Palestinian Elections: Barghouti and Qidwa Give Abbas Ultimatum for Accepting Electoral List

March 2, 2021

Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

Senior Fatah leaders Marwan Barghouti and Nasser Al-Qidwa have given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until March 5 to accept their electoral list, Lebanon’s Al-Akbar reported on Monday.

Barghouti has been in an Israeli prison since 2002, while Al-Qidwa is a cousin of the late Yasser Arafat. According to senior Fatah sources, they have proposed a list to Abbas that includes young people and active Fatah members who have been effectively neutralized by Abbas due to their resistance against the Israeli occupation.

The Lebanese newspaper reported the sources as saying that they ruled out that Abbas could cancel the elections or postpone them due to regional and international pressure if he fails to be ready to face Fatah’s main rival, Hamas.

Meanwhile, the differences within Fatah are increasing. The Secretary of its Central Committee, Jibril Al-Rajoub failed last week to prevent the formation of different electoral lists for Fatah members and leaders.

Al-Akhbar said that Al-Rajoub had laid down a roadmap for the elections that meets the demands of Barghouti and Al-Qidwa, but falls far behind their vision in relation to fighting corruption and supporting Palestinian resistance against the occupation.

Senior Fatah official Qadura Fares has announced that he will not stand for election. Fares is the director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and said that he is not standing as a candidate because of the “numerous painful conditions for the democratic process that makes the factional agenda superior to national interests.”

Moreover, another senior Fatah official, Nabil Amro, is apparently seeking to form his own list after rejecting the list proposed by the movement’s Central Committee, which does not put him among the top names. Former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the sources said, is working to form his own list and could possibly act in partnership with Amro.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

How USAID Kills Popular Resistance in Palestine

The strategy for building the Palestinian state is bolstered by economic and social programs aimed at “winning the hearts and minds” of the population under occupation with development programs. (Photo: Archive)
Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013
As the biggest bilateral economic and development donor to the Palestinians, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) uses social development as an effective tool to dismantle Palestinian resistance movements in the West Bank and Gaza. USAID’s programs are based on linking all development assistance with repudiating the ideas of resistance and surrendering to the occupation.

Ramallah – Since 1994, shortly after signing the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) received $3 billion in the form of development assistance for water, sanitation, infrastructure, education, health, economic development, and democratization. This type of assistance was part of the fight against “rebellion,” closely linked with PNA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plans announced in August 2009 to build Palestinian state institutions within the 1967 borders and thus promote the two-state solution.The fight against “rebellion” had two aims in essence. The first was to control the population and kill the Palestinian resistance. The second was an alternative to traditional methods in quelling resistance and revolutionary movements. This ideology is founded on colonialist concepts at times of war, when raw military intervention fails. So it becomes necessary for the armies to use soft power to win the battle.

USAID and State-Building

The strategy for building the Palestinian state is bolstered by economic and social programs aimed at “winning the hearts and minds” of the population under occupation with development programs.
Fayyad’s plan to build Palestinian state institutions seems to have coincided with the security plan launched in the West Bank under the moniker of fighting the state of lawlessness in the territories. The stated aim was to eradicate drugs and stolen car dealers – accusations that were pinned to members of Fatah’s military wing al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Moreover, the state-building plan does not link the right of return organically with the national goals. Although it mentions ending the occupation, the right to self-determination, and the establishment of the state, it does not say anything about the right of return. Most of the plan is about state-building and leaves little space for national struggle, except in two sentences speaking about peaceful popular resistance.
In the introduction, the plan speaks about steadfastness and Arab and international supports as prerequisites for achieving independence. This is where USAID programs come in, to try to cover part of this steadfastness through technical assistance, loan programs, and projects to rehabilitate border crossings.
The project aims to facilitate the movement of Palestinian goods through border checkpoints. It entails better technology to scan merchandise and raising the capacity of Palestinian companies to shorten border-crossing times. However, they ignore the fact that the priority is to remove the crossings and the military checkpoints, rather than making them more practical.

Resistance Is Terrorism That Undermines the State

Through direct and indirect partnerships with the PNA, USAID provided a definition of terrorism in Palestine, confining it to resistance movements. One of its goals is fighting against the conditions and circumstances that feed terrorism (meaning resistance) and the community that carries it, all with the goal of creating solid foundations for building the prospective Palestinian state.

USAID turned the question of fighting terrorism into practice through asking benefactors to sign a statement renouncing terrorism as a condition to receiving grants. Other international organizations, even European ones, do not have this stipulation.

The definition of terrorism, according to USAID, demands that none of the beneficiaries of the project are members of Hamas or other resistance factions, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It also requires a clear statement declaring resistance by Palestinians to be acts of terrorism and committing to US values and principles.

For example, the terrorism document means that if a car accident occurs outside a health project supported by USAID, victims cannot be treated if they happen to be members in a resistance faction. It also means that a village in the West Bank could not receive a grant for street repair if its village council was made up of Hamas members. This was the case of Bethlehem in 2007, when funding to the municipality and road rehabilitation was terminated because Hamas members were on the council.
However, the conditions for grants do not stop at signing the terrorism statement. They include a complete security check on members of the board of the institution and project staff under the Partner Vetting System (PVS). The names are investigated by the occupation intelligence units and the PNA security forces in Ramallah. If one of the names happens to have a history of struggle or political leanings toward a resistance faction, the project will be denied.

Programs to Dry Up Resistance Sources

A quick and simple review of programs related to democracy, local governance, the media, rule of law, and conflict management will indicate the level of concern the US agency has toward building a Palestinian society that seeks peace with the Israeli enemy based on the two-state solution.

On the question of local governance, the agency’s website claims the West Bank and Gaza Strip are in need of civic participation as a necessity for a democratic state with good governance. The efforts aim to expand and increase the scope of support for the two-state solution and build momentum toward peace.

This is consistent with Fayyad’s state-building plans, which speak of a two-state solution, an end to the occupation, freedom, and the right to self-determination, without mentioning the right of return.

USAID’s outlook about the media, considered an important tool to support the resistance and instill the concept of liberation, is based on the idea that the Palestinian media sector faces obstacles, including the undesired effects of the unstable political environment. This is a reference to the conflict between Fatah and Hamas and its related impacts, positions, and challenges.

However, despite such challenges, according to USAID, Palestinian media were able to prove their ability to adapt and create a fertile ground for independent and plural media, which do not see Israel as an enemy, but a partner for peace.

The third cornerstone in eliminating the sources of resistance and its enabling community is through reconciliation and conflict management projects in the West Bank and Gaza, which aim to gather all groups representing the local community around one table to address the hidden causes behind the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

USAID’s programs on conflict management and mediation include training lawyers, experts in psychology, urban planners, general education, dialogue, networking, opportunities between Israelis and Palestinians, joint Palestinian-Israeli environmental programs, and creating Palestinian-Israeli television series.

West Bank as Green Zone

According to former US CIA director David Petraeus, the green zone is the area that cannot produce or contain resistance movements. It enjoys peace and security and can export it to its neighbors.
In the Palestinian case, Fayyad’s state-building plan and USAID programs have been acting relentlessly to promote the idea of “civil society,” which surpasses boundaries under the name of “global civil society.” This is one of the most sinister tools of foreign funding in the implementation of programs to dismantle society, which is the main incubator of resistance movements.

These associations seek to shape young people’s minds through promoting democracy and civil society as the best ways to develop the Palestinian political community. However, they ignore the fact that Palestine is under occupation, and there is a need to plan its liberation before thinking about governance and developing the political community.

According to the mainstream conception, NGOs are based on a feeling of a common identity, which surpasses national sentiments by linking people through global networks. The more the cause of the NGO is committed to cross-border solidarity, meaning the more it surpasses national boundaries, access to funding becomes easier.

Clearly, what is meant here is not internationalism in the face of imperialism and zionism for example. Such solidarity cannot happen by denying national independence and unity, but by their reinforcement. This means the “global civil society” is a scheme to ultimately smash national belonging.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Obama Wants Bibi to Strengthen "Moderate Leadership" in Palestinian Authority

Local Editor
 
US President Barack Obama stated Thursday that his visit to Palestine and the occupied territories was to “listen” to both sides and hear their views on how to move forward in the “peace talks”.

Obama's visit before electionsSpeaking to “Israel’s” Channel 2, only one week before his first visit to the occupied territories since his election as president, Obama said “my goal on this trip is to listen. I intend to meet with Bibi (Netanyahu)… I intend to meet with (Premier Salam) Fayyad and Abu Mazen (President Mahmoud Abbas) and to hear from them what is their strategy, what is their vision, where do they think this should go?”

The US president said he would press both sides to recognize the “legitimate interests of the other.”
“To Abu Mazen, I will say that trying to unilaterally go to, for example, the United Nations, and do an end run around Israel, is not going to be successful,” Obama said, adding: “to Bibi (Netanyahu) I would suggest to him that he should have an interest in strengthening the moderate leadership inside the Palestinian Authority…”

“For example, making sure that issues like settlements are viewed through the lens of: Is this making it harder or easier for Palestinian moderates to sit down at the table,” he said.

On the peace talks, Obama considered that “we’re past the point where we should be even talking about pre-conditions and steps and sequences. Everybody knows what’s going to be involved here in setting up two states, side by side, living in peace and security.”

“How we get into those conversations, whether they can happen soon or whether there needs to be some further work done on the ground, that’s part of what I’ll explore when I’ll get there,” he added.

Source: AFP
15-03-2013 – 14:07 Last updated 15-03-2013 – 14:07

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Fatah Israeli Collaborators


By Stephen Lendman

September 26, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – 

 

Abbas and FayyadCall it an open secret. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and like-minded Fatah officials collaborate with Israel’s occupation harshness.

At least since Oslo, they served Israel at the expense of their own people. Abbas is more Israeli sheriff than legitimate president. He suppresses peaceful demonstrations, targets free expression, fills West Bank detention centers with political prisoners, and governs as an illegitimate Quisling head of state.

