The Hamas government crackdown on Mohamed Dahlan’s corrupt security forces and affiliated gangs in the Gaza Strip in June appears to mark a turning point in the Bush administration’s foreign policy regarding
It’s vital that we keep this seemingly obvious reality at the forefront of any political discussion dealing with the conflict: the occupied Palestinian territories represent a mere 22 per cent of historic
By prolonging Gazan strife, thus the Palestinian split, Israel will acquire the time required to consolidate its colonial project, and to further rationalise its unilateral policies vis-Ã -vis matters that should, naturally, be negotiated with the Palestinians.
Moreover, one must not lose sight of the regional context. The Israeli lobby and its neo- conservative allies in the US administration and in the media are eager for a military showdown with Iran, which would weaken Syria’s political standing in any future negotiation with Israel in regards to the occupied Golan Heights, and which would obliterate the military strength of Hizbullah, proven to be the toughest enemy Israel has ever faced in its decades-long conflict with the Arabs.
Thus, its was of paramount importance for Hamas’s “rise” to be linked directly to its relations with Iran; such ties, although greatly exaggerated, are now readily used as a rationale to explain Bush’s seemingly historic move from backing Israel from a discreet distance (so as not to appear too involved) to initiating an international peace conference aimed solely at isolating Hamas, which would further weaken the Iranian camp in the Middle East.
It also explains the abundant support offered by autocratic Arab regimes to Abbas, and Arab leaders’ warnings about the rise of an Iranian menace. On the one hand, eliminating Hamas would send an unambiguous message to their own political Islamists; on the other, it’s a message to
Similarly, to ensure its own relevance, Abbas’s Fatah is actively coordinating with
The moment Abbas declared his arguably unconstitutional emergency government, the suffocating sanctions were lifted — or more accurately, on the West Bank only. To ensure that no aid reaches anyone who defies his regime, Abbas’s office revoked the licences of all NGOs operating in
Weapons and military training have also arrived in abundance. Palestinians who have been denied the right to defend themselves, and for decades described as “terrorist”, are suddenly the recipients of many caches of weapons coming from all directions.
As for regional and international legitimacy, the Bush administration “decided” to change its policy to one of direct engagement, calling for an international
The reality is that there has been no change in American foreign policy regarding
While Abbas and his men might bask in the many bonuses they are receiving in exchange for their role in destroying the Palestinian national project, the future will prove that Israel’s “goodwill gestures”, the support of the Israeli lobby in Washington, and the latter’s generosity will not last. Abbas could as easily find himself a prisoner in the basement of his own presidential compound, just like his predecessor, if he dares assert the legitimate rights of his people, by far the ultimate losers in this shameless battle.
-Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in numerous newspapers and journals worldwide, including the Washington Post, Al Ahram Weekly and Le Monde Diplomatique. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press,