Friday, June 15, 2007

A Long, Hot Summer for Palestinians

It sounds like Hamas is having a grand old time:

At Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' captured seaside office in Gaza City, a gunman sat down at the Fatah leader's desk, picked up the phone and pretended to be calling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "Hello, Rice?" the gunman said. "Herewe are in Abu Mazen's office. Say hello to Abu Mazen for me." Other gunmen rifled through Abbas' belongings in a bedroom behind the office, lifting up a mattress and searching through drawers.

Let's see how they can administer the peace. Right now, as Gateway Pundit notes, Violence & Instability Rule in Gaza and the West Bank as more murderous scenes play out on Arab television:
The execution of Fatah member Samih Al-Madhoun was shown on television.(Maan)Fatah members executed a Hamas member Anis As Sallous, in revenge for the assassination of the leading Fatah fighter, Samih Al Madhoun, by Hamas in Gaza.

Pat Dollard also points out some serious consequences for American intelligence services, if reports are true of the sensitive documents Hamas was able to pinch from Fatah Headquarters.

And in the Washington Post, Martin Indyk analyzes the "Two-State Solution" now in place in the West Bank and Gaza:
This turn of events would free Abbas to focus on the much more manageable West Bank, where he can depend on the Israel Defense Forces to suppress challenges fromHamas, and on Jordan and the United States to help rebuild his security forces. As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the PalestinianAuthority, Abbas is empowered to negotiate with Israel over the disposition of the West Bank. Once he controls the territory, he could make a peace deal with Israel that establishes a Palestinian state with provisional borders in the West Bank and the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza could compare their fate under Hamas's rule with the fate of their West Bank cousins under Abbas -- which might then force Hamas to come to terms with Israel, making it eventually possible to reunite Gaza and the West Bank as one political entity living in peace with the Jewish state. It's hard to believe that such a benign outcome could emerge from the growing Palestinian civil war. But given current events, this course is likely to become Abbas's best option.

This crisis in Gaza is also an incredible development on a number of levels. Most importantly, if a successful, relatively non-violent, and less extreme West Bank clearly rises above Hamas and can negotiate maturely with Israel, the implications in the region will be clear.
Update: Hamas bans masks for Gaza gunmen (Unless firing on Israelis)
Update: The Belmont Club gives continues to give ever more insightful views on the situation:
"One of the enduring word-pictures of the recent fighting in Gaza has been that of militants on both sides being forced to jump from high-rise buildings in a kind of 21st century version of walking the plank. If you were to recreate the scene in a movie the soundtrack of the militant falling to his doom would go: "but I'm not a JOOOoooooo". Thud. Funny, until you realize it is not stylized cartoon violence but a man being disabused of the last illusion. That anything but the ability to defend one's self makes a difference when confronted by evil."

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