June 16, 2007
Gaza Stripped: Two Demi-Quasi-States, One People
It appears the folks who rather justly complain of having no country, now appear to have two. Well, three, if you count the old Likudnik view of Jordan. Or in the negative numbers, if reality functions as a point of reference.
Posted by Matthew Hogan at June 16, 2007 10:59 PM
Filed Under: Ethnic Minorities , Islam & Politics , Islam General , Levant , MENA Region General , Political Development , Society & Culture , Terrorism
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What's a little more fitna these days? The division makes sense actually, without it any presumed Palestinian state would have ended up like West/East Pakistan; the Israelis would have restricted access the way they do now.
Fatah has been a joke for 15 years, if they hadn't been Hamas would never have gained any credibility. Maybe, just maybe, Hamas can actually do something worthwhile in Gaza; at least they try to live up to maslaha, unlike Fatah 'leadership' who can go on negotiating with the Israelis, accomplishing nothing for the next generation.
Right now, it is what it is, and Hamas deserves the support of anybody who cares about the Palestinians.
Posted by: jr786 at June 17, 2007 08:20 AM
I may disagree with Hamas (vehemently so, on the abuses of Shariah and the use of suicide bombing and attacks on civilians) but anyone who believes that Fatah has done anything positive *lately, in the last 10 years* for the Palestinians needs to step up. Even secular and pro-Fatah people (al-Awda in Toronto) have told me they believe Hamas more clearly and coherently expresses Palestinian rage and self-determination than Fatah, some of whose leaders seem to see fit to leave their people in refugee camps for another 50 years, so long as they can keep their own villas and Swiss bank accounts.
The whole Arab world, starting with Egypt and Saudi, has some soul-searching to do... talking about `caring for your arab brothers` while actually supporting their repression, passively or actively like during the bombing of Lebanon, is craven and the locals are becoming tired. When people decide to do something in the best interest of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, and force a two-state solution, even if it`s at the cost of the Saudis shutting down the oil again and the region deciding to `eat grass` (to paraphrase Zia-ul-Haqq) to equalize power relationships with America and Israel...
or they could always decide to conduct the current corrupt relationships more openly, and say `screw the Palestinians, the Israelis pay better`...
Posted by: dawud at June 17, 2007 08:48 AM
Hamas saw an opening and took it.
They also only obey the law when it suits them and, in the end, think that their vision for Palestine is "True" one and everybody who doesn't subscribe to it is a traitor.
According to Palestinian law the president has the right to dissolve the government and declare emergency law and all that.
Now, having been to the West Bank (& Gaza) over the past years, I completely agree with my pre-posters' comments about Fatah/PLO. And I also think that the best way to deal with the situation is to recognize that Hamas is the de facto ruler of Gaza now and send humanitarian aid to ensure that Gaza's inhabitants don't have to suffer from the political fighting of the parties.
In the end, Hamas showed its true colors ...
Posted by: MSK at June 17, 2007 02:25 PM
so is it possible USA and Israel will erode what's left of Abbas' credibility by putting Gaza under yet more pressure while giving him an offer he can't refuse?
the idiocy & arrogance of U.S. and Israeli politicians knows no bounds - so, yes, that's entirely possible.
Posted by: MSK at June 18, 2007 03:14 AM
Hamas saw an opening and took it.I'm not sure what "opening" they saw. More likely it was some mirage of the ability to control their own lives free of Fatah, etc. But as I said this is an illusion. Hamas will no more control Gaza than Fatah controls the W. Bank. The real power is Israel & unfortunately both Fatah & Hamas played into Israel's hands in terms of giving legitimacy to an Israeli refusal to negotiate an end to the Occupation.
It's a sad, sad situation w. no hope whatsoever in sight.
Posted by: Richard Silverstein at June 18, 2007 04:45 AM
with "saw an opening" I meant an opportunity to neutralize the Fatah/PLO forces in Gaza. With Dahlan being abroad for medical treatment and the Fatah/PLO forces being not very centralized/coordinated ... Hamas made a move. Soon enough we'll find out how much that was planned in advance or not.
They now control Gaza. Let's see how that's gonna play itself out.
And yes, of course Israel is the main power - particularly as all vital lifelines (power, gas, even food) comes from Israel, not Egypt.
On the other hand, Israel doesn't physically occupy Gaza anymore and now we'll have to see whether it is willing to enter negotiations with Abbas & his people ...
PS: I NEVER give up hope. If I did, I'd've shot myself 20 years ago.
Posted by: MSK at June 18, 2007 04:54 AM
MSK commented about 'true colors'. Here's another reason to support Hamas:
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who met European foreign ministers in Luxembourg to press them to keep isolating Hamas, said Israel should seize an opportunity offered by the political divisions between the West Bank and Gaza.
"We should take advantage of this split to the end," Livni said. "It differentiates between the moderates and the extremists."
This is a naked admission of Fatah/Zionist co-dependency. Fatah collaborates with the Zionists and Christian neocons to make fitna amongst the Muslims. Perfect. I'm not very religious but surely this deserves at least some conscience on the part of ulema (5:51).
Posted by: jr786 at June 18, 2007 12:46 PM
Deserves conscience, never mind the religious angle. I'm not that keen on the theory this was planned by Israel, the newspapers seem genuinely concerned that Hamas took over. While ideas abound that this is about divide-and-conquer, the actual state of affairs for the past 10 years has been serving Israel's military and political interests, as they were, quite well. I can't really see how a Hamas-run Gaza could push things further in their favour. Politically, a peace process that was dead already is now officially deceased. So this is depressing news for the Israeli majority that has a genuine desire for peace. It's permanent war.
