DUBLIN, Ireland: The United States, Israel and the European Union must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, or they will doom the Palestinian people to deepening conflict between the rival movements, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.
Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was addressing a conference of Irish human rights officials, said the Bush administration’s refusal to accept the 2006 election victory of Hamas was “criminal.”
Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas fighters routed Fatah in their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The split prompted Abbas to dissolve the power-sharing government with his rivals in Hamas and set up a Fatah-led administration to govern the West Bank.
Carter said the American-Israeli-European consensus to reopen direct aid to the new government in the West Bank, but to deny the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, represented an “effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples.”
While seeking to boycott the Hamas leadership because of its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel, Europe and the U.S. have continued to send humanitarian aid to Gaza through the United Nations and other organizations.
During his speech to Ireland’s eighth annual Forum on Human Rights, the 83-year-old former president said monitors from his Carter Center observed the 2006 election in which Hamas won 42 percent of the popular vote and a majority of parliamentary seats.
Carter said that election was “orderly and fair” and Hamas triumphed, in part, because it was “shrewd in selecting candidates,” whereas a divided, corrupt Fatah ran multiple candidates for single seats.
Far from encouraging Hamas’ move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, has sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.
“That action was criminal,” he said in a news conference after his speech.
“The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah,” he said.
There are also Fatah splinter groups forming calling Abbas a pro-Israel/U.S. flunky. For Israel and the U.S., the more divided the better…
a good article by Omar Barghouti about the only real solution…
…This latest dose of American — Israeli-inspired — “constructive chaos” in the occupied Palestinian territory may well wreak havoc on US-Israeli policy in the region. With the imminent dissipation of the illusion that a national Palestinian sovereignty can be established under the overall colonial hegemony of Israel, many Palestinians are now seriously questioning the wisdom of the two-state mantra and considering to repose their plight as one for equal humanity and full emancipation, within the framework of a unitary, democratic state solution in historic Palestine. After almost three decades of “searing into the consciousness” of Palestinians that only a two-state solution can deliver any of their demands, the US and Israel are harvesting what they sowed: the collapse of any semblance of independence and integrity of the PA — which was all along charged with relieving Israel’s colonial burdens vs. the inhabitants of the occupied West Bank and Gaza — and the mounting Palestinian discontent with, if not yet revolt against, the game of unilateral Palestinian compromise leading only to insatiable Israeli demands for further compromise, with the simultaneous loss of land, resources, freedoms and the bleak — and real — prospects of social breakdown.
The demise of the two-state solution should not be mourned. Besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with. In the best-case scenario, if UN resolution 242 were meticulously implemented, it would have addressed most of the legitimate rights of less than a third of the Palestinian people over less than a fifth of their ancestral land. More than two thirds of the Palestinians, refugees plus the Palestinian citizens of Israel, have been maliciously and shortsightedly expunged out of the definition of the Palestinians.
It is now clearer than ever that the two-state solution — other than being only a disguise for continued Israeli occupation and a mechanism to permanently divide the people of Palestine into three disconnected segments — was primarily intended to induce Palestinians to give up the inalienable right of their refugees to return to their homes and lands from which they were ethnically cleansed by Zionists during the 1948 Nakba.
A secular, democratic state solution is increasingly being perceived by Palestinians and people of conscience around the world as the moral alternative to Israeli apartheid and colonial rule. Such a solution, which promises unequivocal equality in citizenship, as well as individual and communal rights, both to Palestinians (refugees included) and to Israeli Jews, is the most appropriate for ethically reconciling the ostensibly irreconcilable: the inalienable, UN-sanctioned rights of the indigenous people of Palestine to self-determination, repatriation, and equality in accordance with international law and the acquired and internationally recognized rights of Israeli Jews to coexist in the land of Palestine — as equals, not colonial masters.