Palestinian groups continue to shoot themselves in their collective foot
Posted by sanityinjection on September 9, 2008
The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, offered a rare public rebuke of squabbling Palestinian factions today:
“I am extremely angry with the Palestinian organizations…Do they (the Palestinians) have a state for them to be fighting over ministerial positions? We kidded ourselves and called it the state of Palestine. It’s not a state until it obtains its full rights.”
It is highly unusual for an Arab leader to make such a statement, particularly an experienced diplomat such as Moussa. This suggests two things: 1) The level of infighting among Palestinian factions is as bad as ever, and 2) Non-rejectionist Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are serious about trying to move the peace process foward and are frustrated with the lack of unity among the very people they are trying to help. In an even more unprecedented move, the Arab League is actually considering some form of sanctions against any Palestinian factions seen as obstructing the current efforts by Egypt to reconcile the various groups.
Sadly, the Palestinian nationalist movement, like many political movements before it, is riddled with corruption and individuals seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the cause they claim to espouse. No one exemplified this more than the late Yasir Arafat, now viewed as the George Washington of his people. The continued fighting also affects the attitude of the Israeli side: dismaying those who seek a genuine Palestinian partner for peace, and giving cover to the Israeli rejectionists who use it as an excuse to delay and avoid further negotiations. Similarly, Palestinian rejectionists do their best to undermine the peace process while blaming everything on the Israelis. (Ironically Hamas’ electoral success is largely due to the fact that, being fanatics, they are far less corrupt than the more moderate Fatah faction.)
When Israel and Egypt, and later Israel and Jordan, signed peace agreements, they were between UN member states that could be held accountable by the international community if they failed to live up to the terms of the agreement. (And in fact, both peace deals have been hugely successful and beneficial to both sides.) Unfortunately, the Palestinians cannot be held accountbale. Nominal Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has little sway outside his capital city and must rely on Fatah militias, who frequently have agendas of their own. And the only international leverage against the Palestinians is to withhold aid from the corrupt officials that steal it, which is then denounced on humanitarian grounds. Meanwhile, ordinary Palestinians continue to suffer, especially in overcrowded Gaza.
Article here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=5760298