Sunday, June 3, 2007

The enemy of my enemy...?

Middle East politics is an amazing thing to follow. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something happens that absolutely changes the shape of everything that analysts and political scientists have speculated on and predicted.

Hat Tip to Moderate Voice for this amazing story that you won't likely find on the front pages or in the opening segments of the nightly news:

'We Are Facing a Second Nakba'-Reactions in the Palestinian Press to the Hamas-Fatah Clashes

By: C. Jacob

"The situation in the Gaza Strip, and especially in the city of Gaza, is scary. Murders are committed by the dozen, using every [conceivable] weapon... The murder machine, fueled by every conceivable type of hatred, is hurtling in every direction, all the time, everywhere... in the mosques... in the schools... [There are] executions... Leaders are attacked, and their families humiliated... Children and innocent civilians are being murdered..." Talal Okal, columnist for the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam, May 17, 2007.


The current wave of violent Hamas-Fatah clashes is one of the most brutal the PA has known, especially considering that it broke out only a short while after the signing of the Mecca Agreement, which was supposed to put an end to the mutual fighting. The large number of casualties, and the fear that has taken hold of the Gaza streets, have sparked intense protest among Palestinians and Arabs, with harsh criticism directed towards both the PA and Hamas.

Some consequences of the clashes are public statements by residents calling on Israel to reenter the Gaza Strip, and concerns regarding the effect of the fighting on the international community's faith in the Palestinians' ability to establish a state, to honor agreements, and to maintain peace.

Among the solutions proposed in the Palestinian media were to launch a third intifada, this time against those responsible for the internal chaos, and to bring in Arab or international forces to keep the peace between the Fatah and Hamas.

Does that sound like the peace that Palestinians had expected from not being under Israeli rule?
What would one expect the reactions to be from this situation? Not, probably, what you would think...

Who is Responsible for the Clashes? - Mutual Accusations by Fatah and Hamas
Fatah and PLO spokesmen accused Hamas of staging a coup against the Palestinian Authority and of trying to renege on the Mecca Agreement. The PLO Executive Committee issued a statement saying: "What is happening in Gaza is an attempted coup against the legitimate security apparatuses, aimed at imposing by force the legitimacy of the armed militias, and especially the legitimacy of the Hamas militia [known as the] Executive Force." It should be noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pronounced the Executive Force illegal immediately after its establishment." [1]

A statement issued by the Fatah Central Committee said: "Behind the mutual killing of Palestinian by Palestinian stand local leaders and field [commanders] from Hamas who are working to overthrow the national unity government and the Mecca Agreement." [2] In a similar vein, Fatah spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa accused Hamas of losing control over its armed militias. [3]

Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azzam Al-Ahmad demanded that all armed gunmen from both sides be removed from the streets, saying: "PA President [Mahmoud Abbas] issued a presidential decree proclaiming the Executive Force illegitimate only two days after its establishment was announced." On another occasion, Azzam Al-Ahmad called to dismantle the Executive Force, accusing its men of carrying out executions that were pushing the Palestinians to the brink of civil war. [4]

Yousef Al-Qazzaz, a senior Palestinian Broadcasting Authority official and columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, wrote: "A strong smell of Al-Qaeda is rising from what is being done in Gaza by the [forces] of chaos, which are murdering Palestinian security personnel and killing innocent women and children [right] in front of Prime Minister [Ismail Haniyya] from Hamas, who is unable to restrain them." [5]

Hamas spokesmen, on the other hand, accused Fatah of collaborating with the U.S. and with Israel, and claimed that the revolutionary faction within Fatah was rebelling against the Palestinian government. In response to Azzam Al-Ahmad's call to dismantle the Executive Force, Hamas demanded that his immunity be revoked and he stand trial. Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "Al-Ahmad represents the Legislative Council and the Fatah party. How can he demand the dismantling of a legitimate police force?" [6] Hamas representative Ayman Tah asked: "Why doesn't Azzam Al-Ahmad speak of the Fatah's [own] executive force, about its illegitimacy and its massacre of residents? Why doesn't he speak of the presidential club, which has become an execution chamber for residents and which has made it licit to kill the [Palestinian] people?" [7] Another Hamas statement said: "Israel's jets did not hesitate to respond to Azzam Al-Ahmad's call to [come] and wipe out the interior ministry's Executive Force." [8]

Hamas also characterized the events in Gaza as a rebellion by commanders from the revolutionary faction within Fatah against the Palestinian government and against the agreements signed by Abbas and Haniyya. [9] Haniyya's political advisor Ahmad Yousef accused factions within Fatah and the security apparatuses of "following orders from the U.S. and Israel to escalate the violence. Both movements," he added," need a second Mecca Agreement in order to resolve the problems that still remain, such as the hierarchy within the security apparatuses and the appointment of an interior minister." Ahmad Yousef also accused the U.S. of strengthening Fatah at the expense of Hamas." [10]

Arab on Arab violence in the Gaza Strip? Is this what was expected with Israeli withdrawal?

