Wednesday, October 11, 2006
A MUST READ!
Hasan Abu Nimah & Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 11 October 2006
"There are ominous signs that the long-contemplated plan to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority cabinet is about to enter its most dangerous phase: a political coup, supported by local militias, with foreign and regional backing. This could ignite serious intra-Palestinian violence. With Iraq providing a dreadful warning of how foreign occupation can foster civil bloodshed, everything must be done to expose and thwart this dangerous conspiracy.
The head of Palestinian Authority intelligence, and Fatah militia leader, Tawfiq Tirawi, said in an interview with the Sunday Times on 8 October, "We are already at the beginning of a civil war, no doubt about it. They (Hamas) are accumulating weapons and a full-scale civil war can break out at any moment." The paper cited Palestinian sources saying that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas "has notified the US, Jordan and Egypt that he is preparing to take action against Hamas."
Coming a week after more than a dozen Palestinians were killed in fighting between Hamas and Fatah followers, Tirawi's latest comments could be seen as laying the groundwork for a full-scale and premeditated confrontation. A senior Fatah "security source," probably also Tirawi, had already told the same Sunday Times journalist last May that "[c]ivil war is inevitable" and that "Time is running out for Hamas." He warned that "We'll choose the right time and place for the military showdown. But after that there will be no more of Hamas's militias."
This apparent encouragement to resort to the bullet when use of the ballot failed to produce the desired results is a direct contradiction of the simplest principles of democracy, apart from its sheer immorality. This sounds bad enough, but it also looks like a repeat of the strategy in Lebanon where western powers apparently thought that Israel, as a local client state, could be used to strike a lethal blow at Hizbullah. The human and political results of that adventure, last summer's systematic Israeli destruction of Lebanon, speak for themselves. This time, Abbas and his forces would fill the role of local US client, and Hamas would be cast as Hizbullah.
Efforts to bridge the political impasse by forming a "national unity government" have also failed because the Fatah election losers, backed by foreign powers, are demanding that Hamas, the election winners, abandon their policies and principles and endorse those of the defeated party. But none of this has worked.
The danger facing Palestinians is acute. But let us be clear: it is not a threat of civil war. The danger is of an armed coup staged on behalf of these powers by a small minority, but which could drag more Palestinians into internecine fighting whose consequences are awful to contemplate.
The reality is that the Palestinian Authority is not and has never been a government for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority receives western backing only to the extent that it directly and exclusively serves their own and Israeli interests. It was designed to protect the Israeli occupation against its victims; no one will be permitted to turn it into a representative body that fights for the rights and interests of Palestinians. To avoid the lethal trap that is being set for them and the Palestinian people, Hamas will either have to sell out or get out."