Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Plan for the West Bank

A Comment by Tony Sayegh

Events in occupied Palestine have been moving very rapidly and it is easy to get caught up in the details and miss the big picture; for that we need to step back a little to gain perspective.

Not everything that is taking place now is a reaction to what Usrael and its many cheerleaders call the “Hamas takeover” in Gaza. To use this narrative leads Robert Fisk to ask, “How do we deal with a coup d'état by an elected government?” Indeed! The main attribute of an elected government (assuming that the PA is a government) is the monopoly of the use of force to establish order and to defend itself. Hamas has the majority in parliament and in the “government” and it was facing an open rebellion by outside-supported Contras. It (Hamas) had to act and it did. Therefore, Hamas was reacting and not acting; the question is reacting to what?

The U.S. and Israel are in full agreement, in spite of the empty rhetoric, that Israel will not withdraw from the West Bank. To support this view, notice that Olmert has stopped talking about a unilateral “disengagement” in the West Bank, similar to what took place in Gaza. There is also a clear realization that Oslo has reached the end of the road; the question is what comes after it.

The extraordinary degree of coordination between Abbas and the puppet king of Jordan has been noticed for sometime; it seems that Abbas spends almost as much time in Amman as he does in the Green Zone in Ramallah. In fact before his announcement “dissolving” the Haniyyah government, Abbas consulted the little king. If we add to this picture the so-called Arab “peace initiative,” which the Arab regimes intend to use as a fig leaf to normalize relations with Israel in order to solidify the axis of “moderates” against the “real” enemy, Iran, we begin to see the outlines of the post-Oslo plan. It will involve separating (politically) the West Bank from Gaza (as Olmert will be urging Bush in their meeting next week) and dealing with it next.

By assuming dictatorial powers, Abbas can now rule by decree; he does not need to worry about “parliament” or Hamas. Not having any opposition in the West Bank and having the full backing of Usrael and all their Arab puppets, he is likely to tie what is left of the West Bank to Jordan. This will serve him both on the political level and in security matters.

After the dismal performance of Abbas’ “security” services in Gaza, with all of the arms and training by the U.S., Egypt and Jordan, there is probably a realization of the need for a Jordanian role to secure Abbas in the West Bank and to suppress any opposition. Already, large sweeps are taking place there to imprison all Hamas supporters. It will not stop with Hamas: As the contours of the planned sellout by Abbas become more obvious, the opposition to him will increase. He will not be able to rely on his own “security” services and he will need Jordanian forces.

At the political level, this Abbas-Abdullah sellout will be hailed as the greatest achievement for the causes of peace and “Arab unity.” A peace treaty with Israel will be concluded with the full blessing of the League of the Eunuchs. The Bantustans on the West Bank will be declared “liberated” and will be part of the new Jordan-Palestine Federation. Full Israeli colonization will proceed, of course, and those Bantustan residents who do not like it, can move to other parts of the Federation, east of the River. It is “transfer” made easy.

In the meantime, the Gaza Strip will be squeezed some more, with an “international” military force along all the borders, at the invitation (of course) of Abbas and the Arab regimes including Egypt. The plan is that Hamas will not be able to survive very long under such conditions and a large number of Palestinians will be forced to leave Gaza.

Gaza will be isolated and contained while the focus shifts to the West Bank, the Arab “peace initiative,” normalizing with Israel and the Palestinian-Jordanian “Federation.” Celebrate!

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