As US-Israel relations have worsened, the superpower’s relations with the PA have become stronger. These two shifts may not be connected, but it is clear to analysts that a strong PA is essential if violence or anarchy are not to subsume the moderate authority. Interview with Mustafa Barghouti on US/Palestinian relations.
There are many small reasons why the peace talks initiated by the Obama administration and conducted by John Kerry failed. But there is one big reason: the Israeli government did not engage. If it can continue to deny all political rights to Palestinians, it will. As the blame game/accountancy continues, the PA turns to the international arena.
Since the Israelis reneged on the prisoner release agreement, the PA has adopted a new strategy: to gather ever greater legitimacy for statehood in the international arena, slowly turning Israel into a pariah nation for refusing to end the occupation. The PA itself is a vehicle that cannot get Abbas to his destination. Jonathan Cook assesses their options.
The outlook for the survival of the PA as an effective force is bleak. Amira Hass on a new report which predicts collapse from the Israeli economic stranglehold or internal conflict. The attempt to oust ageing President Mahmoud Abbas is being pressed by UAE favourite and former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan who is said to be secret talks with Israel’s Yitzhak Molcho.
In a interview with Ceasefire magazine, Noam Chomsky talks of the few choices the Palestinians have been left with and the pleasure in Israel that Syrians are destroying their own country.
The announcement of new negotiations in Washington is excellent news for President Obama & John Kerry. It doesn’t seem like good news for the Palestinians who, having dropped the precondition of ’67 borders, are now forced to follow Israel’s agenda – which means entrenching the occupation, just when boycott and UN status seemed to moving things Palestine’s way. +972 analysis.UPDATE: security bodies have always negotiated – Abdul Sattar Qassem, Asmaa al-Ghoul, Moshe Machover – same old no-change.
The government of Dr. Rami Hamdallah was only meant to be transitional, until reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah arrived at some conclusion – but not as transitional as two weeks. Mr Hamdallah seems to have been taken aback by the impossibility of his task – how to act as a PM under the authority of President Abbas and his forbidding enclave of Fatah apparatchiks and within the constraint of the Paris protocol.
Last February Khaled Meshaal, political leader of Hamas left Syria to live – via his first, brief, visit to Gaza – in Doha. There, in the Qatari capital, he is interviewed by Foreign Policy magazine. He gives brief explanations on why Hamas left Syria, and his opposition to making any concessions until Israel shows itself ready to end the occupation. It is less revealing than other interviews he has given but is, perhaps, a message to an American audience that he is a human being who believes in democracy and human rights – but is unflinching about the priority of ending the occupation.
The Oslo accords entrenched the occupation, established an international complacency about 2-state negotiations, and created a new Palestinian elite whose status depends on the false independence of the Palestinian Authority. In his class analysis of the Oslo agreement, Adam Hanieh argues that only if the Palestinians continue to challenge their supine governing class can they regain the vigour of an independence movement.
To Palestinians the resignation of Salam Fayyad is no great loss; he was not involved in any political negotiations and he was blamed for the financial crisis which caused such serious protests last September there was renewed talk of a 3rd intifada. To the West, Fayyad was the man they could do business with and they fear Abbas becoming enclosed in corruption and croneyism.
Tensions over political prisoners were already high because of the hunger strike of Samer Issawi and others. When the death of Arafat Jadarat in prison was announced on Saturday, anger and frustration swept across the oPt, expressed in mass rallies and attendance at Jaradat’s funeral. An autopsy found signs of torture on Jadarat’s body. The PA and Addameer demand an international inquiry; people demand Israel be taken to the ICC. .
The Bab al-Shams encampment in its brief life inspired and enthused people in Palestine and round the world. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad praised the activists saying that “the Palestinian steadfastness make the most important part in resisting the occupation and settlement.” PA personnel including Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi were prevented from reaching the ‘village’. The protesters were removed on the orders of Netanyahu/Civil Administration, but as a form of resistance which does more than say no, the image has taken wing.
The implications of Palestine’s new UN status are examined by two Q&A articles, 1) from the BBC and 2) from ACRI. Apart from enhancing its status in relation to Israel, the main consequence is seen to be the PA’s possible entry into international bodies and agreements, giving the PA new powers as well as responsibilities.
Robert Fisk interviews Uri Avnery, founder of Gush Shalom (whose blogs are often posted here). Avnery retains hope but warns that the dominant Israeli right want conquest, not peace. 2nd, in his latest column he points out that blocking the PA’s peaceful strategy for UN membership, confirms Hamas’ hero status.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the conservative Justice and Development party, has said he will shortly visit Gaza. This will be the first visit by a head of government of a NATO member. Despite reports of an angry reaction from Fatah, Erdogan says he will invite Pres. Abbas to go with him to Gaza. 3 reports
Dr. Mohsen Salah sets out a 5-point critique of the PLO, including its lack of function and purpose and its exclusive membership. Only overcoming its sectarianism will give it new life. Posted below, a diatribe against the PA and PLO by Khalid Amayreh who, within the hate-speech, makes the same point: Islamic politics must be recognised and represented.
There is no doubting the increase in applications for Israeli citizenship by Arabs living in Jerusalem. The question is why. Here Yehudit Oppenheimer (1st) of Ir Amim argues that it is a survival strategy while Khaled Abu Toameh, 2nd, suggests Israeli citizenship confers more rights than the impotent PA is able to provide.
In the recent Palestinian protests about high prices both President Abbas and PM Fayyad were blamed. But, as these articles from Bloomberg and the Carnegie Middle East Center show, there is little either man can do given dependence on foreign donors, with trade between outside markets and the West Bank and Gaza trip strictly limited by Israeli authorities and internal movement choked in the name of Israel’s security.
The speech by President Abbas to the UNGA on Thursday (see post below) has divided Palestinians; some can’t be bothered with what he has to say, some think he valuably brought Palestine’s predicament and Israel’s aggression to an international audience, some thought it was a demonstration of Palestinians’ lack of power and strategy. A critical article from Doc Jazz is followed by an overview from Ma’an news.
This posting on the West Bank price protests is a very mixed bag, reflecting the restless form and focus of the disturbances. The pieces range from short news items – Abbas will cancel the Oslo accords, Fayyad posts an anti-government song on his Facebook page, to a couple of longer assessments of where the protests will lead. Plus link to a +972 photo essay.