Posts Tagged ‘Fatah’

The Vichy Government of Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine

October 13, 2009

by Jamal Dajani,   Senior Director and Producer Mosaic News, Link TV

The Huffington Post, Oct 9, 2009

It is not the first time Palestinians have called for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas. When Hamas swept to victory in the Palestinian Parliamentary Elections in January 2006, angry mobs from the defeated Fatah party staged rallies in the Gaza Strip, calling for his resignation. Many gathered outside the parliament in Gaza City, setting fire to government cars and firing shots into the air.

Today, the anger is subtler, but more poignant. Palestinians from all walks of life are stunned and disappointed by Abbas, who withdrew Palestinian support for a vote in the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to have the Goldstone report sent to the U.N. General Assembly for possible action, the first of many steps towards possibly establishing war crimes tribunals to investigate Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza.

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Jewish is fine, Zionist is not

August 13, 2009


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By Joharah Baker
MIFTA
Axis of Logic, Thursday, Aug 13, 2009
Uri Davis


Not many Palestinians were familiar with the name Uri Davis until yesterday when the media reported that the “Jewish member of Fateh” had been nominated for a spot on the movement’s Revolutionary Council. Davis, recruited into Fatah in the 1980’s by assassinated Fatah leader Khalil Al Wazir, was born in Jerusalem in the early forties to Jewish immigrants who believed in the Zionist dream.

Obviously, Davis did not adopt his parents’ ideologies, calling himself a “Palestinian Jew.” An academic, Davis has been an avid proponent of human rights, Palestinian especially, and an opponent of the nature of Israel as a Jewish state. In 1987, he wrote a book entitled, “Israel: an apartheid state” and penned his autobiography in 1995 entitled, “An autobiography of an anti-Zionist Palestinian Jew.”

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The west widens the Fatah-Hamas split

July 28, 2009

Palestinian unity is essential for any peace deal – but the US, Britain and the EU are playing a central role in preventing it

It should be obvious that no settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict is going to stick unless it commands broad support or acceptance on both sides. That is especially true of the Palestinians, who have shown time and again that they will never accept the denial of their national and human rights. The necessity of dealing with all representative Palestinian leaders was recognised by Britain’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee yesterday, which called on the government to end its ban on contacts with Hamas.

But despite the parade of top American officials visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to drum up business for a new peace conference, the US, Britain and European Union continue to play a central role in preventing the Palestinian national unity that is essential if any deal is going to have a chance of succeeding. Far from helping to overcome the split between Fatah and Hamas, the US, Israel and their allies in practice do everything they can to promote and widen it.

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A war to crush the Palestinians

January 17, 2009

Eric Ruder argues that Israel’s rhetoric about Hamas “terrorism” is a pretext for an attempt to crush the Palestinian national movement.

After two weeks, Israel's assault on Gaza had claimed nearly 1,000 lives

TO U.S. politicians and mainstream media commentators, the justification for the massacre in Gaza is simple and unquestioned–that Israel is responding to Palestinian “terrorism” in the form of rocket attacks aimed at southern Israel.

“Israel has no choice but to take military action,” said former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, in a phrase repeated by politicians across the political spectrum. For the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared, “I think this terrorist organization, Hamas, has got to be put away.”

In U.S. politics, these two arguments–that Israel had no choice but to defend itself, and that it faces a terrorist assault–are sufficient to excuse even the most senseless killing of Palestinian civilians and wanton destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure by Israeli forces.

But like so much that passes for fact in the U.S. discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict, these arguments obscure all the essential dynamics of Israel’s war on the Palestinian people.

First, Hamas scrupulously observed a cease-fire from the summer of 2008 until Israel launched a raid November 4 that killed six Hamas members. The attack took place as the U.S. and international media focused its attention on the election of Barack Obama. Only after Israel broke this most recent cease-fire did Hamas militants fire rockets at Israel.

