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(Thaer Ganaim / Maan Images)

PA parrots Israeli claims on Gaza attack

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Mahmoud Abbas chats with Tony Blair in Ramallah while Israel attacks Gaza. (Thaer Ganaim / APA images)

Last week, I wrote about how the Palestinian Authority stands in the way of the Palestinian struggle. The PA isn’t helpless in the face of the atrocities being committed in Gaza, I argued; rather, it has chosen to do nothing.

Nevertheless, if we consider the latest Israeli actions in Gaza as a very final test for the PA, I believe it can easily be said that it has failed in every possible respect.

As death and destruction in Gaza reach new heights, the reactions of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority sound like something out of a farce. A considerable number of major PA officials in the occupied West Bank and abroad, including the president himself, seem to be rallying against the desire of Palestinians facing the daily terror in Gaza.

Officials have also been making plenty of statements to Palestinians locally and foreign envoys that serve to blame Hamas and score political points, rather than address the heinous crimes Israel is committing and has been committing since it imposed the siege on Gaza.

For example, in an interview on 11 July with Al Mayadeen satellite channel, the PA President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of being “merchants of war” and called on them to accept the Egyptian ceasefire initiative and proceed with political negotiations later. 

Five days later, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, director-general of the PA presidency and member of the Fatah Central Council, commented on Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian proposal. He accused Hamas of serving regional agendas and “sacrificing Palestinian blood in the service of a global Muslim Brotherhood plot.”

Ludicrous

Any rational political analyst following the situation in Gaza with sufficient background knowledge on the siege and on Hamas would know that Abdel Rahim’s claims are ludicrous.

Riyad al-Maliki, the PA’s foreign minister, has also reportedly said in a conversation with Frans Timmermams, the Dutch foreign minister, that the current escalation in Gaza only serves Hamas’s political interests. Abbas, Abdel Rahim and al-Maliki’s statements are only a sample of the rhetoric coming from the PA which blames Hamas for the escalation rather than addressing the horrific daily reality in Gaza: the siege and closure of all border crossings; the contaminated water system; the destroyed basic infrastructure; the raging poverty and humanitarian crisis that has been plaguing the Strip for years.

PA officials are echoing the Israeli government’s narrative, putting the blame on Hamas for the high loss of civilian life in Gaza and ignoring the reality imposed on the Strip. Mohammed Omer, an award-winning journalist based in Gaza, has written a report which reflects a reality that Abbas and the PA are trying to deny: that there is popular support for the resistance in Gaza.  Omer writes, “The paradox of Gaza is that as the death toll increases, so does the defiance of its people.” He quotes 66-year-old Amnah Odeh, who said: “This situation cannot continue, or return as it was even days ago – under Israel’s eight-years-long siege – where life was equally, if not worse, long-term.”

It goes without saying that Palestinians in Gaza wish to see an end to the bloodshed. But returning to the slow-death *status quo* does not seem to be an option anymore.

If Abbas, as president of the PA, wishes to represent the interest of Palestinians in Gaza, he wouldn’t be traveling to Turkey and the Gulf, where he has urged governments to seek that Hamas accept the Egyptian proposal. Sky News reporter Tom Rayner satirizes Abbas’s futile efforts in this tweet:

on Twitter

Defeatist

Hamas has indeed put forward five realistic and achievable ceasefire conditions. Qatar and Turkey have sponsored an initiative that has seen significant support in Gaza. Yet, instead of backing those initiatives, the PA continues to mobilize efforts against what Palestinians in Gaza think serve them best.

People in Gaza want to see an immediate end to the bloodshed, but not according to the defeatist conditions put forward by Israel, Egypt and the PA leadership.

As I mentioned in my piece last week, the Palestinian Authority is still capable of invoking the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and seeking justice through international law. The PA has always claimed to be pursuing that objective. When Abbas condemned Hamas’ actions, he made sure to declare: “We will only fight them [Israelis] with what they fear most, international law.”

The PA has never been true to that statement yet.

The PA has been able to seek access to the ICC since 2012.

In the interim, there have been two Israeli offensives against Gaza, thousands of new buildings have been constructed in Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and hundreds of Israeli human rights violations have been documented. Yet the PA refuses to turn its words into actions.