As chief Oslo negotiator, he unconditionally surrendered to Israeli demands. He became known for flexibility and subservience. His bosses reside in Tel Aviv and Washington. He’s more stooge than statesman. He’s rewarded with White House photo-ops and other handsome benefits.

So is Fayyad. His background explains why. He’s a political opportunist. He and Abbas are Israeli double agents. Their policies are double-dealing. They punish their own people for their own self-interest.

Fayyad is a CEO technocrat. His credentials include a University of Texas economics doctorate, teaching experience at Jordan’s Yarmouk University, and economic research employment at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

From 1987 – 1995, he served as a World Bank and IMF official. Until 2001, he was IMF’s man in Palestine. He was Yasser Arafat’s finance minister.

In Palestine’s 2006 legislative elections, his Third Way party got 2.4% of the vote. Palestinians wanted no part of him or his party. After Fatah’s 2006 coup d’etat co-opted the PLO, PA and West Bank, Abbas illegitimately made him prime minister.

Abbas’ term expired in January 2009. He hasn’t scheduled elections and remains in office.

Under them and Fatah collaborators, power is concentrated in the executive branch. Palestinians are betrayed and ill-served. Democratically elected Hamas officials are marginalized, excluded, and arrested at the behest of Israel.

Since mid-September alone, 120 West Bank Hamas members and supporters were detained. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the widespread sweep. It called on Fatah leaders “to fully comply with the law and stop political arrests.”

Those targeted were first summoned for questioning. It was a trap. Arrests followed. Others were seized at home or work. Victims include Hamas leaders, reconciliation figures, former prisoners, journalists, youth activists and university students.

Among them are Fuad al-Khuffash, Director of the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights; Waleed Khaled Ali, Director of the Office of Palestine Daily in Salfit; and Sheikh Riad Rasheed al-Walweel, a prominent West Bank reconciliation figure.

It’s not the first time this happened and won’t be the last. At the behest of Israel, Fatah leaders salute and obey. Palestinians have two enemies. Their liberating struggle persists on two fronts. Israel is an illegal oppressive occupier. Fatah leaders reflect betrayal…

Netanyahu isn’t being “charitable, generous, magnanimous, or” good-neighborly. He didn’t change his spots. Nor have others around him and most Knesset members. They believe in Jewish exceptionalism. Arabs are considered subhumans.

Fatah leaders go along for benefits they derive. Doing so condemns their own people to continued occupation harshness.

Israeli money transfers reflect less than meet the eye. Amounts involved represent “Palestinian money the occupying power collects on behalf of the PA in accordance with the (1994 Oslo) Paris protocol which effectively put the entire Palestinian economy under Israel’s mercy.”

Israel levies about $100 million monthly. It’s for commodities Palestinians import. “Normally, Israel (extorts) bloated commissions and hefty salaries for (its) operatives” involved.

Last week, Netanyahu ordered $63 million in transfers. He claimed to be helping ease the PA’s fiscal crisis, saying:

“We are working on several fronts in order to help the Palestinian Authority cope with its economic problems. We have made several agreements in the taxation agreements.”  

“We are advancing several transfers. We have also helped with Palestinian workers and with a series of other steps in order to make things easier for them.” 

“Of course, there is a global reality and it is also related to the internal management of every economy, but for our part we are making efforts to help the Palestinian Authority survive this crisis. I hope they will succeed in doing so, this is in our common interest.”

 Propping up Fatah is key for Israel. At the same time, Hamas is vilified, its members and supporters targeted and arrested, and Gaza remains under suffocating siege.

Last week, “a high-ranking PA official (said) Israel” wants the PA weakened but not destroyed. It wants it subservient and compliant with Israel’s will. It wants services rendered as Israel’s enforcer.

It wants Palestinians doing some of its own dirty work. It wants nothing obstructing its ability to ravage West Bank and East Jerusalem communities freely.

Abbas, Fayyad, and like-minded collaborators willingly go along. They turn a blind eye to repeated crimes against humanity. They repeatedly commit their own.

Last week, the main al-Haras, Hebron police station was assaulted and vandalized. Israeli intelligence “saboteurs and provocateurs” were involved. Palestinians were blamed for their crimes.

PA West Bank control reflects “the biggest obstacle impeding the establishment of” sovereign Palestine and full de jure UN membership. It should have happened a generation ago. To this day it hasn’t because PA officials won’t institute steps enabling it to be accomplished.

In early September, Abbas told Israelis visiting Ramallah that the Jewish state “was created to last forever.” He’s Palestine’s main problem. He collaborates against the interests of his own people.

On September 24, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass covered an aspect of the same issue. Her article headlined “The Palestinian Authority – devoid of any authority,” saying:

Oslo was supposed to assure Palestinian self-government. Instead, it reinforced occupation harshness.

PA-run radio airs programming favorable to Israel. One talk show “provides airtime to family members of people imprisoned in Israel.” They’re brutally treated political prisoners. Their crime is praying to the wrong God and wanting to live free on their own land.
 
Broadcasts invert or downplay reality. Family members denied visitation rights make due with commenting on air about their loved ones.

Some settle for a brief “ ‘How are you, habibi? We’re all fine. Don’t worry about us. We hope you’re taking care of yourself and your health, and that you’ll be released soon – you and all the other prisoners.’ “

Others comment at more length. Doing so obscures occupation harshness. Between talk shows and news, public service announcements are aired. They encourage people to pay electric bills. They claim “non-payment strengthens the occupation.”

The common denominator of these broadcasts reflects what attorney Yael Barda covered in her book titled “The Bureaucracy of the Occupation: The Regime of Movement Permits 2000 – 2006.”

She disputes Neve Gordon’s conclusion in his book titled “Israel’s Occupation.” She summarizes his view, saying:

“Since the Oslo Accords, the force used against the Palestinians has changed and is now a sovereign power employing legal control by means of the law and policing forces; it does not intervene in civil decisions and does not distinguish between those who oppose the occupation and those who accept it …”

Barda believes the following:

“After the administrative and regional separation enacted as a result of the Oslo Accords, control over the lives of the Palestinians and interference in their civilian matters did not decrease; on the contrary, it grew.” 

Her view derives from extensive personal observations. She witnessed occupation harshness firsthand. It dominates Palestinian life ruthlessly. Fundamental human and civil rights are denied.

Military order diktats govern virtually everything. Free expression, movement, and most else are denied. Occupied lives are crushed into submission. Oslo instituted brutalizing state terror. PA collaborators permit it and commit some of their own.

“It’s enough to think about the terrifying presence of the Border Police, Special Patrol Units and National Insurance Institute inspectors in East Jerusalem neighborhood and villages, turned into choking pockets of poverty by the Israeli government, in order to remember the potential of direct control and its predatory nature,” said Hass.

“It’s enough to remember Area C in which Israel will not allow an old Palestinian community to build toilets or install a solar energy system.”

Israeli and PA security forces freely arrest Palestinians any time, anywhere, for any reason or none at all. Children are brutalized like adults. They’re terrorized, arrested, tortured, and at times imprisoned.

Israeli occupation created “a confusing hybrid of military-colonial state of emergency and civilian autonomy. The duality and all its contradictions are the glue that makes it hard to undo.” PA collaboration makes it much harder.

Hass called it the “genius” of Oslo. Israel got everything it wanted. Palestinians “were left with autonomous pockets that only reinforce Israel’s rule.”

They’re on their own to change things. A third Intifada is long overdue.

phen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 


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Collapse of PA will lead to collapse of Israel-Jordan peace agreement 13Sep12 September 13, 2012

MEMO-Middle East Monitor – 12 September 2012

A senior official at Israel’s Defence Ministry has warned that the collapse of the Palestinian Authority will lead to the collapse of Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan. Amos Gilad was speaking at the 12th world summit of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism held in Herzliya. He also called on the Israeli government to rein in right-wing groups which carry out the so-called Price Tag attacks against Palestinians, saying that such violent criminal acts of terror are intended to drag Israel into a religious Armageddon scenario.

The Ministry’s Director for Policy and Political-Military Affairs referred specifically to the recent firebomb attack on a Palestinian taxi, and the attempt lynching of a Palestinian youth in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square.

According to Haaretz newspaper, Gilad called on the Israeli government to treat right-wing violence against Arabs and Palestinians “just as it treats terrorist attacks targeting Israelis”.
While noting that security cooperation with Egypt is conducted as a dialogue, Gilad said that Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt “should be guarded every day”. It’s hard to see how Israel’s security will be stable if there is no peace with Egypt, he added. Furthermore, Gilad said that he is “impressed” with Egypt’s military campaign in Sinai in the wake of the recent murderous terrorist attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah during Ramadan.

Turning to the current wave of protests engulfing the occupied West Bank, Gilad called on the Israeli government to pay more attention to Palestinian living conditions so as not to be drawn into “a very serious war” which would threaten the Palestinian Authority’s very existence. The PA’s security agencies, he claimed, “are not concerned about terrorism”; nevertheless, he said that it is important for security coordination to take place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The protests against the Ramallah-based Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, could lead to the dissolution of the PA, said Gilad, and if that happens, it will have a serious effect on Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan.

In closing, Amos Gilad said that he regards Iran to be Israel’s main enemy, with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, both of whom reject Israel’s right to exist, a close second.

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"The Middle East peace process is dead…. it may well go on (decomposing) indefinitely"

“Via FLC

“…”The Middle East peace process is dead. More precisely, the two-state solution is dead; the peace process may well go on indefinitely if this Israeli government has its way.The two-state solution did not die a natural death. It was strangulated as Jewish settlements in the West Bank were expanded and deepened by successive Israeli governments in order to prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state. The settlement project has achieved its intended irreversibility, not only because of its breadth and depth but also because of the political clout of the settlers and their supporters within Israel who have both ideological and economic stakes in the settlements’ permanence” …”

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Palestine Protests: Occupation Economy Falters

Palestine Protests: Occupation Economy Falters

Palestinian protesters burn an effigy of prime minister Salam Fayyad during a demonstration against the high cost of living in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on 4 September 2012. (Photo: AFP – Hazem Bader)
Published Friday, September 7, 2012
A few days ago, a Palestinian from Ramallah tried to set himself on fire to protest the dire economic conditions in the West Bank. Soaring prices, high taxes, costly fuel, and low salaries are pushing Palestinians to take action.

