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Mahmoud Abbas had to retreat on his announced efforts to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel after almost all of the various armed groups in the territory rejected his plan. Even Fatah's own in-house lunatics, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, refused to stop attacking Israel, demonstrating the lack of power held by the PA president:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was forced earlier this week to call off plans to deploy PA security personnel in the northern Gaza Strip when several armed groups, including militias from his own Fatah movement, threatened to attack these forces, PA officials here told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Abbas had planned to deploy several hundred PA policemen and security officers in an attempt to stop the armed organizations from firing rockets at Israel, the officials said, noting that the proposed move had won the backing of the US and Israel.
"Those who are firing Kassam rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip are acting against the interests of the Palestinian people and are providing Israel with an excuse to continue its aggression in the Gaza Strip," said one official. "President Abbas has a serious plan aimed at stopping the rocket attacks, but the armed groups are refusing to cooperate."
Last week, Abbas announced that the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip had accepted his call for a unilateral cease-fire with Israel. The announcement came after a series of meetings Abbas held in Gaza City with PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and a number of Hamas officials.
Another PA official told the Post that Hamas was the only group that had accepted Abbas's proposal to halt rocket attacks. "The main problem we have is with Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and with Islamic Jihad, which have rejected the cease-fire proposal," he said.
According to the official, Abbas and the rest of the Fatah leadership have almost no control over the various Fatah militias operating in the Gaza Strip. "Fatah has at least seven or eight armed groups in the Gaza Strip and some of them are receiving financial aid from Hizbullah, Syria and Iran," he said. "The situation in the Gaza Strip is very problematic."
In this case, we don't even have the usual triangle offense usually employed by the Palestinians. Abbas could not even get his own faction to abide by his plan to de-escalate tensions between the PA and Israel. The lack of influence on Abbas' part shows a disturbing development in the territories.
Outside influences in Gaza and the West Bank used to come primarily from Hamas, based in Damascus, and Saddam Hussein. Now Hezbollah has begun to take over the AAMB, providing funds and political direction. This provides at least an indirect connection to Iran, and in this context one can see some coordination between the action in Lebanon and the activity in Gaza.
Israel and the US have held Mahmoud Abbas up as a rational partner for peace. They presume that Abbas controls Fatah in the same manner as Yasser Arafat before him, and that Fatah is still a voice for secular rule. Increasingly, that is no longer true, and Abbas has become more marginalized through his attempts to negotiate with the Israelis. This outcome has been entirely predictable ever since the Palestinians elected Hamas to a parliamentary majority. The Palestinians do not want peace -- they want a war of annihilation, and they keep proving this to everyone except the Westerners who refuse to accept it.
If Abbas cannot convince his own faction to stop fighting, then why bother negotiating at all? Let Israel give them the war they want, and keep everyone out of it until one side or the other surrenders. Everything else is a waste of breath.Sphere It View blog reactions
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"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was forced earlier this week to call off plans to deploy PA security personnel in the northern Gaza Strip when several armed groups, including militias from his own Fatah movement, threatened to attack the... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 7:12 AM
» Abbas Retreats On Cease-Fire from Old War Dogs
Abbas forced to drop anti-Kassam plan Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was forced earlier this week to call off plans to deploy PA security personnel in the northern Gaza Strip when several armed groups, including militias from his own Fatah [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 3:21 PM
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