Tag Archives: Fatah

Egypt To Palestinians-It’s Your Problem, Not Ours!

Egyptian officials have played a key role in brokering the current cease fire between Hamas and Israel although they have little doubt the truce may unravel in the coming weeks. They believe a key factor in achieving any permanent resolution of problems in the dispute with Israel centers around the ability of Hamas and Fatah to end their dispute and present a united front. It is expected there will be a prisoner swap in the coming weeks which would result in return of a captured Israeli soldier, but some Egyptian officials fear achieving that goal might worsen rather than assist further efforts to maintain the true. Once Israel has the soldier, there is less incentive to maintain the truce agreement.

Hamas leaders and many Gazans want Egypt to unilaterally open the Rafah crossings but President Mubarak refuses to take such a step. He fears Egyptian assumption of such power would lead Israel to simply wash its hands of the entire Gaza situation and leave Egypt with the problem of supplying electricity and other needs to Gazans. This is not a burden the economically stressed nation of Egypt seeks to acquire.

In the end, Egyptian officials insist Fatah and Hamas have to get together and work in a cooperative approach to restrain militants who want to destroy any effort at resolving problems with Israel. The feeling in Cairo is– it’s your problem, not ours.

Hamas And Fatah Moving Towards Reconciliation

Events in the Middle East are slowly but surely moving toward changes which either will result in attainment of some form of peacefully resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict or an escalation of violence. Hamas and Fatah are in the early stages of efforts to end their year long dispute and result in a possible coalition government which is united on basic goals of achieving peace with Israel. On June 6, President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority indicated a willingness to work with Hamas and his words were welcomed in the Gaza Strip which is the center of Hamas power. A few dozen Hamas activists held in Fatah jails have been released and names of all those held by Hamas and Fatah are being gathered in order to work out their release from jail.

There is some talk of a national coalition government composed of technocrats and independents who would run things until elections were held for a new legislature and president of the Palestinian Authority. These changes raise issues for Israel which has refused to recognize Hamas, but, apparently is willing to hammer out a cease fire in Gaza with the group. Most experts believe a Palestinian government wants Israel to accept its 1967 border, allow East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine, and work out some resolution of the refugee question. The good news is there are fewer demands for return of all refugees.

Hamas And Islamic Jihad Discuss Calm In Egypt

Senior representatives of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad met in Egypt with officials in order to discuss implementation of a truce, or at least, a period of calm in order to restore some semblance of tranquility for all involved in the current Gaza crisis. Ahmed Youssef, adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said his organization is also prepared to work with the Yemenite “initiative which aims to resolve the rilvary between Hamas and Fatah.” He emphasized that Hamas is trying to maintain contacts with European representatives from Britain, Sweden, and France who are trusted to be fair.

Russia is attempting to use a conference on the Middle East which is being held in Moscow to further efforts at compromise. Russan Foreign Ministe Sergey Lavrov urged Israel to end the Gaza blockade and restore normalcy to the area. He also indicated his government wants an end to violence on the part of Hamas as well as an end to further construction on the West Bank.

A period of calm is despertately needed in order to give everyone a breathing space to digest what has happened and what are the potential directions for all parties if there is to be a more permanent peace in the region.

Israel’s Failed Policies In Gaza Aid Hamas

Israel hard liners like Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been aruging for years the only way to end violence is to be more violent than your opponents. Israel has embarked on a policy of assassinations and killings of Hamas leaders in order to destroy its popularity among Gazans. A new survey by the West Bank based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, shows if new presidential elections were held, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive 47% of the vote compared with 46% for President Abbas. Several months ago, President Abbas had a clear majority of the votes. The survey also discovered Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who has been imprisoned, would defeat Haniyeh by 57% to 38%.

There is no evidence any of Israel’s military solutions have been successful other than providing some Israelis satisfaction that murderers have been killed. The military solution does not work. Marwan Barghouti was responsible for the deaths of Israelis, but there is a strong possibility he is now prepared to act in a calm and peaceful manner to achieve creation of a Palestinian state. Many Israelis recoil in shock at the thought that someone with Jewish blood on his hands should be allowed to head a nation. These feelings confronted Irish leaders who hammered out a peace agreement and they were felt by South African leaders who shook hands with Nelson Mandela and accepted the African National Congress despite its terrorist actions.

The bottom line is no evidence exists the Israel policy of an eye for an eye is succeeding.

Bush Arrives In Israel To Hot And Cold Welcomes

President Bush arrived in Israel where he was warmly greeted by President Peres and welcomed by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. The American president once again referred to his desire to “guarantee Israel’s security as a Jewish state” despite the fact at least ten percent of its population is not Jewish, but Muslim. In Gaza, militants marched denouncing talks between Israel and Palestine and there apparently were al-Qaeda elements among those waving weapons. Even a Fatah leader in Gaza, Zakariya al-Agha, contradicted Abbas the head of Fatah, by denouncing Bush for supporting Israel. On the other side of the ledger, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Shas, urged his followers not to support peace talks until the Palestinians cease firing rockets onto Israel territory.

The object of having peace talks is to prevent rockets from firing since despite years of military efforts to wipe out rocket launching sites, they continue coming into Israel. It is also unfortunate that President Bush did not acknowledge the presence or importance of Israeli Arabs by making his mistaken comment that Israel was a “Jewish state.” That was never a concept one finds as a prominent point among those who forged creation of the nation of Israel.

Hamas Expresses Defiance To World

Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, defiantly told the world the only road open to the people of Palestine was “resistance.” He claimed some Europeans offered to facilitate unofficial meetings with Israel and he responded with “one thousand nos.” On the other hand, he did speak in a conciliatory way toward rival Fatah led by President Abbas and offered to hold unconditional discussions with the Palestinian Authority. “We are ready for a dialogue without conditions. Our hands are extended and all matters should be put on the table including elections.” He also insisted no Israel soldier in their hands would be returned without receiving in return the release of several key Palestinian leaders.

