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Gaza is not Bagdad – Yet
Reuven Kaminer
April 17, 2007

Both within the ranks of Hamas and Fatah, there are hot headed trigger happy adventurists who refused to understand that the tensions between the two camps cannot be resolved by violent means. In this context, it should be understood that the US is among those unhappy about the spirit of compromise and the victory of common sense that led to the establishment of the united Palestinian government, a step wholly in Palestinian interests and in the interest of a just peace.

There is, therefore, reason for serious concern over the persistent reports of plans by the Bush government to train and arm special units of a `Presidential Guard.` The direct U.S. military support and `advice` to Abu Mazen are part of the US effort to maintain exclusive control over the diplomatic activity in the region.

A senior Palestinian figure explained to me that these reports are designed to discredit Abu Mazen in the Palestinian public. If this is the situation, then we certainly miss hearing some strong denials from Abu Mazen and his people. We are not talking about mere rumors. `Ha`aretz` reported that the details of this plan were elaborated by General Dayton, the U.S. military co-ordinator with the Palestinian Authority. (Ha`aretz. April 16, 2007).

It appears that the bi-weekly meetings that Condileeza Rice imposed on Olmart and Abu Mazen are part of the same US effort to monopolize the peace process. There is nothing the Palestinians need less than more empty ritual.

Those, among the Palestinians, who believe that it is precisely the connections with the US which will bring about an independent Palestinian state are sorely mistaken. If there is any chance for independence and peace, it is linked to the international community, to the Arab world, to Europe and the United Nations. We see quite clearly what the US `knows how to do` in Bagdad. The US knows how to set off civil war and bloodletting. The US can turn Gaza into Bagdad. It is advisable to be alert about their advice and schemes.

Demonization In Preparation for Victimization

The General Security Service (Shabakh), with the aid of the mobilized and manipulative Israeli media, and the Israeli political establishment are all working overtime to demonize MK Azmi Bishara. When Bishara, leader of the three-member Balad Knesset faction, left the country for vacation before Easter, the GSS hurried to leak information on mysterious proceedings against him. The GSS embellished the affair by getting the court to put a gag order on the proceedings – thus effectively preventing Bishara and his people from defending him. All parts of the regime are doing there best to convict Bishara without a trial. This is a classic case where Bishara and his supporters can claim, fully and justly, that Bishara cannot get a fair trial in this country. If in normal times the public atmosphere is suffocating with large doses of anti-Arab racism, today the air is literally poisoned against Bashara and his opinions. Just as it is clear that Bishara is not a criminal, it is doubly clear that the campaign against him is motivated politically and aimed against the Palestinian Arab population in Israel and its leaders.

In dealing with the issue, media broadcasters and commentators exhibit a clearly aggressive and demeaning tone. The antagonistic style is unrestrained when they demand to know why Bishara does not do this or that, why he behaves like he does, why he dares not to respond to requests from them for interviews and why he does not reveal his travel plans, etc. – this tone of discourse is recognizable. The media people will deny it, but this is the voice of the boss, and the condescension is clearly felt. This arrogance borders on hysteria and hatred toward an Arab leader who simply does not want to play according to the rules which they wish to impose on him....

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