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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

'Palestinian' unity to be restored

The US and Israel have both been pouring money and military training into 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah government in a bid to 'strengthen' Abu Mazen against Hamas. What will they do when Hamas and Fatah kiss and make up? That hasn't happened yet, but all indications are that it will even if Gaza continues to be ruled by Hamas and the 'Palestinians' in Judea and Samaria by Fatah at least for the time being. Here are four indications from today's news.

First, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that 'over time' a dialogue will develop between Abu Mazen (second from left in the picture at the top of this post) and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal (third from left in the same picture), and that "there will be no separation between Gaza and the 'West Bank.'"

Second, the deputy head of military intelligence, Colonel Ronen Cohen, told the committee that over the past few days there has been no activity by Fatah against Hamas in the 'West Bank,' that Hamas wants to resume dialogue with Arab countries and that it understands that to do so, it must first reconcile itself with Fatah.
"The dust has settled and life has gone back to normal," Cohen said, adding that at the same time, the PA has an interest in proving that Hamas in Gaza has failed and "life is flourishing and stable."

Cohen also said MI believed Hamas could rehabilitate itself in the West Bank. "It must not be forgotten that it won the election in almost all the big cities. It is not the PA that is preventing Hamas from establishing itself militarily in the West Bank, but rather the IDF and the Shin Bet security service. As long as the IDF is in the territories, Hamas can't reach the same military level as in Gaza," Cohen said. [Now there's an argument for keeping Judea and Samaria if I ever heard one. CiJ]

The deputy MI chief also told the committee that in the West Bank and in Gaza there are "two governments and two entities" that can hold on for a long time.

Cohen said Hamas, which is suffering a manpower problem in Gaza, has begun drafting people from the former PA and Fatah security forces. For example, it is hiring professionals who worked at the border crossings, assuming that the crossings will open and Hamas will need them.

According to Cohen, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal lost control of events during the battles between Fatah and Hamas, and he is now "taking back control of Gaza" because "he is sitting on the money that is transfered to Hamas in Gaza."
Third, Israel Radio reported this morning that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman called 'moderate' ex-'Palestinian Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh and urged him to talk with Abu Mazen.

And fourth, while Fatah is refusing to transfer money to pay workers hired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, it is paying money to workers hired by it, including those who are affiliated with Hamas.
Abbas’ emergency government, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, plans to pay all Palestinian Authority workers—excluding up to 23,000 who report to Hamas—their first full wages in 17 months starting on Wednesday.

Fayyad will be able to pay the full salaries now that Israel, the United States and other major Western powers have ended their crippling economic embargo of the Palestinian Authority after Abbas sacked Haniyeh’s government last month.

Economic sanctions remain in place against Hamas in its Gaza stronghold. Haniyeh has refused to recognise Abbas’ order disbanding his government, which followed this Islamist Hamas’ seizure of control in the Gaza Strip on June 14.

Fayyad’s payments will go to nearly 140,000 Palestinian Authority workers, including tens of thousands in Gaza, according to Western diplomats.


But up to 23,000 workers hired under Hamas after it won January 2006 parliamentary elections will be excluded from Fayyad’s payroll, an aide to Haniyeh said. Also excluded are nearly 6,000 members of Hamas’ elite Executive Force, which played a key role in the fighting that routed Fatah in Gaza.
But 'Palestinian Authority' employees in Gaza (and in Judea and Samaria for that matter) who are members of Hamas will still be paid. As will employees who are supposedly affiliated with Fatah who may have switched sides in the past two weeks.

Could someone please remind me again why the international boycott of the 'Palestinian Authority' was lifted?

Update 11:30 AM

Make that five indications. Here is number 5:

Fifth, the 'West Bank' head of the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa television station was released from detention by Fatah's 'preventive security' today.


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