Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Some notes on the new Palestinian "unity government"

Dear friends,
as you will be aware on June 2, a new Palestinian "unity government" was sworn in Ramallah. 

The swearing in of the "unity government" is being heralded as bringing to an end 7 years of internecine fighting between the two biggest Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas.  And without a doubt, an end to the internecine factionalism between Hamas and Fatah should be welcomed.

However, over the next few days, weeks and months many things can and will be said about this new "government", including the motivations behind it, whether it will take forward the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and human rights and whether or not it will work.  

For the moment, I am not going to comment on any of those things, but I will noted a few things that are not being said in relation to the formation of the new "unity government" by much of the media:
  • Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (and East Jerusalem) continue to live under a belligerent and brutal Israel military occupation.  Israel continues to build its illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and continues to blockade Gaza, collectively punishing - in violation of international law - 1.5 million Palestinians in an open air prison.
  • The new "unity government" has no real power, nor is it a "real" government (as compared to other world governments in Europe, the USA and Australia)
  • The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is not a "government", it was only ever established as an interim/transitional body which was established as part of the Oslo Accords, in order to help facilitate the "peace process". 
  • The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) established in 1996 and was suppose to replace the PNA.  However, the PNA (under Arafat) did not transfer power.
  • Just as with the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council, the new "unity government" has no real power because Israel remains in military control of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  • The last PLC election was in 2006.  The election was free, fair and democratic.  Hamas ran successfully on a "Change and Reform" platform and won control of the PLC, including the Prime Ministership.
  • In the wake of the 2006 Palestinian election, when the last free, fair and open election happened in Palestine, Israel arrested and jailed more than half of the 132 democratically elected PLC members.  Currently 9 PLC members are held indefinitely, without charge or trial, under Israel's "administrative detention" regime. 
  • The five year elected period for Mahmoud Abbas' presidency ran out in 2011.  As an unelected president with no mandate, he remains in control of the PNA for the last three years through the backing of the United States.
  • The new "unity government", while hopefully and thankfully bringing to an end the internecine factionalism between Hamas and Fatah, has no electoral mandate.
  • The Oslo Accords are dead and so is the fake "peace process" and two state solution.
  • Israel has no interest in reaching a real and/or just peace with the Palestinians.  The primary aim of Israel is expansionist, to claim as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians as possible.  
  • The "peace process" has been used by Israel to allow them to appear to be giving lip service to a negotiated peace, while at the same time allowing them to establish "facts on the ground" (with the building and expansion of illegal settlements and confiscation/exploitation of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories)
In solidarity,

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