Friday, June 15, 2007

The Engineered Crisis in Gaza

Make no mistake. This was planned by the Bush administration. Via Chris Floyd's blog:

...from Conflicts Forum last January:

Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams — who Newsweek recently described as “the last neocon standing” — has had it about for some months now that the U.S. is not only not interested in dealing with Hamas, it is working to ensure its failure. In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas elections, last January [2006], Abrams greeted a group of Palestinian businessmen in his White House office with talk of a “hard coup” against the newly-elected Hamas government — the violent overthrow of their leadership with arms supplied by the United States. While the businessmen were shocked, Abrams was adamant — the U.S. had to support Fatah with guns, ammunition and training, so that they could fight Hamas for control of the Palestinian government...

The Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials who wanted to shape a coherent and tough response to the Hamas electoral victory of January...Since at least August [2006], Rice, Abrams and U.S. envoy David Welch have been its primary advocates and the program has been subsumed as a “part of the State Department’s Middle East initiative.”

The stalled Bush road map for ME peace was not just a matter of neglect. It was part of a grand scheme to cause more chaos in the Palestinian territories. Although financial support had been suspended to the Palestinian government following the last democratic election - the results of which the Bush administration refused to accept - the state department, following approval from the Democratically-controlled congress (full of Israel-supporting hawks), funneled $59 million to Abbas this past April and encouraged Israel to stop withholding aid and tax monies owed to the Palestinians as well. That US money (and along with money from Egypt), which was reportedly supposed to fund "non-lethal training and equipment for Abbas' security forces and $16 million for upgrades at the Karni crossing into northern Gaza" has obviously come in quite handy now that the territories have been plunged into civil war. Undoubtedly, Bushco, as it often does, did not anticipate that those they and Abbas wanted to strip power from - Hamas - would actually emerge victorious in Gaza as it did this week. Subsequently, Abbas dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency and chose a new prime minister to replace the former Hamas politician who held that post laying the groundwork for another proxy war against Iran:

Washington, Europe and Israel prepared to throw open the taps on financial aid to Abbas that was cut off a year ago when Iranian-backed Hamas used its popularity in impoverished Gaza to defeat Abbas's more secular Fatah in a parliamentary election.

Meanwhile on Friday, Hamas' political leader held a news conference in which he said that Hamas does not want to seize power from Abbas:

Addressing media in the Syrian capital, Meshal said that Hamas had not wanted to take over the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas does not want to seize power ... We are faithful to the Palestinian people," Meshal said, promising to help rebuild Palestinian homes damaged in the months of bloody infighting.

"What happened in Gaza was a necessary step. The people were suffering from chaos and lack of security and this treatment was needed," Meshal continued. "The lack of security drove the crisis toward explosion."

"Abbas has legitimacy," Meshal said, "There's no one who would question or doubt that, he is an elected president, and we will cooperate with him for the sake of national interest."

But he also warned Fatah followers not to move this conflict to the West Bank where the moderate movement is dominant.

Meshal called for the Arab League foreign ministers, who are holding an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the situation in Gaza, to help mediate talks between Hamas and Abbas.

"I hope [that] ... the Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo presents a strong responsible Arab stance, as an umbrella to hold the national Palestinian dialogue to approach a Palestinian accord," Meshal said.

Meshal said Abbas' dissolution of the unity government "will not remedy the situation ... and will not solve the problem. There will be no two governments and no division of the homeland."

Abbas rebuffed him casting the entire Hamas movement as terrorists:

Ahmed Abdel Rahman, an Abbas adviser, rejected Meshaal's gesture. "There will be no dialogue with coup seekers, masked men and murderers," he said.

The Israeli government has also dismissed the idea of an international peacekeeping force, stressing continued violent aggression while "mulling" over aid to the Palestinian people:

A proposed multinational force deployed along the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt must be willing to fight the Islamic militant group Hamas to stop weapons smuggling in the area, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Friday.

At a news conference during an official visit to Portugal, Livni said Israel was not interested in any proposal involving a monitoring force for the Philadelphi corridor where Hamas uses tunnels to bring in weapons. Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip on Thursday after days of heavy fighting with Fatah forces.

"Those who are talking in terms of international forces have to understand that the meaning is not monitoring forces but forces that are willing to fight, to confront Hamas on the ground," Livni said.
"At this stage, there is not even the beginning of the conditions under which a possible peacekeeping force could operate," said Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht. "At this point, a proposal would stand no chance."

And here's how at least one Israeli official describes Gaza:

Israel has been careful not to become involved in the fighting, and Housing and Construction Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) said Friday that despite calls from the right for Israel to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, from which it withdrew in 2005, Israel would not move in to confront Hamas, which is sworn to destroy it.

"There is no intention to re-enter that swamp, Gaza, in this situation," Sheetrit told Israel Radio. "At this point, Israel has no reason to intervene."

That term speaks volumes. Nothing like dehumanizing the Palestinians by declaring that they live in a swamp.

Olmert is set to meet with Bush next Tuesday. And, in case you missed it, one former UN official had harsh words for everyone involved in the so-called I/P peace process this week.

De Soto also accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior U.S. officials of having "hijacked" efforts by former Quartet envoy James D. Wolfensohn to negotiate an agreement to provide greater freedom of movement for civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

It was obviously "hijacked" for a reason: the Bush administration has absolutely no use for diplomacy, preferring instead to try to solve problems using military might and continued violence. None of their violent "solutions" have worked. Not in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Palestinian territories. Yet, they continue on their failed path because it's the only way they seem to know how to operate - even when the results continually and literally blow up in their neocon faces - leaving hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded, terrorized and displaced civilians in their wake. Crimes they will never be held accountable for.

It's madness.

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