Sunday, 17 June 2007

Is the new Palestinian government 'illegal'?

The new Hamas-free Palestinian government has been sworn in. America is happy and might now let some aid trickle in to help the impoverished Palestinians; Israel is content too. Hopefully they will let the door open to new diplomacy with President Mahmoud Abbas' emergency Fatah government. Hamas still rules supreme in Gaza. See this post for background.

Reformist Salam Fayyad has been named prime minister.

Could it be we see an ill-formed three-state solution as a result of this major rift in Palestinian politics?

Palestine (Fatah) in the West Bank, Palestine (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip, and, of course, Israel.

Hamas maintains the new government is not only illegal, it's unneeded because Hamas itself doesn't recognize that its power was vanquished when Abbas dissolved the government following a large uprising by Hamas in the already-turbulent Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hinted at the prospect of an international force in Gaza. If Abbas asked for peace keepers, that could be a possibility. I doubt he'd refuse like, say, the government of Sudan has over its genocide in Darfur. Abbas needs all the help he can get. He cannot appear too weak, nor can he look like just another tool of the West — especially of the 'evil' America and Israel.

Many are blaming the United States with an array of justified and unjustified arguments.

Oh and some rockets were fired at Israel by Islamist militants in Lebanon. Two Katyushas hit Kiryat Shmona, a northern Israeli town. (Thankfully there were no casualties.) Last summer all over again?

In related news, there have been more reports of Israel finally gearing up for diplomacy with Syria. They are not on the best terms mainly because the Israelis occupy Syria's Golan Heights. "Secret test diplomacy: the story of Israel and Syria" coming soon.

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