Palestine Divided: Israel’s Dream By Liam Bailey

Dandelion Salad

By Liam Bailey
featured writer

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We all know what “divide and conquer” is all about. It is a strategy Israel has deployed over the last couple of decades, if not to exactly conquer, but to effectively pacify the people they conquered in 1967–allowing them to continue pursuing their strategic, expansionist and cultural interests.

But the responsibility must also be divided, because if the Palestinians’ so-called government forgot about power and control of their non-state and had realized that their cause is so fragile that only a united front has any chance of success, then Israel’s tactics of exacerbating rivalries would never have gotten off the ground.

Not only did it did get off the ground; it has proved to be an exceptionally successful tactic for ensuring Israel’s continued control, not only of the Palestinian territory and its sham Authority, but over the day-to-day life of every Palestinian.

Israel began to grow scared and pondered a new strategy when the Palestine Liberation Organization and its movement seemed to be gaining too much support among Palestinians and as a movement was getting too powerful. A new strategy was needed. A new group was emerging, a religious extremist group called Hamas. From slow beginnings Hamas is now extremely well armed and perhaps the most powerful Palestinian militant group, certainly the most powerful in Gaza.

Hamas’ power grew with Israeli support, weapons and funds-the same kind of support they are now giving to Fatah. When the Islamic movement began to emerge in the late 1970’s Israeli leaders sought to strengthen the movement. Believing that if the Palestinians were immersed in their religion they would pose less of a problem, and at any rate, their support for one group would automatically exacerbate the rift ceding from the Palestine Liberation organization fear of holding onto their control. Israeli leaders believed two groups, rivalling each other and working from a different mandate, would be a whole easier monster to control.

Also, many people believe former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not want peace. Sharon saw bolstering Hamas as a good way of ensuring the violence would continue and talks would be doomed to failure.

It is not clear when this support for Hamas ended, The arrest in 1989 of the main benefactor of their supporting policy, Sheikh Deir Yassin, suggests around that time, but there has been too much political turmoil and cross manipulation to really be sure. When Hamas won democratic elections early last year, things really changed for Israel. Hamas’ turn towards democracy suggested they were becoming more moderate, and with the widespread support of the Palestinian people, Israel feared they may be forced to find an agreement with a moderate but still credible Hamas.

Now, Hamas was too big for its boots and Israel began a policy of weakening the monster they had created and strengthening the PLO’s now controlling faction, Fatah, against the now powerful Hamas. They began by attempting to strip Hamas of their support base by starving the already impoverished Palestinian people with the internationally supported financial blockade.

To strengthen Fatah, Israel has done many things, from making concessions, such as releasing a fraction of the Palestinian tax revenues held by Israel under the blockade and promising to make other concessions, like removing check-points to make life easier for Palestinians. But the worst leg of the policy has been the massive campaign by Israel and their U.S. backers of arming Fatah gunmen. Even after Fatah and Hamas agreed the Palestinian National Unity government, still the arms continued to flow. Still Hamas’ anger continued to grow at Israel’s attempts to provide Fatah with the means to defeat them. Abbas’ lack of control over his armed factions, as seen in recent news of Fatah gunmen ruining a new exam system Abbas tried to implement-thus prevented the Hamas-Abbas security plan being implemented, particularly in Gaza; and fighting between the two factions, concentrated in the coastal strip, began anew.

This led to the crowning achievement of Israel’s divisionary tactics. Hamas eventually routed Fatah’s forces and sent them fleeing to the West Bank, where they still have a sizeable power-base, thus bringing about a completely divided Palestinian cause: Fatah ruling the West bank, if only on paper, and Hamas controlling Gaza. There were fears that Hamas would begin trying to take control of the West Bank, but they haven’t materialized yet.

The divisionary tactics continue, with the Israeli cabinet approving the release of 250 Fatah prisoners Jun. 9, suggesting that Israel would like the fighting to continue in the West Bank and is increasing Fatah forces to make it more likely, and probably more drawn-out.

