Saturday, 16 June 2007

Abbas' power problem

Just got back from my vacation, and wow a lot of news has developed — especially in Palestine.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the weak Hamas-Fatah unity government after increased fighting between militant Hamas and Fatah forces in which Hamas seized control of the virulent Gaza Strip. A state of emergency has been declared by Abbas. Hamas now effectively rules Gaza; Fatah still has control over the West Bank.

America has finally shown support for Abbas and proposed to end some embargoes that were put into place following Hamas' victory at the polls in January 2006, legitimizing it as a political, as well as militant, force (it controlled the parliament and led the governmental coalition until Abbas dismissed it a few days ago). US sanctions on Palestine will be lifted and international aid will be allowed in as soon as Abbas forms a new (emergency) government, without Hamas of course. The United States' lack of support for the weak and moderate Abbas has been partially blamed for the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Abbas was seen as weak, and in reality he is, which worsens the situation. Of course other Bush administration policies also made the Palestinian situation develop into this disaster. This latest takeover by Hamas — which the Arab League called a 'crime' — emphasized the failure of Bush's Mid-East policy.

In brief: there are virtually two governments in the Palestinian Authority: Abbas' new Fatah government to-be and Hamas' illegitimate, renegade rule. One could easily call it a civil war; or an intergovernmental war with one ruling party in control of some areas, the other in control of other areas.

Has the drawn out factional conflict in the already-embattled Palestine reached a point of no return? Can peace ever exist in a land so scarred by war and fighting? As with all other developing events, only time will tell. In this case, it'll require a lot more waiting.

No comments: