Finally, thanks to Arutz 7, I have a link to a video of the talk (in English) that Rachel Saperstein, formerly a spokesperson for Gush Katif, delivered at the Jerusalem Conference last week. It was particularly informative and moving. And it is pertinent now, both because we have an obligation to be mindful of the situation of those who were expelled from Gush Katif, and because it provides signal lessons about wrong-minded decisions by an Israel government promoting “peace.”
I encourage you to watch this, and to share it broadly.
For the first time since the end of our military operation in Gaza, a Grad Katyusha was launched at Ashkelon early this morning. There were no casualties, but there was property damage.
Yesterday, a Hamas spokesman had charged that we were “torpedoing” the cease-fire negotiations with our demands. He said Hamas was looking for more time to convince us. My assumption now is that this is how Hamas seeks to “convince”: It will be difficult for us unless we cave and agree to what they are seeking.
We’d better not cave!
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, who seems more vile with every passing day, if that is possible, has charged that Israeli “military operations” and “bombardments” are endangering the “fragile” cease-fire. As we have noted, Abbas is now in his “suck up to Hamas” mode in order to find himself included in whatever deal is eventually struck with regard to control in Gaza.
I would like to think that those who are vigorously promoting that “two-state solution” would take note of this, but I know that is expecting too much.
Abbas was in Paris yesterday and met with French President Sarkozy in order to garner support for a Palestinian unity government. He is seeking a “solution with Hamas in the framework of a government of national unity,” but rejects ideas of restructuring what is referred to as the Palestinian political structure. I take this as referring to a Hamas push for more involvement in the PLO.
Some important explanations here:
The PLO, founded in 1964, is said to be the sole representative of the Palestinian people wherever they are. It is extensively dominated by Fatah — was controlled for many years by Arafat. While presumably Abbas inherited Arafat’s mantle, inside of the PLO are many Fatah obstructionists who do not approve of peace negotiations (this is one more reason why Abbas’s peace negotiations can’t succeed). At least in theory, all negotiations are to be done with the PLO.
Hamas has been working for some time to have greater influence within the PLO, aiming ultimately to secure control. There has just been a push in that direction — it’s part of what Hamas is seeking within a new unity agreement.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), an administrative entity, was established in the framework of Oslo, in 1994, and was envisioned for a five-year interim, pending final arrangements. All Rabin planned was the establishment of autonomous regions for the Palestinians. The officials of the PA, at the time of its establishment, were simply higher-ups in the PLO, wearing new hats.
With the electoral legitimacy of Hamas established and its achievement of victory in the PA legislative elections in 2006, Hamas acquired a dominant role in the PA political structure.
But because of the illegitimate Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, the nature of that political structure is currently being contested. The PA in Judea and Samaria is operating with officials appointed by Abbas, notably with Fayyad as prime minister. Hamas involvement is excluded. While Hamas has held meetings of the legislature in Gaza that exclude Fatah legislative members, and has its own prime minister, Haniyeh. As Haniyeh was the PA prime minister before the Hamas takeover, Hamas claims he is legitimate and Fayyad is not.
The PA is essentially restricted now to Judea and Samaria. Abbas claims it also includes Gaza, but Hamas says it does not. That the PA is paying a good number of Hamas salaries in Gaza as a function of the Mecca agreement gives Abbas leverage in saying Gaza is still part of the PA. This is a fascinating state of affairs: the unity agreement of Mecca fell apart quickly and was followed by the Hamas takeover. Yet Abbas still “honors” the Mecca agreement for political reasons. At this point Fatah has no power or significant physical presence in Gaza.
If all of this seems convoluted and complicated, it is because the situation is convoluted and complicated. A clear grasp of this background helps in understanding the various postures and machinations that are now taking place.
Netanyahu toured the Old City of Jerusalem yesterday, with press accompaniment, in order to promote Likud’s commitment to keep Jerusalem united. In the main, from what I’ve read, he reiterated the position he advanced last week at the Jerusalem Conference. I like one particular catch phrase of his, which was new to me:
“A sane country does not give its capital to its enemies.”
Following the Grad rocket attack today, Netanyahu also pledged that his government would bring down Hamas.
Efraim Inbar’s piece from Besa, “No to the Reconstruction of Gaza,” that I cited yesterday, has been put up by the Post. (Thanks Debbie B.) You can find it at:
I hope to take a look soon at issues of Iranian ships carrying weapons for Gaza, and the possibilities for stopping them.