Ramallah – Seven in the morning is when rush hour starts on the main roads of Palestinian cities. Students head to their schools and universities and working people to their jobs.

But yesterday was not like any other day. Thousands of trucks and taxis blocked road junctions connecting the towns of the West Bank.

The Union of Transportation Workers in the West Bank went on a full strike between 7am and 9am, continuing with a partial strike for the rest of the day.

Taxi, bus, and truck drivers were protesting soaring fuel costs, which ultimately led to higher prices for major food products.

The strike led to heavy traffic jams in the morning rush hour, with hundreds of thousands of students and workers experiencing delays.
 

The drivers promised to repeat the strike next Monday – for a full day and throughout the West Bank – if the government of Salam Fayyad does not consider their demands to bring fuel prices back to what they were before the last increase.

Al-Akhbar asked several residents and activists in the West Bank about the popular mobilization taking place against soaring prices.

“I believe that people have the right to express their opinions peacefully. The situation has become unbearable,” Ahmad al-Barghouti declared.

The political class is confused and “there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a rupture in the social situation in all directorates and inside every family,” he continued.

“Where do you start? There is unemployment, inflation, poverty, clientelism, and preferential treatment, not to mention the occupation and daily abuses from settlers. Then there is an extremist right wing government [in Israel] and a wall that suffocates the people,” he explained.

Barghouti said he believed these conditions to be “pressure tools that will lead the street to erupt, whether against the high prices or in a third intifada against the occupation. It could be over a list of popular demands leading to a real revolution to overthrow the [Palestinian] Authority (PA).”

Sami Awad from Ramallah said he feels “a widening gap between the people and the PA. People do not feel a part of the authority, and the authority does not represent the wishes and aspirations of the people.”

He indicated that “the absence of elections, a real democratic process, unity, and a common vision for the future are part of the problem.”

“I support the people’s right to protest peacefully for their causes. I am in favor of this mobilization, not just because I want to blame and complain, but to participate politically. It is our responsibility to confront such challenges, in order to create a better future. We have to stop dealing with the symptoms and look into the real reason behind the economic crisis,” he elaborated.

From occupied Jerusalem, Roline Tafakji told Al-Akhbar that “the demands to overthrow Salam Fayyad are irresponsible. Those who know about the agreements signed by the PA will discover that Fayyad was not present. He is merely a scapegoat before the local elections.”

“The scenario will be as follows. Fayyad will be toppled and the burdens of the Paris economic agreement [signed in 1994 and aimed at coordinating economic ties with Israel] will be blamed on him. Then, politicians will start promoting incomprehensible ideas and win the local elections,” she said.

“I prefer that we call for the downfall of the Paris economic agreement, instead of burning pictures of Fayyad and calling for his overthrow or the resignation of his government,” she recommended.

Rami Deaibes from Jenin believes that “demonstrating is a legitimate right. It is a means of challenging the exorbitant prices relative to income…The situation now is that most citizens are hostage to their salaries and bank loans. They live under heavy economic and livelihood pressures.”

Akram al-Natsheh from Hebron was more direct. “The latest hike in prices broke the camel’s back. Palestinians have been living in a state of poverty and unemployment for too long,” he said.

He explained that “none of the promises were fulfilled, and nothing was gained except new taxes and exorbitant fees received by the PA on transactions. Over the past years, these increases accumulated and led to the current upheaval.”

Natsheh suggested that protests are becoming more popular by the day. Indeed, they could escalate, unless the PA takes immediate action.

Although the protests revolve around economic issues, he argued that they concealed an underlying resentment of the overall performance of the Palestinian government.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Fayyad’s Economics Aids Israeli Occupation

Fayyad’s Economics Aids Israeli Occupation

Palestinian protesters wear Guy Fawkes masks as they hold an effigy of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad during a protest against the high cost of living, in the West Bank 4 September 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Mussa Qawasma)
 
Published Friday, September 7, 2012
 
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Aida refugee camp, home to nearly 4,000 displaced Palestinians, is snugly situated between the ever-expanding separation wall and a dazzling five-star hotel that is only financially feasible to the economically privileged Palestinian elite. Trapped between a vulgar display of wealth and a towering symbol of their 45-year imprisonment under suffocating martial law, Aida’s residents live in conditions which are a microcosm of life under the governance of the Palestinian Authority.

Rather than advancing the struggle for Palestinian self-determination, an economic-peace approach under the direction of Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has greatly hastened Israel’s ongoing colonization of the West Bank.

In 2007, following Hamas-dominated parliamentary elections the previous year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas illegally dismissed the democratically-chosen Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas. Under immense pressure from Israel and its Western allies, Abbas appointed Salam Fayyad, a former World Bank economist with extensive ties to Western politicians, as prime minister of a new emergency government. Until today, no elections have taken place.

Abbas’s absurdly undemocratic –and illegal – display of autocracy was prompted by American and European threats to cut off the PA’s financial lifeline. Unsurprisingly, as American and European politicians were delivering speeches chastising countries such as Iran and Syria for their lack of representative governance, they were bribing the PA to abandon its democratic mandate.
Corporate media outlets eagerly played chorus to the choir, shining an almost entirely uncritical light on Fayyad and his plan to establish an independent Palestinian state through an economic peace approach, labeled by many commentators as “Fayyadism.”

New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman, who praised Fayyad in a series of editorials, referred to Fayyad’s economic peace approach as “the real Palestinian revolution.” Friedman wrote that Fayyad, unlike America’s other Arab allies, does not “lack both courage and vision,” and is “popular” because he aims to build honest institutions and “effective police and paramilitary units.”

In short, through accelerated industrialization and a concentrated focus on the private sector, Fayyad sought to reach a level of economic independence which once achieved would render Israel incapable of denying Palestinians an independent state in the West Bank (ostensibly leaving Gaza for a later date). His strategy included cleansing the PA of corruption, encouraging nonviolent struggle against the Israeli occupation, attracting investment in urban centers, and close cooperation with the Israelis on security issues. Through all of this, Fayyad boldly pronounced, long awaited Palestinian sovereignty would materialize by 2011.

Influenced by disastrous neoliberal myths, the development born from the unelected Fayyad’s policies – ironically praised by Israeli economist Yitzhak Gal as “bottom up” – is proving to be as enduring as sandcastles.

Supporters of the progress made under Fayyad’s supervision, who point to the almost eight percent rise in Gross Domestic Production (GDP) between 2008 and 2011, tend to overlook its impermanence – GDP growth has been driven almost entirely by international donor aid, on which the PA is wholly dependent to stay afloat.

The financial inequality gap of Palestinians in the West Bank has widened drastically, creating an economic impediment that serves as yet another barrier to genuine grassroots unity. Furthermore, as the Abbas-Fayad government encourages development projects such as Rawabi, a planned city near Ramallah, struggling families are being asked to move, put their assets up as debt collateral, and make dangerous investments in a trembling economic environment.

Because of the overwhelming emphasis on urban development, the rural countryside, large swaths of which are under the 60 percent of the West Bank completely controlled by Israel, has been subjected to an astounding degree of negligence. The overwhelming economic pressure faced by many Palestinians who are desperate for employment has resulted in large scale migration to urban centers such as Ramallah.

In other words, the same treacherous economic policies of many Western countries – those which led to the extreme concentration of wealth into the hands of a tiny elite, housing crises, and an economic meltdown that caused global damage – are now being applied in Palestine.

When considered alongside the rapid expansion of Israeli settlements, Fayyad’s approach seems to assist the Israeli government in its efforts at ethnic cleansing by pushing Palestinians into semi-sovereign enclaves that are effectively Bantustans.

The Palestinian economy cannot blossom under the heel of Israel, which completely controls the flow of all imports and exports, collects and transfers taxes (often withholding these taxes as political punishment), and restricts the movement of human capital. Now that the average purchasing power of Palestinians is less than it was in 2005, at the tail end of the Second Intifada, it ought to be clear that this is a nauseating display of non-logic.

The basic premise on which Fayyad’s entire strategic edifice is built is flawed to its very core: there is not a shred of credibility to the notion that development would somehow force the Israelis to withdraw.
To make matters worse, the PA’s security forces are reportedly operating at a level of efficiency which has allowed the Israeli army to remove hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank. In effect, Palestinians are being hired to enforce Israel’s illegal occupation, while the United States and other donors foot the bill for both development and security.
The impact of popular grassroots struggles against Israel’s iron-fist grip has been directly undermined by Fayyad’s economic-peace approach.

Although the last few years ushered in an inspirational new period of nonviolent Palestinian resistance, the challenges the Palestinian struggle pose to the Israeli occupation have been mitigated by the economic and political efforts of the Abbas-Fayyad regime. In other words, despite the vast expansion of settlements, the uptick in home demolitions, and the increased confiscation of Palestinian lands, the occupation has become less rather than more costly for Israel.

Particularly over the last year, Palestinians have reenacted many of the nonviolent strategies of the First Intifada – sit-ins, marches, hunger strikes – and developed creative new means of resisting the horrifying system of segregation that was imposed on the West Bank after the Oslo Accords. If these courageous struggles are complimented by a complete economic and political disengagement from Israel, Palestinians could deliver a potentially stultifying blow to the institutions of occupation.

The alternative is to continue on the present path, personified by Abbas and Fayyad: an utter lack of political progress, accelerated economic stratification, and the expedited colonization of the last embattled swaths of Palestinian land. If a new method is not adopted, the PA will develop the urban centers of the West Bank just in time for Israel to once and for all annex the cringing remains of Palestine at a discounted rate.