And as Palestinian activist and author Ali Abunimah has pointed out:

There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel’s attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never ceased for one single day during the truce. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel’s demands, even assembling “security forces” to fight the resistance on Israel’s behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian or her property or livelihood from Israel’s relentless violent colonization.

Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Palestinian rocket fire has killed 11 Israelis. During the same period, Israel killed at least 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza, including 223 children.

And during the so-called truce that began last summer, Israel continued its suffocating siege of Gaza, imposing shortages of electricity, food and medical supplies that led to countless deaths, not to mention exacerbating the already inhuman levels of grinding poverty, unemployment and despair.

The inescapable conclusion is that Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza are the excuse for, not the cause of, the Israeli offensive that began on December 27.

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THIS BEGS an obvious question: What are the real reasons for Israel’s attack?

For one, Israel chose this moment with an exquisite sense of timing. According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, planning for the offensive began six months ago.

The attack was launched between the Christmas and New Year holidays when most Western governments are on hiatus. Further, the Bush administration–an ardent supporter of Israel’s aggression, no matter how bloody–could be expected to be quiet in its twilight while Barack Obama conveniently can conveniently hide behind the excuse that “there’s only one president at a time” (despite his high-profile involvement in setting economic policy in response to the unraveling economy).

At the most basic level, Israel hopes that the military defeat of Hamas will finally give it total and unchallenged control over the flow of goods into and out of Gaza, specifically by destroying the network of tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt at the Rafah border crossing.

While it is true that these tunnels are used to provide Hamas with military equipment, what the corporate media fails to point out is that the tunnels now provide the vast majority of essential humanitarian supplies–goods that Israel has blocked at the border crossings it controls. As journalist Jonathan Cook wrote:

Israel believes the current invasion will have achieved nothing unless this time it regains absolute control of the Rafah border, undercutting Hamas’s claims to be running the Strip. The “mechanism” therefore requires that technical responsibility is lifted from Egyptian shoulders.

According to the Israeli plan, it will pass to the Americans, whose expertise will be called on to stop the tunneling and prevent Hamas from rebuilding its arsenal after the invasion comes to an end. Israel may additionally seek the involvement of international forces to diffuse the censure the Arab publics are likely to direct at Egypt as a result.

Israel also aims to further destroy Hamas’ institutional means to govern Gaza in order to weaken Hamas’ overall political strength and to create terms for a new cease-fire even more favorable to Israel. This is a longstanding goal of Israel’s political leadership, which it has pursued by a variety of means.

As Avi Shlaim, an Israeli professor of international relations at Oxford University, wrote:

In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognize the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organization.

America and the [European Union] shamelessly joined Israel in ostracizing and demonizing the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

Then, Israel turned to more aggressive measures, working with the CIA to deliver guns and money to stoke a Palestinian civil war that Israel hoped would end in the overthrow of Hamas rule by the now fully tamed Fatah faction of Mahmoud Abbas, the current PA president.

But the plan didn’t work out, according to David Rose, who unearthed the details of the operation in an April 2008 Vanity Fair article. He wrote:

[T]he secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.

Some sources call the scheme “Iran-contra 2.0,” recalling that [Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott] Abrams [who was key to the implementation of the Gaza gambit] was convicted (and later pardoned) for withholding information from Congress during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal under President Ronald Reagan.

There are echoes of other past misadventures as well: the CIA’s 1953 ouster of an elected prime minister in Iran, which set the stage for the 1979 Islamic revolution there; the aborted 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, which gave Fidel Castro an excuse to solidify his hold on Cuba; and the contemporary tragedy in Iraq.

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THE IRONY, of course, is that for decades Israel sought to undermine, divide and destroy the Palestinian national movement as embodied in the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Israel abetted the growth of Hamas as a means to that end.

As Middle East commentator Stephen Zunes wrote:

Israel initially encouraged the rise of the Palestinian Islamist movement as a counter to the Palestine Liberation Organization, the secular coalition composed of Fatah and various leftist and other nationalist movements.

Beginning in the early 1980s, with generous funding from the U.S.-backed family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the antecedents of Hamas began to emerge through the establishment of schools, health care clinics, social service organizations and other entities that stressed an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, which up to that point had not been very common among the Palestinian population.

