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Monday, June 01, 2009

One reason the PA cannot survive

Yesterday, the Palestinian Authority sentenced a man to a lifetime of hard labor for "collaborating" with Israel:
A Palestinian Authority court of first instance in Ramallah sentenced a man to lifetime penal servitude after he was found guilty of treason on Monday.

Knowledgeable sources told Ma’an that the convict, who was referred to only by the initials “HA,” was found guilty of violating articles 11 and 112 of Palestinian penal law number 16 of the year 1960. He was told he could appeal the verdict.

...Israeli intelligence appointed him to spy on several wanted Palestinians including Naji Arar from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, helping Israeli intelligence to capture Arar and others.

The convict also admitted in court that he reported to Israeli intelligence about Palestinian resistance fighters either by mobile phone or through a woman from Ramallah, or by meetings held with intelligence officers at a military base near Ar-Ram checkpoint, or another near the Israeli settlement of Bet El.
Also yesterday, in the wake of the gun battle where the PA police were trying to arrest Hamas terrorists in the West Bank, killing two of them, Hamas issued a statement:
Mushir al-Masri of the Hamas parliament made an unprecedented attack on President Mahmoud Abbas and called him a "Zionist" and "American," asserting that Fatah does not have a genuine will for dialogue.

Mushir al-Masri said to President Abbas, "You are more Zionist than the Zionists, and you are more American than the Americans."
Now, who sounds more like a "collaborator" - the PA police or the man sentenced for treason? What argument does the PA have to answer when Hamas accuses them of collaborating with Israeli intelligence, the Americans and the IDF as they clearly have been?

The hypocrisy of taking a tough line against people who do exactly the same thing that the PA does does not go unnoticed by Palestinian Arabs. All political groups tend to allow their agendas to be set by those who are tone deaf to nuance, but Arabs more so than most - and the nuance of public denunciations of "collaboration" while engaging in much more explicit forms of the same "crime" is lost on practically all Palestinian Arabs.

When the ultimate battle between the PA and the Islamists occurs, only one side will have a consistent and defensible position that would appeal to the excitable masses. This is what happened in Gaza and this is what will happen in the West Bank, no matter how much Western money is brought in to prop up the PA.

Many or most Palestinian Arabs just want to live their lives and raise their families in peace, with the Islamic extremists probably still a minority. Yet it is exactly that attitude that causes them to not be passionate about the PA. Passionate people are targets, passionate people get killed, passionate people cannot be expected to become grandfathers. Pragmatic people play it safe and keep their heads down. As a result, the passionate people will win the battle between Hamas and the PA - the people who care most about their families are the ones who will stay out of the fight.

And they are the PA's base.

Of the rest of the people, Hamas' positions are clear, mostly consistent and attractive. Those are the people who are willing to die for their positions. No amount of money can alter that fact.