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Goodbye Gaza Part 4: Fatah Friends; Hamas Haters.

Greetings again Plaid Friends! The Avenger has returned to finish off this four-part blog, with the finale focusing on how Fatah is feeling frisky and free, while its Hamas rivals are hopelessly hammered and hamstrung.  What the fuck am I talking about? If you have read the previous blogs on this subject, you now understand that the Fatah political party in Palestine was run out of the Gaza section and now is concentrated in, and outright controls, the West Bank section. Hamas is the other Palestinian political party, you know, the ones that are labeled as a terrorist group by some, and are in control of the Gaza Strip section of Palestine.  These two political parties now hate each other even more fervently than they did before this open rift physically separated the pseudo-state we call Palestine. 

As the Plaid Avenger now sees it, the idea of a singular state called Palestine which consists of both the Gaza and the West Bank is officially and completely fucking DEAD.  And even if the peace process as a whole isn’t dead, then certainly Hamas and the whole Gaza population is being pushed to the brink of extinction and most of the outside world is helping accelerate this demise.  Don’t believe me? Then check these out:

EU cuts dim Gaza’s power supply

UN warns over Gaza economic woe

Japan resumes direct aid to support Abbas

Abbas issues decree excluding Hamas from elections

Israel to free inmates this week

US in $80m Palestinian aid deal

Israel loves Abbas!So what’s the real deal here Plaid? I’m glad you asked.  Because while it completely sucks for Hamas and all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, its quite easy to explain the state of affairs in this Palestinian situation. And here we go: Hamas is screwed. Gaza is screwed. Mahmoud Abbas is the favorite son of “the West” and therefore stands to gain tremendously for both his party but also for the West Bank in its entirety. Fatah will emerge as the triumphant and most powerful political party in Palestine.  Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

Hamas is screwed.  Why? Because they are the group that is despised by Israel and “the West” because they have a militant wing of their party that condones suicide bombings and calls for the destruction of Israel.  As pointed out in a previous blog, most of Hamas is not that radical, but the small minority that are have gotten the entire political party labeled as such.  This is the primary reason why Israel, the US, the EU and many other international players are completely turning their backs on Hamas and refusing to recognize them as a real and legitimate political party that controls Gaza. [Never mind that Hamas actually won the power in democratic elections]  To compound the outsiders’ hate of Hamas, the fact that Hamas physically and succinctly kicked Fatah out of the Gaza Strip a few months ago has only served to piss off the international players on this stage even more.  So how to punish Hamas, this group that is so despised? Well, that leads to point #2.

Gaza is screwed.  In an effort to destabilize, demoralize, and outright destroy Hamas power, almost all international actors are isolating and punishing the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.  Check stories above for just a few references.  International aid has been slashed, EU is shutting down its power plant that provides electricity, and Israel has tightened all economic activities across the borders in Gaza to the point that there really is no economy at all.  Essentially, the whole group is being starved out as punishment for first off electing the Hamas leadership, and secondly for supporting the expulsion of Fatah, and thirdly for allowing Hamas to continue to remain in power. Sound fucking harsh? Yeah, it does to me too, but I’m not here to get on a political soapbox and generate sympathy, I just want you to understand what the hell is going on.  However, while the Gaza Strip is getting shattered, not everybody is a loser in this game, consider Abbas and Fatah.The hell with Raymond! Everybody loves Abbas!

Mahmoud Abbas is still the leader of the Fatah political Party, and the leader of the PLO, and now the de facto leader of the West Bank.  And life is looking awfully cheery for him right now.  Look again at the stories linked above.  In just the last month here has what has happened to Abbas and his Fatah party:

  1. Official recognition as the legitimate rulers of Palestine (whatever that means anymore)
  2. US, Israel, and the EU resumed all international aid programs to the West Bank—in effect, directly to Fatah since they control the West Bank (BTW, Gaza is excluded from all this aid)
  3. Israel released a shitload of Fatah political prisoners from its jails as a token of goodwill
  4. US, EU, Israel and even Russia have increased international investment into the West Bank
  5. Abbas has met with pretty much every important world leader in the last month. None have gone to Gaza.

The US loves Abbas!

Starting to get the picture here?  The long and short of it is that the outside world is legitimizing Abbas and Fatah in an effort to further isolate Hamas.  Why? Go back to Fatah blog again and check it out.  Under Arafat, Fatah denounced terrorism and suicide bombings, and recognized the right of Israel to exist. While not all folks in Fatah may actually believe in those pledges, it is precisely the reason that Israel, the US, and the EU are currently supporting them over their political rivals Hamas, which of course has not done any of those things.

And quite frankly, I think that’s probably all you need to know right now to understand exactly what is happening, and what the very likely outcome will be.  Now you understand why Gaza is being isolated and starved, don’t you?  Now you understand why Abbas is the West’s best friend, don’t you?  And perhaps you now understand why the idea of a single Palestinian state comprised of both Gaza and the West Bank together is completely fucked, don’t you? 

The future is not hard to predict either: as millions in aid and international recognition flows to Abbas and Fatah in the West Bank, they will thrive and become richer.  More importantly, they will be recognized internationally as the true voice of the Palestinian state, whatever that means.  For instance, if there is to be a Palestinian seat at the UN, it will definitely be filled with a guy from Fatah. No doubts.  Israel and the US in particular will make it their mission to pull the West Bank from squalor to make sure that the world sees a state that has denounced terrorism become a success story in the Middle East. Will it actually happen? Hell if I know, but I bet you will increasingly see lots of “success stories” reported out of the West Bank.

And Gaza? Well, grinding poverty produces two things: 1)lots of suffering and death and 2)further radicalization of radical people.  Surprise, surprise!  Things are going to suck even worse for those folks, and some of those folks will get even more extreme. What a shocker.  To be fair, Israel, the US and the EU are probably hoping that their tough stance towards Hamas will effect some sort of softening of Hamas’ stance, or perhaps that the locals will overthrow Hamas and then beg “the West” for forgiveness, but the Avenger does not see that happening anytime soon.  One thing is for certain: Palestine is now two distinct entities, and the West Bank will certainly soon achieve state status, but Gaza is likely to flounder into nothingness…

What do you think? Your comments and questions are welcome. Hope this Palestinian tutorial helped you understand this mess a little better.  Time for a drink!.

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