Sunday, September 10, 2006

Israel, US pushing for Palestinian civil war

By Khalid Amayreh

"The Bush Administration in coordination with Israel has been bullying the weak Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas to form an “emergency government” made up mainly of Fatah elements for the purpose of deposing the legitimate democratically elected government of Prime Minister Ismael Haniya.

According to reliable sources in Ramallah, American officials, including Special Envoy David Welch, have been pushing for the idea for sometime, hoping that a Fatah coup against the existing Hamas-led government might spark a confrontation between the two biggest Palestinian factions.

“Of course, the Americans didn’t say they wanted civil war, but everyone knows that forming an emergency government without any coordination with Hamas is a prescription for civil war,” said a high-ranking PA official.

“As to the Israelis, they have been dreaming of and fantasizing about a Palestinian civil war since 1967,” said the official, who demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to make statements to the media.

On Saturday, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema, who had met with Abbas in Ramallah earlier this week, was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as saying that Abbas would decide to create an emergency government or to a government of national unity with Hamas within a few days.

Blair has been attacked and lampooned severely by British political circles, including his own Labor party, as well as by the press for subservience to the Bush administration and also for supporting Israel too much.

During the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbullah in August, Blair effectively supported the indiscriminate bombing by the Israeli air force of Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure.

He also publicly opposed a ceasefire in the early days of the war, blaming Hizbullah for provoking Israel and utterly ignoring the abduction and internment by Israel of hundreds of Lebanese civilians.

Blair, in a further show of bias against the Palestinians, met with the families of Israeli soldiers taken prisoners by Hizbullah and Palestinian resistance. During his visit, he made no mention of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners even when he called for the release of Israeli prisoners.

On Sunday, Palestinians in Ramallah demonstrated against Blair, calling him “George Bush’s poodle” and “a liar.”

Last week, dozens of Palestinian intellectuals and academics called for boycotting Blair, saying in a statement published in the Arabic daily, al Ayyam, that Blair was trying to whitewash Lebanese blood with Palestinian water."

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