UPCOMING IN "DOUBLY-OCCUPIED"
MER - Washington - 9 June:
A number of important political events in what we have taken to
calling "doubly-occupied Palestine" are upcoming in the next few days:
1) Will the Israelis allow the head of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,
to return to Gaza after his whirlwind triumphant tour through the Arab and Muslim worlds?
Betting is yes, because they fear he is more powerful out than in. Betting is also that
they may not let him out of "Gaza Ghetto" again, once they get him back. For all
the hoopla about Palestinian "rule" in Gaza, even this small area remains 30%
directly occupied by Israelis while the entire strip area remains surrounded by an
electrified fence which for most Palestinians is the equivalent of imprisonment.
The matter of Yassin is so important that it has been debated by the
Israeli Cabinet in recent days, with strong opinions expressed on both sides. The
political types want him kept out; fearing his growing popularity among ordinary
Palestinians. The intelligence types want him let back in, "to stay" this time.
The Arafat crowd hardly knows what to do as their influence and credibility continue to
decline and only the guns and money supplied by the Americans and Israel keep them in
2) 15 June. That's the day the Palestinian "Legislative
Assembly" has scheduled the first ever "no confidence" vote against Arafat.
About a year ago the Assembly released a report showing terrible
corruption and worse by Arafat's hand-chosen "Palestinian Authorities"
"Ministers". Hundreds of millions of dollars were found to be "unaccounted
for". Nearly a third of the monies given to the "PA" since it came to power
with American/European and Israeli support seem to have been "diverted" or
squandered; partly explaining while the Palestinian standard of living has declined some
40% since the Arafat crowd came to take over after the "Oslo" agreement.
At that time the "Assembly" gave the "Chairman"
30 days to fire his "Cabinet" and urged that three "Ministers",
including Israel's favorite, Nabil Shaath, be brought to trial. Arafat promised this and
that as he always does when boxed in. But nothing much was done. Shaath was not only not
brought to trial, nor fired, but his status and authority have only increased; and he made
a point of holding a ostentatiously lavish wedding in four separate locations, one just
for his Israeli friends.
The Assembly has caved, time after time.
Since then one of the few remaining dignified Palestinian leaders -
Haider Abdul Shaafi - resigned his seat in the Assembly, insisting this was the only way
he could demonstrate the Assembly's impotence and hypocrisy. He had tried to get others to
resign with him; but most preferred to keep their special passes, cars, monthly salaries,
and other perks.
15 June. Likelihood: Another cave-in from the