Dear friends and family,
I am not sure what the U.S. media has been reporting regarding the Hamas/Fatah fallout but I am outraged by the spin put on it by Israel and the U.S.
Before I explain my outrage, I'll outline briefly the sequence of events.
For months there has been internicene fighting in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah culminating in clashes last week which left more than 110 people dead and hundreds wounded. Hamas, after enduring kidnappings, bombings and assassinations (including an attempt on the life of the elected prime minister) by paramilitary groups loyal to Fatah, staged what it called a "pre-emptive" strike against Fatah aligned Preventative Security Forces headed by Mohammed Dahlan who is widely viewed as a CIA collaborator. Depsite the fact that these Security forces have received millions of dollars in financial backing and military training from the US, Hamas easily gained control of Gaza. Abbas, the US and Israel have accused Hamas of staging a military coup in Gaza, with Dahlan denouncing Hamas as "an occupying" force in Gaza.
On June 14th Palestinian Prime Minister and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency. A few days later he outlawed Hamas affiliated militias and swore in a new unelected emergency government ousting the National Unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, whose Hamas party won the 2006 Palestinian elections in a landslide victory. Despite serious questions about the legitimacy of this new government, Israel, the United States and the European Union have welcomed its formation and Bush even went so far as to accuse Hamas of "assaulting" the potential democracy of Palestine.
So now to explain my outrage.
First of all, correct me if I am wrong but if Hamas won the elections in 2006, how is it assaulting democracy? And how does a government in power have a coup? And why is the U.S. giving millions of dollars to just one of the political parties of a government rather than the government itself for its security forces?
The truth is that the division between Hamas and Fatah serves Israel’s purposes since a Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority is much more pliable than one headed by Hamas. Carter said that "The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah".
The upshot of all of this is that my life has been made ever so much easier. Getting through checkpoints is a piece of cake right now in the West Bank and the soldiers are being somewhat well behaved and keeping their distance. At least for the moment.
My brother wrote to ask if I had a preference between Fatah and Hamas. I want to say that I don't like either. Fatah is corrupt and short-sighted and although I do not at all buy into the terrorist label that the world has painted on Hamas, their religious fundamentalism does not bode well for womyn or democracy. However, they are relatively honest and I believe that they truly care about Palestine. Fatah only cares about retaining its own power.
My real preference is for the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall (PCAW) but they don't get any press coverage.