Monday, July 2, 2007

Fatah is waiting for Israel

By Danny Rubinstein

"......Although there are differences of opinion in the Hamas leadership - and one can distinguish between those who are more extreme and those who are less so - the Fatah leadership, in contrast to them, is a pile of ruins. A large group of Fatah leaders in Gaza is conducting a friendly dialogue with Hamas, and some are even openly cooperating with Hamas. From some of the Fatah leadership in the West Bank there have been demonstrations of friendliness toward Hamas. At the end of last week Nabil Amr, Abu Mazen's intimate adviser, declared that a member of the Fatah central committee, Hani al-Hassan, had reached a low point with respect to collaboration with Hamas (because of an interview that Al-Hassan gave to Al Jazeera).

The embarrassment and confusion in the top echelons of Fatah stem first and foremost from the clear impression that the Palestinian street favors Hamas. In light of this, there is now a situation where Fatah activists on the West Bank are waiting for the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces to do their dirty work of repressing and eliminating Hamas in Gaza. Israel will punish Gaza by imposing a siege, with limitations on electricity and water and to some extent on food as well. The IDF will bomb and destroy the area from Beit Hanun to Rafah. Arab states will also benefit from that, since the continuation of Hamas rule in Gaza encourages the Muslim opposition in their countries.

The loser will be Israel, which will be accused once again of crimes against the civilian population. Among the leadership of the PA, in most of the Arab regimes, and of course in Europe, America and Israel, nobody wants Hamas, whose support comes mainly from the general Palestinian public. It is clear today to every Palestinian that if Hamas is not in the game, then there is no game. Abu Mazen will not be able to fulfill any agreement with Israel without an arrangement with Hamas. Abu Mazen and the PLO, and the Arab regimes, have to get along with Hamas, and not with the "help" of a siege, or via assassinations or starvation policies carried out by Israel."

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