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Friday, February 13, 2009

Oh joy! Time Magazine says Fatah weighing new intifadeh

Time Magazine is reporting that the 'good terrorists' from Fatah are weighing a new 'direct confrontation' with Israel in Judea and Samaria.
Fatah leaders see the Israeli election as confirming what they already knew: there's nothing to be gained by continuing the charade of U.S.-sponsored talks-about-talks with the Israelis. They could not get what they needed from Olmert, and they know that his successors will take even more of a hard line. From the Palestinian perspective, the past eight years of waiting for negotiations with Israel have left Abbas empty-handed, while the latest Gaza conflict has put Hamas in a stronger position than ever in the court of Palestinian public opinion. Despite the violence by Hamas gunmen against Fatah activists in Gaza since the Israeli offensive, many in Fatah view their movement's only hope of re-establishing a leading role in Palestinian politics as joining a unity government with Hamas - and beginning to directly challenge the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. The fact that such a sentiment coincides with Israel's electing a more hawkish government suggests that the Middle East could be in for a long, hot summer.


An independent Palestinian polling organization found last week that, for the first time, Hamas has greater political support than Fatah across the West Bank and Gaza, and that it would win any election that were held right now. Aides to Abbas are reportedly anxious that an Israel-Hamas deal to secure the release of the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza could involve releasing the Hamas parliamentarians currently in Israeli detention. The Palestinian legislature is currently unable to meet because Israel is holding those lawmakers; if it were able to convene, Hamas would be the majority party.

Hamas could, in fact, use its majority to bring down the government of President Abbas, but it's unlikely to do that because its own best interests lie in reconstituting a unity government with Abbas. Reports from Cairo, where Egypt is brokering truce arrangements, suggest that Hamas has accepted the idea that forces loyal to Abbas be placed in control of the border crossings into Gaza to allow the crossings to be reopened. And much of Fatah's rank and file is pressing for a unity government - an option forcefully opposed by the Bush Administration. Fatah is due to elect new leadership next month; while Abbas may survive in a titular leadership position, control of the organization is likely to pass to a younger, more militant generation that is more inclined to make common cause with Hamas.

Of course, the Israelis, whether led by the Likud Party's Benjamin Netanyahu or Kadima's Tzipi Livni, will flatly refuse to talk to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas. But that may not deter Fatah, since the movement has gained little by talking to Israeli governments that are plainly unwilling to meet the Palestinians' bottom lines. Abbas, even in the eyes of many in his movement, gambled everything on the willingness of the U.S. to press the Israelis to deliver a credible two-state peace solution and lost. Now, many of those in Fatah are inclined to bet on a third intifadeh. After all, in the short term at least, the status quo works for the Israelis - as long as there are no missiles raining down on Israel from Gaza. But for the Palestinians, the continued occupation in the West Bank is untenable. And it will not have been lost on Fatah activists that Hamas' more confrontational stance has forced the Israelis, however reluctantly, to the negotiating table, as in the case of the Egypt-brokered Gaza truce negotiations.
Read the whole thing (warning: it has a very biased tone against Israel).

Unfortunately, this all sounds quite plausible and it is all the more reason for Israel not to take risks like giving the 'Palestinian police' trained by General Dayton control over more areas in Judea and Samaria. One of the first events of the Oslo War (called the 'second intifadeh' by the 'Palestinians') was the murder of an Israeli soldier by his 'Palestinian' partner in a joint patrol. It's also all the more reason for Israel to batten down the hatches and install a government that will stand up to the 'Palestinians.'


At 1:13 AM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

Once again, we see them overplaying their hand. They get a little support when compared to Hamas, they get deals from Egypt, the US, the UN, the EU--and they think they have the clout to begin another round of terrorism.

There is good news about this though. If you thought Israel had good intelligence regarding Hamas, they have superb intelligence regarding Fatah.

On a hard political note, they are trying to end their present war with Hamas by forming a coalition of killing Jews--a topic on which everyone seems to agree.

Oh well, I guess those plans for a state of their own will just be on hold a little bit longer. And yet, if they had a state of their own their first order of business would be to declare war on Israel. Because they will of course overplay their hand.

All that's left is the casting--is Fatah Thelma or Louise? Same question for Hamas.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Israel wanted to do a Thelma and Louise, we'd get to see the ending. Let's pray it never happens!

At 1:22 AM, Blogger {a}don Xaxam said...

Heh! what could you expect from the "true friend of Israel" like Tony Caron? (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1878943,00.html)


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