Thursday, September 28, 2006

The seeds of disaster

The prospects for a national unity government are fading fast, reports
Khaled Amayreh from the West Bank
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Another factor militating against recognition of Israel by Hamas is the widespread suspicion that Israel is only using the issue as propaganda tool, something Israel's treatment of the PA during the Oslo years (1994-2000) confirms. Despite the fact that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat formally recognised Israel and agreed to annul the Palestinian National Charter, which called for Israel's destruction, successive Israeli governments continued to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank, effectively killing any prospect for the creation of a viable and territorially contiguous state.

Hamas believes Israel and the US are attempting to undermine the movement's credibility with its supporters by forcing it to walk in the footsteps of Fatah and adopt the very Oslo path that led to more Jewish settlements and now the gigantic apartheid wall which has turned Palestinian population centres in the West Bank into detention camps.

Yet Hamas must deal with the pressing problems facing Palestinian society, the suffocating economic crisis, deepening poverty, and even the threat of starvation that has resulted from the Israeli-American financial blockade. The government has been unable to pay the salaries of more than 160,000 civil servants and public employees, including school teachers, who are now on strike for the fourth consecutive week.

There is, yet still, another, even more disastrous prospect: Abbas, under intense pressure from certain pro-American Fatah quarters, might resort to dissolving the Hamas-dominated Legislative Council and form a national emergency government. And that, most people agree, would lead to the prospect of bloodshed between Fatah and Hamas. The only winner in such a conflict would be Israel."

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