In December the US weapons industry trade publication Defense News carried a telling interview with two top big-wigs in the Palestinian Authority. These were PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and mukhabarat chief Major General Majid Faraj.
The magazine’s Israel bureau chief, who conducted the interviews, described them as “the top two advisers” to PA leader Mamoud Abbas. Abbas is now 80 years old, has no clear successor, and has claimed he will not stand again for elections to the presidency of the PA.
In fact, Abbas has only won a single election, way back in 2005. Fresh elections are years overdue, and have been blocked at every turn. Back in 2006 Hamas, Palestine’s Islamic resistance movement, won elections to the PA’s legislative body. After a months of civil war with forces loyal to Abbas, the elected Hamas-led PA government was overthrown in a coup in the West Bank. Hamas pre-empted a similar coup in Gaza and kicked out militias loyal to Mohammad Dahlan, who had been backed by the CIA, Israel and other Western forces in an attempt to overthrow the results of a fully democratic election.Since then there have been varying degrees of division between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the forces of Fatah in the West Bank. Various “unity deals” have come and gone without being implemented.
The reality is that elections to the PA were always for show, so that the West could claim it was backing the forces of democracy in the region. When the democratic processes did not go the way that the imperial power and its allies insisted on, the results could be overthrown.
Continue reading over at MEMO.
Or read a French translation here (I can’t vouch for its accuracy).
On some of the reasons the PA has not yet been overthrown:
As the first two intifadas were largely unpredicted, it has since become a fairly regular occurrence for pundits to predict a “third intifada”. Usually alongside this prediction comes another: that its first target will be the Palestinian Authority. This makes a certain logical sense, as the PA is – as Edward Said said it would be – little more than a Palestinian subcontractor for the Israeli occupation regime.
And yet, years later, the Palestinian Authority endures. Despite occasional murmurous of discontent and even demonstrations against the PA (such as 2012’s brief surge of protest against the neoliberal policies of unelected former Prime Minister Salim Fayyad), the West Bank seems largely under the control of the PA – and hence of Israel. What accounts for this?
Read the whole thing over at MEMO.
Published by The Electronic Intifada and protected by copyright. Republished with permission.
Asa Winstanley | The Electronic Intifada | Ramallah | 30 March 2012
The Palestinian Authority imprisoned journalist Yousef al-Shayab Wednesday because of something he wrote, and because he insists on protecting his sources, say his colleagues. Al-Shayab hit back by announcing in court he would go on hunger strike.
Continue reading Palestinian Authority jails journalist for publishing exposé on foreign ministry