Monday, July 19, 2004

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Things get even weirder in Palestine

Last week I blogged about the UN envoy who reported that things were going to hell in a handbasket in the occupied territories -- in no small part because of the dearth of progress on reforming the Palestinian Authority's corrupt institutions.

So what's going on in Gaza this week? Lamia Lahoud reports some strange doings in the Jerusalem Post:

Palestinian official sources in Gaza and the West Bank claimed Monday that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was behind the kidnapping of police chief Ghazi Jebali over the weekend.
One source said those who were behind the kidnapping were on Arafat's payroll. Another source said it was Arafat's way of removing the unpopular police chief from his post.

Arafat backtracked Monday from his appointment of Musa Arafat as Gaza security chief, saying the Central Committee of Fatah and Interior Minister Hakam Balawi appointed him.

Fatah protested the appointment accusing Musa Arafat of corruption.

A PA official said Arafat appointed his nephew to counter former Gaza security chief Muhammad Dahlan's growing influence in Gaza. The official said Dahlan was behind all the protests against Arafat's appointment. Dahlan did not deny the accusations.

As the Christian Science Monitor put it in an editorial:

Israel has already given up on him as a potential peacemaker. So has President Bush.

Now, 10 years after becoming the first president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat last weekend saw how his own people are willing to turn against him.

Cynthia Johnston has more in her Reuters report:

Scrambling to defuse a Palestinian leadership crisis, President Yasser Arafat has named a new security chief over the head of a cousin whose appointment led to a weekend of violence by gunmen protesting at corruption.

But Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie kept the heat on Arafat by saying he stood for now by his resignation, tendered in frustration over what he called an explosion of "chaos and lawlessness" that he has been powerless to stop.

Arafat, 75, is facing the stiffest challenge to his leadership since Palestinians received a measure of self-rule from Israel a decade ago. Some fear it could eventually boil over into civil war.

The confrontation is also widely seen as a power struggle between Arafat's old guard and younger rivals staking out turf before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carries out a plan to remove Jewish settlements from Gaza by the end of 2005.

A story by Laila al-Haddad in Lebanon's Daily Star suggests that, "most Palestinians agree that the latest developments are not conducive to their cause, and that this is not the time for power struggles." This is true only if Arafat's successors proved every bit as corrupt and anti-democratic as Arafat -- a depressing possibility.


posted by Dan on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM


The cannibals are eating each other.

I also recommmend the Belmont Club today:

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

Umm ... there is no "Palestine" (yet).

Unless, of course, you're talking about the 1940's and earlier. Which you aren't.

posted by: Joe Grossberg on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

Here's my comment from earlier. I keep looking for evidence of the hidden hand, and wonder if were seeing various outside powers trying to ensure that Dahlan and not Hamas is the key power to benefit from an Israeli pull-out.

posted by: Brian Ulrich on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

And a dispute over sharing.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

And a dispute over sharing.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

The dominoes might be starting to fall. The Bush administration refuses to treat the Arab world as a bunch of immature children. It has, with the help of the coalition, liberated Iraq and this inevitably will encourage Arabs throughout the region to take a fresh look at democracy. Why should this seem surprising? You are always better off demanding that people behave like grown ups. The Arabists, like those involved in the Kerry campaign, hold the subconscious racist view that brown skinned individuals cannot be as civilized as white westerners. This is especially true of the Palestinians. Why would anyone sane ever consider voting for the intellectually impoverished senator from Massachusetts?

posted by: David Thomson on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

Wrong and out of date.

Arafat is not threatened by this. People blame his sycophants. And Querei has already pledged to stay on.

posted by: praktike on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

"And Querei has already pledged to stay on."

I heard this morning that he 'accepted Yassir Arafat's refusal of his resignation.' Black comedy.

posted by: Jason Ligon on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

yes, it's one gigantic black comedy, isn't it?

posted by: praktike on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

One really cannot say that any event in the Gaza Strip or West Bank is "an internal struggle". The government only floats because it's on a International "Cruise Ship".

The security forces are trained by?
The money comes from?
The legitamacy comes from?
The weapons come from?
The nationalist rhetoric comes from?

An "internal struggle" in the Gaza Strip and West Bank is like toddlers quarreling over ownership of the sandbox at the preschool. Only in this case that quarrel if fought not with plastic shovels but fully automatic weapons and explosives.

This problem child was adopted by the international community. It's theirs to raise or abandon and either way it is lose lose. Thank you Oslo.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

Right, because everything was peaches and cream before Oslo.

posted by: praktike on 07.19.04 at 06:15 PM [permalink]

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