The fighting between Hamas and Fatah has calmed down for the time being. Deadly clashes between the two rival political factions led Fatah fighters to flee to Israel for protection. One hundred and fifty Fatah fighters were relocated to the West Bank by Israel.
In an editorial The Lebanese, The Daily Star stated that Hamas and Fatah are a bigger threat to Palestinians than Israel. Executive Director of The Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah believes that outside forces have also contributed to the instability in the region.
ZAA NKWETA (VOICEOVER): The fighting between Hamas and Fatah has calmed down for the time being. Deadly clashes between the two rival political factions led Fatah fighters to flee to Israel for protection. A hundred and fifty Fatah fighters were relocated to the West Bank by Israel. In an editorial, the Lebanese Daily Star stated that Hamas and Fatah are a bigger threat to Palestinians than Israel. It states, “We have seen Palestinians denigrating the legitimacy of other Palestinians.” (August 5, 2008)
ALI ABUNIMAH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ELECTRONIC INTIFADA: Nobody likes to see bloodshed between Palestinians, and it’s very painful to watch. But those explanations are a little bit facile, because it’s not just an internal Palestinian matter. There’s been a well-documented, determined, and ongoing effort by outside powers to arm and train militias that take on Hamas. So this is not purely an internal matter.
NKWETA: Winning the 2006 legislative election, Hamas became the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip. Still defined as a terrorist organization by the US, International sanctions followed swiftly, with Canada, the US, Israel, and the EU implementing a boycott. According to a Vanity Fair article published in April 2008, the Bush administration approved a covert operation ” . . . to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power . . . .”
ABUNIMAH: This is very similar to the US support for the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s. So it seems to have been an effort by elements who are probably elements working with Israel and the United States to derail any possibility of reconciliation.
NKWETA: Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri suggested that a crackdown on Hamas and the West Bank could lead to an uprising.
ABUNIMAH: It’s possible. I don’t think that’s what Hamas wants to do. My reading is that they want to avoid that and that their policy has been one of trying to negotiate and come to a peaceful agreement. It’s their position all along. But this shell game of negotiations between Abbas and Olmert has gone absolutely nowhere. There is a great deal of resentment among Palestinians on the ground that there is a small clique in Ramallah that is explicitly backed, Western-backed, that has no democratic legitimacy, that is enjoying privileges—VIP passes get them through the checkpoints. Many, many people there, if not most in the West Bank, see what Abbas is doing, really, as a form of collaboration with the occupation. And in the West Bank, Hamas is gaining popularity. So the whole strategy of trying to overthrow Hamas, to make them disappear, to overturn the results of a democratic election keeps backfiring. Unfortunately, that doesn’t deter the perpetrators of these plans from continuing to try to carry them out. The best way, of course, would have been to accept the election results, to accept the creation which Hamas offered, and was even agreed to, of a national unity government to bring Hamas into the political process, and to move forward on that basis. But on the other side, on the Israeli side, there’s no desire for a broad-based Palestinian negotiating opponent. They have been working with the United States and with so-called moderate Arab states to undermine Hamas and to drive them from the scene, and they have proven more tenacious, and those efforts have not been able to dislodge them.
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