Hamas and Fatah

It is hard to overstate the danger and importance of what is happening in Gaza in these past few days. Offices of the government are being looted and fire-bombed by supporters of the Hamas side of the coalition government. Fatah supporters are being taken out and shot.

Fatah officials said seven of their fighters were shot dead in the street outside Preventive Security building. A witness, Jihad Abu Ayad, said the men were being killed before their wives and children.

“They are executing them one by one,” Abu Ayad said. They are carrying one of them on their shoulders, putting him on a sand dune, turning him around and shooting.”

Scenes of masked Hamas gunmen trampling on pictures of Yassir Arafat are shocking enough to Americans who have followed the Palestinian turmoil over the years. How much more shocking must it be to Palestinians — even supporters of Hamas.

Israeli and American diplomats don’t have a clue and neither do representatives of the Arab League meeting today in Cairo, trying to figure out what the fuck… Egypt, which got a stand-down between Fatah and Hamas not so long ago and Saudi Arabia are coming up blank to the question: what now? As one report says, they don’t even know who to talk to in order to call for a cease-fire.

Ami Isseroff, an Israeli supporter of a Palestinian state and often critical of Israel’s misguided practices, is almost completely unhinged by what he sees.

No one of course, least of all the Israelis or Americans, are going to look deep into the reasons for all of this. Decades of anathematizing the very PLO which now is celebrated as the moderate middle, and making it impossible to build a strong civil society and resilient economy have a lot to do with it. The US was vetoing UN resolutions for a two state solution — giving the Palestinians a state — until 2002, when President Bush finally publicly called for it, and Israel signed on. The PLO in its turn, found corruption and non-attention to its constituents to be an easier road than ongoing organizing and representation of the Palestinians, leading to the Hamas electoral victory last election cycle — and not simply a victory of paper ballots but in the hearts and arms of significant numbers. Certainly outside interests in the fundamentalist Islam of Hamas,or simply in proxy wars with Israel have contributed as well. But, as everywhere, when fear and uncertainty reign people turn to the false promises of men with guns and god, hoping against hope that bigger guns and blind faith will provide a magic shield against the bullets coming in, forgetting how fissionable men with guns are: today’s protector is tomorrow’s destroyer; today’s interpretation of God’s wishes falls beneath tomorrow’s.

It’s a mess, with implications far beyond Gaza and Israel It’s a mess that may prove to be bigger than that in Iraq.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *