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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Today's Palestinian Police Phunnies: A dose of reality

This article from the Sunday Herald (UK) says so many truths about the situation that it is hard to know what to highlight. The bias that the Herald uses in making the terrorist heroic is nothing new but even so, this article is a must read.

To begin with, notice how even this article recognizes that the Palestinian "security forces" are meant to be an army to fight Israel rather than meant for law and order and stopping terror.
By day, he is a Palestinian Authority soldier, guarding his land against Israel. By night, he is a Hamas warrior, fighting his countrymen

GAZA MAN Abu Khaled leads two very conflicting lives. During the day he serves as a soldier in the National Security Force, the notional army of the Palestinian Authority (PA), guarding a token position a few hundred metres from the Israeli border fence.

But when night comes, he takes off his army uniform and puts on the black mask and fatigues of the al-Qassam Brigades, the guerrilla wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, better known by its Arabic acronym, Hamas.

Twice wounded in combat with Israeli forces as an al-Qassam warrior, on four occasions he has only narrowly escaped being killed by missiles fired from Israeli robot aircraft. [The human vs. unthinking robot motif is one used many times by the MSM to frame the conflict, but rarely so explicitly. - EoZ]

Now, however, he faces a new and even more disturbing threat to his life. In Gaza, Ramallah and Nablus in recent days, his Hamas comrades have fought bloody skirmishes with loyalists of the rival Fatah movement, which Hamas defeated in parliamentary elections last January. [Notice how the Herald is disturbed that a terrorist's life is threatened by Israel. - EoZ]

Despite Fatah's defeat, the vast majority of the PA's public servants and security men still profess loyalty to the former ruling party, leaving 23-year-old Khaled, a known Hamas supporter in their midst, dangerously exposed to violence from either side.

Last week, Khaled would only agree to be interviewed in a moving car, driving around his north Gaza home of Beit Hanoun to avoid attracting attention.

"It's miserable and terrible right now," he said. "We are afraid all the time that we could be hit, either by the Israelis or by our own factions. The al-Qassam Brigades haven't attacked any army posts yet, but they might, and I'm afraid that Fatah guys could get information that I'm a Qassam Brigades guy and come and shoot me."

Many members of Fatah's various private militia groups also double up as members of the armed forces, a tangled network of 14 rival police, military and intelligence agencies set up by the late Yasser Arafat to keep his gunmen fed, loyal and - just as important - divided.

...
In recent months, moreover, Abbas's position has been further boosted by the dramatic expansion and retraining of his own presidential guard force.

The Palestinian Authority's 3.7 million people may be wilting under the international political and financial boycott imposed following Hamas's election win, but Abbas has nevertheless found money and weapons to upgrade a personal army which is expected to reach 3000-strong. And its members' salaries are still paid even while other public servants - including Fatah loyalists - are left without.

There is now considerable debate about how Abbas has pulled this off, particularly in Gaza, where the bulk of the new-look presidential guard is leading the confrontation with Hamas's own new "Executive Force", a force set up by the Hamas interior minister supposedly to counterbalance Fatah's control of the established security forces.

It is openly acknowledged, though, that US military and intelligence personnel have been training Abbas's new force in the West Bank town of Jericho, from where they travel to Gaza through Israeli territory. Moreover, it was widely reported last week that the White House is asking Congress for as much as $90 million (£46m) in special aid for Abbas's guard, to strengthen it for a showdown with Hamas.

In a tour of the Middle East last week, prime minister Tony Blair sought to portray the Abbas/Hamas stand-off in the mould of the war against terror, as part of a wider struggle between extremist forces such as Iran and Syria - both of which support Hamas - and more "moderate" Arab leaders, such as the regimes in Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf.

Mr Blair suggested that part of the hundreds of millions of dollars in customs revenue and aid currently withheld from the PA by Israel and the West should be passed directly to Abbas's "moderate" forces. In the process, he said, care should be taken to ensure that the money went only to Abbas's security forces and not to armed factions.

But, as anyone who has visited Gaza knows, the PA security forces and Fatah's armed factions are largely the same thing.

As violence intensified last week, masked presidential guards drove through Gaza City in armoured cars and trucks mounted with new heavy machine guns, shooting in the air and openly brandishing yellow Fatah flags.

...While both sides have much to be ashamed of after months of brutal feuding, the mere suggestion that Fatah leaders are in effect working with the US - and by implication with Israel - to bully and starve out an elected Palestinian government points to fresh depths of horror ahead.
...
Fatah's rag-tag gunmen, whether in PA uniform or not, have little hope of taking on Hamas's well-trained religious warriors without extensive support from Israel, which effectively controls the wider strategic map. But victory with Israeli and US support would rob Fatah of what legitimacy it still possesses in Arab eyes, transforming it into a quisling government.
So while this article has its share of anti-Israel bias, it is important in that it shows the utter uselessness of arming and training thousands more terrorists in the name of "peace" and for a "moderate" Fatah that is equally bloodthirsty as Hamas and PIJ.