The hope was that if people spent more time praying in mosques, they would be less prone to enlist in left-wing nationalist movements challenging the Israeli occupation.

By the early 1990s, even Israel’s wink-and-nod at the growth of Hamas did little to persuade most Palestinians, who were not particularly religious, to abandon their commitment to the PLO, the historic representative of the Palestinian national movement.

It wasn’t until the 1993 “peace process,” by which Yasser Arafat and the PLO were transformed from resistance fighters into the willing accomplices of Israel’s drive to put the West Bank under Israeli hegemony while isolating Gaza, that Hamas began to overtake Fatah’s popularity.

“At the time of the Oslo Agreement between Israel and the PLO in 1993, polls showed that Hamas had the support of only 15 percent of the Palestinian community,” writes Zunes. “Support for Hamas grew, however, as promises of a viable Palestinian state faded as Israel continued to expand its colonization drive on the West Bank without apparent U.S. objections, doubling the amount of settlers over the next dozen years.”

In addition to suppressing the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, Israel aims to accomplish a larger regional goal with the assault on Gaza–namely, to re-establish the deterrent effect of having the most powerful military force in the Middle East. Ever since its humiliating defeat by Hezbollah in the Israeli assault on Lebanon in 2006, Israel has been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate overwhelming power.

Thus, the widespread civilian casualties and destruction of Hamas’ political institutions are purposefully designed to send a message to Iran, Hezbollah and other regional foes that the price of opposing of Israel should not be underestimated.

“The Israeli army needs to address the problem created to its deterrence in 2006,” Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, told Agence France Presse. “The army has to change its image among its enemies that it is afraid to use ground forces…It does not necessarily need to be a large-scale invasion, maybe just special units or localized incursions, but the army needs boots on the ground.”

Finally, Israel’s assault on Gaza is the latest attempt to put into practice the Bush administration blueprint for domination of the Middle East by the U.S. and its junior partner Israel. According to Columbia University professor Joseph Massad:

The U.S. has seen this as an opportune moment to fully integrate Israel in the region, so much so that it signaled to its Gulf allies to make proposals for a new regional alliance that includes Israel in its midst. The Bahraini foreign minister suggested a few weeks ago that Israel join the Arab League. Many such proposals have already been made in the past few months welcoming the colonial settlement to the regional alliance against Iran.

Against this U.S.-backed Israeli drive to further colonial domination, Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is legitimate and just–and protected under international law. No one should be fooled by U.S.-Israeli attempts to use the “war on terror” to excuse their imperial aims.

Hamas says Abbas must step aside

October 7, 2008
Al Jazeera, Oct 7, 2008

Hamas says Ahmed Bahar will succeed Abbas next year if the president fails to call fresh elections [AFP]

The Palestinian group Hamas that governs Gaza says it will stop recognising Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president in three months.

Hamas, citing a Palestinian law, said one of its own leaders must fill the top post after Abbas’s tenure officially expires on January 8.

The announcement came after Hamas legislators voted on a resolution in Gaza City on Monday, a move seen as at attempt to step up pressure on Abbas and his Fatah party ahead of talks brokered by Egypt over a power-sharing deal between the rival camps.

A Fatah member said the vote was simply “an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian effort to reconcile the Palestinian division”.

The Basic Law, a forerunner to a Palestinian constitution, says that both president and parliament are elected to four-year terms.

Legal loophole

But a loophole in the law, which Fatah is relying on, suggests that Abbas’s term could be extended another year if it were deemed to be in the “national interest”.

Hamas says Abbas’s tenure as Palestinian president ends on January 8 [EPA]

Abbas was elected president in January 2006 but a year later Hamas defeated his movement by a landslide in parliamentary elections in Gaza.Neither Hamas nor Fatah appear keen to share power in governing the Gaza Strip, which has been under Hamas control following a violent takeover in June last year, leaving Abbas with only nominal control of the occupied West Bank.

