Will the Palestinian Authority and Hamas Ever Learn?
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas seem to be nervous about the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Both rival parties, which have been fighting each other for over three years, are now scrambling to avoid possible revolts by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority has finally agreed to hold presidential, local and parliamentary elections.
In addition, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to reshuffle the cabinet of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The decision to hold new elections and reshuffle the cabinet is seen as a pre-emptive measure that is designed to appease Palestinians.
Abbas's decision to hold new elections and reshuffle the cabinet has been rejected by Hamas as a "ploy."
Abbas and Fayyad are said to be worried by the anti-government intifadas that have brought down regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and are threatening to spread to other parts of the Arab world.
Like the ousted Tunisian and Egyptian dictators, Abbas and Fayyad are seen by many Palestinians and Arabs as "puppets" in the hands of the Americans. This perception is why the two Western-backed Palestinian leaders are now under immense pressure.
The pressure on Abbas and Fayyad reached its peak with the recent publication of the "Palestine Papers" by the Al-Jazeera TV network. The leaked documents, which claim that the Palestinian leaders had offered far-reaching concessions to Israel during the peace talks, have seriously damaged their credibility among Palestinians and Arabs.
Abbas and Fayyad now have to prove to their people that they are not "defeatists" and "surrenderists," as Al-Jazeera claims. Moreover, they need to prove to their people that they are serious about reforms.
Hamas also appears to be unnerved. In recent days, the Hamas government has intensified its efforts to prevent widespread demonstrations in the Gaza Strip. The move came following calls on Facebook by many young Palestinians to organize a revolt against the Hamas regime.
The Islamist movement also announced its strong opposition to new elections; apparently it fears that the vote would not be fair and free in light of the Palestinian Authority's crackdown on Hamas's supporters in the West Bank.
The measures taken by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will only deepen divisions between the two sides -- a split that is likely to continue for quite a while. For now, the Palestinians will have to live with two entities that are separated politically and geographically.
It is hard to see how the Palestinian Authority would be able to hold any election without the consent of the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip.
All the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders care about is clinging onto power for as long as possible.
Comment on this item
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."
by Alan M. Dershowitz