Fatah Infighting Jeopardizes Kerry's Peace Process
In recent weeks, Abbas has taken a number of measures that reflect his increased fear of Mohamed Dahlan's moves to discredit him and remove him from power. These measures include confiscating large sums of money transferred from the United Arab Emirates to Dahlan loyalists in Gaza.
Once the claim was that Abbas does not represent the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who are under the control of Hamas. Today it is not incorrect to argue that Abbas does not even represent his own party.
As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas continues to talk with Israel and the U.S. about ways of achieving peace in the Middle East, senior members of his ruling Fatah faction have stepped up their efforts to remove him from power.
These efforts seem to be worrying Abbas these days more than anything else, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed "framework agreement" for peace between the Palestinians and Israel – which has thus far been rejected by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority [PA] leadership.
The internal squabbling in Fatah casts doubts on Abbas' ability or willingness to sign any peace agreement with Israel.
There are not mere tensions or disagreements among politicians. Rather, they mark the beginning of an inevitable split that could result in the creation of a rival, anti-Abbas Fatah group, headed by some of his arch-enemies.
Sooner or later, Kerry and other Western leaders will have to ask Abbas which Fatah exactly does he represent – the one dominated by veteran leaders closely associated with Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, or the new controlled by younger grassroots leaders.
Sources close to Abbas have accused former Fatah Central Committee member and former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan of secretly planning a coup against the PA leader. According to the sources, Dahlan, who has been living in exile in the United Arab Emirates for the past four years, has his eyes set on the Palestinian Authority presidency and regards himself as a successor to Abbas.
Mohamed Dahlan (left) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (right). [Image source: World Economic Forum]
Recently, Abbas dispatched a high-level Fatah delegation to the Gaza Strip, prompting many Palestinians to speculate that the purpose of the trip was to achieve reconciliation with Hamas. But it quickly transpired that the Fatah delegation, headed by Abbas loyalist Nabil Sha'ath, was sent to the Gaza Strip as part of Abbas's attempt to crush a Dahlan-engineered rebellion against his leadership.
Many Palestinians were initially convinced that Abbas had resumed his efforts to end the dispute between Fatah and Hamas. Reports in Palestinian and Western media outlets even suggested that the two rival parties had made progress towards achieving unity.
Fatah leaders, however, have now admitted that the visit was primarily aimed at "restoring order" within their faction in the Gaza Strip. Abbas, they revealed, was now seeking the help of Hamas help in preventing Dahlan and other Fatah "rebels" from continuing to challenge his leadership.
Some reports have suggested that Sha'ath and members of his delegation had to flee the Gaza Strip three days after their arrival following threats to their lives from Dahlan and his supporters. According to the reports, Sha'ath even appealed to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to beef up security at the hotel where he was staying in Gaza City, out of fear that disgruntled Fatah activists might assassinate him or members of his delegation.
Upon returning to Ramallah, Sha'ath rushed to accuse Dahlan and his supporters of plotting to overthrow Abbas. Sha'ath said that Abbas was worried about attempts to create a schism within Fatah. "All previous splits in Fatah ended in failure," Sha'ath said. "All those who did break away from Fatah were eventually forced to become agents for other countries."
In recent weeks, Abbas has taken a number of measures that reflect his increased fear of Dahlan's moves to discredit him and remove him from power. These measures include confiscating large sums of money transferred from the United Arab Emirates to Dahlan loyalists in the Gaza Strip.
More recently, Abbas spent one million dollars on a "mass wedding" of 300 Palestinians after learning that the event had been originally sponsored and financed by Dahlan.
Last week Abbas went further by threatening to expel all Dahlan loyalists from Fatah. Dahlan himself was expelled (by Abbas) from Fatah in 2011.
Palestinians in Ramallah said that the increased tensions in Fatah mean that Abbas is beginning to lose his grip over the faction -- a fact that Kerry and his team would not be able to ignore if and when they force Abbas to sign any agreement with Israel.
Today it is more obvious than ever that the challenges facing Abbas are not coming only from Hamas, but from his own Fatah faction. The serious problems that have surfaced in Abbas's back yard are, of course, very bad news for any peace process with Israel.
Once, the claim was that Abbas does not represent the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who are under the control of Hamas. Today, however, it is not incorrect to argue that Israel's peace partner, Abbas, does not even represent his own party.
Reader comments on this item
|Why should he [22 words]||Bart Benschop||Mar 5, 2014 01:05|
|All good things must come to an end! [53 words]||Beatrix139||Mar 4, 2014 20:37|
|Fatah Infighting Jeopardizes Kerry's Peace Process [33 words]||DockyWocky||Mar 4, 2014 08:49|
Comment on this item
by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.