Dr Khaled Qadomi is a qualified physician. He has done his MBBS and is a senior member of Islamic resistance group HAMAS in Palestine. After Osama Hamdan, Dr Qadomi represents the resistance group in Iran. In an email interview he tells Raashid Maqbool that the people of Palestine respect Kashmiris for their resilience and courage
Kashmir Life (KL): HAMAS and Jihad-e-Islami are often accused of inviting trouble and inciting Israeli regime for attacking Gaza. How would you respond to the allegation?
Dr Khaled Qadomi (KQ): First of all we have to understand that Palestinians are facing major offensive and occupation for the last 68 years. Occupation is the biggest crime, you can imagine, committed against any nation.
Palestine is the biggest occupied nation in the world today and Israel is the worst occupation in the modern world.
Therefore, under international law we have the right to respond to the offensive and the aggression by all the means possible. So resistance does not require any justification or pretext.
Israel as an aggressor does not need to be incited. This time around they used fabricated story that we kidnapped their three soldiers in Sea Zone of West Bank. But no Palestinian faction has claimed the responsibility of their so-called abduction. And interestingly Israel could not produce any evidence that can substantiate these allegations.
Actually, Israel is facing internal political crisis. Benjamin Netanyahu’s alliance is shaking from within. He could not deal with the issue of refugees and detainees; the negotiations with the Palestinians are not moving forward; while on the other hand Palestinians have united and formed the government. This has frustrated Netanyahu. It is them (Israelis) who have launched an offensive against the civilian population in Gaza. But they are putting the blame on HAMAS and Islamic Jihad. Ours is purely a reaction to Israeli actions. We are exercising our right to defend ourselves.
KL: Palestine cause, it seems, has been narrowed down to Gaza only. Do you see any design in it to fragmentize the larger cause and make it appear like the problem of a small strip only?
KQ: Thank you for asking this question. I say that the main issue of Palestine is not the 32 or 30 days of offensive against us. Nevertheless, it is crime against humanity; it is a war crime against our people perpetrated by the Israeli regime and the Israeli criminal army. They have laid a siege around us, detained people in thousands. Today we have around 80 thousand Palestinians in Israeli jails. There are more than 75 per cent of our people who have been once or twice in Israeli jails. And I am not talking about Gaza alone. We have detainees in Jerusalem and in West Bank too.
The Israeli Army tried to Judaise ‘Al Quds’ and deface its Muslim and Palestinian Arab identity; they wanted to give Al Quds an Israeli Jewish identity.
We have illegal settlements on our land which even US president Barak Obama, during his first tenure, could not stop. He (Obama) could not reach an understanding with Israel and had to give up the pre-condition of freezing the settlements.
There is fencing erected between our villages and areas inside West Bank, which is spread over 700 kilometers, disturbing entire civilian life. I strongly say that Israeli aggression is not restricted to Gaza strip only. They are equally aggressive in West Bank.
Another pressing issue is of those Palestinians who live in areas occupied by Israel in 1948. They are living like second class citizens despite having Israeli nationalities.
Then there is the problem of Judaiation of Jerusalem. There are many issues that we face under Israeli occupation.
KL: The general notion is that Muslim states are indifferent to the pain of the people of Palestine and are not coming forward with the expected help. How do you see the stand of Arab States and non Arab States like Turkey and Iran regarding Palestine?
KQ: Since the beginning of Naqba and the catastrophe of 1948 we have witnessed a dichotomy between the action of the masses and that of the governments in the Muslim world. The actions of the masses in the Arab and the Muslim states and also in the ‘free world’ were always supportive of the Palestinian people. They have always acknowledged the rights of the Palestinians.
We have always appreciated the stand and actions of the people in the Muslim and Arab countries and also in the Western countries who have stood with us. Today we are facing a historical moment. This moment makes us salute the heroic deeds of Islamic resistance groups like Hamas and Jihad-e-Islami and other brothers who have stood against Israeli atrocities. They have reached all symbolic and hegemonic destinations of Israel: they reach Mona, Tel Aviv the capital, Nehariya the tourist capital, all the military bases of Israel. They were able to reach the Israeli forces through the sea, the land and the air.
But Muslim and Arab countries could play larger role by using political means to pressurize Israel.
Frankly speaking, we do not need their (Muslim and Arab countries) armies to help us fight Israelis; we have guts to stand against the oppressor like we are doing now. All we need is diplomatic, political and infrastructural support from these nations. We want Muslim nations to push Israel to give Palestinians their legitimate right to freedom.
We also have to acknowledge the role of some countries like Turkey, Iran and Qatar. These countries have intervened financially, socially and politically in order to support us. Special thanks to Iran as they intervene militarily sometimes to support us.
We need improvement in the role of the Muslim world at the official level. We trust that our people are very good in their actions but we also need them to transform their stance into a practical project to make their governments move on the side of the victims.
KQ: We need Muslim Nations, who are already with us in their feelings, in their sentiments and even they participate for the social activities and the infrastructure building, to translate their sentiments and their wishes into practical projects. The doctors, engineer academicians, media men all can help in different ways.
