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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Israel must interfere in PA crisis

Israel must interfere in PA crisis

Israel must take action to strengthen moderate Palestinian camp
Ronny Shaked Published:  12.20.06, 12:15,7340,L-3342453,00.html
Even the second attempt to enforce the ceasefire in the Territories will not resolve the internal Palestinian crisis that has crossed every red line in recent days.
At most, they will achieve a lull that would last a few days until the next wave of violence.
This chronic crisis runs deep; it is much more complex and entrenched. It is a struggle between two completely different disciplines; the nationalist school represented by Mahmoud Abbas, and the Islamic school represented by the ruling Hamas movement. The Palestinian arena is locked in a power struggle between the West and Islam. In such a situation a peaceful resolution is unlikely.
A resolution is unlikely because Hamas, as Haniyeh reiterated again Tuesday, will neither relinquish the regime nor its worldview. Abbas cannot hold early elections even though he would like to, because this would turn Gaza into another Somalia that is stricken with a futile war and total bedlam.
Internal Palestinian hatred is rising daily. To date, it is a turf war between organizations - a struggle emanating from below, involving gunmen eager for battle and leaderships that fear it may escalate into an all-out civil war. However, if one of the assassination attempts, which have been rampant in recent days, ends with the killing of a leader, Abbas or Haniyeh, it would indeed become an all-out war.
No law and no order
Even now the Palestinian Authority is falling apart, the government is not functioning and civil systems are on the verge of collapse. The health and educational systems are still holding up, but only because they are being assisted by international aid. There is no law and there is no order; there is complete anarchy.
Only a multinational force that would cease the mutual slaughter and prevent a humanitarian disaster could maintain a long enough lull in the fighting during which Abbas could implement his policies vis-à-vis Hamas, and perhaps even tip the scales in his favor.
 However, if the international support given to Abbas does not turn into substantial aid, there's not much hope for long-term change.
 The Israeli government will not be able to sit idly by for much longer. It will be incumbent upon it to take steps that would embolden the moderate Palestinian camp vis-à-vis the extremists. Otherwise, not only will the Palestinian public be endangered, but so will we.

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