The Clashes "Are Murdering the Palestinian Cause"

Al-Ayyam columnist Abdallah Awwad attacked both Fatah and Hamas: "Between one murder and another, between one kidnapping and the next... our leaders continue to sit in their [meaningless] seats and to speak of 'resistance,' 'liberation,' 'unity,' and 'return'... They are all liars. The weapons they wish to retain, [ostensibly] as the weapons of resistance, are actually weapons of internecine terrorism and murder... You are murdering the [Palestinian] cause, [our] people and [our] future... Oh murderers, you have ruined our world, castrated our nationalism, prostituted our resistance... You have turned our lives into hell. [In fact,] hell is preferable... Take your government, your militias, and your gangs and go to hell." [16]

Palestinian columnist Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar wrote in a similar vein: "Oh murderers in the streets of Gaza, we renounce you. You cannot have emerged from the womb of the Holy Land. You are despicable. You are chasing after [what is left] of our shattered government, [pursuing your own] interests... You are neither Muslims nor believers... Today, we are ashamed to speak out loud of our Palestinian [identity], when in the past we took pride in our Palestinian self-sacrifice, revolution and martyrdom. Oh you mercenaries, you have betrayed our dreams and murdered our promised state. [Our] enemies have used you as a Trojan horse. Oh murderers, you are the Satan of Palestine... Know that a bullet you fire in the Gaza street, no matter what your affiliation, will turn into a curse that will pursue you to your own graves. Oh murderers of Gaza... you have no place [among us] now that you have killed everything that is beautiful within us." [17]

Palestinian Officials: The World Perceives Us as a People Incapable of Establishing a State

Columnists also expressed concern that the fighting would affect the Palestinians' image in the eyes of the international community. Bassam Abu Sharif, who was an advisor to Arafat, wrote: "The situation in Gaza has reached the explosion point, and the Israeli message to the West and to Washington is 'do you really want these people to establish an independent state? If they are shooting each other [now], what will they do when they have a state? If they violate the agreements they have signed with each other and with the Arabs, what will they do with the agreements [they sign] with Israel?" [18]

Columnist and Palestinian official Yousef Qazzaz wrote: "To this very day, I do not understand why most of our senior [officials] are afraid to declare in all honesty that we - [our] government, [our] security apparatuses and the [Palestinian] people - have [all] failed in implementing the law and in maintaining security. We are immersed in the worship of chaos, in the destruction of our national institutions and our home. Why are we angry with those who say that the Palestinians are incapable of managing their country's affairs?" [19]

So what do the Palestinians see as a solution to their problems? Here's the surprise to this story:

Columnists: People in Gaza Long for the Return of the Israeli Occupation

Papers reported that some people in Gaza even want the Israelis to return to the Strip. Faiz Abbas and Muhammad Awwad, journalists for the Israeli-Arab weekly Al-Sinara, wrote: "People in Gaza are hoping that Israel will reenter the Gaza Strip, wipe out both Hamas and Fatah, and then withdraw again... They also say that, since the [start of the] massacres, they [have begun to] miss the Israelis, since Israel is more merciful than [the Palestinian gunmen] who do not even know why they are fighting and killing one another. It's like organized crime, [they said]. Once, we resisted Israel together, but now we call for the return of the Israeli army to Gaza." [20]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Yahya Rabah wrote: "When the national unity government was formed, I thought, 'This will be a government of national salvation.' If a government that includes Fatah, Hamas, other factions and independents associated with [various] factions has not been able to save the day, it means that no one can, unless Israel decides that its army should intervene. Then it will invade [the Gaza Strip], kill and arrest [people] - but this time not as an occupying [force] but as an international peace-keeping force. Look what we have come to, how far we have deteriorated, and what we have done to ourselves." [21]

Palestinian journalist Majed Azzam wrote: "We should have the courage to acknowledge the truth... The [only] thing that prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation [in the West Bank]... [as opposed to] its absence from the Gaza Strip." [22]

Bassem Al-Nabris, a Palestinian poet from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, wrote: "If a there was a referendum in the Gaza Strip [on the question of] 'would you like the Israeli occupation to return?' half the population would vote 'yes'... But in practice, I believe that the number of those in favor is at least 70%, if not more - [a figure] much higher than is assumed by the political analysts and those who follow [events]. For the million and a half people living in this small region, things have [simply] gone too far - in practice, not just as a metaphor. [It did not begin] with the internal conflicts, but even earlier, in the days of the previous Palestinian administration, which was corrupt and did not give the people even the tiniest [ray of] hope. The fundamentalist forces which came into power [after it] also promised change and reform, but [instead, people] got a siege, with no security and no [chance of] making a living... If the occupation returns, at least there will be no civil war, and the occupier will have a moral and legal obligation to provide the occupied people with employment and food, which they now lack." [23]

Isn't it an amazing thing how that Israel has been so villainized for their treatment of the Palestinians? How long has the world blamed Israel for the plight of Palestine? Let me fill you in on a little clue that so many seem to forget or overlook. Ready? Hold on, this is HUGE. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A NATION CALLED PALESTINE. But how much terrorist activity has taken place in it's name? TOO much. Israel IS the Jewish homeland, historically as well as Biblically. And now the Palestinians recognize exactly what they had under Israeli rule, having suffered greatly since Israel withdrew from Gaza.

Amazing, that.

Read the whole story here. It boggles the mind. And it goes to show that Israel is not the horrible overlord that the dinosaur media and the U.N. paints it to be...

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


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