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Saturday, September 06, 2008

The 'post-Abbas era'?

Mark January 9, 2009 on your calendars. It's the day that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is scheduled to enter into political retirement. Writing in the weekend's JPost, security expert Yaakov Katz says that no one really knows what's going to happen once Abu Mazen goes. But it's not likely to be pretty.
According to the PA constitution, the next in line to succeed him is Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik. The only problem is that Dweik is a senior member of Hamas and has been sitting in an Israeli jail cell since August 2006.

The next in line - Ahmed Baher, the deputy speaker - is no better. He is also a member of Hamas and lives in the Gaza Strip.

The ramifications of Baher's potential appointment are frightening for Israel and particularly for Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), who has begun warning the cabinet, the US and the European Union of this "looming threat."

If a Hamas member becomes president of the PA, Israel will find itself in a quandary, mainly since its official policy is not to speak to any member of the terror group. What will happen when issues arise - as they do numerous times a day - that require Israel to coordinate with the PA? Now the entire PA is Hamas.

Abbas is aware of this problem, but for the time being he does not have a legal solution. One possibility is that he will be able to reach an agreement with Hamas over the next four months to extend his term by at least another year. Predictions in Jerusalem are that the chances of this happening are slim, since Hamas will make its own demands in return - such as the opening of the Rafah crossing and permission to bring more money into Gaza to solidify its regime.

The second possibility is for Abbas to declare Gaza a "rebellious province" and as a result dissolve the cabinet, establish an emergency government led by current Prime Minister Salaam Fayad and then hold elections in four months. But this is risky. While the Israeli intelligence community believes Fatah is more popular than Hamas on the Palestinian street, it is not sure that Abbas will be able to translate that popularity into votes.
Abu Mazen's 'retirement' is scheduled to take place while the US is in transition from one administration to the other and while Israel also may be in the middle of an election campaign.

One lesson that should be drawn from this is just how meaningless 'peace' with the 'Palestinians' would be. We would give up real assets - land - and in return we would get a 'peace' that in a best case scenario would last as long as the leader who made it with us. But that's a lesson we should have learned thirty years ago. Remember Anwar Sadat? Here's an example of how much the Egyptians hate us to this day. A film maker who made a documentary that did not vilify Israel sufficiently had her membership in the film makers' union suspended.
Delving into sensitive political and emotional terrain, Kamel documented the story of Mary Rosenthal, an Italian of a Jewish decent who converted to Islam and married an Egyptian Muslim more than five decades ago. Like her husband, Rosenthal joined the ranks of the Egyptian communist opposition. This conviction forced her to sever ties with her Jewish relations who had settled in Israel, a state the Arab left condemned as a seat of imperialism. But the familial split never felt right, and 60 years later Rosenthal decided to end the estrangement and visited her Israeli cousins.

In “Salata Baladi” or “Home Salad,” Kamel follows the footsteps of her 77-year-old mother across Egypt, Italy and Israel over the course of six years. But, like so many things between Arabs and Jews, the film became more controversial than one woman’s journey to back to her roots. The Egyptian press was inflamed, and many critics dismissed the movie as a call to normalize relations with the Jewish state, an apologist narrative to downplay Israeli aggression. Kamel’s membership in the filmmaker’s union was suspended.

"What I did is not normalizing with the state of Israel; I visited my family and made a film about the Egyptian identity…. This does not mean I condone the Israeli policies,” said Kamel.

"My support to the Palestinian cause has not changed," contended Kamel. "I do not believe in boycotting human beings. As a rule, I don't boycott Israeli individuals, but I do boycott business with Israeli institutions.”

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Although the agreement called for normal political and economic relations, most Egyptians never reconciled making peace with the enemy of the Arab world.
With the 'Palestinians,' it could only be worse.

1 Comments:

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