Patrick O. Strickland is a freelance journalist and a weekly Israel-Palestine correspondent for BikyaMasr.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.

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Palestinians Must Return to Armed Resistance

Palestinian scouts of Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony in Gaza City. (Photo: Reuters – Mohammed Salem)
Published Thursday, June 14, 2012
In the letter he sent to Netanyahu on April 17, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Israel “stop all settlement activities” as a precondition for direct negotiations. A week later, Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign minister, condemned Israel, saying “settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace, and threaten the viability of a two-state solution.”
Certainly, settlements are illegal under international law. Yet it is dangerous to portray the issue of settlements as a precondition for resuming direct talks, as it obscures the real obstacle to peace: Israel’s policy to maintain the status quo and the PA’s complicity in perpetuating the occupation. By calling settlement expansion “an obstacle to peace” and a precondition for bilateral peace talks, the PA and international community team up with the Zionist occupation to concentrate attention on Israel’s settlement policy and to continue with the so-called peace process.
Since the terms of current public discussions have shifted from internationally illegal settlements towards nationally illegal outposts, any concession Israel makes on settlement activity will be considered “a far-reaching step toward peace” in the eyes of the international community. It is still in our fresh memory that the world – believing that bilateral negotiations are the key to a just resolution – welcomed Israel’s decision to impose a moratorium on settlement expansion in 2009 as well as the direct talks that followed it.
A politically cheap concession on settlement policy effectively serves as a safety valve for Israel to dodge external criticisms, whitewash Israel’s image and pressure the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks that never lead to actual peace. Noam Sheizaf, an independent journalist of +972, argues: “From the perspective of any Israeli prime minister, and certainly a right-wing one, it is very tempting to stay in the negotiating room forever – postponing indefinitely the near-civil-war that will accompany the evacuation of settlements, while earning the international legitimacy of ‘the peacemaker.’”

Maintaining the Status Quo

Although many engage in the dichotomous arguments of a one-state solution versus a two-state solution, they may be wasting their time and energy, because, at the moment, Israel is not compelled to choose either one of them.
A rightist intellectual William Kristol candidly states, “Israel has ruled the occupied territories for over 45 years and the indefinite maintenance of the current status quo is also an option.”
The current Israeli government has no incentive or intention to change the status quo. With its continuous economic growth (roughly 5 percent GDP growth for the last two years) and sense of security guaranteed by the separation walls, Israel has embraced its occupation as, currently, its most advantageous option.
“From an Israeli cost/benefit perspective, keeping things as they are will remain preferable to the alternatives of either pulling out of the West Bank or to annexing it,” Noam Sheizaf contends.

Freedom for Sale

Israel’s desire to conserve the status quo corresponds with the PA’s current policy of “economic peace.”
In his book Freedom for Sale, John Kampfner argues that in some autocratic regimes (e.g., Singapore, China) there exists “a pact” between the middle class and the government, in which the former gives up their political freedom in return for economic freedom, effectively dissuading any attempt to overthrow the repressive regime.
A similar pact can be found between the PA and Israel: the PA, lead by neo-liberal Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, helps maintain the occupation while the latter grants limited economic rights on condition that Palestinians abandon resistance.
Jeff Halper, the founder and director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, explains the idea of “viable apartheid” in his recent interview with Al Jazeera, “Fayyad is saying to Israel, we don’t need territory. If you give us economic space, […] it’s good enough.”
The Singaporean model of autocracy earns legitimacy from economic performance. Similarly, the PA’s policy of “economic peace” provides (relative) materialistic satisfaction to Palestinians, solidifying the status quo by giving them “something to lose.” According to the UNCTAD 2011 Report, the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territories grew by 7.4 percent in 2009 and 9.3 percent in 2010. As a result, Fatah received increased support from June 2009 (40.6 percent) to May 2011 (57.8 percent), according to the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.
PA security forces, trained by the United States Security Coordinator (USSC), cooperate with Israel to persecute resistance movements within the Occupied Territories. In August 2010, PA forces arrested, detained and violently attacked members of dissenting political parties within the PLO who had opposed the PA’s decision to resume direct negotiations, Electronic Intifada reported.
Why does the PA pursue “economic peace” at the expense of Palestinian independence? It seems that, confronted with Israel’s formidable military supremacy guaranteed by the US, the PA chose to cope with the occupation instead of putting an end to it. Jeff Halper states, “The Zionists have always said that once the Arabs despair, […]‘despair of the land of Israel ever becoming Palestine’ – that was the end, victory for them. Israel feels that it’s what we have got now.”
In addition to its economic performance, the PA gains legitimacy and discourages popular resistance by pretending to strive for independence and freedom. Although the PA knew the answer in advance, Abbas, in a political performance, sent a letter to Netanyahu who expectedly rejected the PA’s demand to stop settlement construction. A joint statement followed Netanyahu’s response letter, “Israel and the Palestinian Authority are committed to achieving peace.”
In light of the current situation where the PA implicitly accepts a permanent state of inferiority, transforming the occupation that is ‘“tolerable” for Palestinians and sustainable for Israelis, direct talks will only damage the Palestinian cause. Bilateral negotiations allow the Zionist state and the PA to earn legitimacy from the international community and undermine the Palestinian resistance movement. Instead, efforts should focus on rendering the comfortable status quo for Israel and the PA uncomfortable.

Ways to Raise the Cost of Occupation

Non-violent means, including diplomatic pressure, the BDS movement, and active civil disobedience are all essential to create an incentive for Israelis to alter the status quo. Nonetheless, as Israel enjoys America’s unquestionable support, any criticism from the international community against Israel will always fall short of real pressure. And it is unlikely that the BDS movement will inflict substantial economic pressure on Israel in the near future.
Although the recent success of hunger strikers proved that non-violent resistance can be effective to win minor concessions from Israel, the current isolated struggle will bring no fundamental change to the status quo. As the separation walls made it easier to control every aspect of Palestinian lives inside the Occupied Territories, the First Intifada type of game-changing popular resistance has become extremely difficult, if not impossible. The separation walls not only prevent the Israeli consciousness from meeting the Palestinian suffering, but also create a divide within the already-fragmented Palestinian society, making all kinds of unified popular struggle unfeasible.
Furthermore, as the death of Mustafa Tamimi – a Palestinian who was hit by a tear gas canister at a peaceful demonstration in Nabi Saleh last December – illustrates, Israel continues to violently suppress peaceful protesters with impunity.

 

The current situation leaves only one option: armed resistance.

Nelson Mandela, after realizing that non-violent resistance alone will not defeat the South African apartheid regime, established Usmkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the African National Congress’s armed wing which played a crucial role in ending the apartheid government. In his “I am Prepared to Die” speech, Mandela asserted, “We felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. […] We were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government.”
Let us not forget that the Palestinians, as an internationally recognized people with the right to self-determination, can legitimately exercise their right to armed resistance against the colonial government. In UN Resolution 2649 (1970), the UN affirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination recognized as being entitled to the right of self-determination to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal.”
Armed resistance has been successful to pressure Israel. Israel withdrew its forces from Sinai after the 1973 War; the First Intifada lead to the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accords; Israel retreated from the Gaza Strip following the Second Intifada; and Hezbollah’s protracted war caused Israel to retreat from southern Lebanon.
But armed actions should target only military installations and personnel. In international law, a clear distinction exists between freedom fighters and terrorists: the former target only military objectives. ANC did not target civilian objectives, affirming that MK “must continue to distinguish itself from the apartheid death forces by the bravery of its combatants, its dedication to the cause of liberation and peace, and its refusal to act against civilians, both black and white.”
After years of despair and lack of progress, it’s time for the Palestinians to drop the olive branch and grab a freedom fighter’s gun.
Seira Yun is currently working for a Palestinian NGO based in Nazareth.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.

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Palestine: One Man’s Fight for the Right to Work

A Palestinian farmer works in his wheat field during the harvest season in the West Bank village of Tuqua, east of Bethlehem, on 2 June 2012. (Photo: AFP – Musa al-Shaer)
 
Published Saturday, June 2, 2012
In the upscale Ramallah area of al-Masyoun, which is home to extravagant hotels such as the Movenpick and high rise cafes, one man has for a month been solidly protesting from the early morning to late at night outside the offices of Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Tareq Mahmoud Abu Jweid decided to undertake this act after exhausting all means of trying to find a job. He placed adverts in newspapers, filled out many job applications, tried to talk directly to future employers, and finally appealed to the PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Office who transferred him to the Prime Minister’s office.

Tareq, who is 31 years old and suffers from a physical disability, went to university in Morocco where he studied law on a scholarship. After he came back to Palestine in 2005, he worked as a private lawyer for two years, a period during which he also married, bought a car, and opened up his own firm in his town of Dura, Hebron.

However, health problems in his pelvic and spinal regions exacerbated his disability and with 83 percent of his motor skills affected, he was bedridden for six months. He quickly found himself in debt and was forced to sell his car to pay off the bank loans. Yet that was still not enough, and his debts kept soaring, especially after his firm was shut down.

“I used to make between 500 to 600 shekels (US$130-$155) a day,” Tareq recalled. “If I had continued to work for another two or three more years, I would have paid off my debt. If it weren’t for my brothers, who helped me out greatly, I would have spent up to twenty years in prison.”
 

PA policemen stand guarding the entrance of the Prime Minister’s office. The police have treated Tareq far better than he had expected them to. They are sympathetic to his cause, and always bring him tea and coffee. They let him use their bathroom inside the building and look after his stuff, too.
Tareq’s space is a few meters away from them, with a chair and a billboard covered in copies of his degree and signs with Article 13 of Law Number 4 of 1999: “All governmental and nongovernmental institutions should employ no less than 5% disabled workers in appropriate vocations.” Another sign says, “The building of a state should come with establishing a human being first. Where are the plans to find the people work and to get rid of unemployment?”

