Wednesday, November 22, 2006


By Tony Sayegh

I have the distinct feeling that the charade of Palestinian "national unity" negotiations is coming to an end. We could be within a few days of an official admission of a total collapse of these talks.

The signs have been everywhere, as planned chaos is reappearing. Two Italian nationals working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped and then released in Gaza. Abu Ali Shahin, member of the Fatah faction's revolutionary council was attacked and wounded by unknown gunmen. Palestinian MP Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, the head of the independent Palestine bloc in the PLC, has accused PA officials of advancing their personal interests over the national interests and of attempting to derail the ongoing Palestinian dialogue on the unity government. Threats by alleged members of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, armed wing of the Fatah Movement, blocked the convening of an ordinary session on Wednesday for the PLC. Add to this statements by Yasir 'Abed Rabbo (co-author of the infamous Geneva agreement which annuls the Palestinian right of return, and named as one of three key Palestinian figures working behind the scenes to mount an Usraeli-backed, Pinochet-style military coup to crush Hamas) that the negotiations have made very little progress (covered only 1 mile in a thousand mile journey as he put it).

On top of all of this, Israel is intensifying its attacks on Gaza in particular in a coordinated campaign with Abbas to weaken Hamas further and to facilitate the coming Abbas putsch.

Abbas has used the negotiation charade to buy time in order to get more arms to his "Presidential Guard" from the U.S., Jordan, Israel and Egypt; to speed up the training by U.S. advisers of Palestinian recruits to an expanded force to mount the coup; to move an estimated 1,500 Jordanians of the Badr Brigade (not the same as the Iraqi Badr, but equally thuggish) from Jordan to Gaza before the end of the year, according to a Fatah spokesman; and finally to use the total blockade on Gaza combined with the Israeli daily attacks to starve and bleed the Palestinians and prepare for Abbas' intended coup de grace.

Professor Joseph Masaad had an excellent detailed analysis of this planned putsch, which was posted on this blog. Since that analysis was published, the unity talks supposedly were getting close to a unity "government." There was even an agreement on the new PM (a professor of microbiology); but I never bought that. The reason was simple: Abbas doesn't control anything; he is only executing the U.S. plan. The U.S. would have none of this unity government stuff and was, and still is, insisting on the military coup option.

Hamas, naive as usual, thought that it could have its cake and eat it too. Hamas always misses the point and underestimates the hostility of the U.S. It thought that the blockade would be lifted once a new face is brought in as a new PM and a new banner is hoisted saying, "Under New Management." Originally, Hamas miscalculated when it assumed that the U.S. could be shamed into accepting the results of free and democratic elections. It seems that Hamas never learns.

Therefore, all indications are that the long anticipated coup is just around the corner. Let us hope that the Palestinians are prepared to make sure that this planned bloody putsch fails.

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