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Living with the Enemy

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In May, he was one of 150 Palestinians arrested. Most were released. He remains detained uncharged. No evidence whatever suggests he's guilty of wrongdoing. 

During his first few weeks in prison, he was brutally tortured and abused. He was further harmed by punishing isolation. His lawyer, Farid Hawwash, was also arrested for criticizing PA security forces for their treatment of Zubeidi.

Mer-Khamis' wife Jenny said:

"It's a disaster and a disgrace for the PA. If they let a person who has fought all his life for the freedom of his people die in prison, it's a very dark period, and a big symbol of the state of Palestinian society."

Hamas Leader Mashaal Speaks

The Al-Zaytouna Center published an interview Hamas head in exile Khaled Mashaal gave the Jordanian daily Al-Sabeel. Lots of ground was covered. He was asked for his views about negotiating with the enemy. He called doing so "a thorny and sensitive issue."

History shows Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands. How do you negotiate without a willing partner? At the same time, doing so isn't rejected out of hand.

The Koran says "And if they incline to peace, incline (you also to peace), and trust in God."

"This implies that negotiation is acceptable, reasonable and logical for us as advocates of a just cause when the enemy is forced to resort to it, when they come to us ready for negotiation and for paying the price, and to respond to our demands."

"However, if we seek it desperately and consider it our only option, then we will be the ones paying the price. Those who are forced to negotiate are those who usually pay the price. Hence God Almighty says in another verse: ;Do not weaken and call for peace when you have the upper hand.' "

"Peace cannot be be made when one party is powerful and the other weak," he added. Under those conditions, it's imposed.

The conflict with Israel is different. It's "a case of a body alien to the region." They came from outside and imposed themselves on a land they stole and people they dispossessed. The situation is complex and "must be dealt with delicately."

"Negotiation is a tool and a tactic in the service of a strategy and is not a strategy in itself. It is not a substitute for a strategy of resistance and confrontation with the occupation."

Today, negotiating with Israel is "the wrong choice." The balance of power is too one-sided. Achieving equity and justice won't happen. It's not worth the futility of trying.

Asked about recognizing Israel, he said:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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