Sunday, January 28, 2007
Palestinians fight and Israelis smile
Israel's plan is working. Nineteen Palestinians were killed in internecine fighting yesterday in the Gaza strip; seventy-something were injured. Here in the West Bank, twenty-five Hamas activists were captured by Fateh armed men. I'm sure you've read this, or will read it, in American or European press. I will therefore tell you some things you probably will not read there.
Firstly, in a development that I cannot quite understand yet, as soon as it became apparent that Fateh was going to do their dirty work for them, the Israelis slightly eased travel restrictions on Palestinians traveling throughout the West Bank.
Second, an arms race, led, as usual, by the United States and its ally, Israel, has begun in the Palestinian occupied territories. Ha'aretz reported today that in yesterday's fighting, Fateh men were able to ward off a group of Hamas militants using 'armored vehicles and personnel carriers' (in other words, military jeeps and small tanks). Never have the Palestinians, any of them, had access to such weaponry. The arms race is a central part of the United States' and Israel's plan to overthrow the Palestinian elected government in a violent coup. Like many of their most brilliant and sinister ideas, this one revolves around the age-old colonial tactic of employing one faction of the dispossessed to do their bidding for them and crush those who are slightly more radical in opposition to the colonists. Fateh is this easy-to-control faction, and they are indeed following through with the Bush-Olmert plan to destroy the legitimacy of the Palestinian government---and along the way, distract the Palestinians from doing what they should be doing. That is, fighting the occupation and developing, not demolishing, their society.
I wrote a while back about how this is happening but for simplicity's sake will say it again. The US has pledged 80 million dollars to the Palestinians. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, ALL of the money will be controlled not by the Parliament, but by Abbas himself. Most of it is earmarked for the military training, by American commanders, of Abbas' 'Presidential Guard'. Death squad, anyone?
Meanwhile, as the US beefs up Fateh's so-called 'security' services, Iran and Syria are reportedly following suit in increasing their military aid and weapons shipments to the Hamas fighters.
Sounds like Afghanistan, huh? Well, I wouldn't be surprised if, and in fact will predict here for the world to see, that these weapons, both those of Fateh and Hamas, someday end up killing or targeting the occupation. Unfortunately, that day is not today. In the meantime, Palestinians are engaging in a West-driven power struggle over the keys to the government. Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens are still under occupation, and the government seems to have forgotten about its responsibilities to its people.
Finally, and most horrifyingly, I read today on the Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper the following headline, 'A Relative Win', followed by the byline 'For the first time since clashes began, Hamas casualties outnumbered those of Fateh'.
I click on the link to the story, nervous about what I assume I will find therein---Israelis gloating about how this one tactic in their larger strategy to destroy the Palestinians is succeeding. (Hurrah!) Unfortunately, my assumption is mostly correct. And even more disturbing are the comments left by Israeli and foreign readers. Just a sample of the racist remarks: 'Sadly, this is how the Arabs of Palestine communicate' and 'May it continue to be a back and forth battle'.
Check out the article for yourself if you like: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/818366.html
But! If you are going to read those half-truths, please also see this brilliant piece by Hasan Abu Nimah, the former Jordanian representative to the United Nations:
And see this one, too, by longtime MidEast reporter Jonathan Cook:
Or, for a primer of the 'civil war' situation and how it developed, see the ElectronicIntifada sourcepage at: