article praises British academic boycott of Israel

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadidah website on 2 June

    ["Eyewitness" column by Mahmud Abu-al-Hayja: "The More Beneficial and Beautiful"]

    Which is more useful and better serves the Palestinian cause and even the Arab and Muslim causes at this stage? Is it extremism or rationalism; haste or careful deliberation; flying in the world of speeches and rhetoric or walking on the ground of reality and facing its challenges; or lastly, is it shelling with the water-pipe missiles that mostly hit nothing but glass, or taking bold decisions that end the delusion before the violence, which always rebounds onto us and always claims scores of victims and destroys houses?

    In this context, what is truly more useful? Is it, for instance, the kidnapping of the British journalist Alan Johnston by the so-called Army of Islam in Gaza or the academic boycott of Israel by British academicians?

    As we know, that decision is not new, for it was taken two years ago. However, the congress of the Union of Universities and Institutes in Britain, which includes 120,000 members, last week adopted the boycott decision that had been originally adopted in 2005 by the Institution of University Professors in Britain. The boycott decision was made and has now been renewed in protest against the Israeli academics' connivance with and defence of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

    Of course, the decision is not all that simple. It is a high caliber decision that, in my view, equals the entire "Al-Qassam missile" arsenal, or more. It is not because Israel strongly protested against the decision, but because it provides the beginnings of the "moral isolation" of Israel. It is what the Palestinian cause needs most during this stage in order to restore some of its esteem and moral sanctity, which was brought down by the street wars in Gaza.

    Indeed, which is more useful to the Palestinian cause? Is it the decision by the British academicians or the kidnapping of British journalist Alan Johnston, for whose immediate release our calls - we the powerless - equal the call of the prime minister? In this context it is necessary to wonder: If the prime minister and other officials are making the same calls as us, what should we be doing? If the official is demanding exactly what we are demanding, then why is he in a position of responsibility?

    The official is the decision-maker and has the authority to implement the decision. The security organs are under his control. Alan Johnston was kidnapped by a group calling itself the Army of Islam and the whole of Gaza knows the group. Therefore, why is Johnston still in the hands of this group? Will the prime minister's call, his mere call alone, be helpful in releasing him?

    Thousands of posters and leaflets and hundreds of articles have been demanding and continue to demand his release; but the "Army of Islam" still does not heed or read, or at least it appears not to, as its demands for opening the fortified borderlines have not yet been realized!

    Lastly, why the use of this name - I mean the Army of Islam - which during the glorious ages conquered the east and west corners of the globe? Does it stoop this low nowadays that it cannot but open more predicaments for us? It has no more chivalry than to kidnap of a powerless man... Is this how the Army of Islam should be, with its equivalent there in Nahr al-Barid, Fatah al-Islam, and their likes beyond in Baghdad, such as the Badr Forces and Al-Mahdi Army?

    This is in addition to the rest of the militias that, all in the name of Islam, engage in self-fighting and stab only themselves.

    Thank you to the British academicians who have reminded us of what correct action is and how useful it is when it is genuine, sincere, and not beyond reality and its facts.

    Source: Al-Hayat al-Jadidah website, Ramallah, in Arabic 2 Jun 07



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