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20 June 2007

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Abu Sinan

Never mind Hamas was initially support by Israel themselves, as a sort of religious counterweight to the secular/leftist nature of the rest of the Palestinian resistance.

This will backfire big time. All of the "ringing endorsements" by the Israelis and Americans of Abbas are nails in his coffin. He will rightly be seen as nothing more than a tool of the West.

Never mind that his emergency government will soon be in trouble. The Palestinian law does not allow such an entity to be more than a temporary solution.

There is Saudi/Iranian/Syrian money all over the West Bank and Gaza. The difference between Hamas and Fatah is that the money goes to the people with Hamas, with Fatah it goes into their Mercedes, luxury houses, and to their leader's fat ban accounts in the West.

Israel and the USA is getting this wrong just like they got Hizb'Allah. They will regret it. Once again the US is using it's wishes and dreams to guide it's foreign policy, not reality.

meletius

I think that with this latest Palestinian development, an effective coup of an elected government, the grand American ideal of "democracy" in the "new middle east" can be thrown on the scrap heap, probably for good. American "backed" democracy reforms have been shown to be a fraud to every person in the region.

And now that we have desecrated our holy ideal of democracy as the highest, finest and best system of government, what exactly do we have to fall back on in our future ME "policy-making"?

Another Bushco blunder of sizeable proportions, aided and abetted by our sidekick, Israel---or are we the sidekick?

Trent

Our admin. also forgets Fatah's hand in a number of attacks on Israel. And rampant corruption. And lack of cohesion.

Interesting piece in Stratfor about the Egyptian link to Gaza. Not George Friedman's finest but it is topical. They won't let me link but I can cut and paste legally if people are interested.

jamzo

i cannot shake off the idea that the palestinic-phobic israelis have siezed onto the emergence of hamas as their newest-and-latest reason for holding onto the "spoils of the 1967 war" and the occupation that maintains it

the backstory to the latest hamas-fatah conflict is not being publically discussed

but

mark perry writing in harpers 6/17/07 says
"1. What’s going on in Gaza? Is it the beginning of a Palestinian civil war?
This is not a civil war between Hamas and Fatah. What happened was that a small segment of Fatah, represented by the Preventive Security Service under the command of Mohammed Dahlan, tried to enter Gaza. Hamas warned Abu Mazin [Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority] not to allow the Service in because it was controlled by Dahlan, supplied, trained and equipped by the United States, and set up to take them on. But the warning was ignored and they attacked when the Service came in, soundly defeating it. But the conflict was between Hamas and the Service, not all of Fatah. Fatah is still alive and well in Gaza."

i have tended to think of fatah as a popular movement representing the consensus palestinian viewpoint

the emergence of hamas and their political strength on the west bank as well as gaza caused me to reexamine my perception

looking back i now see that gaza has historical economic, social and political ties to egypt and west bank palestinians have economic, social and political ties to jordan

it now seems to me that fatah is an old and tired institution born in the "liberation days" of the sixties-seventies and nurtured in cold war politics

they probably "knocked-off" other political groups

arafat does not appear to have built a self-sustaining organization


i doubt that the current guy - abbas - represents an organic and vibrant leadership succession

i agree with you that the israelis and bushies cannot make the palestinians accept him as their leader, but he sure is a convenient tool for them to maintain the status quo

is it possible that the current hamas-fatah struggle signals a change in the hamas-fatah political battle for leadership of the palestinians

is it possible that the event signals to the world that hamas forces are stronger than fatah forces and the us arms supply of arms, training and intelligence(?) to fatah forces will not work

are there other contending groups

groups that are not visible to us who depend on western media for information

Matthew

Col: It is a testament to the power of the Zionist framing of ME issues that our media is only now realizing what a policy disaster our forced embargo/boycott/collective punishment of the Palestinians has become. The Palestinians are poorer, more radical, and frankly, a little thinner. In contrast, we look like double-talking callous phonies. They can gain weight. Can we regain gravitas?

Fatah is finished, at least in its current form. Maybe, just maybe, if Barghouti is realeased from the Zionist Gulag, the Occupying Entity will have someone to parley with. Abbas, the closest thing that the Palestinians have to a Quisling, may just have to develop a backbone in order to survive. Me thinks he will live to regret that "apology" he made to the monster Sharon at Aqaba.

b

Thanks Pat!