For example during the ongoing Gaza crisis we witness media bias towards Israel.
We need to expose the humanitarian aspects of the Palestinian issue; a photo or the data today from Palestine need much more efforts from us.
We want the media to go for the facts; the facts today are in the favour of the victims, in the favour of the Palestine; we need them to disseminate those facts.
We need Muslim nations to speak on behalf of the victims in the international arena, in the media outlets, in the social outlets and also to pressurize their own governments too. Those governments, I don’t mean to say are bad, but they are not encouraged enough to pressure Israel. They should push Israel to move out from our land, to give the Palestinian legitimate rights back.
KL: During Syria crisis it is believed that the resistance movement in the region fell to serious divisions? Is this true? And if yes then have any measures been taken to bridge the gaps?
KQ: I don’t agree that there were serious division. But I do agree that there were differences in the ideas, political analysis and regional aspects.
Yes we had differences in our position regarding Syrian crisis but I don’t think we have any difference viz-a-viz Palestinian issue. Palestine binds us together.
Palestine is the mother that has formed the resistance movement and the resistance block in the region.
I think Palestine today needs more serious efforts from us.
We need to put other issues, other than Palestine, I don’t say on the second priority, but I say that if we are really claiming that we are the resistance block then we must have a common ground which is Palestine, Jerusalem, the humanitarian aspects inside Palestine. We have done a lot to bridge that gap; if at all that was a serious gap.
Today the unity is important for us as the Muslims. And if we are united then we can easily face our enemies.
KL: What about the differences within the Muslim World? Can they have negative impact on Palestine cause?
KQ: Well I would say the target of our enemy is to create divisions among the Muslim world. Our plan should be to confront this. We should depose and take out all the notions of ethnic differences, religious differences, sectarian differences, because we all are Muslim. We have the same Qibla and the same Quran and then also as human beings we all have same notion of humanity. We should not have differences on an issue like Palestine. It by default needs no advocate, needs no source to justify it.
KL: Like Palestine Kashmir is also a long pending and painful dispute in the world that has caused death and destruction across generations. People in Kashmir have always supported the Palestine cause and often endure fatalities for supporting this cause. Are people in Palestine aware about the Kashmir dispute?
KQ: First of all let me appreciate and admire the spirit of Kashmiris who with their sentiments, with their feelings and with their actions show solidarity with their brothers in Palestine. We salute all those people who are living in Kashmir. We know your issues. We stand with all those who strive for freedom and right to self determination. Palestinians respect and appreciate that Kashmiris are with us. It boosts our morale and gives us strength to go on in our fight against occupation. It feels good to know that we are not alone. We believe that every nation has a right to decide its own fate and right to self determination. We felt sorry for the death of one of our Kashmiri brother who was killed during a pro-Gaza procession in Kashmir.
KL: What is your take on Kashmir dispute?
KQ: Our take on Kashmir can be summarized around two points: one especially that HAMAS do not interfere in any local issue of any independent country be it India or any other place in the world. They have to deal with their own issues in their own. The second point, which is also important, is that we are with the right to self determination for any people in the world.
KL: Coming back to Palestine what is the ideal solution of this dispute?
KQ: Let me summarize or divide my talk into two parts. One is the resistance aspect another is our right to defend ourselves against occupation. Israel as everybody knows has a sophisticated criminal army laced with all the weapons of destruction. They have used all the means, allowed or not allowed, against the innocent people of Gaza. They have killed the people inside houses, in their mosques, in their dispensaries, in the hospitals. They have destroyed hospitals, schools, mosques, those places that by default enjoy protection under international law during conflicts or during wars. Israel has violated all the standards of humanity; they have committed war crimes and the crimes against humanity. Out of 1867 martyrs during ongoing Gaza offensive more than 400 are kids. It is shocking that more than 80 per cent of total causalities are of kids, women and senior citizens.
Israelis are using thousands of pounds of bunker-buster missiles to destroy civilian homes, dispensaries and mosques. These bombs are meant to destroy caves tens of meters below the land. They have spared nothing. They use 155 mm cannons against human targets. They are inhuman. On the other hand our resistance, Alhamdullillah, by the grace of Almighty, has learned from their past experiences to confront the enemy.
We have reached the strategic military points over there and have behaved as noble human beings.
Our resistance did not target any civilians although we were able to get into the Israeli settlements and had chance to kill the civilians, but we respect the human values and hit only military targets. We target only Israeli soldiers. And let me tell you we have been very successful in our mission. We have hit them hard. Do not trust causality figures given by Israelis.
I will quote the figures from one of the Deans of Israeli hospitals, Krota. He said that he dealt with one thousand and seventy cases. He didn’t mention how many were killed and how many injured. Yes in resistance we have really shown a real model for confrontation, a historical model while fighting the fourth strongest army in the world. HAMAS and Jihad-e-Islami and other Islamic movements need to be saluted for their courage. But as we all know Israelis are cowards, they target women and children when they cannot fight like men.