The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza are arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities. The crackdown directly violates obligations that Palestine recently assumed in ratifying international treaties protecting free speech.
Israeli security officials and political leaders are increasingly worried that the Palestinian Authority — which along with Israeli security forces is responsible for governance and security in the West Bank — is on the verge of collapse, and that when it does collapse, law and order in the West Bank will erode, bringing disaster for Palestinians there and potentially opening the territory to a takeover by Hamas or other extremists. Jennifer Williams assesses the likelihood of this happening…
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to name a successor, hold elections, or reform the PA’s corrupt institutions is pushing his rivals to unite against him.
The staunchest of enemies—from members of Hamas to former members of the PA, including the Western-educated reformer Salam Fayyad and the exiled Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan—have found common ground in their quest to dethrone the aging Palestinian leader.
This is a set of articles which say directly or by default that we are not seeing a third intifada merely an increase in reactive clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli police. Deaths and injuries are all on the Palestinian side. Plus brief histories of the first two intifadas..
Ghada Karmi’s extraordinary new account of exile and the impossibility of finding home, Return: A Palestinian Memoir, is sympathetically reviewed by Avi Shlaim.
Karmi describes her return to work with the Palestinian Authority and the disappointment and disillusionment she experienced: “The journey filled me with bitterness and grief. I remember looking down on a nighttime Tel Aviv from the windows of a place taking me back to London and thinking hopelessly, ‘flotsam and jetsam, that’s what we’ve become, scattered and divided. There’s no room for us or our memories here. And it won’t be reversed.’”
When these three experts on the MidEast say ‘few on the global stage believe Netanyahu is committed to trying to find a way to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians’ that is an overstatement. Does anyone? They warn the PA about expecting too much from the ICC but their admonition is directed first at Netanyahu for his intransigence and thus opening Israel to a revived delegitimisation campaign.
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.