There is one former U.S. president who understands that

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.
...
Far from encouraging Hamas' move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.

"That action was criminal," he said in a news conference after his speech.

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah," he said.

Carter said the U.S. and others supplied the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza with vastly superior weaponry in hopes they would "conquer Hamas in Gaza" — but Hamas routed Fatah in the fighting last week because of its "superior skills and discipline."

My U.S. friends can be proud of that guy.

Montag

After Hamas won the election they did something that Fatah had never done--they held town meetings between Hamas officals and the Palestinian public, where the officials had to "face the music" so to speak. With Fatah it's always top-down.

I was also somewhat amazed that Israel failed to learn the lesson that the leader of the Assassins, the Old Man of The Mountain, learned during the Crusades. He found that in dealing with the Christian military orders he was powerless, because assassinating their leaders would only result in their immediate replacement. It's like trying to teach a lion to sing--it's a waste of time and it annoys the lion.

Since the Old Man's power and influence was based upon prestige (a polite word for fear), any attempt to influence the military orders by assassinations would lessen that prestige, by exposing his impotence where they were concerned. So he wisely came to a modus vivendi with them--leaving his prestige intact. The game simply wasn't worth the candle.

zanzibar

Great post, PL. You crack through the corporate media spin like a knife through hot butter.

Yes, its amazing the WaPo editorial actually stated the obvious - that Hamas won an election and has the legitimate right to lead the Palestinian government.

The Israelis and their AIPAC led US compatriots are unwilling to have a real Palestinian interlocutor as that would mean serious negotiations and compromise. They would much rather prefer dominating the Palestinians in their belief that they would not really have to compromise or trade land for a settlement. As a result all we see is more and more spin and PR campaigns while the facts on the ground are the Palestinians get more and more desperate as Israeli punishments and usurpation of their lands gets more severe.

The only way this ends is when the US elects leaders that are not beholden to AIPAC and the Likudniks.

Got A Watch

The Bushies and their cousins may have blundered even more than usual on this one:

"A Palestinian "occupation"?"
By Paul Woodward, War in Context, June 20, 2007
http://warincontext.org/
Interesting article:

"It becomes increasingly clear that Abbas and the narrow circle of Palestinians around him have invested all their hopes in promises of support from the U.S. and Israel -- even if this means running the risk of being seen as traitors by a large number of Palestinians. Furthermore, Abbas' position has now become more tenuous than ever after "priceless" and politically damaging information has fallen into Hamas' hands.

Hamas now possesses explosive intelligence material seized from the Palestinian Preventive Intelligence HQ and the Palestinian General Intelligence center in Gaza. These contain a store of national secrets and compromising information that, Israel's DEBKAfile suggests Hamas can use to hold over the heads of Western leaders and officials, lists of undercover agents, and records of covert operations carried out by the Israeli Mossad, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, CIA, British MI6 and other Western agencies. Iran, Syria and Hamas will know the names of politicians, including Israelis, who worked secretly with Palestinians and their shady deals.

According to Al-Quds al-Arabi (via Missing Links), Hamid al-Raqt, Hamas spokesman in Khan Yunis:

... stressed that it will be possible to disclose some of this to specific sectors of the Palestinian people in order to give them a clear picture of what was going on in the preventive security and the intelligence operations in Gaza... And in spite of his insistence that these documents would not be used to denigrate any Palestinian official or foreign agency, so as to avoid increasing tensions with the outside world, he did say that the documents in the control of Hamas show conclusively that the Palestinian security [organizations] were not subordinated to the [Palestinian] Authority in the way that they were subordinated to foreign Mukhabarat [intelligence] agencies. He refused to name the foreign agencies except to mention British intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration remains oblivious about how badly it has miscalculated"

Load gun. Shoot foot. Repeat. The neo-con Way.

jonst

Sadly, from my perspective, Israel will painfully regret its decision to turn down at least discussing the truce. It will come to be seen as huge strategic blunder on their part. Whatever the US and Israel do now in the ME, seems to turn out dead wrong and counter-productive.

M.K.

Montag: That is actually not quite true. Fatah, during the first intifada, had a very strong communal system in work, with communal meetings, etc. Then they got gradually corrupted. The real problem they have now is that they are viewed as judases even among their own supportbase for accepting the coin of the US. Im not sure what the opposite of soft-power is, but currently the US seems to have it. Anything you touch is automatically suspect.

