December 28, 2006

Egypt + Guns + Fatah = Trouble

News from the Occupied Palestinian territories gets more depressing and more interesting by the hour. The latest are reports that Egypt has sent a hefty arms shipment to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah affiliated security forces, with the approval and support of the US and Israel. Abbas had met with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert a few days earlier.

Egypt has sent a large quantity of arms to the forces of moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party with the help of Israel, an Israeli official said.

"In coordination with Israel, Egypt delivered a large quantity of guns and munitions to the Abbas forces," the official told AFP, asking to remain anonymous.

The Haaretz daily meanwhile reported that "a load of 2,000 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles as well as 20,000 cartridge clips and two million bullets were transferred to Fatah's armed groups in the Gaza Strip, in coordination with the Israeli army."

Israeli public radio reported that there would shortly be another delivery of weaponry to Abbas's forces in the West Bank, this time from Jordan. [AFP]
These steps seem to follow an expected route since the coup that Abbas attempted last week when he announced his intention to call for early presidential and legislative elections in the territories, effectively sidelining the ruling Hamas party. Since then, it has been clear that Abbas was given the green light for this by the US as American officials expressed support for his declaration. It is no coincidence either that Abbas was hosted by Israeli PM Olmert a week later for some unexpected and somewhat secretive discussions.

Abbas's Fatah affiliated security forces are known to have been heavily involved in much of the violence that has been taking place in Gaza and the West Bank for the past two weeks between various Palestinian factions, armed groups, and criminal gangs resulting in a shameful display of Palestinians shooting and punching one another. The shipment of arms to a corrupt security apparatus like Fatah's can only cause more trouble for the already instable territories.

Instead of calling on Israel to stop its settlement expansion, incursions, wall construction, and the occupation altogether, Egypt has gone on attacking the democratically elected government which Hamas now heads. So much for the "only democracy in the Middle East" and the "champion of democracy around the world."

It is very amusing to see how the Israeli government flip-flops with regards to its relationship to Fatah, condemning them when they want, and supporting them when they want. These days, Fatah represent the "forces of peace":
Amos Gilad, head of political military policy at the Defense Ministry, told Israel Radio on Thursday that the assistance provided to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Presidential Guard is aimed at reinforcing the forces of peace in the area.

"The assistance is aimed at reinforcing the forces of peace in the face of the forces of darkness that are threatening the future of the Middle East," Gilad said, commenting on the news of an arms transfer from Egypt to Palestinian security forces, first published in Haaretz Thursday morning. [Haaretz]
I guess this is what they call "democracy promotion."

All together now, D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y!

On a side note, I wasn't pleased when I heard that Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh was going on a trip to preform the Hajj. I'm pretty sure he's already preformed this religious duty, and even if he hasn't, right now is not the time to be leaving your people to fend for themselves for personal trips. Let's not take the Fatah route, shall we? Just because you're going to Hajj, doesn't make it different from Fatah officials' trips to Paris and Milan, even though we know you won't be going to splurge in Mecca.

God I wish I could go train these politicians. I'll give you a discount, what do you say?

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At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Rick said...

Just a tad bit curious here; I find myself wondering what you believe to be "the Occupied Palestinian territories" and who you believe to be the occupiers??

At 6:09 PM, Blogger moi said...

Rick-- The Occupied Palestinian Territories include the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights which were illegally occupied by Israel in 1967. The UN passed resolution 242 following the six-day war calling on Israel to withdraw from those occupied territories.

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous rick said...

A Palestinian is a Jew by definition. No?

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous rick said...

Additionally, resolution 242 does not, by any means, say what you represent here. You and I both know that there is enormous variance in the interpretation of 242. What you state here is the "blue sky" version. The resolution says that Israel must withdraw from occupied territories and, as it specifically and intentionally, omits the wording "all territories", many legal scholars vociferously argue that the withdrawal from the Sinai completely fulfils the requirements of 242. No matter though, in may 1967, Gaza (as well as the Sinai) was Egypt, the West Bank was Jordan and the Golan heights was Syria. So what, pray tell, do you mean? Please help me here.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous rick said...

That's correct. Just stand in mute denial. When one cannot answer the most fundamental questions, one does not make a case.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger moi said...

Rick--Chill out please. I was going to respond to your comment in due time. This blog is not my full time job.

Of course I understand that the US significantly influenced the text of resolution 242 so that it does not state "THE occupied territories" and instead read "occupied territories" without designating them in specific. Just because the occupied territories I mentioned were being administered by other countries, this does not absolve Israel of its crime of invasion and occupation. Indeed, most members of the international community recognize that Israel's control over such areas is illegitimate.

For example, click here to see how the UK's House of Commons refers to "the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem". In this State Department report on human rights, the intro states "Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem during the 1967 War." This UN report also refers to "the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."

I believe you are overlooking the bigger picture. There is no denying that Israel is an occupying power that has gone well beyond the rights of any state in the international community by enforcing a brutal system of checkpoints, security barriers, and de facto borders that seek to undermind the future of any Palestinian state.


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