Friday, August 31, 2007
A Very Good Article
Osamah Khalil, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 31, 2007
"Over the past two months a coalition has formed around Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to bolster his rule. Desperate to maintain his hold on power, Abbas has chosen to forgo national unity and rely on support from the U.S. and Israel to tighten his hold on the West Bank and target Gaza. Abbas and his benefactors have made it clear to the residents of Gaza that only by abandoning Hamas will the siege be lifted. In the interim, any deaths or starvation, while regrettable, are the requisite price to maintain Abbas' presidency and the position of his cronies. In pursuing this course, he and his appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have tied their fate to American and Israeli officials in the mistaken belief that they will deliver an independent Palestinian state. In doing so, Abbas and Fayyad ignore the personal, professional, and ideological relationships uniting these officials, which, contrary to their public statements, serve to undermine Palestinian aspirations. The result of this delusional strategy will be a cage disguised as a country......
To prepare the ground for this confrontation, the PA leadership has embraced the siege of Gaza. This strategy reached a new nadir when Ambassador Riyad Mansour of the Palestinian Observer Mission to the UN recently blocked an attempt by Qatar and Indonesia to obtain a Security Council resolution expressing concern over a pending humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Mansour explained in a prepared statement that "It is unacceptable for anyone, including friends, to act on our behalf without our knowledge, without consulting us." When asked why the Palestinians did not coordinate with its "friends" to reintroduce the resolution, he answered that there was "no specific need" for one at this time, in spite of the dire warnings from multiple international aid organizations to the contrary. The diplomatic corps, which operates from the former Palestine Liberation Organization missions around the globe, purportedly represents the Palestinian people, but their recent actions and rhetoric culminating in the disgraceful charade perpetrated at the UN demonstrates where their loyalties truly lie.
Moreover, Mansour's statement of "no specific need" is as shockingly inaccurate as it is despicable. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with nearly 1.5 million Palestinians -- roughly 80 percent of them refugees -- crowded into a mere 360 square kilometers. With unemployment of 40 percent and underemployment far higher, the UN estimates that over 60 percent of Palestinians live below its "poverty line" of less that two dollars a day. Gaza has no functioning sea or airport facilities and all human and commercial traffic flows through Israeli-controlled (and sealed) border crossings, rendering it totally isolated. Due to the border closures, there are constant shortages of medical and food supplies, and now fuel supplies are also being used as a weapon, forcing electricity to be shut off across the strip for hours and sometimes days at a time. These actions represent a continuation of the siege and sanctions policy promoted by Abrams. As Dov Weinglass, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained the goal is to "put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." By adopting this strategy as their own, Abbas and Fayyad have demonstrated they are beyond redemption.
With each passing day the depth of the PA leadership's degeneracy is revealed. Their corruption and ineptitude, so blatant and glaring over the past 13 years, has now been supplemented by a cynicism and sadism directed toward their own people with the support and encouragement of the US, Israel, the European Union, and the international community. This leadership, which once proclaimed "revolution until victory," long ago abandoned that mantra and chose to turn rebellion into money. They have shamelessly ignored the needs and will of the Palestinian people and led them to the brink of ruin. Only by abandoning this leadership can Palestinians hope to reverse this course and ensure that they determine their own future. The choice has never been starker or more certain."