During Monday’s vote, Hamas threatened to install Ahmed Bahar, the deputy parliamentary speaker, as Abbas’s temporary successor if Abbas fails to announce a new presidential election by Wednesday.

Shalit talks

Meanwhile, Khaled Mashaal, the exiled Hamas political leader, said talks with Israel over the possible release of an Israeli soldier have stalled and blamed Israeli negotiators for continuing to rehash previously-agreed issues.

He was quoted in Le Figaro newspaper on Monday blaming “a lack of reliability of Israeli negotiators” in discussions pertaining to Sergeant Gilad Shalit who was captured two years ago.

The crisis of Zionism and a perspective for Palestinian approach

August 30, 2008

Campo Antiimperialista, August 29, 2008

by Yoav Bar *

This paper is written as a contribution to the discussion in the Anti Imperialist Camp about perspectives for work within the imperialist countries. The situation in Palestine is very different from that of Europe or the US. Since the beginning of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, some 130 years ago, Jews in Palestine were a small enclave of settler population in the midst of the Arab homeland. Colonialism is not external expansionism of some imaginary “western-capitalist Israel”, but the essence of Israel’s existence. Palestine is an occupied colonized country, where the real center of political life is the struggle against the occupation. Any progressive struggle within the Jewish community in Palestine should be part of the perspective of Palestinian liberation.

From many aspects, the democratic struggle in Israel, as a remote outpost of imperialism, may differ from the general perspective for revolutionary struggle in the imperialist centers. Anyway, I tried to keep my analysis strictly committed to the facts on the Palestinian ground, and let the audience treat it critically to decide what lessons may be drawn for other fronts.

Part 1: How the Zionist system works

Zionism and Imperialism

A lot was written about the evils of Zionism as a colonialist movement and Israel as a racist regime, but the role of Zionism in the Imperialist Hegemony over the Arab East is much less known and understood. Still the main role of Zionism is not the exploitation of the Palestinian people, of which they prefer to get rid by continuing ethnic cleansing, neither the building of a Jewish society in Palestine (and the subsequent exploitation of the Jewish working class). The main role of Israel is as an advanced military outpost in the middle of the Arab East to prevent Arab independence, Arab unity and the building of a national economy and democratic society.

The military character of the Israeli project is enshrined in many strategic agreements between Israel and the imperialist powers, guaranteeing the “strategic superiority” of Israel in the region.

The current imperialist hysteria against Iran’s nuclear program has only one meaning – imperialist determination to keep Israel as the only power with nuclear weapon in the area, so as to enable it to use it on need. In many recent writings by Zionist leaders they tell openly how close they were to using nuclear weapons in some of their past conflicts…

For their role in keeping imperialist hegemony over this strategically important region, the Zionist military-capitalist elites receive a wide range of economic and political privileges, which are a small fraction of the imperialists’ profits from the subjection of the Arab nation and the robbery of its natural and human resources.

Colonialism and Class

In order to be able to expel and oppress the Palestinian people, and in order to be able to militarily terrorize the whole region, the Zionists need the best of all imperialist weaponry, but they also need soldiers to fight their wars. The state of Israel uses those Jewish masses it succeeded to tempt to come to Palestine as its base of support and as the foot soldiers for its colonization, oppression and aggressive wars. It needs this immigrant community to be satisfied, to prevent it from re-immigrating to safer places, and to keep its loyalty as a fighting force.

Fear is one major force behind the intense control of Zionism over the Jews in Palestine. In this sense, Zionism is the main beneficiary of anti-Semitism and it shares its conviction that Jews can’t assimilate in the societies where they live. It also benefits, to some degree, from terrifying Jews in Palestine from the possible consequences in case Israel will loose it military dominance.

In order to provide replacement to the expelled Palestinians, the Zionist movement is bringing in Jews from all over the world. At a process of internal colonization, Jews from Arab and other third world countries are deprived of their culture and social structure, which are declared by the state as “inferior”, and their society is crashed to provide defenseless “human raw material” for the Zionist manipulation and exploitation.

