Shameless in Ramallah

03/06/2008

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

In order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from
Israel and her guardian-ally, the United States, the
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) is betraying the
very people it claims to represent and its enduring
national cause in ways unprecedented in living memory.

This scandalous betrayal assumes many forms, including
brazen “security coordination” with the occupation army,
arresting and torturing political opponents on Israel’s
behalf and tacitly encouraging Israel to close down or
seize Islamic-oriented orphanages and boarding schools in
Hebron.

It is also widely believed that there is a deep collusion
between Israel and the PA in maintaining and even
tightening the year-long hermetic blockade Israel is
imposing on Gaza, which has killed hundreds of people and
pushed the estimated 1.5 million inhabitants of the coastal
enclave to the brink of famine.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rev. Desmond Tutu
recently used strong words to describe the outrageous
situation in Gaza.

The former Archbishop of Cape Town denounced the
international community for its “silence and complicity,”
saying the situation in Gaza “shames us all.” And President
Carter called the nefarious blockade “ a horrible crime.”

It is really lamentable that not only the international
community, including, disgracefully enough, key Arab
states, is silent in the face of the Gaza outrage.

The PA, too, is actively conspiring to keep up the
Nazi-like siege on Gaza while at the same time making
strident public statements denouncing the blockade. This
proves, if proof were needed, that PA hatred of Hamas
exceeds by far whatever alleged concern the PA may have for
the survival and welfare of the people of Gaza.

But, in any case, it is not important what the PA says;
what is important is what it does, and what its does
amounts to a national betrayal of Palestine and the
Palestinians.

Indeed, while the thuggish Israeli army was unceasingly
murdering droves of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and
cutting off power and basic consumer products from its
badly-starved and harshly-tormented inhabitants, the PA
continued to have business as usual with Israel as if the
relationship between the occupiers and their victims was
supposed to be based on cordiality and altruistic love.

In fact, PA leaders continued to meet and exchange kisses
with the leaders of the very state whose murderous army
never stopped killing Palestinian children and women on
daily basis. The last of such meetings took place at the
time of writing this piece.

PA leaders may argue that “engaging” Israeli leaders is
necessary to guarantee vital Palestinian interests. This is
the very same argument that the heads of the Jewish
councils under the Nazis (the Judenrate) made to justify
their treachery and betrayal of their people.

But what Palestinian interests are being guaranteed?
Doesn’t Israel continue to steal more Palestinian land in
order to build thereon more Jewish settler units? And how
about the recent Israeli decision to demolish thousands of
Palestinian homes? Or the phenomenal expansion of
Jewish-only settlements in Jerusalem? Besides, has PA
pandering to the Olmert government succeeded in getting the
Israeli army to remove even one roadblock in the West Bank?
Or maybe the PA is trying to rescue Olmert from his latest
corruption scandal by “not asking him for too much”?

To be sure, PA officials do make routine statements voicing
displeasure with the theft of Palestinian land and building
of settlements. However, Israel, and even the Palestinian
officials themselves, seem to realize that these idle
statements are only for media consumption.

Well, if the PA is truly opposed to Israeli crimes,
including the unrelenting settlement expansion, why is it
giving the impression that there is no crisis facing the
ongoing talks with Israel?

And why did the PA invite Israeli officials, including
former cabinet ministers, to the Bethlehem Investment
Conference last week? And why do PA security agencies
continue to arrest and harass critics of the Israeli
occupation on Israel’s behalf?

Today, the real decision-maker in the PA is not really
Mahmoud Abbas or his de-facto Prime Minister Salam Fayyadh.
Unfortunately, the final say lies with an American General
called Keith Dayton, the very man who last year sought
unsuccessfully to ignite a Palestinian civil war in Gaza
that could have killed tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Interestingly, this Dayton reports directly to hardcore
Zionist neocon called Elliot Abrams who on several
occasions indicated that his ultimate goal was to morph the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an inter-Palestinian
civil war.

It is Dayton who calls the shots and issues the
instructions and decides who receives a salary and who
doesn’t. It is Dayton who decides who remains in his job
and who is fired. It is Dayton who provides the PA with
Israeli-supplied lists of Palestinians who ought to be
arrested because they pose a threat to Israel’s security
and therefore to the peace process. It is Dayton who
routinely visits Palestinian cities to be briefed on the
security clampdown on the Palestinian opposition.

Dayton is actually the real head of the Palestinian
Authority.

We are not talking here merely about Hamas sympathizers.
There are hundreds of non-Islamist activists, including
many Fatah-affiliated young men who are being detained in
PA jails on no ground other than meeting Israeli demands to
that effect.

On Monday, 2 June, three of these detainees tried to commit
suicide by drinking shampoo liquids, to protest their
nightmare.

Of course, PA subservience to the whims of the Bush
administration goes further beyond coordinating with the
Israeli occupation army against the vital national
interests of the Palestinian people.

Being at Washington’s beck and call, the PA is actually not
free to restore Palestinian national unity by seeking a
rapprochement with Hamas.

In recent weeks, many independent Palestinian figures made
strenuous efforts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas. However,
the Fatah leadership, especially Abbas, has adamantly
rejected all efforts to that effect, insisting that Hamas
first terminate its “coup” against “Palestinian
legitimacy.” (In truth Hamas carried out a counter-coup to
preempt a coup-in-the-making which was to be carried out by
well-known CIA agents against the democratically-elected
government led by Hamas).

Interestingly, it is clear that while the PA is
meticulously working with the Israeli army to repress any
active resistance to the occupation in the West Bank, the
Fatah leadership is also trying desperately to thwart any
prospective ceasefire in Gaza . This is done mainly by
instructing the group’s supporters to fire home-made
rockets onto Israeli settlements in order to demonstrate
that Hamas can’t enforce a ceasefire.

The nearly daily rocket-firing by Fatah in Gaza is also
aimed at giving Israel a pretext to invade and overrun Gaza
and murder hundreds or thousands of Gazans, presumably
including the leaders of Hamas, so that Gaza would be
handed over anew to Abbas and Muhammed Dahlan on a silver
platter.

Isn’t this really disgraceful?

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