Michael Murry

Colonel Lang wrote:

"I observed on the tube a week ago that it is very difficult under any circumstances to tell a people who their leaders may be. It is even more difficult to do that when those leaders were democratically elected in a process held to be fair by the international community."

The good colonel offered these observations in the context of the intra-Palestinian Fatah/Hamas struggle for political legitimacy in the face of ongoing Israeli-American efforts to thwart the development of any such thing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, the ambiguous possessive pronoun "their" and the perhaps-inadvertent choice of "may" instead of "should" in the opening sentence reminded me once again of the American regime's own indigenous problem of political legitimacy, and how the American people have refused to believe, much less taken steps to counter, the ravenous depredations of a radical reactionary power that America's own Supine Court placed into office over the expressed political preferences of the electorate in the year 2000. Americans have a lot more in common with the occupied and abused Palestinians than they seem able to recognize; but trying to tell them this -- and what it all means about America's crypto-fascist "leaders" -- has indeed proven difficult, if not impossible.

In his book, The Great Unravelling: from boom to bust in three scandalous years, Paul Krugman (professor of economics and New York Times columnist) explains this shocked refusal by Americans to face America's own always-endemic fascism whenever it periodically -- as it has once again -- opens its ravening mouth to take another huge bite out of our society, traditions, economy, and hopes for a better, more democratic future. In his trenchant introduction, Krugman explains "how the American political and media establishment establishment has [haplessly] responded to the radicalism of the Bush administration." Given our blog host's oft-used term "Jacobins" in reference to the radical Republican neoconservatives who first infiltrated and now infest the American government at all levels, I think it appropriate and germane here to follow Krugman further in quoting a young [pre-corrupt] Harvard Professor named Henry Kissinger (and I do appreciate the irony here) about the ineffective response of post-Waterloo Europe to a ruthlesss revolutionary power it found completly incomprehensible:

"Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent, they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion of a revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework. The defenders of the status quo therefore tend to begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions. Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation are considered balanced and sane.... But it is the essence of a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion."

Substitute "the Bill Clinton presidency" (along with its healthy economy and budget surplusses) for "a period of stability which had seemed permanent" and you have an alarming, but all-too-real, picture of what awakening now must take place if we ever hope to straighten out our own threatening government, much less lecture to the Palestinians and Iraqis (who have no reason to believe us anyway) about a "democracy" we have shown no appetite for at home in our own looted land.

Cloned Poster

The fact that Hamas were ready for Dahlan and his "mercenary force" when they entered Gaza shows that they reach well into West Bank power.

Also Israel gave them "transit" rights so they were behind this failed coup.

Now that the WaPo is telling the truth for a change, I wonder if Baker-Hamilton are putting a squeeze on the MSN?

jawbone

Well, Trent, I for one would like to read what you can provide of the Stratfor article. If you're still around....

zanzibar

Bush eyes Blair for ME peace role

Blair would .... work on issues limited to the internal workings of a future Palestinian state. Political negotiations involving Palestinians, Israelis and the Arab states would be left to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Yup! Bush thinks the Palestinians need help on how to run their affairs and is going to dispatch Tony Blair to help them just after creating a debacle for the Brits in Iraq.

Cloned Poster

To: Posted by: Michael Murry | 20 June 2007 at 05:16 PM

Great post, but Palestinians are jews Red Indians.