In the latest rhetoric, Abbas has said that Hamas is allowing Al Qaeda members into Gaza – a claim which Hamas have denied, saying Abbas is attempting to stoke resentment against them. And Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has said he doesn’t think there can be any kind of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah leader Abbas. Olmert said Abbas had told him he would never make peace with Hamas and would always combat them.

Olmert’s government is predominantly right-wing, the Israeli right wing is the flip-side of Hamas’ charter, where Hamas’ charter calls for taking back all of Palestine, wiping Israel out as it goes, Israel’s right wing’s greater Israel beliefs want all the land to be Israel. Whereas lately Hamas has moderated its agenda, now falling in line with the most widely sought after two-state solution, Israel’s right-wing’s biggest fear is having to negotiate and eventually give back land for the two-state solution. It is clear from Israel’s constant interference and antagonizing one group by supporting the other, that they fear a united Palestinian resistance.

A united Fatah-Hamas, with a moderate Hamas, might just force Israel’s hand. So Israel is keen to maintain Palestinian violence–too busy fighting each other to fight for what’s theirs. I just hope the. It’s time to unite in the face of a common enemy and with the sole aim of achieving the Palestinian dream. Which is Israel’s greatest nightmare.

Liam Bailey is a U.K. freelance journalist. He writes regularly for the Palestine Chronicle, Arabic Media Internet Network and is an advanced blogger on the Washington Post’s Post Global. He runs the War Pages blog and you can contact him at: wordsworth22@tesco.net

Liam is on Myspace, too.

Liam


Crossing the Line interviews witness to killings of Palestinians (Audio)

Dandelion Salad

Podcast, Crossing the Line, 13 July 2007

This week on Crossing the Line, host Chris Brown continues to focus on the ongoing crisis in the Palestine refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared located in northern Lebanon. This week Brown speaks with activist Caoimhe Butterly who is in Lebanon working with Palestinians who have been forced from their homes in Nahr al-Bared because of the fighting between the Lebanese Army and militants from Fatah al-Islam. Butterly speaks about an event she witnessed where two Palestinians were killed and 27 injured when the Lebanese Army opened fire on a non-violent protest organized by Nahr al-Bared residents wishing to return to their homes.

Later in the program Ghassan Bannoura from the International Middle East Media Center reports on the announcement from the Egyptian and Israeli governments to allow thousands of Palestinians stranded at the Rafah border crossing to return to their homes in the Gaza Strip. Bannoura also reports on the Palestinian civil servants who have received part of their unpaid salaries as Israel releases part of the withheld tax money to the new Palestinian “emergency government.”

  • Listen Now [MP3 – 29.5 MB, 32:11 min]
  • Crossing the Line is a weekly podcast dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless in occupied Palestine. Through investigative news, arts, eyewitness accounts, and music, Crossing the Line does its best to present the lives of people on the ground.

    Crossing the Line’s host, Chris Brown, is an independent journalist currently living in San Francisco. Brown’s South African roots and desire for social change are the reason for his strong solidarity with the Palestinian people. In 1990 Brown was arrested in South Africa where he was detained and tortured for nearly two years by the South African secret police. Brown also lived and worked in the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

    h/t: ICH

    FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

    The Alternative Media: Free Speech is Still Possible by Ramzy Baroud

    Saturday, 14 July 2007
    by Ramzy Baroud

    To speak of an alternative media is to acknowledge the deficiency of the prevailing media, the mainstream, in addressing the issues, catering to the concerns, and responding to the woes of the general public, the overwhelming majority of people who are almost completely disregarded by the corporate media everywhere.

    It is disheartening, to say the least, that at a time of unpopular wars, corrupt elites and a widening gap between rich and poor, the corporate media still finds it tasteful to follow the mischievousness of Paris Hilton, now that Britney Spears is getting back in shape after her drug mishaps, or discuss at length and tirelessly the most recent scandals or spectacular performances at Britain’s Big Brother or American Idol.

    This is, of course, problematic if one is to consider the role of the citizenry in sustaining a healthy democracy, which itself requires an educated and well-informed public. When the public sphere becomes a puppet in the hands of the corporate media, whose profits and losses are often determined by friendly relations with the state, then a meaningful change in the lives of peoples of democratic societies is simply untenable.

