Friday, May 25, 2007
The Bush administration has spent most of its $84 million in aid to Palestinians to train an elite corps of Fatah-loyal fighters.
By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and Joshua Mitnick | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
(A long Article)
".......That attack was a "wake-up call" to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas on the need to do more to strengthen forces loyal to the Palestinian president, says Gershon Baskin, codirector of the independent Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information in Jerusalem.
"If Abbas's forces aren't strengthened with weapons, technical training, and money, Gaza is lost. That's the bottom line. Do the Americans and the Israelis want to write off Gaza to the Islamic fundamentalists?"
But the impression shared by many in Gaza that the US is helping Fatah in its power struggle with Hamas, rather than simply strengthening border security, could lead to a spiral of violence, some in Gaza warn.
"Palestinians believe the American support to Abbas is to take out Hamas rather than help secure the border crossings," says Omar Shaban, a political expert in Gaza who once worked as an adviser to Abbas.
The US has to "present it in a way that they are helping the PA and not the president's office," he said. Otherwise, "it puts more oil on the fire. There is a big fear within Hamas that these weapons will be used against them, which makes them take the initiative to get more weapons and to protect themselves … you are promoting the competition between the Fatah generals and Hamas."
While the US says that is not part of its goal, it will be difficult to convince Hamas supporters otherwise......."