The economic illusion that Salam Fayyad’s state building institution policy brought about is easily challenged on the ground. Despite an “increase” in economic growth, unemployment rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have risen, with the economic boost, as Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah noted, being attributed to foreign donor aid which has resulted in a state of dependency and being a subsidiary of the Israeli occupation.

During thirty days of protesting, not one official came to talk to him; it’s been mostly heads of offices, secretaries, and the head of Security Forces.

Tareq had called the president of the Lawyer’s Union, Hussein Shabaneh, who listened briefly and told him that the union cannot do anything for him because he would have to pay up to 780 Jordanian dinars (US$1,100) in order to get his practicing certificate and become a member.

Dura is a three hour drive from Ramallah, which makes it difficult and costly for Tareq to travel back and forth. During the recent mass prisoners’ hunger strike, Tareq would spend the night in the prisoners’ solidarity tent in the city center. After the hunger strike ended, the PA took the tent down and now Tareq sleeps in an office for a taxi company which is open 24 hours a day.

“I’ve only been back to Dura once, after 25 days,” he said. “Someone offered me to drive me to Dura and bring me back to Ramallah.”

He vowed not to return to his wife and 9 month old baby boy until he becomes employed.

“Some employers would look at my condition in ignorance and dismiss me, completely ignoring the fact that I hold a university degree and have work experience. It’s come to this point, where I have been standing for a month outside the prime minister’s office, who apparently still hasn’t seen me yet,” he added, with a flash of bitterness in his eyes.

Last Wednesday, May 23, Tareq was referred to the Ministry of Social Affairs who offered him financial aid but he refused and stressed the point that he didn’t want money but a job. It also marked the day that the local media finally took an interest in his case after a group of young people visited Tareq and then pledged their support and began to pressure the local media for coverage. A Facebook group in Arabic called “We are all Tareq and You have the Right” has over 2,000 members, with pictures uploaded daily and updates and comments from Tareq himself.
 

“The experience I gained from being exposed to the institutions and ministries here,” Tareq said, “is that the problem is not with the capabilities, but rather with the administration. Many people are unfairly employed over others because of an intermediary.”

The young men standing around him sarcastically tell him one sure way to get Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s attention.

“Get a red ribbon and some scissors, and Salam Fayyad will come running to the opening of the ‘ceremony,’” they scoffed.

After 31 days, the undersecretary of the prime minister, along with the Minister of Justice Ali Khashan, finally met with Tareq, and he signed a six month contract with the Ministry of Justice. Tareq emerged victorious.

On his way back to Dura, Tareq summarized his struggle in claiming his rights. “I’ve said before that my protest came as the last straw. It was either that I get a job or this will end up as a black page in my journey of demanding my rights back, which will cause problems for the PA’s ministries.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Rawabi: Israeli Model for “Neo-Palestinian” City

A Palestinian protester wears a gas mask as he looks through the slot of a hand-made shield during clashes with Israeli soldiers at a demonstration in the village of Kfar Qaddum against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, near the West Bank City of Nablus 25 May 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Mohamad Torokman)
 
Published Friday, June 1, 2012
Ramallah Halfway between occupied Jerusalem and Nablus, in middle of the West Bank and 9km north of Ramallah, private Palestinian funds, generously supported by Qatar, and protected by the occupation army, are building a city for the “new Palestinians,” as US General Keith Dayton, US Security Coordinator for Israel-Palestinian Authority in Tel Aviv, calls them.
Rawabi is a “Palestinian settlement” currently under construction at a cost nearing US$1 billion. It is located on a 6,300-dunum (6.3 square kilometers) piece of land seized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) through a decree signed by president Mahmoud Abbas in November 2009.

After a failed attempt by landowners to reverse the decision or reduce its impact, the land was bought by businessman Bashar al-Masri. On several occasions, al-Masri called on Israelis to buy apartments and houses in his city and become neighbors with the “new Palestinians.”

In the nearby village of Attara, residents whisper about Israeli officers who visit the city to eat breakfast with its developers. The visits are frequent and include officers from the Israeli Civil Administration accompanied by army units and border guards.

Villagers speak about soldiers who man the Attara roadblock, allowing everyone related to the Rawabi project to pass through while barring the flow of regular Palestinians.

Things were made clear following friendly conversations al-Masri had with the Israeli press. He sent out statements to appease “the neighbors” and inform them that everything is under control and security prevails, due to solid collaboration with the occupation army.

This is a new phase of spatial engineering. Israel went to war against the old camps and towns that were immune to infiltration during the intifada. It sought to destroy spaces of resistance in Palestinian towns. It even rebuilt Jenin in an exposed and permeable manner, financed by the United Arab Emirates.

Now, the architecture of Rawabi will suit the needs of the colonialist invaders. It will stand before them completely exposed. Ironically, the money for it also came from the Gulf. Thus, the architectural style bears a close resemblance to Israeli settlements.

Architect Lynn Jabri analyzed the building style in Rawabi. She compares the style to the criteria used to build Israeli settlements in mountainous regions, according to a guide used by the Israeli Construction and Housing Ministry. The same criteria are all applied in the city (with the exception of painting the roofs red for the Israeli air force to identify).

Jabri believes that “the search for a modern Palestinian architectural style remains superficial and does not exceed some formal features, without the proper understanding of local architecture. Actually, Rawabi’s “Palestinian” architects are proposing an architecture that looks Israeli.”

Bashar al-Masri considers the project to be part of building the Palestinian state. But he said in a “very friendly” interview with Israeli TV Channel 10 that he visited the Modi’in luxury settlement west of Ramallah to learn from the building experience there and create a better model.

On the way to the largest investment project in Palestine and inside the city itself, countless cameras monitor everything in sight. Nobody knows exactly who sits behind the monitors and sees all that is displayed.

The exposed nature of Rawabi is manifold: Broad streets, buildings aligned according to a strict plan, and a service center looking more like a control tower above the city. Thus, controlling the city becomes no more difficult than taking a pleasant ride in a military Jeep, as a young man from Ajoul, a village being suffocated by the project, likes to put it.

This is the other similarity with early Zionist colonies which erected control towers at the highest point in the settlement as part of their absolute security regulations.

Speaking about the sustainability of the project, Rawabi’s website asks visitors to plant a tree in the city because “the natural beauty of the country has been damaged by war, development, neglect, and climate change.”

The text fails to mention who carried out the ethnic and spatial cleansing of Palestine, destroyed its environment, then brought trees to plant and cover their crimes. Rawabi wants to mimic the Jewish National Fund’s project of planting trees in villages whose residents were expelled during and after the Nakba.

The city’s planners, enamored by Ramallah’s opulent neighborhoods, did not forget to build a mosque and a church. They even brought religious crews to run them following the inauguration of the city in front of potential clients and residents.

Rawabi does not tire of delegations and visitors. It is now on the map for international travelers, politicians, economists, even athletes. Al-Masri speaks proudly about his city, whether to Palestinian security officers or the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon.
 

The city is in harmony with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s rhetoric of building a state and its institutions. It is part of the hackneyed propaganda about “the Palestinians’ right and worthiness to live.”

In following the rhetoric of the PA and its supporters, the project owners attempt to create a fantasy completely detached from the bitter reality.

Al-Masri speaks of the city’s five gates, leading to Jerusalem, Yafa, Nablus, Gaza, and Qatar’s Capital, Doha. The latter is the location of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, which is jointly owned by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and al-Masri’s Massar International.
The separation walls, the segregation, and the Green Line, along with a bitter history of 64 years of occupation, are nowhere to be seen in Rawabi’s advertising campaign. “It has a superb view of the Mediterranean,” they say.

From the onset, the PA wholeheartedly supported the project. In May 2008, it held the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem in total collaboration with the Israeli army and government to finance two projects, Rawabi and the Rihan suburbs.

Thus, Rawabi is promoted as a solution to the deteriorating economic situation in language full of numbers: 10,000 new jobs in the city and the commercial activity of at least 40,000 residents.
But there is a deliberate disregard for the role of the occupation in the economic situation of Palestinians. Palestinian groups of all persuasions are either silent or complicit. This complicity is prevalent among the majority of elites and intellectuals who are afraid to challenge this “national” project and its unprecedented media juggernaut.

City planners say that Palestinian expertise has returned from outside the country to work on this city. But they fail to mention that the economic return is based on the occupier’s criteria and the timeframe of the project.

Similarly, there is increased talk of the cultural and artistic life of Rawabi. We can now easily imagine the type of culture practiced in the city of “economic peace” so loved by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli press also like to talk about Rawabi. Israelis seem very interested in learning about this “new settlement.” Al-Masri was exclusively interviewed several times in the city by Channel 10, the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and others. The interviews were intended to put Israelis at ease and inform them that Rawabi is different from any other Palestinian city.

Israeli media is keen on comparing Rawabi, and some parts of Ramallah, with “Hariri’s Beirut.” There were open calls for Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak to participate in the inauguration. It is ultimately an outcome of Fayyad’s “silent revolution,” whose slogan is that Palestinians “are tired and weary of conflict and are looking for a new life.”

Al-Masri uses every occasion to insist that his company works under the regulations of the PA and its ministries, namely the Ministry of Local Government. It is expected to be transferred to a locally elected body following the delivery of apartments to the owners (the first batch will be delivered in 2013) and the markets to the investors.

The real estate firm, Bayti, will have an administrative and organizational function and will preserve the architectural style of the city and its neighborhoods. The exact scope of the private company’s authority is unknown. This will allow it to complete its spatial architecture with a social architecture consistent with neoliberalism, the socio-economic framework of General Dayton’s security plan.

One of the biggest ironies is that the only real opposition to the construction of the city came from Israelis living in nearby colonies. They started to attack the Palestinian workers until they were stopped through coordination with the Israeli army.

