Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
"CAIRO, Aug 21 (IPS) - Ever since the takeover of Gaza two months ago by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, Washington and its allies have steadfastly supported the rival Fatah movement headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. But public support for Fatah, which has come to be seen by many as a stooge of Washington and Tel Aviv, has dropped off markedly.
"Popular support for Abbas and his Fatah party has fallen for several reasons," Essam al-Arian, a leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement told IPS. "For one, Abbas seems prepared to give Israel all the concessions it wants without getting anything in return."......
But while most Arab capitals have declared support for Abbas and his government, much of the wider Arab public has been disturbed by certain aspects of the PA president's post-Gaza political trajectory.
For one, Israel's obvious support for Abbas has served to reinforce his image as a de facto ally of the Jewish state against Hamas. "Abbas now appears to move entirely according to the U.S. and Israeli agenda," Abdel-Halim Kandil, former editor-in-chief of opposition weekly al-Karama told IPS. "The so-called PA has become little more than a security manager for the Israeli occupation.
"Israel may soon reoccupy the Gaza Strip with the aim of permanently removing Hamas from power," Kandil added. "In this case, Abbas will be seen by many as little more than a soldier in the Israeli army.".......
According to Kandil, Abbas' intransigence can be attributed directly to the PA president's close relationship with his patrons in Washington. "Abbas can't hold talks with Hamas because the U.S. and Israel won't let him," he said.
Indeed, on Aug. 8, U.S. house majority leader Steny Hoyer openly warned Abbas against making any contacts, overtly or covertly, with the resistance faction. "Dealing with Hamas...would be something which we would look on with opposition and suspicion," Hoyer was quoted as saying in the Israeli press......
Ibrahim Eissa, political analyst and editor-in-chief of independent daily al-Dustour, said he believed that Hamas' takeover of the territory on Jun. 14 had been of a "pre-emptive" nature.
"The conflict isn't between secularists and Islamists," Eissa told IPS. "It's between the corrupt agents of the U.S. within Fatah and those who are looking out for the interests of the Palestinian people."......"