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The Day After

What Next after the New Palestinian Government

Monday 18 June 2007, by Nassar Ibrahim and Sergio Yahni from the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

From November 2006, Palestinian society has been pushed to the brink of civil war by immense pressures of the international community and Israel. These pressures, both economic and political, succeeded in dividing Palestinian society, generating bloody civil confrontations and now creating two governments but no state.

On 17 June, a new government was sworn in by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. Although this government, now headed by the Minister of Finance, Salam Fayyad, was nominated without the support or even advisement by the democratically elected Palestinian Legislative Council, it already enjoys the full support of Israel, the United States and the European Union. All of these entities now plan to end their boycott, imposed on the Palestinian people following the Hamas victory in the democratic national elections of January 2006.

The nomination of a de facto Palestinian government is the direct consequence of the policies adopted by the United States and Israel towards the Palestinians following the Palestinian national and democratic elections of January 2006. The United States and the European Union demonstrated their cynicism when they rejected the results of these elections, embargoing all aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and isolating the PA within international community. Moreover, Washington allies in Fatah knew the US will support a violent overthrow of the electoral results.

The United States and the EU lost all credibility and moral standing when, by following Israel’s policies, they continuously incited for the violent overthrow of this democratically elected Palestinian government. Their support for Fayyad’s government is currently conditioned on the readiness of this unelected government to adopt oppressive measures against all forms of Palestinian opposition, to both the ongoing Israeli occupation and the appointment of a government that directly contradicts the results of the democratic elections.

Indeed, since November 2006, Palestinian forces trained and financed by the United States in the Gaza Strip have been attempting a military overthrow of the democratically elected government, leading the Palestinian society to civil war. However, their last attempt failed and resulted in a total collapse of the policies advocated by Israel and the United States.

The Salam Fayyad government in the West Bank was appointed as a consequence of the collapse of Fatah military policies in the Gaza Strip. This government will be unable to resolve the Palestinian infighting and will not be able to end the Israeli occupation, the real and primary problem facing Palestinian society.

Support for Palestinian political factions within Palestinian society is not divided by regions. Fatah enjoys sizable popular support in the Gaza Strip and Hamas still maintains support of the majority of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Thus, efforts by Fatah and Hamas to assume full control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively will lead to further violence and bloodshed.

Moreover, despite the international support guaranteed to the government of Salam Fayyad, it will be unable to solve the Israeli occupation and its daily oppressive policies. Fayyad’s government will not be able to tear down the Wall, to break the Israeli siege on Palestinian urban centers, to halt the construction of settlements and to stop the assassination of Palestinian popular leaders. None of those problems will be resolved by the Hamas government in Gaza either, despite its democratic legitimacy.

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