    Corporate Media

    The corporate media is, by definition, forged and sustained with corporate funds, by wealthy individuals whose objective is to amass more wealth, rather than ensure that freedom of speech serves as a guarantor for personal and collective freedom, social cohesion – as opposed to alienation – and democracy. Unlike theocratic or authoritarian societies, which simply stifle freedom of expression altogether, the conduct of the media in Western societies is legitimate from a legal standpoint: it violates no written rules, but the end result is the same. In Taliban’s Afghanistan, people knew little of the outside world because TVs and satellite dishes were tabooed. In the US, most people, no matter how will intended, also know little of the outside world. Their perception is almost entirely concocted based on bits and pieces from CNN’s sound bites, Jay Leno’s comedy and Hollywood’s stereotypes.

    But it should be recognized that democratic societies, although being robbed in so clever a way from their own meaningful democratic platforms are more than capable of tipping the balance in favor of free speech – as opposed to nations that are violently coerced not to exercise the same right. Indeed, the more the US administration and its corporate media benefactors attempt to consolidate their control over public opinion, under various pretenses, notwithstanding, the need for unity in the ‘war on terror’ – thus justifying the ostracizing of dissidents – the more agitated Americans insist on their right to exercise their free speech, refusing to succumb to the new skewed logic of the time. Thus, the need for an alternative media.

    Increasingly so, alternative media is breaking away from being a mere local expression of dissent, and is emergent as global initiatives; from international newspapers to progressive publishing houses, there is indeed an intense and genuine effort at countering the corporate media in a collective and equally global fashion. I spoke with two leading individuals whose work is felt around the world, but still, require the support of the public for their missions to truly succeed.

    Wendy Kristianasen, the editorial director of LMD, Le Monde Diplomatique’s English edition, told me: “I think it comes down to this: we publish wonderful writing that illuminates the state of the planet in a fresh way. LMD specializes in the very best journalism – things nobody knows about until after we’ve exposed them and important stories other papers miss altogether. And the analysis is sharp, and authoritative.”

    “Everyone has heard of Le Monde Diplomatique, they know of it as the famous Paris monthly, radical and independent. What they don’t know is that the paper has dozens of foreign editions around the world, in thirty languages, making for a global readership of one and a half million.” One of its many foreign editions is, of course, in English, and it can be easily obtained from www.mondediplo.com.

    Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg is the Chairman and Publisher of Pluto Press Limited (www.plutobooks.com). This tireless individual, through his company, disseminates scores of most valuable books to countless bookstores and academic institutions the world over. His office on London’s Archway Road is reminiscent of a dungeon, but a lot of good comes out of it.

    He commented during a recent conversation: “Pluto is 20 years old this year. We are a dying breed, an independent book publisher producing 60 new, non-fiction, books a year. In a world where book publishing and selling are part of the great global media conglomerates, Pluto struggles to remain viable and alive. Our niche, our rationale and our advantage in the marketing place of the world, is that we tackle the great issues of our day… the grandeur of Imperialism, war and peace locally and globally, the tyranny of oppression, and the domination of one people by another…. the great issues as seen through socialist writers’ eyes. Our readers expect not only relevant books, high quality professional production, and modest prices. This is what our house proudly stands for, and why we have a good chance to succeed to remain against the odds of a globalized world.”

    Online, CounterPunch.org remains one of the most important and respectable commentary website anywhere. But since no single article can give a full account of the best alternative media available today, CommonDreams.org is an excellent place to start; this homepage list of alternative media is simply exhaustive.

    It’s important to note that the success or failure of the alternative media is wholly reliant on the engagement and the support of the public, who would, ultimately have to make a choice: what issues to care about? What books to read? What music to listen to? And what news are worthy of attention: health coverage, education, war and peace, or Paris Hilton’s prison fiasco? The choice is ultimately ours.