Posted by: Klaus at June 18, 2007 01:49 PM
Charles Levinson gives an interesting timeline of events in the 48 hours leading up to civil war in Gaza: http://conflictblotter.com/2007/06/17/the-48-hours-leading-up-to-civil-war/#comments
Posted by: c.sydow at June 18, 2007 05:59 PM
About the Likudnik view of Jordan, check out this interesting post at Abu Aardvark's.
Posted by: alle at June 19, 2007 06:33 AM
Well, it would be stupid to think that Hamas would let itself be trampled over without reacting, so opening or not, they just fought and won in Gaza.
And independently from whatever one might believe about Hamas, when it comes to democratically exercised power, they are more legitimate than Fatah: they have won the elections. Something Fatah has never been able to digest. They wanted a fight, they got it. So if you're on Fatah's side, stop whining about Big Bad Hamas, just say screw elections, we don't want Islamists, period.
"screw elections, we don't want Islamists, period." -- Algeria, 1991.
Posted by: matthew hogan at June 20, 2007 11:18 PM
Alaistar Crooke and Mark Perry of the Conflicts Forum ( http://conflictsforum.org/2007/the-palestinian-question-what-now/ ) have good analysis, as does Fareed Zakaria and others: it basically comes down to if America and Israel believe in their democracy and freedom rhetoric, sit down and start talking with Hamas, without preconditions and sincerely seek peace.
Of course, what Hamas and other Islamists are inclined to believe, and the reason their rhetoric is so harsh (I'm talking about the vast majority now, not al-Qaeda and their "Likudnik-sympathizing" extremists) is because "there's nobody to talk to"... which sounds awfully familiar. As many have pointed out, you don't make peace with friends, you make peace with your enemies - and getting to the table shouldn't be this difficult.
If America really doesn't give a f*** about anything but screwing over Islamists, then they should make Daniel Pipes and Spencer their ambassadors to Israel and chief negotiators, as some suspect has already occured.
Posted by: dawud at June 21, 2007 06:29 AM
Dawud who's Spencer?
Posted by: Tom Scudder at June 21, 2007 03:31 PM
Sorry - Robert Spencer of JihadWatch - both he and Daniel Pipes complain about not getting mainstream press and academic recognition for their screeds against Islam and Islamists... though Daniel Pipes did get added to the Orwellianly-named Institute for Peace...
I thought Daniel Pipes and Richard Spencer were infamous on the internet or at least famous for being noxiously anti-Islam...
Posted by: dawud at June 21, 2007 05:22 PM
Okay, me being blog-centric, the only "spencer" I could think of with a mid-east connection was spencer ackerman, who didn't seem to belong in that sentence.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at June 21, 2007 05:58 PM
From what I've seen Hamas had been planning this attack/coup for awhile, which isn't surprising, considering their past tension. I recall reading something about Hamas digging a tunnel under one of the security buildings in preparation - if the article was accurate, it wasn't just a tit for tat that spiralled out of control. It was a deliberate coup.
Obviously Fatah is corrupt, but I fail to see why people think that Hamas is going to rule in interests of the people. Most of them are angry young men with guns, many of them are extremists. this is normally not a recipe that leads to beneficent government.
Posted by: Dan at July 1, 2007 02:33 PM
Just a note, "Fatah collaborates with the Zionists and Christian neocons"
When you use the term "Zionists" in place of Israelis it makes it seem like you're slightly anti-semetic...
I mean, are you referring to Jews or Israelis, or the current Israeli government?
Some of the far-left and certain parts of the Arab world have begun to use "zionists" as code for "evil Jews (but we don't want to seem anti-semetic, but really we are - wink, wink)".
Just thought I would point it out to you, because it would be unfortunate if the term started to mar your actual arguments (whether or not I agree with them).
Posted by: Dan at July 1, 2007 02:45 PM
Just thought I would point it out to you, because it would be unfortunate if the term started to mar your actual arguments
My little finger makes me doubt this is some benevolent advice to jr786 and genuine concern about his arguments, and tells me it's more about ousting of respectable circles debates and negative views about an ideology (not a race/ethnicity/religion) you subscribe to.
dan -- I agree it sounds a bit conspiracy nuttish, to the European/American ear, but don't you think "Zionists" or "Zionism" are really the less racial terms, if the alternative is "Israelis" as a nationality? Especially since not all Israelis are fond of the occupation, and a fair number are even non- or anti-Zionists (namely the Arab/Palestinian citizens, and a tiny number of Jews).
That said, to use that term in that way does come with unavoidable associations that one would probably do better without, in Western/English forums. Debate being about communication etc.
Posted by: alle at July 1, 2007 05:11 PM
Also Zionists, broadly defined as those who support the existence of an Israeli state, are far from monolithic. There might still be a few socialist utopian Zionists in an Israeli retirement home somewhere.
If by Zionist you mean people who support some form of Greater Israel, who think that Palestinians have no true culture or identity and are simply barbarians who should be thankful the Jews, I mean Israelis are too civilized to simply kill them all, and who think that since THE WHOLE WORLD HATES THE JOOOOOS anyway, Israel is justified in whatever actions it takes...well, there should be some narrower word for this. Perhaps "Yahoos," since this gives a nod both to Dean Swift and Binyamin NetanYahoo.
There's also the problem that many people lean in this direction without their views going all the way to their logical, apocalyptic conclusion.
Anyway, jr786, if someone says "Let's take advantage of our enemies' infighting" it does not automatially mean that one faction in said infighting is actively conspiring with the external enemy.
Posted by: Antiquated Tory at July 2, 2007 07:37 AM