Tuesday, 20 July 2010
PALESTINIAN POLITICS - THE RAW FACTS.
Recently, much evidence has been circulating on the social network outlets including Facebook and YouTube that clearly show a middle class lifestyle enjoyed by mnay in the Gaza Strip.
This includes superb dining facilities, including the Roots Club and Greens, riding academies, luxurious mansions, Olympic-sized swimming pools, water parks, and even the opening of a new Shopping Mall in Gaza City.
The Palestinians, including those in the Gaza Strip, benefit from the free flow of aid that crosses into the Strip via Israel. Massive amounts of funding is channelled into the Palestinian financial system. The Palestinians receive record amounts of money, while genuine humanitarian cases suffer from neglect.
One would think that this level of prosperity would weaken the grip of Hamas. After all, this is what most diplomats tell you. Isn't it true that they constantly say that advancing the living conditions of the Palestinians would isolate the extremists?
The facts prove a completely different picture.
A recent poll (12 July 2010) conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) uncovered startling results.
The West Bank is currently perceived as developing strongly under the 'pragmatic' leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. Most politicians and leading journalists declare that the Fayyad plan of Palestinian development is showing new hope to the Palestinian people.
They are as wrong in this assessment as they have been in every other prognosis on the results of record amounts of international aid to the Palestinians.
The PCPO survey found that support for Hamas had grown in the West Bank by a huge 18.7% since a previous poll taken in April 2010.
This despite the progress made in the West Bank and the close cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
We need to remind ourselves of the deep feelings and affiliations of the Palestinians when assessing the likely outcome of promoting their development.
The last Parliamentary elections held by the Palestinians was on 25th January, 2006. With the deep divide between the Fattah and Hamas factions it is not likely we will see democratic Palestinians elections for the foreseeable future.
In the 2006 elections the common perception was that Hamas usurped power in the Gaza Strip with a brutal and murderous coup. This is true, but the fact remains that Hamas won the Palestinian elections.
According to the electroral list Hamas took 44.45% of the vote and Fattah lagged behind with 41.43%.
Hamas party candidates received 41.73% of the vote to Fattah's 36.9%. The seating divide in the Palestinian Parliament left Hamas with 74 seats and the ruling Fattah with only 45 seats.
It needs to be stressed that this covers all of the designated Palestinian territory, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
It is clear, with the publication of the recent PCPO poll, that, with all the international involvement and all the
media praise for the Palestinian Authority, the people remain solidly behind Hamas.
Any further rise in the next PCPO survey would reconfirm the majority support for Hamas on the West Bank.
This is bad news for the world. It is disasterous news for Israel.
The raw facts show that the huge amounts of funding and aid from the international community and rights organisations, as well as worldwide political and public support for the Palestinian people, has only strengthened, not weakened, the Islamic regime of Hamas.
Those who would say that Israel has to make immediate gestures to the Palestinians for the cause of peace must be reminded that all their aid, funding, political support, has had no effect in having Hamas drop the destruction of Israel from their Charter. Neither has it made them more pragmatic by one iota.
Their aid and support, given without precondition, has encouraged Hamas to stiffen the Islamization of the Gaza Strip.
In light of these harsh facts Israel would be advised not to make any further one-sided gestures to the Palestinians. To do so would severely jeopardise Israel's security when faced the a potential Hamas take-over of the West Bank.
An Israeli nightmare of having Hamas influence on the streets of Jerusalem and a one minute rocket ride from Ben Gurion Airport is frightening, and potentially realistic.