    -Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian author and journalist. His latest volume: The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press: London) is available at Amazon.com. He is the editor of PalestineChronicle.com and can be contacted at editor@palestinechronicle.com

    FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

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    Favorite Websites and Blogs

    Gender Savagery in Guatemala by Michael Parenti and Lucia Muñoz (over 18 only)

    Warning

    This article depicts the reality and horror of war and should only be read by a mature audience.

    by Michael Parenti
    Featured Writer
    Dandelion Salad
    www.michaelparenti.org
    and Lucia Muñoz
    www.miamericas.info
    July 13, 2007

    On the outskirts of Guatemala City the body of an 18-year-old woman of indigenous ethnicity was recently discovered by her frantic parents who had been searching long and hard. Forensic evidence showed that she had been repeatedly raped and tortured and that her head had been severed from her body with a blunt knife while she was still alive.

    Continue reading

    The Perfect Drug: What will end our oil addiction? by Rich

    Dandelion Salad

    Thanks to Rich On Myspace:

    Rich

    The Perfect Drug: What will end our oil addiction?

    Hydrogen

    by Rich

    Nobody remembers when Bush said we need to kick our “oil addiction” – not even Bush. But he did say it, and, even if he didn’t mean it, it is true. We’re jonesin’ for a fix and like a crackhead without enough junk we’re hurting others along with ourselves in search for another taste of Texas Tea.

    A solution the President offered during that speech was biomass cultivated from switch grass, willow and sugarcane. We are lead to believe corn-based ethanol is the cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, however, if implemented today we’d only be trading one devil for another. Ethanol yields less energy than it takes to produce and would result in catastrophic depletion of American top soil.

    So the solution is evident. If not biomass then nuclear power would be the best alternative. Not so. Just think of all the waste left behind, who wants a three-legged baby or radioactive breast milk? No clear-thinking person wants a Three Mile Island or Chernobyl in their backyard. Not even the greatest salesman alive could sell someone on that. And an energy shift big enough to power America would generate massive amounts of waste which wouldn’t be dumped in Trump’s neighborhood. Instead, the unused radioactive material would most likely be buried in primarily Black and Hispanic communities. Never mind the enfeebling diseases to follow, you can still vote by absentee ballot.

    image006Now you’re calling me a defeatocrat, aren’t you? I won’t let you have your coal, oil, uranium or your switch grass…what could possibly be left? Hydrogen – that’s what. Although automotive companies are trying to place a monopoly on this technology, there are soon to be relatively inexpensive kits available which have been tested and proven to work in most late model cars. There are two primary components: a tank and a refueling generator. When you store your vehicle you connect the hydride tanks to the refueling generator, Hydrogen is then chemically bonded to the hydride which clings to the hydrogen until it’s heated. When I say cling I’m talking Bruce Lee, kung-fu grip type of clinging. mits4For example, if the tank is cracked open or even split in two none of the hydrogen will escape or explode. The only way to release the chemically bonded hydrogen once absorbed by the hydride is through heat. This makes it even safer than the gas tank you have in your car right now. The waste emitted from a hydrogen fuel system is water vapor and nitrogen oxides. It doesn’t get much cleaner than that. And because the hydrogen fuel system is solar power based the total maintenance cost is much cheaper than filling up every five days and should pay for itself, depending upon your driving habits, within a few years. Here’s some in-depth information on how the hydrogen system works.

    Special thanks to Eben for bringing this technology to my attention. Kudos!

    Al Jazeera: Fear in Sri Lanka’s Muslim communities (video)

    Dandelion Salad

    July 14 07

    In one eastern province of Sri Lanka, around 50,000 Muslims live in a small village of only one and a half square kilometres. It’s one of the most densely populated Muslim areas in the world. Aljazeera’s Tony Birtley visited Kattan-kudi – and a neighbouring village known as Saddam Hussein, where he found people living in constant fear of more violence.

    07.12.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only; updated)

    Dandelion Salad

    Warning

    This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

    Selected Episode

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    LINK

    Bush Believes War in Iraq is Winnable,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
    Israeli MP Wants to Use Palestinians as Human Shields,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
    Interview with Lebanese Prisoners in Israel,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
    Kidnapped Soldiers Remembered,” IBA TV, Israel
    One Year after the War on Lebanon,” Dubai TV, UAE
    Lebanese Army Prepares for Final Assault on Nahr El Bared,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
    Who has more Influence in the Middle East?” ANB TV, England