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Palestine: Civil War or Coup d'etat


By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar


On Thursday, 25th May, news organisations reported that the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised President Bush's strong statements of support for Israel during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.. ZOA was right to be very happy, for on Tuesday, May 23 at the White House, President Bush gave his blessing to the annexation of yet more Palestinian land by Israel.


Mr. Olmert like his predecessors, Ariel Sharon and Natanyahu, came to Washington singing the same old song: since we do not have a peace partner, we have to act unilaterally. It seems that the only people that Israel is willing to talk to are those that agree with everything that Israel proposes.  Anyone else is unacceptable.


When Yasser Araft was alive, he was unacceptable to Ariel Sharon. Someone else had to be found: someone pliable, someone that understood the Israeli point of view.  Mahmoud Abbas was perfect, but he lacked legitimacy. In January 2005 a presidential election was organised in which Mahmoud Abbas ran almost unopposed. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihadhad had boycotted the election and the other serious contender Mr Barghouti, was in an Israeli Jail. More than half of the eligible voters did not vote; and of those that did, only 60% voted for Mahmoud Abbas. In reality Mahmoud Abbas received only 30% of the eligible votes. Even this 30%, was by some reports, the result of vote tampering and irregularities. The Jewish Virtual Library’s report on this election is very enlightening:


“The election had a much lower turnout than expected — 77,2500 of an estimated 1,120,000 registered voters or 62 percent. Hamas boycotted the vote, as did Arabs living in east Jerusalem.


The election process went smoothly and despite Palestinian predictions of Israeli interference, international observers reported that Palestinians were not obstructed by Israel from participating in the election. In fact, Palestinian and Israeli officials were said to have worked well together to facilitate voting.


Immediately after the election, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned, confirming suspicions of voting irregularities and fraud. The Committee had come under pressure from Abbas’ staff to extend the vote by an additional two hours and to allow non-registered voters to cast ballots to guarantee a larger turnout and improve Abbas’ chance of a “landslide” victory.


The day of the election, gunmen stormed the Committee offices to demand that Palestinians who were not registered be allowed to vote. The deputy chairman of the Committee, Ammar Dwaik, said he “was personally threatened and pressured” and confirmed that some voters were able to remove from their thumbs the ink that was supposed to prevent double voting”. [[1]]


So here we have Mr Mahmoud Abbas, which does not really represent the Palestinian masses at the head of a uniquely corrupt organisation (FATAH), presented to us as the perfect peace partner for Israel. He was invited to Washington for photo-ops with President Bush. Western leaders praised him as a great man and the person that could at last deliver peace.


But Mahmoud Abbas could not sign-off on the Israeli document without having the say so of the parliament.  It was therefore necessary to hold a parliamentary election. This time both Hamas and Islamic Jihad participated, and despite all obstacles Hamas won. This created a problem. Parliament would not go along with the Israeli plan for annexation of parts of the West Bank. Here the propaganda started again.


Headlines began screaming that Hamas a terrorist organisation was not acceptable to anyone. Everyone suddenly forgot that Western Intelligence services were after Arafat for many years. He was seen as the most dangerous terrorist in the world. Yet everyone knew that with regard to the future of Palestine, he was the spokesperson of the Palestinians. Why not give Hamas a chance and start a dialogue?

The media also conveniently did not mention IRA, or other revolutionary organisations that had been brought into governments. They also forgot to mention that Hamas since elections had not attacked Israel and was trying very hard to reduce attacks by other groups as well. Hamas, despite being elected by the people, was declared unacceptable. To force the people to change their political views, comprehensive sanctions were imposed on Palestinians. All funds were withheld.


This is as close to terrorism as one can get. It is use of economic violence against civilians in order to attain goals that are political in nature. Threat of starvation, or withholding medicine, or salaries is economic violence. What the West is saying is that unless you don’t change your political views we will let you starve.  A former Israeli Diplomat Mazel explained the Israel’s strategy in dealing with the new government as such:


"This victory means a drawback to the moderate forces in the Middle East ... especially Egypt and Jordan and a booster to the extremist front," Mazel said. That being the case, he said, now the Western world must not cave in.

"The only response should be ... boycott, siege and pressure till they will have to go away," Mazel told a meeting of diplomats and journalists at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem on Thursday. [[2]]


One can accept this from EU, USA, or Israel. After all they are not calling themselves champions of the Arab cause.  What is not acceptable is the silence of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. They are complicit in this act of terror. To add to the Palestinian misery, the Arab governments with the help of Israel are sending arms to the Mahmoud Abbas to take over the government by force. Mail&Guardian today reported the following:


Israel has authorised the transfer of weapons to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel Army Radio reported on Friday.


Defence Minister Amir Peretz made the decision after a "rise" in intelligence alerts that radical or rival Palestinians could assassinate the moderate president, the radio said.


The weapons were donated by Egypt and Jordan and are to be transferred to the 2 000-strong Force 17 presidential guard charged with protecting Abbas.


Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh on Thursday strongly denied that Abbas's life was in danger”. [[3]]


All these events point to the fact that it is decided that if the economic pressure does not force the government out, they can be forced out with the force of arms. It seems that Palestinians like many of their Arab brethrens are going to have to accept a corrupt regime for foreseeable future.


Meanwhile Israel is continuing implementing its strategy of Peace-for-Peace. This strategy has been a guiding light for successive Israeli administrations since it was crafted in 1996. This strategy demands an unconditional acceptance of Arabs (i.e. Palestinians) of Israel’s territorial demands. It states the following:


“We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behaviour of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighbourhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading "land for peace" will not secure "peace now." Our claim to the land —to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years--is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, "peace for peace," is a solid basis for the future”. [[4]]


It seems that Israel, in Mahmoud Abbas, has found the right man for the job. Egypt and Jordan are also only too happy to oblige.  With their acquiescence, Israel will continue with its successful strategy of Peace-for-peace. It will take Palestinian land piece by piece.



Copyright Abbas Bakhtiar, all rights reserved.


[1] Jewish Virtual Library: Sources :Jerusalem Post, (January 10 & 16, 2005);, (January 10, 2005); Aljazeera.Net, (January 11 & 15, 2005)


[2] Cybercast News Service, “Allowing Hamas Victory was ‘Historical Blunder,’ Israeli Diplomat Says”, May 25, 2006


[3] Mail & Guardian Online, “Israel allows transfer of weapons to Abbas”, 26 May, 2006


[4] Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies ^ | 8 July 1996 | Richard Perle et al


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