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Palestinian NUG and European Delusions

19 March 2007

By Yisrael Ne’eman

The Europeans are exited about the new Palestinian national unity government (NUG) between the secular “moderate” Fatah and the Islamist Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) may be president but the government is headed by Hamas leader PM Ismail Haniyah. Hamas represents the will of the Palestinian people in the government and legislature since their landslide victory over Fatah in the Jan. 2006 elections.

For a year Fatah sat in opposition as economic sanctions were applied to the Hamas government which refused to recognize Israel, halt terrorism or implement any previous agreements reached with Israel by the Palestinian Authority (previously dominated by Fatah) - conditions set by the international community and the Quartet. The Mecca Agreement brought about the NUG but the Hamas refuses to budge from its above mentioned positions. There are differing opinions in the European Union (EU) ranging from those countries willing to open a dialogue with the entire NUG to those just willing to talk to Abbas and Fatah. But the overall idea is to lift the sanctions.

Having declared an end to the sanctions today Norway (not a member of the EU) sent its deputy foreign minister to Gaza to begin full cooperation with the NUG led by Hamas. Garbled sounds are being made about Hamas accepting the international conditions in return for Oslo’s aid, but all this appears very flexible. On the other end of the spectrum the US is upholding sanctions but willing to speak with moderate Fatah cabinet ministers. Israeli foreign policy stands someplace between the US position and the possibility of a full boycott of all NUG members.

Abbas is a completely powerless figurehead used by the Hamas to make promises concerning peace, but only in the name of Fatah and not in the name of the NUG. For Hamas, the lifting of sanctions is a best case scenario and at worse Abbas will “only” buy time until the Islamists have smuggled into Gaza enough money, arms and ammunition to go for the final putsch. Abbas and Fatah hope to prove to the Palestinian people that they can deliver by ending the sanctions and thereby gain support for the next elections. Once Haniyah & Co. win in the streets the issue of elections is completely irrelevant. It is just a matter of time.

Abbas does not deliver on his commitments. He promised to free abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, swore he would call new elections and undermine the Hamas, announced the enforcement of law and order in the PA areas while halting Kassam rocket fire across the border into Israel (5 fell this morning) and gave his word that the PA security forces would close down the tunnels carrying the illegal weapons traffic from Sinai (just recently over 30 tons of high explosives were smuggled into Gaza). Abbas is a complete failure and serves as a fig leaf for Hamas extremism in the NUG.

The Europeans know the score but have their own interests. The EU has major trade ties with the Arab/Moslem World and can use the Palestinian NUG as a reason to halt sanctions and pretend peace is on the horizon, especially if Abbas is president. In their home countries they fear the burgeoning, increasingly radical Moslem populations and the rising terror threat. They are willing to grab at any façade or mirage (Abbas, Fatah, “moderates”) in the hope of securing their own economic, social and security interests. Somehow they believe this will bring peace or at least stability.

Secular Arab nationalism is collapsing and will not be strengthened by funneling money through the “moderate” mask of an increasingly Islamist society. Palestinians will view the NUG and its successful milking of EU aid money as a Hamas victory and not attribute it to Fatah. Under Fatah the weight of corruption brought the Palestinian economy close to collapse. Abbas and Fatah are seen as Western –American (and Israeli) lackeys betraying the Palestinian cause by agreeing to a two-state solution with Israel. In the end Fatah may very well be wiped clean from the Palestinian political map.

The Europeans are deluding themselves with false hopes. Not only does the Hamas as part of the Moslem Brotherhood demand the destruction of the Jewish State but the Islamists insist on conquering Europe as well. It will make no difference whether the continent remains in its nation state form or succumbs to the rising internationalist, super liberal “humanism” as expressed by the European Left.