While much of the younger generation of Fatah — and many of its leaders who remain in exile — are contemptuous of the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, to which they attribute their movement’s political demise, they don’t plan to try and unseat him just yet. Instead, they’ll seek to tie his hands. But there is a move afoot at the conference to take down Abbas’s national security adviser, the Bush Administration-favorite strongman Mohammed Dahlan. The conference will hear proposals for an investigation into the events that saw Hamas eject Fatah forces and take control of Gaza by force in 2007 — with many blaming Dahlan for having at least partly provoked the takeover. Demanding an inquiry and targeting one of his key allies is seen as another means of weakening Abbas’ authority. A second target will be Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a political independent appointed by Abbas at Washington’s behest, although over strong opposition from both Hamas and Fatah. [continued…]
[A report in Al-Quds al-Arabi] says that reliable Fateh sources in Bethlehem say there are some Gaza-origined Fateh people now in Bethlehem/ the West Bank who are credentialed for the conference– and they spell out that this is a reference to Muhammad Dahlan and his supporters– but who are afraid that if the conference goes ahead they could be called to account for the disastrous failure Fateh suffered at the hands of Hamas in Gaza in June 2007… and that if this looks likely to happen, the Dahlan group would prefer to call the conference off on the pretext of the non-attendance of the delegates who are still resident in Gaza, rather than go ahead with it…
Yes, wheels within wheels within wheels there. I guess that’s what happens when you try to run a political “movement” that has no functioning mechanisms of internal accountability except the sloshing around of huge amounts of US-mobilized money. [continued…]
Meshaal seems to be indicating that Hamas now endorses the US attempt to negotiate an end to the occupation.
In the past, Hamas’ position has been that that they would allow President Abbas, as leader of the PLO, to negotiate while they remained the pious opposition, undoubtedly back-biting his attempts to conclude an agreement and presenting the results as a sell-out. It was politics at its most cynical. But in Friday’s WSJ piece, Meshaal is quoted saying “Hamas and other Palestinian groups are ready to cooperate with any American, international or regional effort to find a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to end the Israeli occupation and to grant the Palestinian people their right of self-determination.”
If Meshaal is truly speaking on behalf of all of Hamas (and Hamas is much better at speaking with a unified voice than most Palestinian parties), then he is actually endorsing President Obama’s efforts to quickly negotiate an end to the conflict and is offering Hamas “cooperation” in that regard. [continued…]
The Palestinian economy is not recovering thanks to Israel, but in spite of it.
Although the Shin Bet security services and the Israel Defense Forces agreed to ease pressure on the population, most of the internal checkpoints that Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered removed at the request of U.S. President Barack Obama administration, had already been slated for removal by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in response to pressure from former U.S. president George W. Bush.
In addition, according to the current report of the International Monetary Fund, Netanyahu was somewhat hasty in flaunting the success of his economic peace. The fund’s headquarters in the territories predicted that 2009 would end with 7 percent growth (not 10 percent), a statistic that will, for the first time in three years, represent a substantial improvement in the standard of living.
However, the IMF says that if Israel does not continue to remove the restrictions on internal trade, the gross domestic product per capita will decline later in the year. Incidentally, according to the report the unemployment rate still stands at an extremely high 20 percent (less than Gaza’s 34 percent). [continued…]