Israelis can enter the city as visitors, workers, and experts. Relationships with Israeli raw materials providers and experts are not even controversial. The Palestinian private sector, with all its factories and contractors, cannot provide even a third of what is required.

Knowing all of this, it seems that the settlement of Atiret, occupying the nearest hill, will be a friendly neighbor. Its residents could come to the more modern and opulent Rawabi for entertainment. The earlier misunderstanding will turn into mutual hospitality and neighborly relations.

Peacemongers on both sides now have a model consisting of a new kind of Palestinian who gladly embraces the language of consumerism, malls, and international brands!

A few months ago, Rawabi was but a mere idea of a city for refugees who will be brought back based on strict selection criteria. Their return and residence in the city is promoted as a partial solution to the refugee question.

But such talk disappears beneath the haughty buildings of a durable city that goes against the temporary and impatient architecture of refugee camps. In Rawabi, glass will prevail, signifying the brittle and exposed nature of the setting. Its stones, “expensive and rare,” will not be fit to throw at an occupying soldier.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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"Abbas makes “big error” in naming new cabinet"

The start of a ”real” Palestinian partnership

Abbas makes “big error” in naming new cabinet

Published Thursday, May 17, 2012
President Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in nine new ministers to his cabinet in a reshuffle condemned by the opposition Hamas as a “big error”.
PA Prime minister Salam Fayyad was retained in that role but had to relinquish his influential second post as finance minister.

The move is a blow to reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which governs Gaza, as the PA appear to be moving away from plans for a unity government.

It is more than a year since Fatah and Hamas agreed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in an effort to end years of bitter infighting, but no meaningful agreement has since been secured.

The factions disagree over who to appoint in a new transitional unity government ahead of legislative elections scheduled to be held before the end of this month.

Hamas condemned the naming of a new cabinet as a “big error.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the party, said the decision conflicted with the agreement between the parties.

Barhoum wrote on Facebook that Abbas was introducing a reshuffle which “reflects an insistence on misconduct and maintenance of illegitimacy and disagreement.”

He added: “This patching policy will not bring any benefit to the Palestinian people and won’t be helpful because it is not approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council. What starts wrong ends wrong.”
Abbas had said on Wednesday that the incoming government would “be dismissed immediately” if the political partnership with Hamas is implemented.

Fayyad was replaced as Finance Minister by Nabil Qassis, a former university president who like Fayyad is a political independent.

This is the second reshuffle for the Ramallah-based government, which was first established in June 2007 under Fayyad.

(Al-Akhbar, Ma’an)

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Palestinian PM vs. Israeli Pm

By Gilad Atzmon

The Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad stated today that extremists must stop pretending to stand up for Palestinian children’s rights.

It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,” the Palestinian premier said in a statement.
Yet I wonder, isn’t the time ripe for the Israeli prime minister to produce a similar statement- something like:
“It is time for our Jewish State to stop marketing our State- terrorist acts in the name of Jewish people, Jewish suffering and the Shoa. We better stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Jews and their children who, like Palestinians, only ask for a decent life.”

Though this is a very reasonable thing to do, I do not see PM Netanyahu producing such a statement any time soon.

Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Zionists attend pro-Palestine Christian conference

The Bethlehem Bible College held its second international ‘Christ at the Checkpoint‘ conference in Bethlehem from March 5-9, 2012. The conference provided a forum for local and international Christians to examine the current situation in the Holy Land in light of biblical texts and principles and a context for Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation.

What made the conference problematic to the Israel-Firsters in Israel and the US – is that it was attended by some of hardcore evangelists (Zionist Christians). According to the conference website, “the conference exceeded all expectations“.

The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem has condemned the conference for seeking to move Christian support from Israel to Palestinian while demonizing and delegitimizing the Zionist entity and the its narrative of Jewish history.

The leaders of American Messianic Jewish community have also slammed the 600 Zionist Christians from around the world who participated in the conference.

The Messianic Jewish community has noted the growing opposition to Zionism and the state of Israel within some elements of the Evangelical Christian world. Such opposition ignores the profound and ancient connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and the modern history of the founding of the state of Israel. Equally troubling, this opposition is often linked to a resurgent supersessionism, the doctrine that the church replaces Israel as God’s covenant partner. This theology, which has led historically to anti-Semitism and the tragic oppression of the Jewish people, appears to permeate this entire conference,” said Paul Liberman, President Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.

Hatred of Islam and Muslims within the evangelical movement is well documented. A survey published last year by the Pew Center Forum on Public Life indicated that 67 percent of more than 2,200 evangelical leaders surveyed expressed an unfavorable view of Islam and that 47 percent considered Islam to be a major threat to Christianity. I bet these bigots don’t know that it’s Jews who curse Christ and his mother Mary – while Muslims praise Christ as a prophet of Allah and Mary a Saint.

The opening session of the conference was addressed by the West Bank prime minister, Salam Fayyad and Mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh. Both speakers talked about the importance of non-violent resistance and need to support peace between Jews and Native Muslims and Christians.

The 600 evangelists at the conference included Barack Obama’s spiritual adviser, Rev. Joel Hunter – Tony Campollo, Ron Sider, Lynne Hybels, Pastor Stephen Sizer (UK), community leader Shahen Claiborne, Messianic leader Wayne Hilsden, Asian reverend Sang-Bok David Kim, Colin Chapman (UK) and Gary Burge from Wheaton College near Chicago. A prominent absentee from the conference was Rev. Naim Ateek, local director of Sabeel Center. Watch a video of 2007 Sabeel conference in Boston featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Rev. Naim Ateek below.

Hundreds of Christian Zionists travel to the West Bank each year on their expense and work as slaves (unpaid workers) at illegal Jewish settlements for few weeks to receive their Salvation. Zionist Christians’ love for Jews is best described by a Moscow-based American Jewish editor of EXILE in 2004 – entitled, ‘Save a Jew, Save Yourself! ’.

“Whatever you (Jews) do, do not invite the Christian Zionist into your house. Because as much as he claims to love you and all of your fellow tribesmen, it’s a different kind of love than you might expect. More like the love that the Manson Family had for Sharon Tate and her party guests.

Ned and about 65 million other fellow American Evangelical cultists love Jews for one simple reason: They hope to bundle every hairy Jewish ass up, air-freight them to the West Bank and East Jerusalem (once those areas have been cleansed of Muslims), and use the Jews as bait to bring upon the Rapture, as kindling in the Apocalypse, the final battle that will bring Jesus back to Earth. None of this can happen until every last Jew is penned into the occupied territories–and the Jews won’t get there unless the far-right runs Israel and America. Currently 65 million American cultists are using everything in their power, from prayer to politics, to make this Helter Skelter scenario come true.”

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Massive protests against policies of PA, Fayyad in W. Bank

Massive protests against policies of PA, Fayyad in W. Bank

[ 05/02/2012 – 09:13 AM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Thousands of Palestinian citizens on Saturday participated in marches in some West Bank major cities demanding the de facto government of Salam Fayyad to step down because of its wrong social and economic policies, and its restrictions on freedoms.
The rallies were organized simultaneously in the cities of Al-Khalil, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethelehm, where protestors chanted slogans and carried banners against Fayyad and the Palestinian authority.

Some banners called for toppling Fayyad’s government and others demanded the Palestinian authority to halt its peace talks with the Israeli occupation.

Protestors in Al-Khalil city described Fayyad’s government as a tax collector and called for stopping its suppression of political and media freedoms in the West Bank.

Senior official of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine Badran Jaber said more than 3,000 Palestinians participated on Saturday in a massive march held in Al-Khalil to protest the West Bank government’s economic and social policies and its restrictions on Freedoms.
Two other marches were also organized in the Nablus city, one against Fayyad’s impoverishment policy in the West Bank and the other against the PA’s talks with the Israeli occupation.

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“Divide et Impera”

“Divide et Impera”

by Laura Stuart

It appears that the policy of “Divide and Rule” that has served the super-powers of the day so well since the times of Caesar and the Roman Empire, is again being put to use in the Middle East. Setting Muslim against Muslim is becoming a real possibility. Perhaps the realisation that it was fighting protracted and unwinnable wars in Muslim lands, has led the United States/Israel to consider ways of stirring up Shia against Sunni. This surely would maximise the shedding of Muslim blood with the minimum of investment and effort and, as ever, provide rich pickings for the weapons industry.
Reading an article in “The Jewish Chronicle” entitled “P.A. Share Israel’s Nuclear Iran Fears”, two issues spring to mind. The first is that the Palestinian Authority is the worst of collaborators, and wholly unfit to represent the brave Palestinian people. This much was made clear on the release of the Palestine Papers last year.

“The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, has attacked the behaviour of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said that he shares Western – and Israeli – concerns with the Iranians’ nuclear project”.

The second thought is that there may be a much bigger long-term strategy here – a strategy which may have been in the planning even before the invasion ofIraq. The post- invasion Shia/Sunni unrest might have been a coincidence but it is still one which, in my opinion, is now being heavily manipulated to Western advantage.
After Iraq; Bahrain another country with a Shia majority but ruled by Sunnis and where Shia are treated unequally, has erupted into protests. Civilian protesters are being crushed with terrible force and these protests have been brutally suppressed with the seemingly tacit approval of Western governments who, at the same time have bandied about empty words about human rights to Arab leaders. On a sincerity-scale of 1 to 10 these measure about one and a half – that is, marginally better than the completely empty statements they occasionally issue chiding Israel for its murderous acts against Palestinian civilians (or indeed American and Turkish Human Rights Activists). And of course, an ex British police officer is helpfully supplying the Bahraini leadership with the “know how” to deal with protesters, while the U.S.A. supplies the tear gas and the practical weaponry needed to do the job. The result is an ongoing and steadily-climbing death-toll.
Less well-publicised is Yemen, another country where Saudi forces have been active in invading, bombing and fighting the Houthi Shia. Yemeni civilians get no press coverage when they are killed by American drones, or by Western backed Yemeni forces. Even the completely unconstitutional murder of an American child warrants only a miniscule mention in the International Main Stream Media.
Playing on the historical schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims may be fruitful but it is still just a continuation of an old and proven policy of “Divide and Rule” – a policy to which Muslim leaders should have long since become wise, but sadly they have not. Money is there to be made as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Emirates spend millions of dollars increasing their fighting capability to counter a perceived threat from an increasingly belligerent Iran. The question is whether this present increase in tension between the Gulf States and Iran is part of a long-term strategy to keep the Middle East weak and destabilised for decades to come.
A strong and united Muslim world is something Israel/America would not want to see and they are seemingly ready to go to great lengths to prevent it from ever becoming a reality.

