by Ayesha Alam (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 5, Ramadan, 1435)
Mahmoud Abbas, the US-zionist puppet in Palestine has little choice but to carry out the orders given to him by masters. While claiming to be ‘president’ of Palestine, he betrays his own people.
As world attention has shifted to fast-paced developments in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the Palestinian issue has once again been overshadowed. Throughout the so-called Arab Spring, Israel held an uneasy stalemate with the Palestinians—while Netanyahu et al feared and plotted to turn the revolutions in the Middle East away from Iran’s trajectory, they dialed down the torture and oppression of the Palestinians. Now that more and less, each Middle Eastern country of the Arab Spring has been comfortably wed off to an acceptable dictator, Israel has the leisure to abuse the Palestinians.
Three Jewish students were recently “kidnapped” from Hebron, a city boasting a right wing settler population that is virulent in its hatred of Palestinians. It is not clear exactly what happened to the students, since no group claimed responsibility, and there are no witnesses that have given credible testimony as to what exactly befell them. One of the students held a dual Israeli-American passport, and all of them were yeshiva students in the illegally established Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Israel lost no time in pinning the blame on Hamas and other political figures in Fatah that have been a thorn in its side.
Meanwhile, world opinion is carefully being cultivated along the lines of Israeli talking points. On June 17, the New York Times published an article that described the anguish of Jewish Americans, the interruption of celebrations for the teenagers, the reactions and thoughts of New York’s Jewish community on the kidnapping. “All the Jewish world is connecting to the situation” claimed one Brooklyn teenager. Meanwhile, there were two terse sentences in the article referring to the Israeli military’s brutal crackdown on the Palestinians, its raiding of Palestinian homes, its mass detentions, its targeting of political leaders long deemed a thorn in Netanyahu’s side. “Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has blamed the Islamic militant group Hamas for the abductions. The boys’ disappearance set off a large Israeli security operation in the West Bank,” said the New York Times.
Now that Arab public opinion no longer has to be courted and carefully calibrated (the job of keeping them quiet has been outsourced to dictators with guns, a la Sisi), there is complete radio silence on the Palestinian situation. Where as before it would be possible to find a few articles devoted to the death of a Palestinian youth, now there is a disdainful ignoring—a young Palestinian boy resisting by throwing stones at the Israeli military was cruelly shot and killed, and the reports on this were scarcer than daisies in February.
Mahmoud Abbas, the US and Israeli-approved head of Fatah, is once more facing the brunt of the Palestinian communities’ anger for sweeping the issue under the rug and kow-towing to Netanyahu. Abbas has pledged “security cooperation” with Israel, which is code for doing nothing while Israeli soldiers break down doors, carry out mass arrests, and terrorize the Palestinians. In a speech to Arab politicians and monarchs in Jeddah (at the satirically named Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), he declared his do-nothing policy, which parsed into “avoid resistance at all costs.”
“We don’t want to go back to chaos and destruction, as we did in the second [Palestinian] uprising,” he told the Organisation. “I say it openly and frankly. We will not go back to an uprising that will destroy us.” One wonders what his definition for “destroy us” is when Israeli soldiers are fanning out across the West Bank and shooting Palestinian teens.
Abbas’ comments were condemned by Hamas. “These comments are based on the Zionist narrative,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza. Hamas official Yahya Moussa demanded that the PA renounce all the agreements it signed with Israel, and in particular on security-related issues. “How does the Palestinian rebel, who demands the release of Palestine, turn into the security slave of the occupation forces?” Moussa asked. However in Washington, Abbas’ words won praise and commendation from the State Department. “We were encouraged by President Abbas’ strong statement to the Arab and Islamic foreign ministers today in Saudi Arabia,” declared spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Abbas’ actions are of course, hardly surprising. Even after signing a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, Abbas had no compunction about demonstrating that his loyalties most strongly lie with Israel than with his fellow Palestinians. The Electronic Intifada reported that shortly after the agreement, Fatah’s security forces brutally cracked down on journalists reporting for international media and that were sympathetic to Hamas’ cause. “It is shameful that they call this the ‘State of Palestine’,” journalist Mohamed Jaradat told The Electronic Intifada. “This is the police state of Mahmoud Abbas.” Fatah security forces didn’t even hesitate to beat and arrest women activists who gathered outside Ramallah’s Manara square to protest the Palestinian Authority’s politically motivated arrests of Hamas figures.
Whoever actually nabbed the Israeli yeshiva students, the incident has turned into a political windfall for Netanyahu. In one stroke, he has destabilized the already shaky reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas that he had earlier vented angrily about. He also gained the political mandate to crack down on Hamas and turn loose the Israeli military upon Palestinian neighborhoods en masse. According to official Israeli statements, 25 people were arrested overnight in 200 towns, refugee camps and cities in the West Bank on June 19. This brings the total number of arrests to 330, including 240 from Hamas. The young Palestinian boy from the village of Dura, Mohammad Dudin, was killed by an Israeli soldier for throwing stones. One Palestinian teenager’s death is of course irrelevant collateral in the search for three Israeli teenagers. Thousands of other Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons without the process of even a kangaroo trial in an Israeli court.
While it appears that Abbas is being “rewarded” for his compliance, he may be the biggest loser in this affair. If the kidnapping was a politically motivated strike against Palestinians who continue to hold onto their demands for independence and freedom despite all odds, then the objective of a land-grab cannot be ruled out from the list. Israel, ever ready to seize more Palestinian land through illegal means, floated a trial balloon via the world media about the possibility of Netanyahu’s government seizing and annexing the West Bank as a whole. If this “security operation” is a precursor for annexing more Palestinian land, then the territories of Abbas’ mandate are easy game. In the end, Abbas’ desire not to rock the boat and his fear of “being destroyed” may lead to his losing the fig leaf of political power, even as he has already lost all legitimacy and more crucially the respect of the Palestinian people.