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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Inconvenient truths about the West Bank

Israel and the US again seem hell-bent on propping up the nonexistent leadership of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Olmert is close to giving him some $800 million and resuming negotiations for Israel's abandonment of the West Bank. The US is not likely to act more pro-Israel than Olmert is and will likely end the (also nonexistent) "embargo" of aid to the PalArabs. Yasir Arafat's Fatah is once again being viewed as moderate pragmatists who want nothing more than peace.

No one is willing to bring up the uncomfortable fact that the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades is still terrorizing, still threatening, and still on the Fatah payroll, as most of them moonlight as "policemen."

Lately, Al Aqsa has been busy mopping up Hamas members in the West Bank. But they are also effectively importing Gaza-style chaos to the West Bank that Olmert is longing to give away. In the words of one Palestinian Arab journalist who claims to have just spoken to the new Fatah prime minister last night (after turning down his offer of being the new Minister of Information):
Q: Fatah-affiliated bands have been rampaging throughout the West Bank, abducting suspected Hamas members, vandalizing charitable and educational institutions and setting institutions, buildings and businesses on fire. Do you think the PA police and security agencies are accomplices in these criminal acts?

A: I don’t know for sure, but my impression is that these thugs couldn’t have done what they have done without at least a green light from the PA police forces.

Q: So why didn’t the PA stop these acts of terror against innocent people and their property? What kind of a government is that which allows this chaos and lawlessness to happen, without even criticizing it verbally?

A: I am as frustrated as you are. A few hours ago I asked Fayyadh how he was going to reestablish the rule of law in Nablus and Jenin and Tulkarm in light of what has been happening. He had no answer.

Q: Who exactly are those carrying out these acts of terror and vandalism?

A: They are faceless, masked people who claim to be members of Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. But any thug or criminal, or indeed any Israeli collaborator, could put a mask on his face and then claim to be a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Strange things are happening here.

Q: What do you think is the end game of all of this?

A: I think we are probably witnessing the penultimate step before the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. And if that happens, there will widespread turmoil, chaos and lawlessness, which could prompt many people to ask for Jordanian intervention.

Q: Is this a serious possibility?

A: It might be a kind of last-resort eventuality.

Q: And would the Israelis allow this to happen?

A: Israel and Jordan are old friends.

Now, the interviewer is a notoriously rabid Israel basher and the interview was published in a "news" outlet that has a history of printing pure anti-semitic articles. Nevertheless, assuming that it is accurate, it shows that even the PalArabs admit publicly that Al-Aqsa is wreaking havoc and that the PA has no real way to stop them.

The PA judicial system seems to have collapsed already years ago. The PA "police" use jails at their convenience and there is no consistent rule of law. And all evidence points to there being no real distinction between the "police" that the West wants to arm and train and the terrorists that threaten not only Israel but ordinary Palestinian Arabs as well. Al-Aqsa has taken responsibility for a large number of rockets aimed at Sderot and Abbas never lifted a finger to stop them. For all intents and purposes, Al-Aqsa is the PA.

Another point that no one is talking about: While Hamas didn't get the majority of votes in the West Bank during the 2006 elections, it did quite well. The November 2005 local elections showed that Hamas had won 35% of the West Bank seats. Hamas - ideologically consistent, not nearly as corrupt as the PA, unwavering in its antipathy towards the West - is far more likely to gain power in the West Bank than anyone is willing to admit. The historic "boosting" of Abbas has been spectacularly unsuccessful in helping Abbas gain popular support.

Giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the corrupt, terror-infested PA now is breathtakingly stupid. Giving them international legitimacy is even worse. And throwing billions at a government that could easily go the way of Gaza is the ultimate expression of how the starry-eyed desire for "peace" is a recipe for disaster.