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Israeli West Bank Annexation Bill – by Stephen Lendman

Palestinians petitioned the UN for sovereign recognition and full UN membership.

Four extremist MKs responded, calling for West Bank settlements annexed. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:
MK Deputy Speaker Danny Danon wants more.
On September 27, the JTA Global News Service of the Jewish People headlined, “Knesset to vote on annexing the West Bank,” saying:
On September 27, Danon said the Knesset will “take up the bill, which he authored, at the end of October.”
It includes rescinding Israeli/PA financial obligations established by prior agreements. According to Danon:
“If the Palestinian Authority wishes to proceed on this reckless path and bring further instability to the region, Israel cannot continue to pour funds into this sinking ship of failed leadership.”
“The funding agreements with the PA were reached with the hope that their leaders would work to create an environment of lasting peace and security with Israel. Given that it is clear that the Palestinians have no such desire, Israel must no longer be required to stand by these arrangements.”
Palestinians, of course, want and deserve what Israel denied them for 63 years after stealing their homeland violently. Using long ago discredited arguments, Danon and others like him think Israel has a divine right to their land.
Growing millions globally disagree, including Israeli Jews and others everywhere able to distinguished between right and wrong.
Danon said his bill nullifies Oslo, stating:
“All obligations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as established by international agreements….will be considered null and void.”
Oslo, of course, was a Palestinian Versailles, benefitting Israel, not them. Sovereign recognition and full UN membership are first steps to reversing unilateral surrender.
Representative Joe Walsh (R. IL) is as hardline as Danon. On September 8, he introduced HR 394:
“Supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria (the West Bank and Jerusalem) in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.”
He didn’t address if that would make them Israeli citizens, subhuman serfs to be exploited, or illegal infiltrators on Israeli land, subject to arbitrary expulsion.
Nor did consider what right he, others in Washington, or outsiders anywhere have to meddle in internal Palestinian affairs. America, of course, long ago refined it to an art form, attested to by mass global deaths, destruction and human misery.
“To restrict funds for the Palestinian Authority, and for other purposes.”
In other words, obey or we’ll cut off your allowance. Coming with strings, it’s less aid than bondage to do what we say or we’ll spank you with more than harsh words.
On September 27, Turkish Prime Minister proposed a different solution than Walsh and hardline MKs. On September 27, Haaretz headlined, “Erdogan: UN sanctions on Israel could aid Mideast peace process,” saying:
Sanctions “would have resolved the issue of Mideast peace long ago….adding that he felt the Quartet(‘s)” proposal fell far short of resolving the longstanding Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Through today, he said, “the UN Security Council has issued more than 89 resolutions on prospective sanctions related to Israel, but they’ve never been executed….One might” ask why?
“When it’s Iran in question, you impose sanctions. Similarly with Sudan. What happens with Israel then.”
If sanctioned, the “conflict would have been resolved long ago.” As a result, he believes the Quartet has no interest in resolution. “Unfortunately, I do not even see (its) traces within the Quartet. Because if (it) was so willing to resolve this issue, (it) would have imposed certain issues on Israel today.”
Of course, strained Turkey/Israeli relations place both countries on opposite sides of various issues, including Palestinian statehood.
Despite the Quartet’s anti-Palestinian UN membership proposal, Haaretz headlined, “Israel’s cabinet fails to reach consensus on Quartet plan for talks with Palestinians,” saying:
Netanyahu “and the eight senior cabinet members were unable to (agree on) the Quartet’s initiative for renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Despite Netanyahu’s support, consensus so far isn’t reached. Meanwhile, Security Council deliberations continue on and off behind closed doors.
Reports disagree on whether Palestinians have nine needed votes to force a US veto. Haaretz said UN sources say Washington has enough support to avoid a it.
EU representatives acted like Joe Walsh to a degree, telling PA officials they risk losing European aid by acting “unilaterally.”
On September 28, Haaretz headlined, “Palestinian statehood bid to be reviewed by UN committee,” saying:
On Wednesday, the Security Council “unanimously agreed to hand the Palestinian application to join the United Nations to a committee” for review.
Normally, it takes “a maximum of 35 days, but Western diplomats say that this limit can be waived and might take much longer….”
In other words, delay, obstruct, and consign Palestinian membership to memory hole oblivion. It’s simple to get around it through the General Assembly, whether or not the Security Council provides support.
It recommends. The General Assembly alone admits new members provided Abbas goes that route properly.
A Final Comment
Palestinians have always been on their own since Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It included a hollow one to indigenous Palestinians that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities.”
During its Mandate period, they were systematically denied until losing them in 1948, then entirely in 1967. Israel was born in the original sin of mass slaughter and forced expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians, wanting only to live in peace on their own land.
With full backing from Washington and Western states, Palestinians never got justice. Israel operates outside the law with impunity. Peace process conflict resolution never existed and doesn’t now.
Palestinians understand and want official sovereign recognition and full UN membership. In 1987, Law Professor Francis Boyle drafted its 1988 Declaration of Independence.
Through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377, full UN membership is obtainable if Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad want it. A simple two-thirds General Assembly majority gets it.
On the Progressive Radio News Hour to air October 2, Boyle said the 170 nations support it, according to the Financial Times. If all 193 UN members vote, 129 are needed.
According to Boyle, if Abbas petitions the General Assembly under Resolution 377, full UN membership can be gotten in two weeks, making Palestine the body’s 194th member.
Despite enormous Washington/Israeli pressure to back down, what Palestinians have wanted for 63 years is within easy reach. It’s for Abbas and Fayyad now to follow through for them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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Stephen Lendman: "Abbas and Fayyad never did represent Palestinians and don’t now."

Abbas and Fayyad: Collaborationist Israeli Allies

 
 
Abbas and Fayyad never did represent Palestinians and don’t now.
Five days ahead of Abbas petitioning the UN for Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, it’s important to know who’s friend or foe.

Abbas and Fayyad never did represent Palestinians and don’t now.

 

Both lack legitimacy. Israel rigged Abbas’ January 2005 presidential victory. Moreover, his term expired in January 2009. Nonetheless, he’s still in office because Israel and Washington want him there.

Fayyad is equally disreputable. In the 2006 legislative elections, his Third Way party won two of 132 seats. Yet he’s prime minister illegitimately with no popular mandate.

What Palestinians do or don’t get in New York depend on two men representing Israel and Washington.

Smart money wagers they’ll accept less than Palestinians deserve, if anything. Bet on it!
Spread the word. On September 23, when Abbas petitions the UN, sellout and betrayal will result at a time statehood and full UN membership are within easy grasp if proper procedures are followed.
They won’t be, assuring defeat!

Mahmoud Abbas – A Treacherous Illegitimate Leader

At least since Oslo, he’s served Israeli, not Palestinian, interests for whatever benefits he gets but won’t say. Notably, his son Yasser is a millionaire businessman who openly admits collaborating with Israel. His father does it tacitly.

His title is “president.” His role is “enforcer,” suppressing peaceful demonstrations, arresting his own people, and loyally serving Israel as an illegitimate Quisling head of state.

Representing Israel in Oslo were an array of experts, supported by maps, documents, statistics, and at least 17 prior drafts of what Palestinians finally signed.

Palestinians only got to bring three PLO representatives. None spoke English well or at all or properly understood international law. The result was predictable. Israel got the one-sided deal it prepared. Palestinians became Israel’s enforcer.

Core issues were ignored, including Palestinian statehood, fixed borders, settlement expansions, the right of return, ending Israel’s occupation, East Jerusalem as a future Palestinian capital, and establishing a unified government for all Palestinians.

As chief negotiator, Abbas took credit for an outcome leaving Palestinians worse off, not better.
Though one of Fatah’s founders and longstanding members, as well as secretary-general of its Central Committee, his role through most, if not all, that time served Israel, not Palestine.

As a result, he was a tailor-made stooge, a perfect central-casting choice for president in 2005.
Israel controlled the election, elevating him by imprisoning leading opposition candidate Marwan Barghouti on bogus murder charges.

Seven candidates participated. Independent Mustafa Barghouti stood out for demanding real reform, ending corruption and mismanagement, as well as promising to consolidate rule of law standards.
As a result, Israel obstructed, hounded, persecuted and arrested him during the campaign. He was expelled from East Jerusalem to prevent a planned campaign speech.

Repeatedly harassed and intimidated, he was also excluded from Nablus and Gaza to assure easy victory for Abbas.

In disgust, Hamas and Islamic Jihad boycotted the sham process.

Israel got what it wanted, its man running Palestine who’ll show up in New York on Friday in the same role – a collaborationist traitor, not a man Palestinians can trust.

Salam Fayyad – A Perfect Number Two

A technocrat, his background includes economic research at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank as well as top IMF and World Bank posts. In fact, until 2001, he was IMF’s man in Palestine, serving Yasser Arafat as finance minister.

A political opportunist, Israel and Washington understood his value. He didn’t disappoint, providing enforcer services like Abbas.

Operating with CEO authority, he concentrated greater executive branch power for himself. As a result, court orders were ignored. Judges bowed out of sensitive political issues, and an independent judiciary was lost.

His type security depends on enforcing Israeli authority and isolating Hamas and other resistance groups.

He was appointed prime minister, not elected, at Israel’s behest. Washington, of course, backs him, and why not.

