Majed Abusalama manages a fairly prolific page on Facebook called “Bridges of Peace between Gaza and Israel”. Some time ago I had joined that page. A few times I wrote to Majed Abusalama complaining about his use of the page to castigate Israel while not at all noting the failures towards peace of the Hamas government in Gaza. (I've never received a response, and it has me questioning the true motives of the Facebook Page. Is the page a "front" or is Majed Abusalama actually afraid to answer...?? ). My latest message to Majed Abusalama (I think I sent him an e-mail) was during the first days of the Flotilla Tragedy and Fiasco. Here it is:
Dear Majed Abusalama.
As I am a long time activist for Palestinian rights in the West Bank against the criminal and immoral activities of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and as an opponent to Israel's actions and policies towards Gaza, I must admit that the tragedy at sea seems to have been caused by both sides. This, after seeing all the video clips taken by both sides and which have so far appeared for us to see (though I admit to writing this before any inquiry is able to give us even more info on what happened). Israel's actions and policies towards Gaza and the siege are unacceptable and we need to wake Israeli and world public opinion against the siege of civilian progress. By the way, the organizer of the Flotilla said that this was not simply for bringing humanitarian supplies. The main purpose was to break the siege over and over again. That is why they could not accept having the supplies delivered by Israel or the Red Cross. This is definitely justified. What is not justified is the preparation ahead of time to cause a violent incident on one of the boats, using knives-iron bars-chains-Molotov cocktails-etc, essentially trying to maim (and perhaps kill) while fighting in close quarters face to face, before a larger group of soldiers manages to board the boat. To do this and not to expect a violent response is improbable. the violent response came just as was expected and indeed desired by that group of fighters on that one boat. they are as much at fault for the tragedy and the deaths as is Israel for the way it conducts a siege on Gaza.
Therefore, dear Majed Abusalama. I mourn the tragic death of victims in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Israel’s policies and actions towards Gaza and the siege are wrong, destructive and counter-productive. But in order to be what you call yourself, “Bridges of Peace between Gaza and Israel”, you cannot see just one side of the conflict. Conflicts move towards peace only when both sides begin understanding each other’s pain. In your many good messages you never call for a mutual end to violence. You never ask for a stoppage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, or for Red Cross privileges to a captured soldier, or for a Hamas government which recognizes a permanent two-state resolution of the conflict. In the Flotilla tragedy you very justly denounce Israel’s policy of siege and the tragic deaths, But you evidently accept as legitimate the active preparation to fight the soldiers who boarded the boat with knives-iron bars-chains-Molotov cocktails-etc, essentially trying to maim and (perhaps) kill while fighting in close quarters face to face in order to stop more soldiers from boarding the boat. They meant to initiate violence as a tactic. But it is a tactic that becomes a full partner to the tragic deaths that follow. Violence brings more violence. You will not really become “Bridges to Peace” until you acknowledge and denounce the violence from both sides. Peace will have a chance only thru a mutual rejection of violence. I will continue to be an active opponent of my government’s policies and actions towards Gaza and the siege. Hard as it is, please join me as a Bridge by doing the same on your side of the siege. can you make that happen ??