Posts Tagged PA
It was even looking like they were going to get support and declare their own state. The infrastructure was almost there, support was growing, the international aid was pouring in.
The announcement last night that a unity government had been agreed to again all but sealed it – the Palestinians are finally united. It would be far harder (but still possible) for Israel to claim that there was no one to negotiate with anymore.
The deal brings with it the risk of alienating the Western support that the Palestinian Authority has enjoyed. Azzam al-Ahmad, the Fatah negotiator, said that Salam Fayyad, the prime minister in the West Bank who is despised by Hamas, would not be part of the interim government. It is partly because of Mr. Fayyad, and the trust he inspires in Washington, that hundreds of millions of dollars are provided annually to the Palestinian Authority by Congress. Without that aid, the Palestinian Authority would face great difficulties.
Fayyad is the reason the PA are in the position where they can be talking about statehood. All of the positive developments – from the economy to the roads to the law enforcement to the security – all of them, are because of his competent management of the PA.
Doing any kind of deal with Hamas is a risk to say the least – Hamas have been amping-up aggression recently and are still rejected by most Western countries. They could maybe have pulled it off, but if they allow Hamas to pressure them into firing Fayyad, there is no way that this will get anywhere. The last “unity government” ended in a civil conflict that killed more people than were killed in Gaza during Cast-Lead. I see little reason why this would be any different.
I bet you’re all outraged right now, I would be too. For the record, a Palestinian state is not only a very good idea, but a necessity – there is no way this conflict will ever be solved otherwise.
But there’s one little caveat: it has to be reached through some sort of agreement. Not even a bilateral agreement, I woud argue that it has to be an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian authority, as well as the US, the Arab League, the UN and possibly the Hamas and the EU. Without all of those parties agreeing, there won’t truly be a solution. This is why the idea of Palestine unilaterally declaring a state scares me so much, but they keep threatening to do it:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been dropping hints that he will leave his post in September should negotiations with Israel not resume by then, and should there be no agreement about the establishment of a Palestinian state.
During a meeting in Ramallah with members of the Council for Peace and Security (who include former top IDF officers ), Abbas declared that the PA intends to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state, and to win Israeli recognition for such a state. However, he indicated, if no accord is reached between the two sides, and if serious talks do not resume, the PA will turn to the UN General Assembly in September and request recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Let me take you back to 1987. A lot of stuff happened in that year, good stuff. For instance, your humble author was born, meaning that you get to be reading this right now.
One thing that happened in 1987 is that Arafat declared a Palestinian state and had it recognised by a bunch of other UN states and was bringing it to the General Assembly (GA).
The next thing that happened was the first intifada.
You know what’s going to happen when the UN votes on this? If the UN rejects it, the Palestinian people will not be happy. If the UN accepts it, nothing will change on the ground, the Palestinian people will not be happy. What happens when the Palestinian people, en-masse, aren’t happy? An Intifada.
This also kind of means that Israel would no longer be in a grey area and would be actually breaking international law. Except that under international law, when one sovereign nation attacks another, that is mandate for a war of self-defence, which justifies occupying territory until the conflict is no longer a concern. Rocket attacks from Gaza? Hey, now Bibi has a mandate to re-occupy the territory. It’s also a great way to see checkpoints and curfews re-instated and life getting much worse for Palestinians in the West Bank. Plus there will be more terror attacks in Israel, which are never fun.
On the other hand, the GA has passed so many sanctions against Israel by now that if anything the GA ever did actually had an effect, Israel would have been abolished many times over. Regardless of a GA motion recognising Palestine, as long as the US still supports Israel in the Security Council, nothing will come of it.
Remember that every state who cares boycotts Israel anyway – all Islamic states have had official boycotts going back decades, most won’t even permit anyone to enter the country if they have an Israeli stamp in their passport. The only two with any kind of relationship with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.
If the US does stop supporting Israel over this (which is a possibility with Obama), that will make Israel completely isolated, which will make it feel alone and attacked. What do Israelis do when they feel alone and attacked? Vote Likkud – look at 1997, 2003, 2009 etc. What will Likkud do? change nothing. What happens then? Intifada.
This path will lead to war. That will undo all of the progress that the PA has made to get to the point where it could maybe run a state and bring us right back to 1987. It’s a very bad move, I sincerely hope that Abbas and Fayyad are just posturing.
A Palestinian state is necessary, but the way to get there is through cooperation and dialogue, not unilateral moves and certainly not violence.
For a little more background, see: Co-operation, not collision, with Israel is the only route out for the Palestinian Authority – On Line Opinion – 13/1/2011.
I woke up this morning to the following news:
JERUSALEM suffered its first bombing in seven years today when an explosive device hidden in a shopping bag blew up at a bus station during the rush hour, killing one woman and wounding 30.
…Shattered glass from the windows of the bus were strewn across the pavement, which was scorched and smeared with blood.
