Jockeying for an advantageous public posture vis-à-vis Hamas, the Fatah movement has been calling for the organization of presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The proposal is being touted as the only way to resolve the enduring crisis between Fatah and Hamas, following the latter’s counter-coup in Gaza in June of last year.
The proposal, however, seems to be more of a propagandist gambit than a sincere effort aimed at achieving inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
And it doesn’t suggest that Fatah, now solidly backed and financed by the United States, has undergone a true democratic transformation.
Indeed, Fatah today remains the same Fatah that only reluctantly and under American pressure agreed to allow general elections to take place in 2006- and only because Fatah leaders seemed then certain they would win.
However, when Hamas won the polls by a wide margin, Fatah couldn’t swallow the bitter bill and decided to embark on every conceivable act of sabotage in order to undercut Hamas and destabilize its rule. Some observers believe that Fatah took a secret decision to bring the would-be Hamas government down as soon as elections results were announced.
True, some Fatah leaders publicly accepted the results of the election. However, in reality, they sought to narrow Hamas horizons by effectively and actively joining the American-led open war against Hamas, a war that is yet to come to an end.
A few years ago, I remember I listened to a secret audio-taped briefing by Muhammed Dahlan to his supporters at al Hurriya radio station in Gaza. In that infamous briefing, Dahlan swore to make Hamas regret the day it decided to take part in the election.
“I will make them eat…expletive, and if any Fatah guy dares participate in the Hamas government, I will know how to deal with him.”
Dahlan added that “ I will send a few jeeps here and there and give the impression that Gaza is on fire.”
Dahlan made more horrifying remarks that one would refrain from mentioning to maintain the dignity of language.
Subsequently, Fatah, or more correctly the American-empowered camp within the movement, actively collaborated with the CIA and Israel to “make the Hamas experiment fail” lest it be repeated elsewhere in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world.
The idea was very simple: Impose draconian economic and financial strangulation as much as possible on ordinary Palestinians to make them not only regret their erstwhile decision to vote for Hamas but also actively turn against the Islamic movement in ways analogous to the many CIA-induced coups in Latin and Central America.
Earlier this year, the American magazine “Vanity Fair” published an extensive investigative report titled “How the Bush Administration Lied to Congress and Armed Fatah to Provoke Palestinian Civil War Aiming to Overthrow Hamas.”
The report pointed out that the White House tried to organize the armed overthrow of the Hamas-led government after Hamas swept Palestinian elections in 2006.
According to the report, the Bush administration lied to Congress and boosted military support for rival Palestinian faction Fatah in the aim of provoking a Palestinian civil war they thought Hamas would lose.
Vanity Fair dubbed the episode “Iran Contra 2.0″—a reference to the Reagan administration’s funding of Nicaraguan Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran.
A former top Bush administration official said he believed Hamas’s seizure of power in Gaza last year might have likely been a preemptive measure against the anticipated US-backed coup.
The official, David Wurmser, served as Vice President Cheney’s Middle East adviser until he resigned in July of 2007, a month after Hamas took over. Wurmser said, “There is a stunning disconnect between the President’s call for Middle East democracy and this policy. It directly contradicts it.”
Clearly embarrassed, Fatah, as expected, belittled the credibility of the report, dismissing it as “grossly inaccurate.”
So now Fatah is asking for early elections while being completely oblivious to a host of important questions pertaining to the elections. Such questions include the following:
First, Will Israel and the American administration, which consider Hamas a “terrorist organization” (not for the violence but for insisting on Palestinian rights, especially the right of return for Palestinian refugees), allow free and transparent elections to take place in light of the “disastrous experiment” of 2006?
Fatah leaders may argue, mostly for the sake of argument, that that the elections are an internal Palestinian matter. Well, this is true, but we all know that the PA is not a state, let alone a sovereign one. We also know that the PA is 150% subservient to the US which is in turn subservient to Israel. So why speak to the monkey when you can speak to organ grinder?!!
Second, let us argue, at least for the sake of argument, that Hamas won the elections, so would Fatah accept the results this time? Would the tens of thousands of American-trained and American-paid anti-Hamas soldiers in the West Bank accept the jurisdiction of the new Hamas-led government?
In fact, it would be more than naïve to think that they would. We are talking after all about security forces whose raison d’être is to fight and annihilate Hamas as is evident from the vindictive campaign against suspected Hamas supporters and Islamic institutions now underway all over the West Bank.
Third, let us imagine that Fatah would accept the results, even if these results proved to be not to its liking. But would Israel? Indeed, are there guarantees that the Israeli occupation army, which controls every corner and every street in the West Bank, wouldn’t round up the “wrong candidates” and the “wrong winners” and dump them in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps all over occupied Palestine as it has done the last time elections were held?
Israel, for those who have forgotten, continues to detain for the third consecutive year hundreds of elected Palestinian officials, including mayors, local council members, and, especially, as many as 40 elected lawmakers and former cabinet ministers.
The main “crime” committed by these elected Palestinian officials, people like Professor Aziz Duweik, the Speaker of the Palestinian parliament, is that they took part in an “illegal election”! Well, this is really a big lie since the 2006-Palestinian elections were okayed by both Israel, under the premiership of Ariel Sharon, and the Bush Administration.
This scandalous and gangsterly conduct by a state that calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East is a clarion proof that democracy under a foreign military occupation is a big farce.
To be sure, this is a message that all Palestinian factions, particularly Fatah and Hamas, ought to comprehend and internalize.
Failing to do so will make us the laughingstock of the world.
September 19, 2008 By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine, source: http://www.xpis.ps