Tag Archives: PA

Israel Blackmail Is Still Blackmail!

The politics of peace can not be constructed on the basis of blackmail, threats and denial of human rights. Shalom Kital, an aide to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, said Israel will not release a chunk of the radio spectrum that has long been sought by the Palestinian Authority that would enable the launch of a second mobile telecommunications company unless the PA drops its efforts to bring charges in the International Criminal Court concerning actions by the Israel Defense Force in the invasion of Gaza. “We are saying to Palestinians that if you want a normal life and are trying to embark on a new day, you must stop your incitement. We are helping the Palestinian economy but one thing we ask is to stop with these embarrassing charges.”

A normal life for Palestinians entails the right to use judiciary resources in the world. Bringing charges in the International Criminal Court is NOT an incitement to violence, it is use of the judiciary process. How can any Palestinian trust an Israel leader if they use blackmail as a weapon in negotiating peace?

Palestinian Authority Acting Authoritarian

The Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority is carrying out a vigorous campaign against members of Hamas and anyone who does not support the government of President Abbas. According to Al Ahram, hundreds of schoolteachers, college students, journalists and other professionals have been arrested and imprisoned on vague charges such as “constituting a threat to state security.” Al Ahram sources insist “in villages and cities throughout the West Bank, PA security agencies raided Islamic-oriented cultural and academic centres, non-governmental organizations, sports clubs as well as schools and charitable organizations, closing them down and arresting members.” A particular target are journalists who are critical of the Abbas government failure to respect human rights.

There is little question Fatah leaders fear a repeat of the successful Hamas takeover of Gaza and intend to thwart that possibility by arresting Hamas leaders and supporters. Although there is scant evidence Hamas is actually a threat in the West Bank, the government is determined to avoid such an outcome in the future. On the political front, Fatah has been able to secure the support of the Egyptian government which carries out the Abbas policy of refusing to allow Hamas to obtain credit for any aid to the Gaza blockace.

In the midst of Palestinian internal conflict, talks with Israel are at a standstill. If nothing happens to end the logjam between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Palestinians may decide to end their goal of a two state solution and become part of Israel. Such an outcome would frighten most Israelis.

Israel Warns Palestinians To End Rocket Attacks

Israel warned the Palestinian Authority there would be no independent Palestinian nation unless the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip come to an end. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said, “There is no hope for any kind of peace or the vision of the Palestinian state which includes the Gaza Strip without real change on the ground.” Prime Minister Olmert, refused to respond to angry calls for action against the Kassam rockets and urged calm. “We need to act in a methodical and organized fashion” rather than allow emotions to take over.

It is pleasantly surprising that Olmert is remaining calm in the face of those seeking revenge. Interior Minister Meier Sheetrit, said an entire Gaza neighborhood should be wiped out so “those in Gaza will understand that we are serious.” The rhetoric of violence plays to powerful emotions but leads nowhere. A mistake was made by the Bush administration in not having Hamas at the Annapolis conference where they would have been forced to confront Arab nations and defend the rocket attacks. This blog urges formation of a Muslim Legion composed of soldiers from Turkey and Morocco who would ensure the end of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israel To Blame For Gaza, Says Arab League

An ongoing problem in any discussion of the Palestinian-israel conflict is the tremendous need on the part of both sides to blame the other as the sole source of problems. Arab League foreign ministers said Israel was fully responsible for the deterioration in the Gaza Strip and demanded the jewish state lift the blockade immediately and allow humanitarian suppies to enter. They issued a statement insisting Israel “stop all continued aggressions against the civilians and end the blockade and collective punishment policy.” Even as the foreign ministers issued their statement, Egyptian troops were stringing up a wire fence to prevent Gazans from leaving and entering Egypt.

Israel has made numerous mistakes ranging from refusing to engage in discussions with Hamas without insisting on preconditions, it has repeatedly utilized a program of killing leaders on the assumption this would end violence, and its policy of collective punishment is hardly in accord with international policies of warfare. On the other hand, Hamas has refused to budge an inch in its policy of refusing to recognize Israel, it has ended any cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and it has refused to halt Kassam rockets. All sides are at fault and attempting to cast blame on one nation may result in feelings of righteousness, but this is not the road to peace. Until each side can accept responsibillity for its mistakes there will be no peace in the Middle East.