Thursday, July 26, 2007
By Khaled Amayreh
".......Indeed, there are large segments of Fatah -- people who support such veteran Fatah leaders as Marwan Barghouti, Jebril Rajoub, Hani Al-Hasan, Farouk Al-Qaddumi -- who are not enthusiastic about the direction taken by Abbas. There are two main reasons for their scepticism.
First, Abbas's rejection of dialogue with Hamas may be an easy and attractive choice in the short run, but in the long run such a course could cause incalculable damage to Fatah itself and the overall Palestinian struggle. Second, there are many who in Fatah believe that Abbas's decision to "place all Fatah's eggs in the American-Israeli basket" is perilous and potentially disastrous.
Many feel, and probably Abbas himself understands, that any modicum of success the Fatah president might be able to achieve depends first on Israel's "goodwill" (whatever that means), and second on the Bush administration's willingness to pressure Israel to give Abbas "tangible accomplishments on the ground," such as dismantling settlements and the so-called separation wall. This seems a very remote prospect, to put it mildly. Hence the precariousness of Abbas's position.
Last week, Israel sought to "strengthen Abbas against Hamas" by releasing from detention some 250 Fatah prisoners. Instead, however, of strengthening Abbas, the Israeli "gesture" actually embarrassed him as it was viewed as a bribe taken at the expense of some 11,000 Palestinians prisoners languishing in Israeli jails and camps, including as many as four thousands who are affiliated with Fatah.
"We are not kids who can be bamboozled and pacified by petty and silly gestures from Israel or America," said Mohamed Amr, a relative of one of the prisoners released on 20 July. "We want one thing, we want an end to this Nazi-like occupation. Anything else, anything less, won't work. This is our message to Abbas, to Olmert, to Blair (the International Quartet's new envoy), and to whomever it may concern.""