Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is The Arab World Getting Tired Of The Palestinian Infighting?

The Arab League may not do much about Darfur, but apparently the Arab World is stepping in between Hamas and Fatah:
Arabs Adapting Sanctions Against Palestinan Factions?

...The head of the Arab League said on Tuesday that he was angry with fractious Palestinian political groups and that sanctions against them were being discussed by Arab governments. Egypt, the main mediator between often rival Palestinian groups, has been holding bilateral talks with minor groups in preparation for similar talks with the two main groups — Fatah and Hamas. "I am extremely angry with the Palestinian organisations," Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the league, told a news conference in an unusually harsh criticism of the Palestinians.

"We are studying the measures to be taken in the face of the current Palestinian chaos," he said, after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo. But he added: "The sanctions would not be against anyone in particular. They would be against the party which obstructs reconciliation and maybe against everyone or against the organisation which obstructs Egyptian efforts."
A pity that the threat of sanctions against "the party which obstructs reconciliation" has nothing to do with Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

But why do the Arabs care about the Palestinian infighting?

Maybe the impetus comes from Egypt, which doesn't want to deal with Palestinian Arabs coming in from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

And maybe the impetus comes from Qatar and other Arab countries with a very different agenda in the West Bank:
Palestinian analyst and businessman Sam Bahou says the city is definitely going through a “five-star occupation,” pushed by the resumption of hundreds of millions of dollars received by the Palestinian Authority by international donors. Besides that, the recent high oil prices have created additional revenues for oil-rich countries like Qatar and other Gulf nations, which are investing: music festivals and other cultural activities haven’t been so lively in the past few years, says Mohammad B, a shop owner.
For that matter, maybe Gaza has potential too. In an article in Haaretz, Aluf Benn wrote about how Gaza was mishandled after the Disengagement:
The second mistake was that of the international community, which insisted on basing Gaza's economy on agriculture - specifically, the greenhouses left behind by Gush Katif. Agriculture requires land and water, both of which are in very short supply in Gaza, as well as rapid access to markets, which depends on a problematic transit through Israel. Instead of making Gaza's existence dependent on the Karni crossing, which was sure to experience closures and security problems, the PA and its donors should have built a high-tech industry in the Strip.

Does that seem delusional? Why? After all, Gaza has no raw materials, but it does have the most valuable resource of the 21st century: a young, energetic population with free time. Just like Taiwan after the Chinese civil war. It is both necessary and possible to teach Gaza residents to test and develop software at competitive prices. High-tech exports require no physical shipping. You hit "send," and the file is on its way - without trucks, checkpoints, X-ray machines or political restrictions.

This idea was presented to the World Bank's representative, but he dismissed it scornfully: "That's good for the long term." That was a mistake. The long term is a collection of short terms. What is not begun now will never materialize in the future. The American administration and the World Bank wasted time finalizing the Agreement on Movement and Access with Israel, which, predictably, was promptly violated. Gaza remained with neither agriculture nor high-tech. Just shortages.

The good news is that it is not too late. If Hamas quells the internal violence, enforces the truce with Israel and internalizes its responsibilities toward Gaza's residents, it can build a new economy in Gaza. But it should not waste time on agriculture; it should train unemployed Palestinians for modern jobs and gradually wean Gaza from its dependence on Israel for transit.

This will not end the conflict or eliminate terror. But if the distress were eased, if Gaza residents were employed and if the storm brewing under the surface were calmed, that would be a huge achievement. And should Gaza flourish, that would also give hope to Palestinians in the West Bank.
True, the potential is there. But then again, one could argue that Gaza is turning to hi-tech--as Hamas tries to upgrade the rockets it fires at Israel.

The question is whether there is anything that a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah could benefit Israel.

Personally, I can't think of a thing.

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Anonymous said...

They must care about the Palestinian infighting, because lack of reconciliation and a united approach gives opportunities for takfiri groups to sprout and strengthen in such a strategic place, and both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been and still are threatened by this, as are all tyrannical Muslim heads of state.

Daled Amos said...

With Abbas due to step down in the beginning of next year and no elections planned yet--the 2 next in line to take over are from Hamas.

The plan for Abbas to dissolve the government and create an emergency government for him to lead for 1 year is not exactly a soothing thought either.

It's a thin line between infighting and outright civil war, and must make Arab leaders nervous.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Tony Blair and James Jones have a little plan up their sleeves involving the Jenin model , and Olmert is cooperating.

"We got a clear American message that the Palestinian state will start from Jenin,” asserted Col. Radi Asideh, the deputy commander of the Palestinian security forces here who have recently received new Land Rovers and AK-47 assault rifles. “The plan is to have a security model that can then be implemented all over Palestine.”