He condemns violence against Israel, ignores Palestinian persecution, is instrumental in furthering it, and settles for diaspora Palestinians resettling in a future bantustan Palestinian state not fit to live in.
Backing him is a 25,000-strong Palestinian Authority Security Force (PASF). Until his October 2010 retirement, they were trained, equipped, vetted and run by America’s Lt. General Keith Dayton, US security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the PA.

In fact, Hamas called PASF “Dayton Forces.”

Lt. General Michael Moeller replaced him, formerly responsible for CENTCOM strategic planning.
Under his command, thousands of Palestinians complete 19 weeks of training at Jordan’s International Police Training Center, built with US funds in 2003 to instruct Iraqi police.

As explained above, Fayyad represents Israel, Washington, and other Western interests.

Committing nothing in return for demanding Palestinian concessions, he and Abbas chose appeasement, not resistance against Israeli occupation and repression.

Rhetoric aside, they’ve done nothing to contest Israeli apartheid, land theft, dispossessions, settlement expansions, East Jerusalem Judaization, mass arrests, appropriation of most West Bank resources (especially water), or decades of illegal military occupation.

At the same time, they’ve benefitted handsomely by serving two masters, Israel and Washington, at the expense of their own people.

On September 23, they’ll show up in New York in their usual role, claiming they tried hard but failed. Or maybe calling failure success. Either way it’s betrayal.

Final Comments

Nearing the 11th hour, imperial Washington is working overtime to enlist anti-Palestinian statehood support.

At issue is avoiding an embarrassing veto by convincing enough Security Council members to oppose Palestinian independence or abstain to let America do the same thing.

Instead of profile in courage honor, US foreign policy is defined by duplicity, betrayal, debasing core democratic values, and war as a first or last choice.

Israel is no better, especially under its most extremist ever government. Sticking with his hardline position, Netanyahu said:

“When the Palestinian Authority abandons these futile and unilateral measures at the UN, it will find Israel to be a genuine partner for direct peace negotiations.”

By now, everyone should know Netanyahu like Obama and their top officials are serial liars.
Moreover, let’s make a deal their way is take it or leave it, followed by a hammer if say no.
Diplomacy involves even-handed give and take while avoiding hostile confrontations. American and Israeli style involve pressure, intimidation, and threatened consequences for disobeying. Expect it to continue all week.

On September 18, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy headlined, “Obama’s historic opportunity,” saying:

How will he explain a position mirror opposite of “the enlightened – and less enlightened – world?”

After 63 years, do Palestinians deserve less than Libya under an illegitimate puppet regime? Will Obama grasp the hypocrisy and understand the historic significance of doing the right thing?
Not likely from a man promising change, “turning out” duplicitous like all the rest. “With regard to Israel, there is no difference between him and the last of the celebrants at the Tea Party.”

Instead of a promised “new dawn” for world Muslims, he’s the “same old American wolf,” marching in lockstep with rogue Israeli leaders.

How can a “black president (trained in the law) bow down (so willingly) to (an extremist Israeli) right-wing government” and the Israeli and Christian fascist lobbies?

Why is doing the wrong thing so easy for him? He proves it daily abroad and at home. Spurning a historic moment, he again favors confrontation over peace and reconciliation.

How often can this repeat before all his supporters know they were fooled again. He’s no different than the rest. In fact, he’s worse! Much worse!

At issue only is who will he betray and bomb next!

Why not with an agenda focused on waging war on humanity!

In Case you missed it:
[As if “Israel” itself is not built on occupied land]
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Wikileaks: Fayyad suppressed Ramallah demonstrations during 2008-9 Gaza war


[ 08/09/2011 – 08:42 AM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)– A “classified” diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks revealed that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad deployed 500 security officers to quell protests in Ramallah during Israel’s 2008-9 aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Fayyad sent the cable to the Jack Walles of the United States Consulate in Jerusalem dated 9 January 2009.
The Israeli army led a 22-day sea, air and land attack on the Gaza Strip that began on 27 December 2008, killing more than 1,420 Palestinians, injuring over 5,000, and destroying much of the Strip’s infrastructure.
In the cable, Fayyad said he was “heavy-handed” as demonstrations presented a crowd-control problem in Ramallah. He also noted that Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were “causing problems”, especially in Bethlehem.
“[Fayyad] said PASF (PA Security Forces) have the same orders as before: to hold the line, prevent violence, and prevent confrontations with IDF soldiers–with the added instruction to avoid casualties if possible,” Walles said in the leaked document.
The cable also says that Fayyad stated that the UN Security Council Resolution on Gaza could provide an opportunity for the PA to take stronger action against Hamas in the West Bank, saying that Hamas had been opposing a measure adopted by the Security Council and supported by Arab states.
Wikileaks cables also revealed that Israel consulted Egypt and the PA before launching the Gaza war in 2008 on taking control of Gaza if Hamas was defeated, but both parties declined the request. However they did not cut off dialogue with Tel Aviv.
Here is the full text of the above cable as documented by Wikileaks.

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Confused strategy: How the PA sold out Palestinian unity

Via SL

by Steve Bell
by Ramzy Baroud, source

If you happen to be a Palestinian government employee, chances are you will receive only half your usual salary this month. The other half will only be available when international donors find it in their hearts to make up for the huge shortage of funds currently facing the Palestinian Authority (PA).

With a deficit standing at around $640 million, the PA government of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad is experiencing one of its worst ever financial crises. However, the Palestinian economy is not a real economy by universally recognized standards. It survives largely on handouts by donor countries. These funds have spared Israel much of its financial responsibility as an occupying power under the stipulations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They have also propped up a Palestinian leadership that tries to secure its own survival by serving the interests of major donors.

The funds, however, are now drying up. This could be due to a political attempt to dissuade PA President Mahmoud Abbas from seeking recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN next September. PA officials have been greatly angered by the shift, blaming donor countries – including Arab countries – for failing to honor their financial commitments.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary-General of the PLO, spoke of an ‘unprecedented’ crisis to Voice of Palestine Radio. “The situation has become very complicated for the Palestinian Authority because of the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their financial promises.”

Fayyad suggested it was an ‘irony’ that the current crisis comes at a time when the PA had reduced its reliance on foreign aid by almost half – from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $970m – according to the Jerusalem Post. Now, even this half is being slashed, as only $331m of the pledged $970m has been received.

Top PA officials are yet to openly connect the dots between the withholding of funds and the political reality in Palestine. Fayyad insisted that “the crisis does not cast doubt on our preparedness for the establishment of the state,” while Abed Rabbo asserted that the crisis would not halt PA efforts to seek an independent statehood along pre-1967 lines.

The PA undoubtedly understands the financial cost of any political adventure that is deemed unfavorable to Israel – especially since they are constantly reminded of the ‘historic ties’ and ‘shared values’ that unite Israel and the United States.

One such reminder was the huge margin at the US House of Representatives in July 2007. It was an “overwhelming 406-6 vote,” reported AFP, where US lawmakers “warned the Palestinians that they risk cuts in US aid if they pursue UN recognition of a future state not defined in direct talks with Israel.” The message echoed another vote on a similar resolution in the US Senate.

Such unquestioning support for Israel by the US serves to make life much easier for Israeli diplomats. They now need to focus less on the US than on European countries that have promised to back the PA statehood initiative.

The PA is of course very vulnerable to threats, despite their insistence to the contrary. Once the US and others start to wave the withholding-of-funds card, any solid PA political program usually falters into perplexing and even self-defeating political babble. The lack of certainty in the PA’s political language could be attributed to fear that a single decision to withhold funds coupled with an Israeli decision to hold taxes collected on behalf of the PA, the government would not last for more than mere weeks.
One ought to remember that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are Occupied Territories. Deprived from even a semblance of territorial sovereignty and presiding over a donation-based national economy, the PA has no political independence outside the permissible margins allowed by the US and Israel, countries that are hell-bent on defeating the Palestinian national project.

The PA has been grappling with this strange situation since its inception in 1994. Being a guardian of Palestinian national interests and simultaneously satisfying Israel’s political interests and US expectations is an impossible feat. That enigma has almost always been settled at the expense of the Palestinians themselves. The latest casualty has been the unity deal signed between Hamas and the PA’s ruling party, Fatah, in Egypt on April 27.

The unity was essential for a cohesive political program to be formed towards Palestinian rights and possible statehood. When the agreement was officially signed early May, it was assumed that various committees would be able to quickly finalize the process aimed at setting a date for future elections and bringing to a complete end the four-year feud between the two factions.

However, a counter Israeli strategy was immediately forged. On May 4, as Palestinians celebrated their unity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the counter campaign from London. “What happened today in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism,” he told reporters (as reported by Reuters). The US echoed Netanyahu’s foreboding words, EU countries responded ‘cautiously’, and the arm-twisting began.

Once again, Abbas and the PA were faced with a dilemma around priorities. National unity in Palestine was to suffer yet another blow. “The Palestinian president does not want to wage two diplomatic battles for recognition of an alliance with the Islamic militants and for a U.N. nod to statehood at the same time,” said a PLO official (as quoted by the Associated Press and Ha’aretz).

The UN vote “would be a largely symbolic step that the Palestinians hope will nonetheless improve their leverage against Israel,” according to the AP report. ‘Symbolic’ maybe, but is a priority that Abbas feels comes ahead of urgently needed national unity and a unified political program.

Meanwhile, PA forces – trained and armed by the US and in constant coordination with the Israeli army – reportedly arrested 68 Hamas members in recent weeks, according to a report by Maan News Agency, citing a Hamas statement.

While Abbas is now leading a diplomatic mission to drum up support for his UN initiative, Fayyad is trying to collect funds to prop up the PA economy for a few more months. Meanwhile, Palestinian national unity – without which Palestinians will remain hopelessly fragmented and vulnerable to external pressures and foreign priorities – remains merely ink on paper.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

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