From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem
Barring last-minute glitches, Palestinian political factions will meet in Cairo Saturday in a last ditch-effort to end the two-year rift between the Islamic group Hamas and the American-backed and financed Fatah organization. (It has been announced that the talks will be postponed indefinitely)
The Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks are being closely monitored by the Palestinian masses whose national cause has suffered immensely as a result of the enduring crisis between the two largest Palestinians political parties.
Israel and the US are also monitoring the talks, hoping that the Palestinians will remain divided for as long as possible in order to give Israel an additional pretext to keep up building Jewish-only colonies on stolen Arab land.
Israel and her guardian-ally, the US, have played a pivotal role in creating the showdown between Fatah and Hamas.
Moreover, the Bush administration, largely in coordination with Israel, made intensive efforts to ignite civil war among the Palestinians, first by arming and training Fatah soldiers for the purpose of fighting Hamas, and, second, by imposing and maintaining a Nazi-like blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The blockade, which many intellectuals and observers, have readily compared to the Nazi siege to Ghetto Warsaw in Poland in 1943, has already caused numerous deaths and nearly destroyed the originally fragile Gaza economy and infrastructure.
Far from taking any confidence-building measure to effect a successful outcome of the Cairo talks, the PA continued to behave like a full-fledge fascist junta. This is despite the fact that the Israeli occupation army is really in tight control of every hole and corner in the West Bank.
The PA doesn’t have any sovereignty or real power of its own. However, in order to please and appease Israel, upon which its very survival ultimately depends, the PA security apparatus behaves very much like Druze and Bedouin soldiers serving in the ranks of the Israeli occupation army.
These “Israeli Arab” soldiers often go too far in repressing and tormenting Palestinian civilians in order to prove their loyalty to and obtain a certificate of good conduct from the Zionist state. (e.g. the notorious Captain R. who in 2004 shot and killed 9-year-old school girl Iman al Hams in Rafah and then shot her 20 more times to verify the kill, was a Druze soldier).
Indeed, in the course of the past few weeks, PA troops trained in Jordan and Jericho by CIA officers, raided thousands of Palestinian homes, arresting and maltreating political opponents, particularly Hamas sympathizers.
Some of the detainees were reportedly subjected to harsh physical and psychological treatment. Some of the released prisoners spoke of a barbaric mistreatment, including beating and forcing fettered detainees into uncomfortable positions for many hours.
On Friday, 7 November, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed during a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State ( whose 24 visits to Palestine-Israel have produced a zero substantive progress toward ending the Israeli occupation) that the PA was not holding any political detainees.
Well, this is a pornographic lie. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of political detainees in PA jails and dungeons. In fact, the PA lately resorted to incarcerating political opponents inside emptied commercial stalls as is the case in Hebron. These stalls used as “inventory storage” of detainees from which the various security agencies can pick up inmates for further interrogation and / or torture.
In addition, the PA has unceremoniously fired hundreds of highly qualified teachers in the West Bank, replacing them with utterly unqualified Fatah affiliates holding dubious college degrees from universities that don’t meet internationally-accepted academic standards.
Needless to say, the ultimate consequences of this disastrous policy would be the destruction of the school system in Palestine.
The PA has also refused to pay full and regular salaries to thousands of school teachers and health workers based on “tips” from the PA Mukhabarat or general intelligence agents.
Notwithstanding, the most corrosive and destructive damage wreaked by the PA on the Palestinian society has been the consolidation of a police state atmosphere throughout the West Bank.
Today, thanks to the intensive and omnipresent proliferation of spies and informers, tens of thousands of Palestinians are asked to spy and inform on other Palestinians in their neighborhoods and communities.
A school student is instructed to inform on his teacher, a college student is asked to inform and spy on his fellow student sitting next to him as well as on the lecturers. In villages, towns and refugee camps all over the West Bank, Fatah supporters and members are asked to monitor the locals, e.g. who prays at the local mosques, who criticizes the PA, and who is likely to vote for parties other than Fatah in future elections.
Predictably, this police state atmosphere is gradually destroying the Palestinian society where young, ignorant Fatah agents can decide the career and fate of University professors who may eventually be forced to emigrate for good.
What is still more appalling is that neither the higher political echelons nor the intellectual community and the intelligentsia are paying sufficient attention to this grave phenomenon that threaten to irreversibly corrode the very fabric of our society, the society that succeeded in withstanding more than 40 years of Nazi-like Israeli repression.
In light, it is really very difficult to be optimistic with regard to the Cairo talks.
Maybe an alternative approach to national unity should be tried.
How about dissolving the PA once and for all?