Different Clue

I have long been a worshipper at the Billmon-derided Church of the Two State Solution. But the Rightwing Israeli leadership
makes that difficult.
I think the Left-Right divide in Israel is pretty real. The Right was willing
to manufacture a general climate of murderous civil hatred and sustain it until they could find and position
their disposable Oswald to assassinate a non-Rightwing Prime Minister in order to derail Israel's readiness to
walk down the State of Palestine road. And given the Israeli Right's revealed
readiness to assassinate an Israeli Prime Minister, what
else are they ready to do?
Maybe Israel will have to
have its own Civil War between Left and Right, with
the Winner setting policy once and for all. If the Left were to win, we could work with it and everyone else there to move everyone to the Two Real and Viable State Solution. If the Right were to win, we would have to give up on Israel, I
suppose. That would mean saving what we could save, which would mean, in practice, allowing carefully-vetted non-Rightwing Israelis to emigrate to the Wider World,
while denying such avenue of
escape to Right Wing Israelis. Perhaps such a visible brain-drain would scare the RightWing Israelis
into accepting what Rabin was trying to move towards. If not, then their psycho-mental condition really is terminal, and we would have to start cutting links.
One might well think of RightWing Israelis as the Milosevichian Serbs of the Middle East. For them the West Bank is littered with Kosovo Poljes, not one of which they wish to give up.
But either SerbIsrael gives up Kosovastine, or SerbIsrael sees its social and political-economic viability nibbled away and eroded to zero over time.
I personally would like to see Cooler Left Wing Heads prevail in Israel, and
cram the Right Wing back into its "pig". ("Pig", a very thick-walled lead box for holding and transporting
radioactive materials...)

(By the way; I suspect, or at least I hope, that Barghouti is not in a "gulag". Hopefully he is in a medium intensity prison
at worst, and being treated well enough that he will not
retreat into absolute and utter bitterness. Because if there is to be any ultimate hope of a real Two Viable State Solution, a proposed State of Palestine would have to be Real enough
that Barghouti will be willing to emerge from prison to be its Prime Minister. In fact, my intuition, such as it is, tells me that someday that may be exactly what happens.
A State of Lesser Israel and
a State of Lesser Palestine under Prime Minister Barghouti.)

FB Ali

What has happened in Gaza is directly ascribable to the actions of the US and Israel. Whether they expected such an outcome (Got a Watch has posted Paul Woodward’s piece which claims that this was the intended result) or not, some such explosion was inevitable as a consequence of what they were doing to Gaza.

Dr Eyad Sarraj, Director of the Gaza Community Health Program, in an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail on June 19, 2007 says :

“Last year, I was among a small group of Palestinians that met Elliott Abrams, President George Bush's deputy national security adviser. He was blunt that the Hamas government, which was democratically elected, must be pushed out at any cost. We're not Hamas followers, but we tried to persuade him and other officials that engagement, rather than confrontation, is the better choice; but their determination was unshakable. We warned there would be suffering and starvation and even armed conflict, but to no avail. It wouldn't be the fault of the U.S. if that happened, he said.

The siege imposed on the Palestinians has been biting. Poverty has reached unprecedented levels, along with unemployment. According to the World Bank, 60 per cent of Palestinians live on less than $2 a day. Israel, which is in full control of all Gaza borders and its sea coast, intensified the blockade by curtailing Palestinians' movement. At times, even fishing has been prohibited.

Already overcrowded, lawlessness became rampant in Gaza. Kidnapping, theft and armed robbery have frightened everyone. Last week, my brother's car was taken away at gunpoint. Many people have been forced to surrender their wallets or cellphones. Beggars roam the streets asking for money or bread. For more than 18 months, civil servants did not receive a salary, only parts of it every now and then. Municipal workers were given a bag of bread every day instead of their wages.

The explosion was bound to happen, and the last straw came when the interior minister declared that he could not fulfill his duties and resigned. He blamed the obstructive attitude of Fatah's director of preventive security”.

Char;les

Israel and its fellow conspirators - AIPAC/US/WINEP imagined they could set the two scorpions to fighting in their bottle - the Occupied Territories - and just sit back and reap the "gains" - a weakened victim providing cover for the continuation of their criminal program of chauvanism, expansion and hegemony. I'm sure they're too stupid and besotted with their "religion" of existential threats and biblical entitlements to pull back now. But one of these cycles of manipulation and abuse of the captives - Israel has announced the cessation of fuel deliveries to Gaza while grandmothers seeking medical treatment languish between the walls of the Eretz crossing - the scorpion or both of will turn their furies exclusively to their tormentors. And one of those times WMD of some kind will make over the beach into Gaza and thence to Israel. The IDF can nuke Gaza, but the blowback will always blow back. Pathological.

Montag

M.K.,
Yeah, that sounds about right. Just before the election the U.S. and Israel pumped in a lot of money, etc. to try to bolster Fatah's popularity and it didn't work. The Palestinians may have even gotten the idea that they were being bribed.

