Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What to Expect Next?

By Tony Sayegh

Events are moving very rapidly in occupied Palestine. Israel Radio is reporting that Abbas is dissolving the "government" which means he will try to assume dictatorial powers. But what a "dictator!" This stooge is so inept and weak; he never scared anyone before, let alone now after his humiliating defeat by Hamas. His remaining Fatah commanders have asked the Israelis to give them safe passage by sea out of Gaza.

The concern is not about the puppet, but about what is being quickly put together. Again, last summer's Lebanon's experience is helpful in trying to predict a likely course of events. When Usrael could not break Hizbullah, attention was focused on the US-controlled Security Council. The puppet Arab regimes who wanted Hizbullah defeated worked feverishly with Usrael and France to pass a resolution expanding the powers of UNIFIL in south Lebanon.

I see something similar in Gaza. Already the Arab puppet regimes are planning to meet this Friday to discuss the "Palestinian crisis." Ban Ki-Moon is already discussing with the Security Council the establishment of a "multinational" (read NATO) force for Gaza. Olmert was the first to propose such a force and then the Arab puppets (including Abbas) jumped on the idea. Israel wants to be shielded by NATO forces from the north and from the south.

Hamas has to be alert and quick on its feet to stay ahead of the game. So far it has defeated the plans of Elliott Abrams and Condoleezza Rice, but the game will get even more complicated.

Some people are criticizing Hamas. I was surprised to read an editorial in Arabic today by Abdel Bari 'Atwan (Al-Quds Al-'Arabi), a journalist whom I admire, in which he took Hamas to task. I disagree with him in that Hamas had no choice; the battle was brought to its front door. I agree that Hamas should try to avoid isolation in Gaza, because this is part of the plan. Hamas should work with patriotic elements from all Palestinian groups, including Fatah. The going will get tougher and Hamas has to make sure that the majority of the people are with it.

In this situation a look back at Hizbullah and last summer in south Lebanon might be helpful to Hamas in charting a course in this minefield.

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