Tag Archives: Fatah

Abbas Steps Down As Leader Of Fatah-What Next Israel?

For half a century, Israel leaders complained they were unable to find people in the Arab world who were willing to negotiate for peace. Finally, President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah, became a voice seeking peace and willing to enter into diplomatic negotiations with the Israel government. So, what was the response of Israel? Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu placed one barrier after another in the path of peace and refused to abandon West Bank settlements even though he knew it was impossible for any Palestinian leader to accept the abandonment of an area that belonged to Arab people under the UN partition plan. President Obama attempted to steer an even path between Palestinians and Israelis and urged Israel to cease further West Bank construction. Netanyahu just ignored the president. Secretary of State Clinton stepped into the situation and indicated how pleased she was that Netanyahu might promise at some future time to do something about the west bank.

President Abbas announced he is not running for re-election. There is no question when Palestinians select a more radical person as their president, Israel will commence to sound the alarm and complain how could they negotiate with radicals? The reason is simple, Israel created the current problem and only Israel can solve it.

Palestinians Argue Over Unity Which Prevents Unity!

President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority has issued an ultimatum to the rival Hamas organization of either agreeing to a unity settlement that was negotiated with the aid of Egypt or he would call a new election for president and the legislature as early as January, 2010. Hamas termed his warning as illegal and argued they were not to blame for the lack of unity, but it was all the fault of Egypt or the Fatah organization led by Abbas. Hamas had won a surprise majority in the last election held for the legislature and presently controls Gaza. Abbas is determined to forge a united Palestinian government in order to achieve peace with Israel. The lack of unity only encourages the Israel government to dither and dally and refuse to move toward a peace settlement.

Israel commits many blunders such as the ill devised Gaza invasion last year, but Palestinians continue arguing with one another and the result is Israel does not feel any pressure to move toward a peace agreement. It is time for Palestinian leaders to put aside differences and find a common unity stance that will finally lead to peace in the Middle East.

Has Obama Lost Palestinian Trust?

From the beginning of his presidency Barack Obama attempted to convey a sense that he understood feelings of Arabs and wanted to set an independent course that would not give rise to charges he sided too often with Israel. However, over the past few weeks, Palestinians have become disenchanted with his desire to placate Israel by refusing to take firm action to halt further housing developments on the West Bank. Members of President Abbas’ Fatah Party issued a document which expressed their feelings all too well. “All hopes placed in the new US administration and President Obama have evaporated. Obama couldn’t withstand the pressure of the Zionist loby, which led to a retreat from his previous positions on halting settlement construction and defining an agenda for the negotiations and peace.”

We suspect his change of heart had less to do with the Israel lobby and more to do with his personality which dislikes confrontations and takes the easy way out by pretending there is no need to exert pressure on a group or person. He is simply not the type of person who issues a challenge and stands by it.

Fatah Gets Some Fresh Blood

Fatah leadership of the Palestinian people is desperately in need of some fresh blood so it was good news at their convention when new political figures were elected to office. It is estimated that only four of the old guard who are associated with corruption and failure to achieve peace with Israel secured leadership positions. Marwan Barghouthi, who is currently imprisoned by Israel, was one of a multitude of new faces who were elected as members of Fatah’s central committee. Analysts said without these new men in positions of authority, Fatah might have collapsed. “The committee election results are a type of coup, a white coup without which Fatah would have been finished,” claimed Hani Masri of a think tank.

There is now new men in leadership positions. It is up to Israel to engage in serious discussions with these men in order to move forward the process of peace and recognition of the independent nation of Palestine.

Abbas Elected Head Of Fatah

The first Fatah convention in twenty years was the scene of acrimonious disputes over the future of the Palestinian people. The old guard which has controlled the party for decades faced the voices of younger Palestinians who are tired of graft, corruption, and incompetence among their leaders. However, Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of Fatah, and hopefully, president of an independent Palestinian state when it finally comes into existence.

“This convention must be a new beginning for the Fatah movement,” declared Abbas. He agreed there had been numerous prior attempts to launch a new direction, but too often the dream never became a reality. Most of the delegates seek to find the means of uniting with Hamas in order to prevent a united front to Israel. As King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has emphasized, there would never be a Palestinian state, “as long as the Palestinian house is divided.”

Fatah Finally Has Fierce Verbal Fights

It has been twenty years since members of Fatah had the opportunity to come together for honest discussions concerning goals of the organization and who should be in leadership roles. Many delegates were furious at lack of administrative and financial accounting of the organization– where has the money been going and who has been spending the money are certainly valid issues raised by those who have waited two decades for a place to vent their anger. Ahmed Ghneim, a member of the Central Committee, became so furious when challenged by delegates that he stormed off the platform in disgust.

