February 24, 2010

PA helping the occupation

This Comment is free article highlighting collaboration between the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas and the State of Israel with specific regard to the occupation of the West Bank is nothing new but it is well put and it's been well received in the comments section:
The Fatah leadership running the PA has been unwilling to make the concessions necessary for national unity, while simultaneously the PA security forces (western and Jordanian trained) continue arresting and torturing those tied to resistance, primarily Hamas-connected. These days the political establishment in Ramallah has expressed a far greater interest in retaining western support than resolving national division and leading a unified resistance to the occupation.

Indeed, it seems that the western countries backing Israel and calling on Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table are also those turning a blind eye to the illegal arrests and torture. According to Wisam Ahmed, advocacy officer at Al-Haq – West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists – both PA and American officials have been notified about the widespread use of illegal political detention and torture by PA security, yet it has continued.

"Some of the third parties' interests are different from what we feel are the interests of insuring Palestinian unity," Ahmed said on 21 December. "Their main interest is to ensure that there is no change to the status quo."

It is a status quo that accommodates shifts in public face, provided there is no real shift in relationship and co-ordination on the ground. Regardless of whether official talks are happening or not, the PA operates in constant dialogue and co-ordination with Israeli occupation.

Last month, when I spoke to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) prisoners' affairs representative Khalida Jarrar, she condemned the PA for continued political arrests of Palestinians and the maintenance of security co-ordination with Israel.

"The assassinations are a clear example of why [the PFLP] have a policy calling for the PA to end security coordination," she said in reference to the killings in Nablus last December.

Jarrar highlighted that both the security co-ordination and political arrests are part of PA compliance with the Quartet road map. "As Palestinians we have an opportunity to review our negotiations with Israel and our security co-ordination should stop. We should have a political overhaul of the process and this means a demand for the implementation of international resolutions and a relaunching of popular resistance," she stressed, illustrating the PFLP alternative to the current PA practice.

While Jarrar and her Marxist party have tapped into the common feelings on the West Bank street, the basis of power rests in the hands of the western countries keeping Abbas financially and militarily afloat. At the same time, Israel recognises the advantage of a policing partner in the West Bank that fuels internal Palestinian division, tolerating the rhetorical flourishes volleyed over the wall.

Joseph Massad has been writing about this stuff for several years now. A quick google search yields this, this and this.

The latest is titled Oslo and the end of Palestinian independence and it details what Massad calls the "classes" that benefit from this collaborationist fruit of Oslo:
The five main classes that the architects of Oslo created to ensure that the "process" survives are: a political class, divided between those elected to serve the Oslo process, whether to the Legislative Council or the executive branch (essentially the position of president of the PA), and those who are appointed to serve those who are elected, whether in the ministries, or in the presidential office; a policing class, numbering in the tens of thousands, whose function is to defend the Oslo process against all Palestinians who try to undermine it. It is divided into a number of security and intelligence bodies competing with one another, all vying to prove that they are most adept at neutralising any threat to the Oslo process. Under Arafat's authority, members of this class inaugurated their services by shooting and killing 14 Palestinians they deemed enemies of the "process" in Gaza in 1994 -- an achievement that earned them the initial respect of the Americans and the Israelis who insisted that the policing class should use more repression to be most effective......

Also: a bureaucratic class attached to the political class and the policing class and that constitutes an administrative body of tens of thousands who execute the orders of those elected and appointed to serve the "process"; an NGO class: another bureaucratic and technical class whose finances fully depend on their serving the Oslo process and ensuring its success through planning and services; and, a business class composed of expatriate Palestinian businessmen as well as local businessmen -- including especially members of the political, policing and bureaucratic classes -- whose income is derived from financial investment in the Oslo process and from profit-making deals that the PA can make possible. While the NGO class mostly does not receive money from the PA, being the beneficiary of foreign governmental and non- governmental financial largesse that is structurally connected to the Oslo process, the political, policing, and bureaucratic classes receive all their legitimate and illegitimate income from the PA directly.
At the time of writing, 18:42 GMT, comments are still open at Cif and you can write for publication to Al Ahram where Massad's piece appears.

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