FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Chronicle of a Chaos Foretold

by RAMZY BAROUD

All my forewarnings have suddenly been actualised, all at once: Gaza has descended into total and utter chaos; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has capitulated to Israel and to the United States without a shred of reservation; and the Palestinian democratic experiment, which was until recently an astounding success, has been smashed to pieces.

For years I have been warning of a civil war starting in Gaza. I wrote about it in my last book, The Second Palestinian Intifada. I warned via every media platform available that there are too many hands working to ensure the demise of the Palestinian national project, both from within and without. I urged Palestinians not to fall into rhetoric. I saw very clearly that the fragmentation of Palestinian national identity — an outcome of two combined realities: one stemming from the post-Oslo political culture, the other from Israel’s Bantustan ghettos imposed in the West Bank and the total isolation of Gaza — was almost perfected. I’ve toured many cities in many countries taking on Palestinian division, worried that Palestinians will reach a point where they no longer identify themselves as such, but as ideological and tribal extensions of factions and sub-factions.

In recent months I became belligerent — in the eyes of some — in my frankness. Not one public speech I gave would conclude without a few Palestinians abandoning the gathering; either Fatah loyalists furious over my chastisement of Abbas, Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan and the rest of the clique for their corruption and deviation from the aspirations of their own people; or Islamists, angry for my suggesting that Hamas shouldn’t act as the sole proprietor of the Palestinian narrative, despite their parliamentary majority, but merely as a conduit for Palestinian constants and the will of the Palestinian people. My comments were not always popular: they ruffled many feathers, and recently they cost me my job.

The devastating embargo imposed on Palestinians after the Hamas landslide victory in January 2006, didn’t produce the results publicly projected. To the contrary, it greatly hampered the American "democratic" experiment in the Middle East. Everywhere I travelled since, I have witnessed a sense of giddiness and much hope being pinned on Hamas’s rise in politics. Thus it was resolved that Hamas had to be removed, with Abbas’s Preventive Security Forces, riddled with corruption, entrusted with the task. Dahlan, man of the hour, was given the Israeli and American nod. His Palestinian "Contras" wreaked havoc: kidnapping, assassinating and provoking endless feuds.

One can well imagine what impact such meddling would have, knowing that Gaza is essentially a huge open-air prison. I was a prisoner there until the age of 21. I remember how people picked fights for no convincing reason — isolation, hunger and hopelessness lead to self-destruction. The US and the EU took part in the siege and embargo, and Israel’s bombardment never ceased, not even for one day. Hundreds of besieged Palestinians have been blown to shreds by Israeli bombs. Their only mechanism of defence has been makeshift Qassam "missiles" that have killed no more than a dozen Israelis in six years. Thousands of Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the same period. Gaza bore all the signs that warned of disaster and civil war was looming, it was one assassin’s bullet away — one provocative statement, one kidnapping.

The pressure Hamas faced as a result was insurmountable. The movement had reached the limits of political concessions; any more would be considered a retreat from its political platform and could lead to fragmentation within its own ranks. Yet a state of isolation from within (Fatah’s total control over the 10 branches of the security apparatus), and from without (the US-led international embargo that called for Hamas’s removal), was sure to weaken Hamas and eventually deprive it of popular support. The decision was thus made that Hamas must take its chances and push for what it termed the "second liberation of Gaza".

Now the situation is very bleak. Hamas is in control of Gaza, and Abbas and Fatah are in control of as much in the West Bank as Israel allows. This places Palestine’s destiny back in the US neo-conservative court.

Dividing the West Bank and Gaza appears central to the agenda: "This turn of events frees Abbas to focus on the much more manageable West Bank, where he can depend on the Israeli Defense Forces to suppress challenges from Hamas, and on Jordan and the United States to help rebuild his security forces," wrote Martin Indyk, the pro-Israel lobbyist in Washington, in The Washington Post, 15 June. Most American mainstream editorials are sounding the same message. And various Arab governments, the EU, the US and Israel are flocking to back Abbas. Money, weapons and political legitimacy are being bestowed upon him from all directions. The once irrelevant leader is now the darling of the international community; the sanctions set to be lifted on his emergency government, which he has appointed after sacking the unity government, an unconstitutional act by all standards.

Israeli officials cannot imagine a more satisfactory scenario. The new experiment suggests that the West Bank will be lavished with aid and Gaza will be starved further. This is the pinnacle of injustice, and as always the US and Israel take centre stage, directing the show. Abbas and his men are presented as the true heroes, already making their debut as the true and legitimate face of Palestinian democracy, a democracy determined by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not the Palestinians.

RAMZY BAROUD is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle. He is also the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com. He can be contacted at: editor@palestinechronicle.com



 

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail