Friday, June 29, 2007

Reconcilation stymied

Israel continues to nurture the quisling Palestinian government with a carrot in one hand and a big stick in the other

By Khaled Amayreh in East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....This week, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who last week angrily fired the national unity government headed by erstwhile Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, issued a plethora of decrees and "executive orders" aimed primarily at hounding and punishing Hamas in the West Bank. The decrees, most of which are unlawful and inconsistent with human rights and civil liberties, include the suspension of key clauses of Palestinian legislation as well as marginalising the Palestinian Legislative Council.

One of the most controversial decrees issued by Abbas was an order requiring all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the West Bank (and also supposedly in the Gaza Strip) to obtain new licences from the new government in Ramallah. This unreasonable demand appears to target Hamas-affiliated or Islamic religious institutions which the United States and Israel believe contribute to the popularity of Hamas.

In reality, however, these charitable institutions, clinics and several hospitals are answerable to the Palestinian government and their operations are meticulously monitored by certified public accountants and relevant government ministries. This suggests that Abbas and his regime are acting out of desperation and not as a result of carefully-considered decisions.

This is the reason why many non-Hamas and non-Islamic organisations have strongly criticised PA decisions as undermining the foundations of civil society......

Haniyeh also warned Abbas and other Arab leaders that "Israel and America won't give you anything, and that our usurped rights won't return via summit conferences but only through steadfastness, perseverance and resistance." Furthermore, Hamas accused Abbas of seeking to strengthen himself and his government vis-à-vis Hamas by way of mobilising American and Israeli backing, saying that this reflected "bankruptcy and a cheapness of character" on the part of the Palestinian leader......

This week, Israel warned Abbas and his government not to renew contacts with Hamas as this would force it to re-adopt the same draconian measures now imposed on the Hamas-led government. The brazenness of the Israeli warning shows Israel's vested interest in ensuring Abbas's dependence on the Jewish state both financially and politically. Needless to say, this is the most efficient way of undermining the Palestinian leader in the eyes of his people, in which case Hamas will be the ultimate winner......"

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