Ever hear the Greek myth about the giant Antaeus? Classic illustration of the power of grassroots organizing. Hercules is trying to kill Antaeus, but each time he throws him to the ground Antaeus rises up stronger than ever. Then ole Hercules buys a clue. Since the Earth is Mother to Antaeus he derives strength from her as long as he's touching her. So Hercules hoists Antaeus up over his head and holds him there, until all of the strength drains from his body. Then Hercules strangles him.

The moral is that when you move too far from your popular base you're just making it easy to strangle your organization.

ked

"We warned there would be suffering and starvation and even armed conflict, but to no avail. It wouldn't be the fault of the U.S. if that happened, he said."

The very expression of grandiose immorality, irresponsibility, sickness of the soul. These people will hang - in history, if nowhere else. I hope they live to experience it.

Mo

This whole get rid of Israels strong opponents policy by attacking HA and Hamas while simultaneously trying to bind the hands of their supporters in Iran and Syria really beguiles me.

Colonel, I have stated here before and will say again, the strategy is obviously to weaken the Palestinians to the point where they have no defenders and no backers and appoint/support a leadership that will sign whatever is put on the table (and presumable the same goes for Lebanon).

The obvious flaw in this strategy is that Palestine and Lebanon are not Jordan and Egypt. Signing peace treaties with Kings and dictators is good. Their armies are withdrawn and their intelligence services can "take care" of any dissenting voices. In Hamas and Hizballah, you have organisations that are individually stronger or as strong as the state. Even with treaties in place, what would the likes of Abbas, Dahlan, Siniora or Hariri be able to do to stop Meshaal and Nasrallah from carrying on the fight.

As I have also said before, the road to peace in the Middle East does not go through "moderates". Or at least not through what the Western world regards as moderates. They have neither the strength nor the credibility to deliver that peace. The road goes through Hamas and Hizballah because not only do they have both, but they also have the credibility of keeping to agreements - See the oft Israeli broken ceasefires with Hamas or the oft Israeli-broken agreements with Hizballah on the borders.

One of my first posting on this site was a debate on the worth of a temporary hudna offered by Hamas to Israel. I stated then that in the Arab world temporary can be a very a long time. Had the Israelis accepted this, the net result would not be a peace treaty ( and a true peace treaty is a delusion) but peace. If the Palestinians got a state and started to see benefits (and lets face it, considering what they endure today, that wouldn't be hard) that hudna could have gone on indefinitely.

But the honest truth is that the Israelis want their settlements, want the water and want the continued US finiancial and military support.

What they want from the Palestinians is not peace; what they want is surrender.

zanzibar

Mo

Israel wants surrender and Palestinians living in bantustans under complete Israeli control. A typical authoritarian policy. That's not going to change until US policy changes which will not happen until the US elects leaders that are not beholden to AIPAC and the Likudniks. Unfortunately I don't believe that will happen in my lifetime. The Likudnik lobby has developed a stranglehold over our politicians of both parties ever since the Eisenhower era came to an end. And I don't see even the first crack of change in that iron grip. Even with the debacle in Iraq when there is a sane post-mortem the issue of Likudnik influence will not be addressed. The closest any politician came was Howard Dean in the last primary stating that we needed an even handed approach to the ME and you know what they did to him.

arbogast

Beautifully written.

Based on expertise far beyond anything anyone can challenge in the United States.

It is my opinion that Alan Greenspan kept interest rates so low for so long for two reasons: to finance the Iraq war and to ensure that when all the "asset" bubbles burst, the US would face decades of high interest rates that would help to "kill the beast" in Grover Norquist's terms: rid the US of any social security infrastructure at all (SS, Medicare, etc.)

Interestingly, the coincidence of the debacle in Iraq with the debacle in the "asset" markets may make his machinations backfire.

What is certain is that Iran is growing stronger every day, and the "Arab street" is becoming more uneasy with its lordotic leadership every day.

Cloned Poster

What is commonly heard in courts around the world is that the victim of abuse becomes the self same abuser. And then they have the gall to use that in their defence, which mostly arises in child abuse cases.

The Brits have been brilliant in their post-empire planning with Balfour getting a gilt edge gaurantee of turmoil, and US of A rolling the dollars and Paul Newman thereafter.

It's a pity that current US/UK admin have the collective IQ of a cabbage, but as the old adage goes, it's usually the 3rd generation that drinks and pisses the family wealth away.

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