by Stephen Lendman
Previous unity talks failed. On February 6, more talks were held. Fatah and Hamas officials met in Cairo. At issue are long-delayed reconciliation and new elections.
Reports suggested cause for optimism. It's hard imagining why. Israel and Washington ruptured relations earlier. Efforts followed to isolate and vilify Hamas.
Days before meeting in Cairo, Israeli forces conducted sweeping arrests. Hamas-affiliated officials were targeted. Two MPs were included. Residents identified them as Hebron's Hatim Qafisha and East Jerusalem's Ahmad Attoun.
Thirteen other Hamas officials were arrested. Over two dozen in all were seized from Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqilyah, Tulkarkem, and Bethlehem.
Human rights activists said Israel wants Fatah/Hamas reconciliation efforts subverted. A charitable organization was also targeted. Equipment, documents, and personal property were confiscated.
A Hamas-affiliated web site said soldiers burst into homes with dogs. Arrests followed. Netanyahu prioritizes occupation harshness.
Peace is a non-starter. So is subverting Hamas/Fatah unity. He calls it "a mortal blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism."
Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. He's well rewarded for going alone. He provides enforcer services, not legitimate governance. He pretends interest in unity. He insults Palestinians by doing so.
It didn't surprise that Cairo talks failed. PLO government excludes Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) head, Nayef Hawathem, said meetings "ended without achieving any tangible progress."
Israel and Washington tolerate none. PFLP official Rabah Muhanna agreed, saying:
"The Cairo meetings did not achieve anything. They did not set a date for forming a new government nor a date for fresh elections."
Hamas blamed Fatah for failure. Abbas obstructed discussions. He raised issues previously agreed on. He did so to thwart unity.
Senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk said:
"If Abbas wants the reconciliation to proceed, he should refrain from raising issues that we had already reached agreement about."
"Instead, Abbas should be implementing what has already been agreed upon between Hamas and Fatah."
PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amireh said differences emerged as soon as talks began.
Israel manipulated the process. Abbas got marching orders. Issues were raised to subvert unity. Policy demands disunity, manipulated elections, and Hamas kept isolated.
Palestinian People's Party Secretary-General, Bassam al-Sahi, expected better results. "It seems the process still needs extra effort," he now admits.
Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad lied. He claimed progress was made. A committee will be formed to work through unresolved issues, he claims.
They persisted for years. Abbas has marching orders. Unity with Hamas is verboten. Time and effort spent produced failure. Nothing ahead suggests change.
Israel and Washington tolerate none. Nor do media scoundrels. The New York Times denies Palestine is occupied. Its preferred terminology is "disputed territories."
International law is clear and unequivocal. The 1907 Hague Convention's Regulation 46 prohibits occupied land expropriation.
Fourth Geneva's Article 49 states "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled:
"Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development."
"They've been established in breach of international law." They exist on sovereign Palestinian territory. Israel does what it pleases. Media scoundrels don't object.
On February 7, The Times headlined "Pro-Palestinian Speakers at Brooklyn College Attract Protests Outside."
It discussed BDS issues. It said the movement's "goal is to pressure Israel to restore disputed territories and grant equal rights to Palestinians."
BDS activists want occupation ended. They want Palestinians treated like Jews. Palestine is illegally occupied territory. What's indisputable the Times denies.
It's clear knowing which side it supports. Jews alone have rights. Palestinians don't count. The Times is a propaganda organ for power. It supports wrong over right. Policy is longstanding.
Congress opposes unity. It's beholden to Israel and its Lobby. On February 5, members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa met.
Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen reflects the worst of right-wing extremism. She endorses imperial wars, police state laws, corporate empowerment, and Israel's worst crimes. She's unabashedly opposed to Palestinian self-determination, unity and peace.
Hearings were held on "Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: Threatening Peace Prospects." Israel lobbyists alone were invited. Palestinians and supporters were excluded. They had no say.
David Makovsky represented the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It's a pro-Israeli front group. It has no legitimacy whatever. Makovsky heads WINEP's Project on the Middle East Peace Process.
WINEP's Matthew Levitt attended. He heads its Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
The American Enterprise Institute exceeds WINEP's extremism. It's hardline, hawkish, neoliberal, and pro-Israeli. It wields enormous clout in Washington.
Michael Rubin attended. He's a former Pentagon official. His research focuses on Middle East issues. Iran, Arab Politics, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Turkey have special interest.
He's writing a history of US relations with "rogue regimes." Hopefully he'll begin with his own.
It's by far the worst in world history. It's responsible for countless tens of millions of deaths. It murders hundreds more daily.
It's the American way. It's to further unchallenged dominance. Body counts don't matter. Power alone counts.
Israel's point of view alone was heard. One-sided propaganda was featured. Lies substituted for truth and full disclosure. Hamas was vilified.
It was falsely accused of secret terror cells. Kidnappings plots were cited. Conducting them is "to bargain for the release of prisoners," was claimed. Accusations were bald-faced lies.
Israeli Lobby-affiliated apologists provide political cover. Congress accepts it as gospel. Doing so empowers Israel. It facilities occupation harshness.
It keeps Hamas isolated. It thwarts peace efforts. They never were legitimate and aren't now.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister/ultranationist extremist/indicted felon Avigdor Lieberman admits it.
On February 9, Haaretz headlined, "Lieberman: Comprehensive peace with Palestinians impossible, conflict must be managed."
He favors a one-sided intermediate agreement. "The ball is in (Abbas' court)," he says. Netanyahu will handle foreign affairs until his legal issues are settled.
He deplores peace. He won't tolerate it. On February 17, his trial begins. He's charged with fraud and breach of trust. More serious accusations were dismissed. They were whitewashed.
He's an unindicted war criminal. So is Netanyahu. He's unfit to serve. He enforces the worst of occupation harshness.
He deplores peace. He prioritizes conflict and instability. He menaces Arabs and Jews alike. He threatens war on Iran. He endangers humanity on his watch. He considers the only good Arab and Persian a dead one.
Imagine rogue leaders valuing death over life. Imagine murdering children at play, heading to and from school, or while sleeping. Imagine support from other countries.
Imagine them calling themselves democracies. Imagine their people believing it. Imagine prioritizing war over peace. Imagine institutionalizing repression.
Imagine considering torture a sovereign right. Imagine supporting wrong over right. Israel is a rogue terror state. It menaces humanity's survival.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]