Perhaps Mahsaal doesn’t grasp the contradiction inherent in his remarks. On one hand, he rejects discussions with Israel and a cease fire, but on the other hand, he is willing to negotiate with Abbas who wants peace with Israel and a cease fire. Both goals are incompatible with one another. A mistake was made in failing to include Hamas at the Annapolis Conference. Mashaal has to be in a room with other Arab nations who are tired of the war between Israel and Palestine and seek peace. They will control him, not Israel.

Hamas And Fatah Clash In Gaza

Fatah and Hamas supporters clashed in Gaza for the first time in months resulting in the death of a least six people. The fighting came after President Abbas had made a conciliatory speech urging an end to the impasse between the two groups. “There is no way for any party here to be an alternative to the other, and there is no reason for terms like coup or military takeover, but only for dialogue.” However, the head of the Palestine Authority was clear that Hamas must turn over control to Fatah if the two groups are to find common accord in the difficult months ahead.

Abbas made an important gesture by offering to end rancor and attacks on his opponents. He undoubtedly angered the Bush administration which seeks to isolate Hamas and keep them out of the dialogue for peace. Hamas won the votes of many Palestinians and their voice must be heard in discussions leading to peace between Israel and Palestinians. Isolation of discordant voices never works.

On another note, there are reports of Turkey working in a mediating role between Israel and Syria in order to resolve the Golan Heights issue. This is simply another example of why opposing groups should be talking rather than engaging in verbal fights.

Israel Gaza Attack Would Ruin Peace Claims Palestinians

Palestinian authorities told the Jersualem Post that any massive attacks by israeli forces on Gaza would seriously damage any efforts to attain peace. They warned such actions would compel the Palestinian Authority to call off scheduled talks with Israel as a follow up to the Annapolis Conference. Meanwhile, Kadoura Fares, a top Fatah operative in the West Bank, confirmed his faction would fight alongside Hamas forces to resist Israel troops. “Fath will fight alongside all the palestinian groups against the Israel army when it invades the Gaza Strip. In such a case, Hamas won’t be left alone in the confrontation with Israel.”

Palestinian authorities have informed the United States they would not be able to sit at a negotiating table if Israel troops are fighting in Gaza. The path to peace is strewn with potholes and detours as was encountered by those who resolved the Irish conflict or for white Europeans who negotiated with Nelson Mandela. As one Palestinian official noted, “In the post Annapolis era, we are supposed to talk about ways of making peace, instead, here we are talking about preparations for the next war.” The announcement by the Olmert government of further construction of housing in the West Bank is another example of confusion in the Israel government regarding how it intends to confront peace negotiations. Expanding West Bank settlements or pondering invasions of the Gaza Strip are hardly messages of peace and friendship to one’s opponents.

Rhetoric Is Loud And Will Increase As Annapolis Fails

As Arabs and Israelis gathered in Annapolis to discuss issues related to the Palestinian-Israel conflict, tension was raised in the Gaza strip as Israel tanks and troops moved into the edges of the Hamas controlled area. There is talk of an Israel attack on Gaza to wipe out rocket launching sites once the Annapolis conference concludes. A reporter for The Independent spoke with ordinary Gaza citizens who are caught in a confusing middle between Hamas on one side and the Ramallah-based Fatah on the other side. Ami Ayub, who works in a cemetery that is desperate for cement, but can’t get it due to Israel restrictions, asked the question that was most probably on the minds of most of his neighbors, “After 15 years of negotiation, what are they going to do in a single day?” Farmers in the area are more concerned if they can get their strawberry crop across the line so their product can get sold. Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas militant, roared defiance, “Whoever gives up The Right of Return(for refugees) and Al Quds(Jerusalem) is not for us.” He emphasized that not “one inch” of palestinian land will be surrendered. In a nearby souvenir shop, a man was selling mugs that one could break if the Annapolis conference failed.

We can expect many mugs will be broken all over Gaza because there is scant likelihood anything significant will emerge from the Bush-Rice photo-op meeting. A meeting is most successful if preliminary work establishes the basis for what will be examined. It is doubtful if 40 nations can reach a conclusion about anything within a day. Meanwhile, the absence of Hamas from the session only leads to rhetoric about not surrendering an inch of land or of standing firm on the Right of Return for refugees. A few million refugees are not going to return to Israel any more than a million Jews are going to return to Arab nations from which they fled in the fifties. The issue of Jerusalem can be readily resolved, but questions concerning West Bank settlements are more complex and will require compromise. Too many Israelis and Palestinians refuse to accept the reality of negotiations– both sides must compromise if any solution is to be achieved.

Hamas Fires On Arafat Memorial Service In Gaza

Thousands of people gathered on Monday in a Gaza square to remember their fallen leader Yasser Arafat. It was the first major opposition rally allowed by Hamas which seized Gaza from the Fatah several months ago, but Hamas leaders feared forbidding the gathering would antagonize the Gaza population. As people listened to speeches, gunfire suddenly sounded and within a few moments six lay dead while dozens were wounded. People fled for their lives as guns sounded in the air. Fatah spokesperson, Mohammed Dahlan asserted the firing began when people from a nearby Islamic university entered the square, but Hamas claims Fatah began the firing. The Fatah leadership in Gaza believed the huge mass of people was an expression by the Gaza population that it disagrees with the Hamas seizure of power.

This incident is further evidence of a deep seated fissure between Hamas and Fatah which currently makes difficult reaching an agreement with Israel. This makes even more important the necessity of inviting Hamas to the Annapolis conference in order that other Arab nations can assist in the process of bringing these factions together.