Thursday, August 24, 2006

At the crossroads

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

Could the formation of a national unity government solve the crisis of the Palestinian Authority? Very unlikely.

"Indeed, the Israeli government, bruised by the war with Hizbullah, is now viewing the entire Palestinian front as a secondary issue, especially with the Bush administration showing no sign of even nudging Israel to implement the now-moribund "roadmap plan for peace".

The EU, for its part, is continuing with its flimsy and indecisive posture vis-à-vis the entire Palestinian issue while influential Arab states are basking in their apparent powerlessness, making do with issuing periodic appeals to an unhearing international community to force Israel to resolve the Palestinian issue in accordance with international law.

It is highly unlikely that the overall situation will undergo any dramatic or substantive change in the coming few weeks, given Israel's recalcitrance, American tendentious apathy and official Arab impotence to help the Palestinians in any meaningful manner. American and European preoccupations with the Iranian nuclear crisis will also be translated into more negligence of the Palestinian issue, which will ultimately generate more volatility, extremism and violence.

Israel, of course, doesn't want to return to a pre- Oslo situation when Israeli army officers ran Palestinian affairs, from municipal functions to economic policies. Neither, however, does it want a national unity government that could oppose its slow strangling occupation with greater vigor. Rather, Israel wants the pre-Hamas status quo restored: a quisling Palestinian regime at Israel's beck and call."

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