Civilians the real victims in Palestine

The current situation in the Gaza Strip is pejorative. Inter-Palestinian fighting has become a source of economic and social deterioration for the 1.5 million who live in the dense strip of land.

Already, its people are living a humanitarian disaster in the world’s largest figurative prison, and now they have to suffer even more destruction as Palestinians release their fury against one another.

Because the ideological and political differences between Hamas and Fatah have failed to create normalization in Gaza and the West Bank, the infighting between the rival factions has left more than 130 dead.

Although Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been trying – and has now succeeded – to replace the government and re-create his own government comprised of elitists who bow down to foreign influences.

Talks of a unity government between Hamas and Fatah have been in the media spotlight since the beginning of this year, and when an agreement was finally made – with the outside intervention of Arab leaders – the supposed national unity failed to bring together the bitter rivals.

Under the agreements of the national unity government, Abbas called on Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah to respect legitimate Arab and international resolutions and agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

These resolutions include the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, political agreements that included steps to establish a Palestinian government and infrastructure, but only with Israel’s consent and cooperation. Afterward, corrupt officials gained control of the government and allowed the flow of foreign money to the Palestinian Authority by accepting a Palestinian state that would be compatible with American interests in the region.

These individuals, who have control over Fatah’s militia, are the same officials whose homes were raided this week.

There were reports that in Muhammad Dahlan’s home gold-plated bathroom faucets, crystal chandeliers, individual tiles – worth enough money to feed a family for a month in Gaza – and other luxuries were found.

Meanwhile Gazans ration out the two hours of electricity they receive each day.

Furthermore, as a result of Hamas winning last year’s elections, Gazans have had to face the repercussions by having their fuel, electricity, food, medicine and other necessities sanctioned and blockaded.

So we come to the present occupation of Palestinian territories and the frustration of the people who live on a land that is regulated and whose people are oppressed.

There are those who have tried to resist, those who have fallen to defeatism and those who have a sincere belief that a new government will rid them of their anguish and poverty.

It is for this very reason that Hamas was democratically elected by a majority of Palestinians – people were fed up with the corruption of individuals who looked out only for their own interests.

Palestinians did not vote for Hamas because they wanted to live in an Islamic state, but because they wanted a government that was not corrupt, a government that would truly stand up to pressure from both nearby and afar.

Meanwhile, in Ramallah masked Fatah thugs are prancing around the streets and shooting in the air, as if Palestinians are oblivious to their presence in the West Bank.

At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently in Washington D.C., urged President Bush to adopt a new policy toward the Palestinians based upon "political and geographical separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

It may be that Israeli policy makers will finally succeed in politically and economically isolating Gaza from the West Bank indefinitely, a goal they have strived for in recent times.

Alternatively, good fortune may intervene and present a politically determined solution to quell the infighting between Hamas and Fatah. Ultimately, the unfortunate reality is that the fate of the Palestinian people is irrevocably intertwined with the neocolonial interests of foreign governments.

The average Palestinian can only observe and wonder.

Hammad, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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