Friday, February 13, 2009

Fatah’s Long March

By Tony Karon

"The rank-and-file of Fatah has long known that Mahmoud Abbas’ habit of jumping through hoops for Condi Rice was political suicide, and that much has been confirmed in recent weeks: Hamas has emerged from the Gaza war stronger than ever politically, and Abbas’ blaming of Hamas for the carnage at the beginning of Israel’s operation cast him as a collaborator in the eyes of many of his own people. Abbas has spent eight years sitting politely in the back seat of the Bush/Condi limo, pretending that endless photo ops with Olmert and Livni were actually part of a process towards ending the occupation. But they couldn’t even give him a “shelf” agreement for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and sharing Jerusalem. If Olmert couldn’t do even the fetish deal envisaged by Bush, then what could Abbas expect from an Israeli government that will be ten steps to the right? Now, Fatah will seek to redeem itself by reverting to a path of struggle, with its Mahmoud Abbas Old Guard soon to be eclipsed by the Barghouti generation.....

Israel abandoned Oslo eight years ago when Sharon was elected; now, the Palestinian leadership appear to realize that it’s over, and that there’s no diplomatic route in the near term to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. For the new Administration in Washington, that means their working assumptions need to be those of 1988, not 1998 or 2008."

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