But the main mean used by Israel to keep the loyalty of the Jewish masses is to make their daily way of living depend of a complex system of privileges as against the native Palestinians. This system of privileges includes every aspect of daily lives in Israel: Health and Education, Housing, Welfare, Acceptance and promotion at work, just everything. Much effort is done to involve as many Jews (from all classes) as possible in actively expropriating Arab land, in the ’48 occupied territories as well as in the West Bank and the Syrian Golan heights.

This system allows only one way for effective struggle for sections of the Jewish masses that aspire to improve their daily lives: To struggle to enhance their privileges and distance themselves from the much more oppressed and exploited Arab masses. It is not a coincidence that the most successful struggle of Oriental Jews in the last years was a campaign for more equal distribution of expropriated Arab land, waged under the slogan “this land is also mine”.

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MIDEAST: A Civil War in the Making

August 22, 2008

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani | Inter-Press Service

CAIRO, Aug 22 – Recent weeks have seen the worst fighting between rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas since the latter’s takeover of the Gaza Strip last summer. Hamas accuses the “treasonous faction” within Fatah — which worked with U.S. military intelligence in last year’s failed bid to destroy the resistance group — of instigating the violence.

“Hamas’s accusations are understandable,” Abdelaziz Shadi, political science professor and coordinator of the Israeli studies programme at Cairo University told IPS. “Instability in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip would be in Fatah’s interests.”

In the 14 months since Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in a pre-emptive coup, after winning elections in 2006, mutual animosity has been largely confined to a war of words. In recent weeks, however, the dispute between the two movements — which now head rival governments in Gaza and Ramallah — escalated into open conflict.

On Jul. 25, a bomb went off on a crowded beach in the Gaza Strip, killing five major figures in Hamas’s military wing and a six-year-old girl. Hamas, currently party to a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions, accused elements of Fatah of carrying out the attack.

Despite official denials by Fatah, Hamas security forces in Gaza carried out a territory-wide campaign of arrests of Fatah personnel suspected of involvement. Fatah retaliated in the West Bank by detaining scores of Hamas-affiliated activists, along with a number of civic leaders not associated with the resistance group.

After human rights groups condemned the arrests — in both territories — as “politically-motivated”, the majority of detainees from both sides were soon released.

Fatah is usually described by the western media as “moderate” because it supports negotiations with Israel, held regularly since last November’s Annapolis summit in the U.S. Hamas, meanwhile, often described as “extremist”, maintains a policy of armed resistance to the Israeli occupation, noting that negotiations have so far failed to achieve a single breakthrough worth mentioning.

The inter-Palestinian rivalry took a drastic turn for the worse on Aug. 2, when fighting erupted between Hamas security forces and members of the prominent Helles clan in Gaza City’s al-Shejaeya district. According to Hamas security officials, certain pro-Fatah members of the clan were suspected of involvement in the Jul. 25 beach bombing.

After a 48-hour-long battle that left 11 dead and much of the neighbourhood in ruins, Hamas security personnel reportedly detained dozens of Helles members for questioning. In an unprecedented development, an estimated 180 clan members — fleeing Hamas security forces — sought refuge in Israel.

“The situation has become so grave that partisans of Fatah actually fled to Israel for protection,” said Shadi.

Following an appeal by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli authorities eventually took in the Fatah men — but not before making them undress before television cameras.

“Israel publicly humiliated its own agents,” Magdi Hussein, political analyst and secretary-general of Egypt’s frozen Labour Party, told IPS. He described the episode as “more proof that cooperation with Israel can only lead to degradation and loss.”

The Helles members were later reportedly transported through Israel before being permitted to enter the Fatah-run West Bank.

According to local analysts, Hamas’s claims of Fatah complicity in attempts to destabilise Gaza are not easily dismissed.

“Hamas’s accusations are not without foundation,” Hussein said. “When news of the beach blast was initially broadcast on PA television in Ramallah, it was accompanied by triumphant music and patriotic anthems as if it were a victory.”

Continued . . .


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