Isn’t it odd how quiet has gone the matter of the exhumation of the body of Yasser Arafat and examination of the remains for evidence of his having been poisoned (presumably by the bad bad Israelis). The deathly silence about the matter on the Palestinian side might make one wonder if perhaps the inept, corrupt, lying, cheating old fascist hadn’t been bumped off by his own cronies rather than the Israelis.
If current inter-Palestinian relations are anything to go by, then it isn’t too hard to imagine that this indeed was the case. Rival Palestinian factions, Fatah in Samaria and Judea (often referred to as the West Bank), and Hamas in Gaza, cannot agree on when, how, or even whether to hold elections for the legislative council (or parliament) and the office of president. The current president, Mahmoud Abbas, based in Ramallah in the West Bank was elected for a 4-year term in 2005 – gosh!… nearly 8-years ago. The legislative council (or parliament) which is based in Gaza, and was taken over by Hamas, was elected for a 4-year term in 2006 – ouch!… nearly 7-years ago. After it took over in Gaza, Hamas began a systematic liquidation of Fatah opponents in the enclave. How’s that for Palestinian democracy?
In spite of all the talk of the ‘ummah’ or the ‘nation’ or ‘community’ of Islam that is supposed to transcend the idea of nationality, in spite of all the brotherly rhetoric, the two strongly competing movements (Hamas and Fatah) have widely opposing viewpoints, and each fear the other seeks control of their own territories.
Abbas has continued a security co-operation with Israel which has led to the arrest of many Hamas terrorists by both West Bank forces and Israeli forces. Such co-operation together with the well-constructed security line (heavily criticised in delicate Europe, though not a foreign concept in the UK’s Northern Ireland) has prevented Hamas killers from operating inside Judea and Samaria and from entering Israel. Better trained forces in the West Bank – in marked contrast to the Yasser Arafat years – has now made life very safe for West Bank citizens. They even enjoy secure employment again in Israel and – if they want it – in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In Gaza meanwhile, with Hamas firmly rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the influence from Egypt grows. And, not often to the benefit of Hamas. For example, President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt helped broker the cease-fire after Operation Pillar of Defense some months ago and said that he’d abide by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
With the much improved conditions of the citizens of the West Bank, will we see West Bank Palestinians eased gently and more comfortably into greater-Jordan when that emerges? Will we see Gazan Palestinians eased into a union with Sinai and a slightly greater-Egypt?
Both these scenarios would greatly benefit Israel. No Palestine though. But that is hardly a shame. Where is Tibet? Where is Tamil Eelam? Where is Kurdistan? Not every people gets to have its own state.