Monday, June 25, 2007
By Uri Avnery
"EHUD OLMERT is the opposite of Midas, King of Phrygia. Everything the king touched turned into gold, according to Greek legend. Everything Olmert touches turns into lead. And that is no legend.
Now he is touching Mahmoud Abbas. He lauds him to high heaven. He promises to "strengthen" him. He is about to meet him.
If I might offer some advice to Abbas, I would call out to him: Run! Run for your precious life! One touch of Olmert's hand will seal your fate!
CAN ABBAS be saved? I don't know. Some of my Palestinian friends are in despair. They grew up in Fateh, and Fateh is their home. They are secularists. They are nationalists. They definitely do not want a fanatical Islamic regime in their homeland. But in the present conflict, their heart is with Hamas. Their mind is split. And that is not surprising. They hear the words of President Bush, of Olmert and of the whole babbling choir of Israeli politicians and pundits. And they draw the inescapable conclusion: the Americans and the Israelis are working hard to turn Abbas into an agent of the occupation and the Fateh movement into a militia of the occupier.
Every word now emanating from Washington and Jerusalem confirms this suspicion. Every word widens the gap between the Palestinian street and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The new "Emergency Government" in Ramallah is headed by a person who received 2% of the votes at the last elections, when the list of Abbas himself was soundly beaten by Hamas, not only in Gaza but in the West Bank, too.....
This week, some sensational disclosures were published in Israel. They confirm the suspicions that we had from the start: that the "separation" was nothing but a ploy, part of a program with a hidden agenda.
Sharon had a master plan with three main elements: (a) turning the Gaza Strip into a separate and isolated entity, led by Hamas, (b) turning the West Bank into an archipelago of isolated cantons led by Fatah, and (c) leaving both territories under the domination of the Israeli military.....
The Israeli media, which have turned themselves into propaganda organs for Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan, are already gleefully describing how the hungry inhabitants of Gaza will look with green envy at the well-fed, flourishing inhabitants of the West Bank. They are going to rebel against the Hamas leadership, so that a Quisling in the service of Israel can be installed there. The people in the West Bank, growing fat on European and American aid money, will be happy to be rid of Gaza and its troubles.
That is pure fantasy. It is much more probable that the anger of the Gaza people will turn against the Israeli prison wardens who are starving them. And the people of the West Bank will not forsake their compatriots languishing in Gaza.
No Palestinian will agree to the separation of Gaza from the West Bank. A party that agreed to that would be shunned by the Palestinian public, and a leadership that accepted such a situation would be eliminated.
Israeli policy is torn between two conflicting desires: On the one side, to prevent the events in the Gaza Strip repeating themselves in the West Bank, where a Hamas takeover would be immensely more dangerous, and on the other side, to prevent Abbas from succeeding to such an extent that the Americans would oblige Olmert to negotiate seriously with him. As usual, the government is holding the stick by its two ends.
At present, all Olmert's actions are endangering Abbas. His embrace is a bear's embrace, and his kiss is the kiss of death."