The PA hasn’t been serious about the international law to which it constantly refers. Its attitude towards the latest attack on Gaza is inexcusable.

Comments

What possible benefit is it to attack the PA? There are problems with both the PA and Hamas. The problem with the PA is that it is corrupt and accomodationist. The problem with Hamas is that its ideology is religious fundamentalism - anti-women, anti-education, anti-modern. The last thing the Palestinian people need is more sectarian fights between the two. The biggest fear to Israel is that Hamas and the PA will stick together. Israel loves articles like this.

Yes Israel loves articles

- is that it's a ramshackle colonial administration operating on behalf of the Israeli Occupation. The corruption is merely the predictable division of some fairly meagre spoils dropped into certain well-greased palms. The truth is that the PA is a subcontractor for Israeli torture, Israeli land theft, Israeli conquest and domination. Its officials- consisting largely of a bloated constabulary- are American trained (CIA and FBI, in the case of "law enforcement") and utterly devoted to the neo-liberal order. The PA is now so unforgivably and demonstrably rotten that it enjoys no popular support in Gaza, Jerusalem or the West Bank. It's good for only one thing- getting rid of. Marwan Barghouti attempted reform within Fatah and all he got for his trouble was multiple life sentences in an al-Sisi style show trial. The Palestinian Authority displays no traits that would mark it as Palestinian or an Authority. Wait til the revolt in the West Bank. That will be the next intifada- against Abbas and his cronies.

It is like blaming the rape victim because of the way she dressed.

Listen to Hanaan Asrawi. She should be leading all the men.

Yes she deserve it 100% but Mahmoud Abbas he proved today why he is the president and the leader We should be united and every one is trying his best at the place where he is located Enough is enough we should not keep slaping ourselves

Name me one political party that does not have flaws, anywhere in the world?
We should stand together, with solidarity and strength. If you have advice, then use private means to lobby your thoughts. When and if this is over, the people will judge each party for their actions.

Might it help if a petition to Abu Mazen were begun, collecting signatures of the Palestinian people, especially in the diaspora (which would of course include the refugees outside of Gaza and the West Bank) calling on AM to exercise the right of the Palestinian people to go to the ICC especially in light of the war crimes now being committed?

The question is asked 'What possible benefit is it to attack the PA?' and the PA are even compared to a rape victim! These sentiments are not only entirely misplaced but they rest on the assumption that the PA under Abbas, howevever flawed is on 'our' side.

No one is a greater critic of Hamas's backward and reactionary politics. A national liberation movement cannot be based on one particular religion when the Palestinians comprise Christians and even Jews. I have long pointed out that Shin Bet all but created Hamas in 1987 as a counter-weight to secular Palestinian nationalism.

But now is not the time for those criticisms. Hamas, for better or worse, is leading the resistance in Gaza and has persisted in demanding that any ceasefire include an end to the blockade.

The PA by way of contrast, has criticised Hamas, not for its conservative Islamic politics, but for not being willing to concede to Netanyahu's demands. Because there is no doubt that the Israelis authored the ceasefire proposals.

The PA is acting as the messenger boy for Netanyahu and General al-Sisi, the Egyptian dictator. This is hardly surprising given that the US has defined its role as to support and co-ordinate with Israeli security.

In short the PA is no different from a quisling organisation. It represents the political presence of the Zionist s and Americans within the Palestinian body politic. It is willing, like an obedient dog, to follow without question Netanyahu's orders. Its forces are trained by the Americans in Jordan. In short it is the bastard fruit of Oslo.

What possible reason could there be for not criticising the PA?

I'm not Palestinian, and I hesitate to insert myself into a fight between these two factions. As best I can tell, and Huffington Post reports, the PLO supports the Hamas position regarding a cease-fire. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
I'd also ask why did Hamas agree to a unity government with the PA last year, if the PA is as bad as you say? As best I can tell, it's because they realize that the biggest threat to Israel is a unity government. For that reason, it seems to me that sectarian fighting between them is the worst thing that can happen.
We have the same phenomenon in the US. The left is split between those who criticize Obama but believe that the left should work with progressive Democrats, and those who believe that Obama is just as bad as Ted Cruz, and we're only fooling the people to argue otherwise. IMHO, that argument only benefits the right-wing. Just as calling Abbas a quisling and a tool of Netanyahu only benefits Israel.

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