(First published in Sinhala and dated 20 June 2007)
Caged like rats, starved, deprived of medicines, unable to work across the ‘border’ in Israel, denied freedom of movement, bombarded from the skies such that 700 civilians including 141 children were murdered last year, the Palestinian ordeal has worsened in recent weeks.
Palestinian fighting Palestinian, the separation of Hamas dominated Gaza strip from the Fatah dominated West Bank, and the hijacking of the liberation struggle by a corrupt and authoritarian regime unable or unwilling to resist Israeli Occupation, there is no end in sight to the tragedy.
The Zionist state of Israel and its patron the United States of America cannot be happier after its stunning defeat in Lebanon last year. The fruits of the Oslo Accord are being reaped today.
Former United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, has only admitted what was plain to see in a confidential report to the UN Secretary-General promptly disowned by Ban Ki-moon: the freezing of tax revenues owed to the Palestinians and aid pledged to them has had devastating consequences including creating the conditions for the present fratricidal violence.
The report slammed the UN for taking positions based upon what the US and Israeli administrations would think rather than on the basis of political principle.
The dissolution of the Hamas-Fatah coalition government by Palestinian Authority president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has been hailed by the US, European Union and Israel.
A state of emergency has been imposed and Abbas rules by presidential decree.
Those who collaborated in the destitution and suffering of Palestinians now promise to lift the economic blockade, imposed following Hamas’ January 2006 electoral victory, that has been strangling them.
Democracy is only favoured by the west when the outcome is to its liking. Meanwhile western powers ignore Israel’s illegal settlement of colonists in the West Bank and the obnoxious wall that it builds to divide Palestinian peoples from their land.
The popular mandate for Hamas is rejected because that was not imperialism’s choice.
Of course Hamas is not remotely supported by socialists who stand for secularism, democracy and feminism, for peace and equality between Jews and Arabs, within a federation of peoples of the Middle East.
However Hamas became the focus for popular resistance to the discredited Fatah faction and was seen as incorruptible and uncompromising in defending Palestinian rights against Israeli aggression and competent in public administration and delivery of public services.
Hamas compromised by forming a coalition government with Fatah and implicitly recognising Israel’s right to exist.
In contrast, its opponents in Tel Aviv and Washington DC neither recognise Hamas right to be part of the political landscape nor the right of Palestinians to statehood.
The Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan was among those opposed to coalition government with Hamas and most militaristic in challenging its domination of the Gaza strip.
Dahlan, an aspirant for Fatah’s supreme leadership, has long been cultivated by US intelligence agencies and recently armed by Israel.
A Dahlan-led Fatah administration submissive to western power would extinguish political radicalism and create another US client state in the Middle East unlike his rival Marwan Barghouti who rots under life imprisonment in an Israeli prison.
Having divided the Palestinians, in all manner of ways possible, the Israelis will intensify aerial bombing of Gaza, once again inflicting collective punishment on its 1.4 million people who had the audacity to choose a government for themselves.