Monday, December 8, 2014

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Bassam Eid: "If I start an anti-Israel organization I'd get $500K from Sweden tomorrow"

Palestinian human rights champion Bassam Eid was interviewed by Ishai Friedman for an Israeli magazine, and the interview was published on his blog (Hebrew).

Here are some highlights:

Bassam Eid is a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem and perhaps the most uncompromising critical voice today against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. During Protective edge his name was often seen in the Israeli media after a strong article published against Hamas in which he accused the terrorist organization of working to kill its own citizens. The article received hundreds of thousands of shares on social networks.

You are not afraid to publish criticism against Hamas, accusing them of murdering the people of Gaza?
"Yes, but it's true and it hurts. I even think that Hamas would like to have had at least 5,000 dead. T... I have a friend from Khan Yunis, he said one night, at midnight, four Hamas gunmen came and knocked on the door and told everyone to leave the house. He told them that he had ten children sleeping here. They demanded that he take them all out because they want to fire missiles from the roof. He declined sharply. The next day masked men beat him half to death, and threw them all out...

Do Gazans support Hamas today?
"Look, if the question of whether Gazans want revenge? The answer is yes. Are they supporters of Hamas? I do not think so. For one thing, people in Gaza are afraid to talk, the person who speaks is considered a collaborator and were shooting them in the biggest city square in Gaza".

And why are not you afraid? Aren't you afraid they'll hurt you? Or your children?
"No, on the contrary. Every time after I write, the reactions I get are 'good', 'You're right.' The criticism stems from the belief and perception that we Palestinians can establish a truly democratic state but For this to happen it must not be like the surrounding Arab ir Islamic regimes. If these regimes are the choice, it would be better to live under the State of Israel ".

The Palestinian Authority is corrupt? 
"Yes. But say this: there is financial corruption of embezzlement Public funds. And political corruption. Political corruption is a government that Palestinian public know nothing of what is happening in it. If I want to know something about the negotiations I have to call international media or media in Hebrew. Arabic media have nothing except martyrs and house demolitions and align themselves with Abbas. I do not buy Arab media. When people call me an Arab media interviews it means I'm abroad " .

Israel also has media outlets close to the government.
"Yes, but permission is like an orchestra. Israel has much more freedom for journalists. During Protective Edge the Israeli media came out against Netanyahu and the government and the media in the Palestinian spoke of victories. Thousands of people were killed but they had celebrations. In Israeli media there is competition, [in the PA] there is no competition. "Competition" is only a beautiful picture of Abbas published on the front page. If I publish an article against Hamas it has no chance. "

A few weeks ago Eid attended a Zionist Organization conference at Bar Ilan University. There, too, Eid surprised the crowd when he ridiculed Palestinian organizations that declared a boycott on Israel. "The Palestinians are the last who can declare a boycott of Israel. Let's see what happens if all Palestinians are boycotting Israel, settlements factories, all, what happens?"

Well, what happens?
"Abbas will not feed them and won't provide them jobs. After Protective Edge, it was agreed to put another 5,000 workers from Gaza to Israel so this they boycott? I beg you you to give me more jobs then demand a boycott? And even if they prohibit selling Palestinian produce to Israel your economy will not hurt. Who would hurt are those Palestinians who earn four or five times in Israel than in the territories. "

And the Authority's statement about boycotting the settlements?
"It shows you the disconnect between the public and its leaders. That there is no boycott. There is one "hero," Mustafa Barghouti, who is a very corrupt. He stole money from Saudi Arabia meant to buy them ambulances. He states that he invented the boycott of Israel, and he tours across Europe and talks about a boycott of Israel. Every other day he is in Sweden and they listen to him but let him go and declare a boycott in Ramallah and the refugee camps. "

So the whole story is a bluff?
"This is a big hoax on the part of the Palestinians. What, Arabs from the territories do not work and buy from Rami Levi in Gush Etzion? It is not enforced and can not be enforced. Bir Zeit buys Strauss Ice Cream. Grocery store there, the seller hung a sign, this place sells purely Israeli products."

You were a researcher for B'Tselem, you've won a prize when there. How do you rate B'Tselem today?

"When I worked in B'Tselem, it was a greatly appreciated organization in Israel. I do not think the intensity of the anger that Israel today has against B'Tselem was in the past. Things have changed, also B'Tselem has changed. For the Israelis 'B'Tselem' is not considered a human rights organization. In my opinion, a human rights organization has to fight against all human rights violations no matter what happens. At the time I conducted a comprehensive investigation on the Palestinian suicide bombers and I contacted B'Tselem and asked them if they wanted to issue a joint report. B'Tselem did not like the idea and I was angry. Today all organizations Israelis and Palestinians, all of them deal with Israel. No one opens his mouth about the Palestinian Authority, the torture, administrative detentions. "

You also left the organization and started one that was critical against the PA.
"Indeed, we had a financial problem. I think our organization's policy is not consistent with the foreign policy of Europe. Sweden, for example, never gave me a penny, [because] That I am critical of the PA and they like the PA and are against Israel."

They want you to leave the PA alone and focus on Israel?
"If I want to establish an anti-Israel NGO, I promise you tomorrow I would get a half a million dollars from Sweden. Check. But the money does not interest me. I just do not understand the difference between European human rights organization that protects "Ahmed Israeli" but doesn't want to protects the human rights of "Ahmed Palestinian Authority."

Would you prefer to live under Israeli rule as an Israeli?
"I want a democratic Palestinian state. If I can't, I have no problem to live in peace under Israeli occupation. I have been to most Arab countries saw what that prisons really are, what is torture really is, there's no way I want to be part of it and I'll tell you a secret: 80% of Palestinians in East Jerusalem certainly think so."

(h/t Yenta)