The Palestinians: Possible Coup?
Until recently, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used to claim that Hamas was plotting to overthrow his government in the West Bank. Abbas's claim was aimed at justifying the massive crackdown that his security forces have been waging against Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
But in recent weeks Abbas's top aides have also begun talking about another threat to his government – this time from some Fatah leaders.
According to the aides, one of these Fatah leaders, Mohammed Dahlan, has been plotting to topple the Palestinian president. Dahlan is a former security commander who was thrown out of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Ironically, Hamas claimed then that it had to launch a pre-emptive coup in the Gaza Strip after noticing that Dahlan, with the help of Americans and Europeans, was conspiring to overthrow its government.
Dahlan and dozens of his supporters have since moved to live in the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah claim that the overly-ambitious Dahlan has recently been plotting to replace Abbas as president – a charge dismissed by Dahlan as a "joke."
Dahlan's associates say that Abbas is obviously suffering from severe paranoia because of his belief that too many parties are planning to topple him. They note that similar charges have also been leveled against other senior Fatah officials, including Nasser al-Qudwa, a nephew of Yasser Arafat, and Ahmed Qurei, a former prime minister and veteran Fatah operative.
All three Fatah leaders have reportedly been targeted by Abbas for daring to criticize him and his policies in closed and public forums. The three have been punished in different ways by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.
Qurei has been stripped of his VIP card, denying him even the privilege of travelling to Jordan in his private vehicle; after that, Abbas's aides announced that a special commission had launched an inquiry into charges of financial corruption.
Al-Qudwa, a former foreign minister, has been accused by Abbas's aides of working to undermine the Palestinian leadership by projecting himself as a "natural successor" to the president. After that, Abbas's office published an article in the official Wafa news agency strongly condemning al-Qudwa.
But most of the heat has thus far been directed against Dahlan. Abbas first ordered his security forces to assign only two policemen -- instead of four -- to guard Dahlan's private residence in Ramallah. The decision has been interpreted as an attempt to humiliate the former security commander.
After that, Abbas ordered the closure of a private TV station in Ramallah that is believed to be owned by Dahlan. All 35 employees working for the station, Falasteen al-Ghad [Palestine Tomorrow] were ordered to leave the offices of the station.
Abbas's aides now claim that Dahlan, like Qurei, is also facing charges of financial corruption.
The infighting in Abbas's ruling Fatah faction shows that the real threat to his authority is no longer Hamas but a growing number of disgruntled officials surrounding him. If anything, the charges made by Abbas's aides are a sign that the Palestinian president is under immense pressure.
Some Palestinians are convinced that the allegations coming out of Abbas's office are exaggerated with the purpose of winning international support. The message that Abbas is trying to send to the world is: I need your moral and financial support because everyone, from Hamas to Fatah, is now against me.
It now appears that the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is no longer the construction in the settlements, but the threats facing Abbas at home.
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by Burak Bekdil
Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.
"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.
The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.
The European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."