The attack comes after a fortnight of rising tensions in the Palestinian territories that culminated in a series of military strikes on Gaza.
The group believed to be behind the attack is the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Al-Qaeda affiliated group that takes a more militant stance than Hamas, which has been moderated recently by responsibility. The attack coincided with renewed rocket strikes and was probably in retaliation to a recent Israeli strike that took-out some PIJ leaders:
The attack which rocked the entrance to the capital on Wednesday morning came just hours after two Grad-model Katyusha rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Beersheba and another hit south of Ashkelon.
…Islamic Jihad had vowed to retaliate against an air strike on Tuesday which killed four of its senior operatives.
This is an absolutely disgusting and inexcusable act, but there has been a whole build-up to this. I know that I’ve been MIA for a few days, but if I had more time to write, I would have been writing about the escalating tensions in this conflict.
Of course, Israel’s strike that killed four militants did not just kill four militants, unfortunately:
Eyewitnesses said that seven tank shells slammed a playground where children were playing soccer, adding two other shells crashed through the ceiling of a nearby house, injuring six women.
Relatives of those killed said they prevented a group of Palestinian militants from firing mortars into Israel from an area that is adjacent to their houses just half an hour before Israeli tanks fired the shells.
But militants waited until people went for prayers at the neighborhood’s mosque and sent a round of mortar shells beyond the Israel-Gaza borderline, which is a little less than half a mile away from the bombed area.
Although that story does not exactly exonerate PIJ from the killings either.
And then there’s the Itamar massacre on the weekend, which was a complete act of brutality that saw a family literally butchered in their own home:
On March 11, five members of the Fogel family were hideously knifed in their own home at Itamar – the parents Udi and Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, three-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas. The throats of Udi, Yoav and tiny Hadas were slit in their beds. Elad suffered two stab wounds to his heart.
This was anything but a chance mishap.
This was premeditated, beyond cold-hearted.
The homicides were the handiwork of terrorists who encountered their blameless victims face-to-face and, with malice aforethought, did not shrink from piercing an infant’s neck.
The other piece of the puzzle from Israel’s perspective is a sudden and massive increase in rocket fire from Gaza.
Tuesday’s violence came amid a sharp increase in tensions along the Israel-Gaza border in recent days. Hamas has fired more than 60 rockets at Israel since Saturday, and Israeli warplanes and artillery units have carried out repeated attacks. Both sides claim they are retaliating and not seeking an escalation in the conflict, but fears of a repeat of the Israeli war here two years ago were palpable.
And there’s truth to that “tit-for-tat” statement, both sides have been escalating this situation whilst simultaneously calling for the other to stop. It’s like a retarded game of chicken where everyone loses.
Hamas has committed to keeping the truce, but admitted that it voluntarily increased rocket fire:
He confirmed that Hamas was behind last Saturday’s barrage of mortar attacks on Israel. He claimed that the attacks were a “natural response to the ongoing crimes of the Zionist enemy.”
Abu Obaida said that the attacks came in response to the recent killing by the IDF of Ghassan Abu Amer and Adnan Ishtawi, two Hamas activists.
“The enemy will pay a heavy price if it continues its aggression on the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman cautioned.
And then Israel has re-iterated that it will hold Hamas responsible for every attack:
The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers, and will continue to respond harshly to combat terror. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it.
This may not be entirely fair, as it is not clear how much control Hamas has over PIJ. In fact, there have been reports that Hamas is trying to reduce their activity:
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s office said yesterday that Haniyeh had phoned the secretary general of Islamic Jihad, Abdallah Ramadan Salah, in Damascus. Pundits in Gaza said Haniyeh asked Salah to stop the escalation, for which Islamic Jihad is mainly responsible.
Although Hamas didn’t exactly seem bothered by the attack in Jerusalem, which luckily the PA at least condemned:
Referring to the possibility that Palestinians were behind the attack, Fayyad said it would it be despicable if any Palestinian party was involved, especially in light of the huge damage that such attacks have inflicted on the Palestinians in the past.
Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip hailed the attack as a “natural response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians.”
The big worry here is that the situation will return to 2007/08 levels, which Israel managed to repair only through a huge military operation. Hopefulyl the sides will see sense, but this has been coming for a while.
There is a whole other side to the past week, which is the games being played between the PA and Hamas, as well as a few settlement issues that were overshadowed by all this violence. This post is getting too long, so you can look forward to that tomorrow.
chicken, clusterfuck, Fayyad, Gaza, Hamas, Haniyeh, Israel, Itamar massacre, Jerusalem, massacre, PA, Palestine, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PNA, rising tensions, Salaam Fayyad, terrorism
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Major Karnage is a young professional based in Sydney, Australia. He may or may not be a part of some conspiracy controlling your media, depending entirely on how inclined you are to believe those kinds of things.
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