Palestinians' Islamist Spring
In the absence of a credible and organized Palestinian opposition in the West Bank, Hamas will most likely hijack the "Palestinian Spring," paving the way for Hamas to seize control over the West Bank.
After the recent wave of protests and clashes with Palestinian Authority policemen in the West Bank, the Palestinians are asking if the "Arab Spring" might be finally knocking on their door.
The protests, organized by young Palestinians through Facebook and Twitter, are a reflection of increased discontent with the Palestinian Authority leadership.
Recent public opinion polls have shown that the popularity of Abbas's ruling Fatah faction has declined and that Palestinians are eager for change.
Most Palestinians would like to see new faces among the top brass of their leadership. They are fed up with the fact that the same leaders have been in office for decades.
Many Palestinians feel that under Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority has joined the club of corrupt Arab dictatorships that suppress the opposition and crack down on freedom of speech.
Hundreds of angry men and women continued to demonstrate in the city against police brutality. The protesters accused the Palestinian Authority of ordering the police to use excessive force to stop the demonstrations.
At least five Palestinian journalists were injured when Palestinian security officers and Fatah activists beat them in the center of Ramallah. Many protesters, including women, were also beaten during the demonstrations.
The clashes erupted last weekend in protest against a planned visit to Ramallah by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and former IDF Chief of General Staff, Shaul Mofaz, Mofaz's planned visit to Ramallah was used an excuse to vent out frustration and anger with the Palestinian Authority leadership.
The protests forced Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to call off the visit, but the cancellation of Mofaz's visit did not calm things down, especially in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians.
In March last year, thousands of Palestinians, inspired by the "Arab Spring," launched their own protests in the West Bank to demand reforms, democracy and regime change. But the Palestinian revolt was short-lived.
Abbas's security forces, backed by Fatah thugs, attacked the young men and women who were protesting in the center of Ramallah, torching their tents and beating them with clubs and rifle butts.
But now the Palestinian youth groups appear to have reorganized themselves and are preparing for another wave of protests in the West Bank. In recent days, the protesters have even begun chanting the same slogans that Egyptians used against Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
The Facebook and Twitter protesters say they have no political affiliations and that their only goal is to replace the old-guard leaders in Ramallah with young and charismatic faces.
The Palestinian Authority, however, says that the protests are part of a foreign conspiracy designed to undermine the leadership of Abbas and harm the interests of the Palestinians. Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah have gone as far as claiming that the US, Israel and even Hamas are behind the unrest.
These accusations are similar to those that were made by Arab dictators in the past year, including Mubarak, Muammar Ghaddafi and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh. Arab dictatorships often try to discredit their opponents by accusing them of being Israeli and American spies and agents.
Yet in the absence of a credible and organized Palestinian opposition in the West Bank, it is most likely that Hamas will hijack any "Palestinian Spring." Unfortunately, the young men and women who are leading the anti-Palestinian Authority campaign in the West Bank do not represent the majority. That is why a Palestinian Spring could quickly turn into an Islamist Spring, paving the way for Hamas to seize control over the West Bank.
The only way this outcome might possibly be avoided is if International community immediately demands reforms from Abbas: the end to corruption, and the end to repression of free speech.
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Salim Mansur
What we are witnessing is Israel engaged in a struggle against Hamas, against Palestinians, against Arabs, against Muslims, and against an expanding body of opinion in the West that is less and less inhibited from displaying the rancid anti-Semitism behind its support for those who openly call for another Holocaust for the Jews.
Gaza was returned to the Palestinians in 2005 as a test for building trust.
This verse [31:27 ] means that no one Muslim should claim that he has a monopoly over the reading of the Quran, for that would amount to reducing the majesty of God to the smallness of man.
The sound of battle is louder than the call to prayer.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Evidently Abbas has reached the conclusion that unless he hurries up and declares his support for the Palestinian "resistance" in the Gaza Strip, his people will march on his office and force him to quit. Abbas's fear of a revolt has driven him into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Another reason for the unexpected change in Abbas's policy might be the promise of financial aid he received from Qatar -- an enemy of Egypt's al-Sisi, but the largest funder of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Abbas know that if he wants to survive, he will have to be on the side of the radicals.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Lawrence A. Franklin
There is no change in U.S policy toward Israel that will win any true allies in the Middle East, despite what Arab leaders claim. They often assert that if only we would solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem first, relations would improve. This is a tactic. These leaders employ it simply to divert Western officials from making demands on them, instead of on Israel. The reality is that most Arabs view the U.S., its European allies and Israel with ineradicable contempt.