Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Israel, Palestinian power struggles, and the Palestinians stuck in the middle

While Israel reinvigorates its campaign of illegal, extrajudicial murder of militants and civilians, the two main Palestinian political groups appear content to fight each other instead of the occupation. In what must rank as one of the most shameful acts in recent memory, Fatah militants, armed thugs from President Abbas' own party, trashed the Palestinian Legislative Assembly. If ever there were an emblem of Fatah's contempt for democracy this latest act may be it.

In truth, I believe Fatah is quite committed to insuring that a democratically elected Hamas government fails. Fatah does this in the knowledge that the international community, most notably the United States and the European Union, will favour Fatah over Hamas, even where the latter has been democratically chosen by the Palestinian people. As you may know, the US and EU have frozen aid to the Palestinian Authority, leading to sanction-like conditions in most of the Occupied Territories and the inability of the PA to pay its employees. In this way, the international community further undermines Palestinian attempts at statehood. In the process, it also strengthens the hand of the most extreme, typically religious elements of Palestinian society (such as Islamic Jihad) who do not believe in dialogue and have no interest in considering it.