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Can a president of a government conduct a coup? That question may soon find an answer in the Palestinian territories, as Mahmoud Abbas insists that he will dissolve the Hamas government in favor of an appointed technocracy. The threat comes as Hamas still refuses to form a national-unity government that will meet the requirements of Western nations for a restoral of badly-needed subsidies:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he will dissolve the Hamas-led government within two weeks if the Islamic group does not agree to form a governing coalition with his Fatah Party, Palestinian officials said.
Abbas told the European Union's top diplomat that he would replace the Cabinet with an apolitical panel of professionals, the officials said Friday.
The moderate Palestinian president has raised the idea before but promised not to force it on a reluctant Hamas. His new stand suggested a willingness to take a stronger line against Hamas in a bid to ease crippling Western sanctions designed to force the Islamic group to moderate its militantly anti-Israel ideology.
The Jerusalem Post's source comes from Javier Solana's EU office, which will no doubt raise some eyebrows among the Quartet. The EU has only reluctantly abided by the sanctions which have crippled the Palestinian economy, and they want to see a clear way to end them soon. A Palestinian technocracy that recognizes Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements would allow aid to flow immediately into Gaza and the West Bank, although with the former, the Israeli military action would complicate distribution unless Gilad Shalit is freed soon. The Europeans may be indulging in either some wishful thinking or an effort to push Abbas into action.
Assuming Abbas attempts a forced change in government, where does that leave the Palestinians? Hamas, after all, won a majority by convincing a majority of Palestinians to vote for them. The resultant economic catastrophe may have changed their minds, but we won't know that without another election. Given the track record of Abbas and Fatah, they're not terribly likely to give him a big endorsement, especially if he removed the representative government they elected.
On the other hand, we know that neither of the two organizations will ever work for peace and a two-state solution. Both Hamas and Fatah are too compromised with terrorism to be agents for peace, and the Palestinians desperately need a third choice. They have not produced one as yet, but a technocracy might give them the space to find it. However, and this is really the big problem, how would a technocracy secure its rule against Hamas and even Hamas and Fatah? They would have to solicit the protection of one or the other, since those two organizations have all the guns.
Given that Abbas would appoint this Cabinet, it would necessarily have to exist at Fatah's pleasure. The only way this would work would be to have Hamas agree to it. If Abbas wants to do this as a coup, it won't last a week.Sphere It View blog reactions
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A Coup In Palestine?Ed Morrissey Can a president of a government conduct a coup? That question may soon find an answer in the Palestinian territories, as Mahmoud Abbas insists that he will dissolve the Hamas government in favor of an [Read More]
Tracked on October 29, 2006 11:11 AM
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