President Mahmud Abbas finally had to enter the hall in order to restore order and clam things down. “i admit we have made errors, even sin, but the rendering of accounts must be done during committee meetings and not through chaotic interventions.” Even as he spoke these soothing words, delegates shouted comments towards him. One delegate was ordered out of the room but he refused to budge, certainly a mark of the new spirit which is beginning to invigorate Fatah. President Abbas did offer some sound advice to the group: “we are here to put Fatah back on track, not to settle scores.”

The Abbas comment is wise advice to those who seek to create a modern Palestinian state. It is time to move forward in order to witness the birth of an independent Palestinian state.

Fatah And Hamas Still Can’t Get Together

The history of conflict between Israel and Arab nations has been characterized by an ongoing incompetence on the part of Arab leaders as they vie with one another for power. The sixth round of national dialogue between Fatah and Hamas has ended in failure. Hamas demands full partnership in the Palestinian Authority before it cedes any power in Gaza. Fatah demands an end to Hamas rule in Gaza without offering their opponents any real power in a Palestinian government. President Abbas and Fatah leaders are encouraged by support they have received from President Obama and the increase in loans which have sparked an economic upsurge in West Bank areas. Latest polls suggest Fatah would win any election so it might be in the self interest of Abbas to maintain a low profile and allow future events to decide who is in power.

Perhaps, a problem is reducing the complexity of Palestinian life to these two groups. It might be beneficial to include diverse factions and interest groups which would provide a balance that might serve as a bridge between Hamas and Fatah.

An effective Palestinian government must recognize certain realities:

1. There must be agreement to respect UN ideas which includes accepting the presence of an independent Israel government.
2. There has to be a willingness to modify the concept of return of Palestinian refugees. The return of all will never be accepted by any Israel government. What then is the compromise that Palestinian leaders can present?
3. There must be an end to any form of violence and acceptance of the ideas of Gandhi and Martin Luther King of non-violence resistance.

Fatah And Hamas Once Again Into Discussions

Hamas and Fatah have agreed to enter the seventh round of discussions in hope of resolving issues between the two groups. The continued division between the two Palestinian groups makes it virtually impossible for the Palestinian people to achieve a peace agreement with Israel. The Egyptian government has put together a reconciliation package which has gained a tentative agreement from Israel. Under the Egyptian proposal a new body would govern the Gaza Strip including representatives from Fatah and Hamas. President Abbas would have power over allocation of money since the West has made clear it would not funnel funds through Hamas. An election for president would take place in January, 2010 and both sides have agreed to accept the verdict of the Palestinian people.

Under the Egyptian plan, Arab and Egyptian experts would supervise security forces that will run the Gaza Strip and all sides agree to prevent attacks on Israel from Gaza. The plan also calls for prisoner exchange which would send home the Israeli soldier who presently is a prisoner, and crossings would be open to allow Gaza to proceed with reconstruction. European Union observers will assist in monitoring the Gaza border.

Israel would be foolish to oppose the Egyptian initiative and it must accept the possibility that a Hamas leader might be elected president. However, the peace process outlined in the Egyptian initiative offers a genuine opportunity for peace.

Ball Of Peace In Arab Court!

The aftermath of President Obama’s speech has resulted in renewed discussions among various Arab groups about the necessity of coming together in a coalition for peace. Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal is now in Cairo discussing the situation with General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman in order to find a solution to end the breach between Fatah and Hamas. An anonymous source told the Arab weekly, Al-Ahram, “the Americans– to judge not just by the Obama speech and talks in Cairo and Riyadh, but also by successive delegations to the region –seem serious about getting engaged in talks for peace. Now the Palestinians and Arabs in general have to work to make these talks possible.” Amen.

The devastating results of Ahmadinejad’s stealing of the Iranian presidency means groups like Hamas have to cease relying on Iranian assistance. For the first time in years, the United States is adopting a balanced stance between conflicting groups which requires all radical elements to unite with moderates and present Israel a united front determined to seek peace. If they allow Iran to enter the process, it will merely provide an excuse for Israel negotiators to play the Iran card and frighten the United States.

Once More Hamas And Fatah Try Friendship

Once again, Hamas and Fatah are attempting to forge a relationship which allows them to engage with Israel as a united front, but the prospect for such an alliance is still doubtful. President Abbas needs to have Palestinians united in order to deal with an increasingly right wing Israel government which does not have confidence Abbas can implement peace within his own ranks. Talks began yesterday in Cairo as Egypt once again is trying to be a mediator between the clashing Palestinians.

Hamas has a dilemma since donor nations such as the United States who are pledging to help rebuild Gaza, will not give any money to Hamas and will insist that any money be distributed by international agencies. If Hamas wishes to play a role in the reconstruction of Gaza it will have to alter some of its ideology regarding the existence of Israel.

Reality for Hamas is that Benjamin Netanyahu is not Ehud Olmert and will not be willing to give into Hamas demands. It is time for Hamas to confront the situation and make adjustments in order to meet Palestinian needs.