Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Descent Into Anarchy

It looks like the Palestinians especially in Gaza are descending into anarchy. Amira Haas reports:

Slogans shouted at rallies sound better when they rhyme. "Not Ismail, not Haniyeh, we want back the government of haramiyeh." Haramiyeh means thieves, and the protesters in Ramallah - Palestinian Authority workers who have not received their salaries for the last seven months - shouted what can be heard in conversations in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Hamas may be clean, but the Fatah thieves are preferable. After all, the reasoning goes, when Fatah was in power, our salaries were assured.

The continued strike at PA offices, the rallies of the clerks and the demands for a unity government - all call on the Hamas-led government to recognize the negative balance of its brief tenure. There is justification for the complaints: A government is supposed to make sure that civil servants get their salaries, as part of fulfilling its obligation to protect the welfare of the population. A government - even one as lacking in powers as a Palestinian government under Israeli occupation - is supposed to weigh its political and ideological platform against its ability to meet its civil and economic obligations. But under Hamas, the backbone of society collapsed when the civil servants' livelihood - as basic and modest as it was - was no longer assured, as it had been during 12 years of chronic instability.

The Fatah governments bequeathed to the Hamas government a dependence on the funds of donor nations, whether they were used for development or to cover the annual budget (including covering the funds that Israel plunders from the Palestinian people in broad daylight, in the form of the taxes it levies on Palestinian transactions, without transferring it to the Palestinian treasury.) But the fixed global donations to the PA are not made without recompense, which was a process of political negotiations, as faltering as it was, including the Palestine Liberation Organization's recognition of the occupying State of Israel and the State of Israel's recognition of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.
The one advantage the Fatah government had in its international relations and its relations with Israel was its willingness to lie or employ the Two Wings fiction. That is no longer such an attractive option. The Israeli government, at least, is not buying it.

General Halutz, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Army has this to say about the state of Gaza:
"The Palestinian Authority is a state of anarchy, and lawlessness is reigning in the Gaza Strip," said Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz on Friday in a speech to commercial and industrial leaders, adding that the Palestinian issue seemed like a problem whose solution was "far away."
Far away from the two state solution. Other possible solutions are closer at hand.

A UN representative echos the General:
UNITED NATIONS — The continuing violence and near-closure of Gaza coupled with the lack of any apparent political solution "is truly explosive" and as potentially dangerous for both Israelis and Palestinians, the U.N. Mideast envoy warned Thursday.

Alvaro de Soto told the U.N. Security Council that a national unity government "offers the most credible opportunity _ indeed, perhaps the only one _ to stem the slide into anarchy" for the Palestinians and restore basic law and order.

Months of contacts to bring the current Hamas-led government and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party into a national unity government have broken down over Hamas' refusal to accept international demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and endorse past peace accords.

De Soto said donors should signal their readiness "to re-engage if there is a genuine movement" toward a national unity government that embraces the international demands, which are backed by the so-called Quartet that drafted the stalled roadmap to Mideast peace _ the U.N., the U.S., the European Union and Russia.

"Palestinian society is teetering between national unity one day and civil conflict the next," de Soto said. "The Palestinian Authority ... has for several months been governed by a president and a prime minister with divergent programs, and has been polarized by deadly clashes between rival security forces."
Personally I'm betting on civil war. Because despite months of negotiations and pressure from Egypt and other Arab governments there has been no movement.

Such a situation comes when the forces involved are at rough parity. Both sides think they can win. I think they are forgetting another possibility from civil war. Both sides can lose. Wich would make a pretty good side bet in the civil war question.

Meanwhile the fighting between Hamas and Fatah continues. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh recently has his convoy fired on by some Fatah folks.
Palestinian security officials said disgruntled relatives of a Fatah activist killed in recent internecine fighting with Hamas fired at Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's motorcade as it drove through Gaza on Friday, but the Hamas leader's armored Mercedes car was not hit and nobody was injured.

Officials in Haniyeh's office said the attack did not appear to be an assassination attempt, but it comes at a time of growing tensions between rival Palestinian factions that have sparked fears of civil war.
Not an assasination attempt? What was it? Agressive electioneering?
The incident occurred less than 12 hours after the rival factions reached an agreement through the mediation of Egypt’s permanent security delegation to Gaza which calls for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to incitement and mudslinging on Palestinian media outlets.
Evidently their agreements with each other are faring no better than their agreements with Israel. There is no honor among thieves.


Duchess Of Austin said...

Maybe what they need to settle the question of whether or not they wish to survive as a people is for the world to stand back and let 'em duke it out.

It's obvious to me that they've spent too much time sucking at the international tit to make something of themselves, and they're going to have to learn the hard way to love their children more than they love violence.

Abu Nopal said...

I've been examining the idea that societies tend to wind up with a form of government that reflects the way their fighting class governs itself.

since the hamsnicks are organized as a freelance brotherhood of bloodlust, the people are damn well right to try to put a stop to this before it plays itself out completely.

Too bad they have absolutely nowhere to turn for enlightened leadership.

M. Simon said...

They have a choice currently between extreme bloodlust and a somewhat milder version of the same.

Given that polling the Palestinians indicates something like 60 to 70% support for bloodlust I think the Palis are getting what they want.