A Very Good Piece
By Amira Hass
Contributed by Lucia
".....This is not the first time Israel has permitted the transfer of weapons and security equipment to Abbas' forces. The alarming thing about this report is that Abbas and his circles continue to cling to the illusion that the failure in the Gaza Strip was purely military. Equally alarming is Fatah's determination to do what Israel and the United States expect (and which it failed to do in Gaza): Fight Hamas......
Why are these news items worrying? Because they show that things have gone back to the way they were - that is, to the style of "managing the occupation" that reigned between 1994 and 2001, into which the Fatah movement integrated well. Now, as then, there is a Palestinian government (the legality of which is temporary and shaky) acceptable to Israel and the West; talks are supposedly taking place; the occupation continues; and the Palestinians are quarreling. Didn't this all lead to the second uprising?
It is not a Fatah man who heads the Palestinian government in Ramallah, but the spirit of Fatah as a ruling movement that continues to prevail - and with it, what made large portions of the public fed up with the movement. For example, Yasser Arafat unnecessarily inflated his security forces with people from poor families and from refugee families, with the aim of creating a large group of loyalists under his aegis in return for a meager but vital wage. Arafat hoped this would perpetuate their political support for his movement with no connection to his political impotence vis-a-vis the Israeli colonization and the policy of closure and separation.
The failure of this tactic became clear in the 2006 elections. The American and Israeli reliance on "bolstering Abbas' security mechanisms" shows that Arafat's logic is continuing to guide the three leaders who see the Palestinian people as the object of all kinds of "gestures" - even in the form of salaries for superfluous security people.....
All too often there was a direct correlation between the newly rich Palestinian's ties to members of a Palestinian security force and the latter's ties to the Israeli Shin Bet security service or senior people in Israel. Closeness of this kind (to senior Fatah members and the Shin Bet) provided movement permits, ensured "family reunification," and so on. These and other kinds of occupation-dependent protectionism led the Palestinians to make a connection between "the peace process" and corruption.
The failures of 2006 and 2007 have not produced any proof, yet, that Fatah has learned the lesson. It has not distanced itself from protectionism and the system by which those close to the right people have convenient opportunities to get richer - in a sea of impoverishment. "