Thursday, July 12

What now for the Palestinian Authority?

Click image for a candid video interview with Toameh,
on media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Highly-respected journalist Khaled Abu Toameh offers a clear-eyed, close-up assessment of methods Israel and the world community should consider in dealing with the Palestinian Authority. His analysis comes in light of the power-struggle and chaos in Gaza and the West Bank, and the violent ideological chasm between Fatah and Hamas:
  • The January 2006 election that brought Hamas to power was mostly about: "Let's punish these Fatah thieves." Hamas was building schools and kindergartens and clinics, while the PLO was building a casino and villas for its leaders. I believe some 30-35 percent of the Palestinians who voted for Hamas did so as a vote of protest because they were unhappy with the way the Palestinian Authority was running the show.
  • Let Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO and Fatah start rebuilding their institutions, reform themselves, get rid of the corruption, and come up with a new list of candidates. Then run in another free and democratic election and offer the Palestinians a better alternative to Hamas.
  • The Palestinians do not need more guns and military training. If the U.S. has $86 million and wants to help the Palestinians, then help them build civil institutions, help them build freedom, educate them about good things. What's the point in taking 200 Presidential Guards to Jericho to train them? Who are they going to fight at the end of the day? In Gaza they were defeated.
  • What should Israel do at this stage? Nothing. There is no one to deal with on a serious basis on the Palestinian side. Abbas doesn't even have control over his own Fatah militias. Israel should just sit and wait. Don't repeat the mistake of unilateralism, when Israel left Gaza to Hamas and Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
  • It is ironic that the West is supporting the guys who are suppressing the moderates and people who want democracy. The West is actually undermining its own goals. Worth reading.
Here's a candid video interview with Toameh, on media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(Full disclosure: I worked with Toameh at The Jerusalem Post, both as an interviewer/producer for their internet radio operation, and as a night-desk editor on the print edition)

British anti-terror crackdown: 'watch out for people doing, 'er, stuff'

This just in (from the Minister of Silly Walks, apparently - aka, the inimitable Iowahawk):
London - British public safety officials today increased the national alert level to "Quite Elevated Indeed" -- the highest category possible -- and appealed to UK citizens to "keep a sharp lookout for diverse people engaged in activities."

"We ask the public to report any behaviours by various people that may or may not be of a suspicious nature," said Lt. Clive Jameson of the Metropolitan Police Service. "We further ask the public to be especially vigilant for activities of broad stratas of people who may be from countries of some sort, especially those within the eastern and/or western hemisphere."

The elevated alert levels come on the heels of a week when London and Glasgow narrowly escaped potential events that intelligence experts say may have been related to diverse groups of people doing things. Initially police had specifically asked the public for information relating to doctors driving automobiles, but that initial warning brought angry denunciations from the British Medical Association and the UK Automobile Association.



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