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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Israel, U.S. Complain About Not Being Able to Divide and Rule the Palestinians


This week the Fateh Party (secular Arab nationalist) of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas met in Gaza with members of the Hamas Party (fundamentalist Muslim), seeking a reconciliation and a government of national unity.

The Ra’y News Service of Gaza wrote, “The Palestinian Government has welcomed the [reconciliation] delegation sent by President Mahmud Abbas. It also welcomed the arrival of Dr Musa Abu-Marzuq, member of Hamas Political Bureau, into Gaza. The Government further voiced its full support for the efforts exerted to achieve national reconciliation.”  (trans. via BBC Monitoring)

The two sides agreed that in 5 weeks a government of national unity will be appointed by Mahmoud Abbas.  There will then be new elections for a president and parliament, to be held no later than 6 months after the new government is sworn in.’

Many observers are deeply skeptical that anything will come out of this diplomatic step.  It seeks to reverse a 7-year-old political schism in the Palestinian movement.  In January 2006, the fundamentalist Hamas Party won the parliamentary elections.  This outcome was not acceptable to Israel and the Bush administration, and they connived with the secular Palestine Liberation Organization to overthrow the Hamas government in the West Bank, in which they succeeded.  A similar attempt at a coup in the Gaza Strip failed, however.  Gradually journalists and politicians have forgotten who was elected and who made the coup, so that you often see the Hamas government in Gaza described as the one that came to power by force.  Rather, it is the remnant of the decision the electorate made in 2006. 

In 2007 Israel put Gaza under a severe blockade, including its civilian population, which has destroyed the economy, created massive unemployment, and caused a majority of families to be food insecure.  It is illegal for an Occupying power to impose collective punishment on a civilian population for which it has responsibility.


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