Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Fatah’

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:

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Helping to understand why peace in the Middle East is so elusive

Posted by sanityinjection on August 4, 2008

Reuters reports that about 181 members of an influential Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip fled to *Israel*, of all places, in fear for their lives. Why? After all, for the majority of Palestinians, Israel is the enemy, a foreign occupier on their soil. Were these people traitors to the Palestinian cause?

Hardly. The family in question, the Hilles clan, belongs to a Palestinian faction called Fatah, associated with the late Yasir Arafat and the current Palestinian “government” in the West Bank. Gaza, however, has been taken over by a rival faction called Hamas. Both factions want Israel out of the West Bank. Fatah,  a secular group, has, on the surface, accepted the principle of peaceful negotiations, while Hamas, an Islamic group, believes in armed struggle to drive all the Jews into the sea and reclaim all of Israel for the Palestinians. Despite these differences, both groups are essentially on the same side and both view Israel as the enemy.

And yet, the two groups hate each other so much that they continue to fight violently with each other in Gaza. Even the common enemy isn’t enough to unify them. Thus, the Hilles fled to Israel because they knew that Hamas planned to execute them, whereas at the hands of the hated Israelis they could expect to be treated lawfully and even with some rights as refugees.

So what did the “enemy” Israelis do? They decided that the best thing to do with the Hilles would be to provide transportation for them to the West Bank, where they would be safe under the authority of the Fatah-controlled government. But Fatah initially said, “Send ’em back, we don’t want them.” According to Fatah, the Hilles, you see, had not done *enough* to fight the Hamas takeover in Gaza. (These people really can’t win.) An *Israeli* civil rights group had to intervene to keep most of them from being sent back, and the Fatah authorities finally agreed to allow the majority to come to the West Bank.

The point of all this is that there are too many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who are only too happy to hate and kill each other just as well as they hate and kill Israelis. Turning over the occupied territories to such as these is asking for the kind of violence and chaos we have seen in Lebanon and Iraq. When the Israelis sit down to talk peace with Palestinian “President” Abbas, they point to all this and say, “How can we possibly trust a Palestinian state to guarantee the security of Israel when you can’t even keep your own people from killing each other?”

The ultimate losers, of course, are the many Palestinians who want nothing more than to live, work, and raise their children in peace.

Full story:

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »