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14 December 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
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Why aren't half the
Palestinian people voting?
U.S.-Israeli Chosen ABBAS/ALA/SHAATH REGIME Running Fast

"The method, if they can manage it, is to put in place a new
'moderate' under control Palestinian regime, declare an end to the
Intifada, pump in money for bribes and payoffs and to somewhat
improve the terrible conditions for most Palestinians, train
much greater numbers of 'security police', further repress any
and all opposition, and kill and imprison those who continue to fight."

"The goal is to create a greater Palestinian police-state client-regime
dutifully labled 'moderate' and 'democracy' however quisling in
reality that will accept the Palestinian fate, legitimize the worse
than apartheid realities, and sign some kind of historic 'final
peace agreement' which will give the Arab 'client regimes' in the
region the excuse they then need to be forced by the U.S. to
recognize Israel and open diplomat and trade relations with
the Jewish State."


MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 14 December: With Arafat, Yassin, Husseini and many other of the most senior, credible, and respected Palestinian leaders gone from the scene -- most Palestinians believing, rightly or wrongly, all by Israeli and American design -- those who have not only been left living by the Israelis but very much rewarded by them financially and through the many priviledges of VIP status are now in the forefront. And it appears time for the the U.S. and Israel to try to cash in on their investments in this carefully selected and protected 'Palestinian leadership'.

The terms 'peace process', 'democracy', and 'freedom' all sound good and warm and nice, but in reality it's not only all in the details but also all in ones perspective and allegiances. And when it comes to 'elections' it's much the same though even more complicated.

The U.S. and Israel only allow 'Palestinian elections' in the first place on their terms, with their timing, and when their candidates are in front and in need.

The last time Palestinian elections were allowed in the occupied territories, back in 1996, they were courting and grooming Yasser Arafat to sign a historic 'final peace agreement' with Israel -- hence he was promoted for that election and given the status of most frequent foreign guest to the American White House, wined and dine from European to Arab capitals to modern-day Rome itself.

Since then the U.S. and Israel, at first working in full coordination with the 'Palestinian Authority' they created, and since then with various degrees of cooperation with various persons in the PA, have prevented any subsequent election...until now that is when they have something similar in mind for the Abbas/Ala/Shaath regime, three men they have in one way or another in their employ and all of whom are viewed with great skepticism by their own people.

While the far more popular Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, languishes in Israeli prison and has been forced to end his candidacy; and while his distant cousin Mustapha Barghouti is literally pushed into the dirt by the Israeli army; Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, and Nabil Shaath are aided by the U.S. and Israel to go everywhere from Paris to Kuwait, from Syria to Lebanon, from Oslo to the U.S. And much new money and help of various kinds is being pumped into their pockets all along the way.

Indeed, as we have noted before, the big U.S. and Israeli Palestinian push is on. The
method, if they can manage it, is to put in place a new 'moderate' under control Palestinian regime, declare an end to the Intifada, pump in money for bribes and payoffs and to somewhat improve the terrible conditions for most Palestinians, train much greater numbers of 'security police', further repress any and all opposition, and kill and imprison those who continue to fight. The goal is to create a greater Palestinian police-state client-regime dutifully labled 'moderate' and 'democracy' however quisling in reality that will accept the Palestinian fate, legitimize the worse than apartheid realities, and sign some kind of historic 'final peace agreement' which will give the Arab 'client regimes' in the region the excuse they then need to be coerced by the U.S. to recognize Israel and open diplomat and trade relations with the Jewish State.

It's a very ambitious method and goal of course. And there's a very great chance, in view of how little the Palestinians are actually going to be offered and how deep the distrusts and hatreds, that in the end it too will fail. But even so world politics is such that it will be enough for the Americans if they are seen to be 'trying' and enough for the Israelis if they can further manipulate public opinion so the miserably occupied are blamed for their fate rather than the brutal occupier. Oh yes, at the same time the settlements are still feverishly building, nearly half of the West Bank is under Israeli control one way or another, and the Apartheid Wall is essentially turning still more Palestinians into prisoners in modern-day versions of ghettos and concentration camps.

Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, and Nabil Shaath dare not visit the refugee camps just a short distance from their heavily guarded offices in Ramallah -- places like Jenin, Deheishe, Aida or for that matter even nearby Bir Zeit University. They are not only afraid of what would be said to and of them, they are afraid for their lives. But while Shaath was in Oslo demanding to collect more billions from the gullible Europeans to finance their regime, Abus Mazen and Ala made a surprise visit to Rashidieh Camp in Lebanon as they hustled from Damascus to Beirut to Kuwait in their campaign to take hold of the image of Palestinian leadership that has always in the past been denied them. At some stops they declared the Intifada to be over, at others they appologized for what they now say were Arafat's policies, and at still other stops they promised to adher to Arafat's policies and absolutely insist on the fulfillment of U.N. resolutions, Jerusalem as their capital, and the crucial 'right of return'.

In a few weeks the U.S. and Israeli approved and financed 'election' will take place. The most credible and respected Palestinian leaders are gone. The widely supported Hamas organization is boycotting. 'Israeli Palestinians' are not allowed to vote. 'Jerusalem Palestinians' will have to vote absentee. And forgotten most of all are the majority of Palestinians -- most of them still living in refugee camps throughout the region from Jordan to Syria to Lebanon -- who will have no vote at all thanks to the policies of Israel, the United States, and the 'new Palestinian leadership'.

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 14 December 2004




Palestinian Authority to follow in Arafat's footsteps
Qorei: We 'insist on the main principles' of our cause

By Mohammed Zaatari and Mayssam Zaaroura
Daily Star staff

Palestinian Authority to follow in Arafat's footsteps

December 10, 2004 - RASHIDIEH REFUGEE CAMP, LEBANON: Palestine Liberation Organization chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei said Thursday that the Palestinian Authority continues to follow the main principles of the Palestinian cause and has not veered from the footsteps of its late president, Yasser Arafat.

Speaking during a visit to the Rashidieh refugee camp in Tyre, where they were welcomed by the commander of Fatah in Lebanon, Sultan Abul-Ainayn, Qorei stressed: "We cannot fill the void left behind by Abu Ammar [Arafat], but we will try to follow in his footsteps and continue the mission and fulfill the trust.

"All of Arafat's principles, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the right of return, are a paramount will that must be followed by every Palestinian."

Qorei spoke to the crowd on behalf of Abbas after health reasons delayed his arrival.

In his speech, Qorei reassured those gathered about their national rights under the new Palestinian leadership.

Qorei also vowed to continue the struggle toward statehood and allowing Palestinians living in the diaspora to return to their homes in accordance with UN Resolution 194.

"We will not compromise over this right. We will cling to it and we will struggle for it," Qorei said.

He reiterated the long-standing Palestinian position that East Jerusalem should be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

"No state without Jerusalem, no independence without Jerusalem, no peace without Jerusalem - just like other national legitimate Palestinian rights," Qorei told the crowd.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Metropolitan Hotel in Beirut, Abbas had stressed that there was no compromise on the Palestinian peoples' right to return and on the need to provide a safe environment in the Occupied Territories.

But he added that there were no political talks taking place with Israel at all.

"There are talks, but they are of an agricultural, economic nature ... or of that kind, but no political talks. It is not the time yet," Abbas said.

Qorei backed Abbas' statement, adding that the "region can no longer handle the current situation," and that a "comprehensive solution" is more necessary than ever.

On Thursday, Palestinians in the camp welcomed their leaders with a marching band and honor guard.

The gathering amounted to an election rally in which Qorei outlined the process that led to Abbas' candidacy for the presidential elections to be held on Jan. 9 - as appointed by interim President Rawhi Fattouh.

The Palestinian delegation had visited Syria earlier in the week to mend relations with Damascus and to try to reach a common goal with Palestinian opposition groups there.

On Wednesday, replying to reports that the Palestinian factions would be boycotting the elections, Qorei said: "Everyone was afraid when Abu Ammar passed away because we did not have his protection any longer. But the factions and we want to agree on a common political agenda, and the factions want to participate in the political process ... which is their legitimate right."

Qorei also said talks with the Lebanese government had gone well and that the situation of the camps had been discussed.

"Steps are being taken to improve the refugees' situation in the camps until they can return home," he said.

The status of refugees in camps here is the worst in the region, and although they cannot vote, their numbers - and the fact that their cause has been at the center of the political dispute - keeps them an important constituency.

Rashidieh has an estimated 17,000 population and is controlled by Arafat's mainstream Fatah movement. The Lebanese Army maintains checkpoints at all entrances - as it does at the other 11 camps in Lebanon.

Abbas was awarded the President Arafat honorary shield by Abul-Ainayn. Qorei received a similar shield. A meeting was later held by the visiting delegation and Fatah officials.

Earlier, Qorei visited Martyrs' Square in Tyre, laying wreathes to commemorate those killed during Israel's 1982 invasion.

Fatah official Brigadier General Khaled Aref said the delegation's visit sought to reassure Palestinians that they will return to their homeland.

However, Fatah's general supervisor in Lebanon, Colonel Mounir Maqdah, expressed surprise that the Palestinian delegation did not visit the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon.

Maqdah said he hoped all the Palestinian leadership, not just Abbas and Qorei, would visit Ain al-Hilweh, which he called the "capital of the Palestinian diaspora, as it is the biggest camp in Lebanon."

Ain al-Hilweh houses at least 70,000 Palestinians.

Maqdah said he hoped the delegation's failure to visit Ain al-Hilweh was not due to rumors about security instability in the camp, and he reiterated that the camp would welcome any visitor and provide the necessary security.

"The delegation's visit did not yield any results because refusing the settlement and clinging to the right to return were already undisputed issues," Maqdah said.




Abbas says armed struggle is over
Palestinian presidential candidate insists right of return is paramount

By Mayssam Zaaroura and Nada Bakri
Daily Star staff

Daily Star, 9 December, BEIRUT: Palestine Liberation Organization chief Mahmoud Abbas said the armed struggle for the Palestinian people is over and it is now time for the "democratic route to liberation."

His comments came as he warned that the Palestinian Authority "would not able to take control of Gaza if Israel withdraws" adding "it would lead to a civil war ... we are not ready - security wise - to take over."

Speaking during his historic visit to Lebanon Wednesday Abbas also reiterated that all Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in line with UN Resolution 194.

Abbas' comments came during his first visit to Lebanon since the PLO's forced departure from the country in 1982.

Referring to the two-year-long intifada in the Occupied Territories, Abbas said "Ninety-nine percent of Palestinian people are in favor of calming the situation down. What we have now is not an intifada or armed struggle; we merely have the use of weapons."

He added: "The Palestinian citizen has lost all sense of security and well-being, so if we provide him with security, his life is brought back. It is an equation of providing safety in anticipation of independence. Establishing security on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and providing security and stability for the Palestinian people is the paramount issue in our cause."

Commenting on the death of Yasser Arafat, Abbas said: "The departure of Abu Ammar created an expected chaos and we will never be able to replace him."

But he added that "the chaos which arose" created the "need to unite and present a democratic establishment to the international community."

Abbas recalled the secret negotiations that were taking place between U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice prior to the Israeli announcement of its intended withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

"Sharon told Bush that he would withdraw from Gaza in return for keeping the settlements in the West Bank," said Abbas.

But, Abbas added that there were two "minor" issues that Sharon insisted upon - keeping the West Bank settlements and rejecting the Palestinians' right to return.

UN 194 for the Palestinians - whether the authority, the factions or the people - is not an issue for debate and is a common goal, which since the Oslo Accord in 1993 was not even ever allowed to be put forth, according to Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei ("Abu Alaa").




Kuwaitis Get Apology From Palestinians

<>Palestinian Leader Abbas Tours Mideast to Gather
<>Support,Apologizes to Kuwait for Supporting Saddam

The Associated Press -Dec. 13, 2004 - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas apologized to Kuwaitis on Sunday for Palestinian support of Saddam Hussein during the 1990-91 Gulf War, his latest gesture to mend fences with Arab nations offended by the late Yasser Arafat over the years.

Kuwaitis had mixed feelings ahead of Abbas' visit, with many holding a grudge against the Palestinians for supporting Saddam during the war. On his arrival Sunday, Abbas provided a long-awaited apology in response to a question.

"Yes, we apologize for what we have done," he said.

Kuwait's prime minister, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, had said an apology was not needed and the matter of the Palestinian leadership's support for Saddam "has been closed."

Mohammed al-Saqr, who heads Parliament's foreign affairs panel, praised the apology, saying a "new page in relations was now being opened."

However, a group of lawmakers said in a statement Saturday they rejected the visit before the Palestine Liberation Organization "offers an official apology to the Kuwaiti people for the sin it committed against Kuwait."

One of the lawmakers, Mussalam al-Barrak, said Sunday the apology was too brief and "simple."

"We want an official apology in an official statement," he said.

Another lawmaker, Ahmed al-Saadoun, said, "Kuwaitis don't want to see the Palestinian leadership in Kuwait" even after an apology.

As PLO leader, Arafat supported Iraq in its 1990 invasion of this oil-rich country and opposed the subsequent U.S.-led war that liberated it. He never visited Kuwait afterward.

In Iraq, Mithal al-Alusi, leader of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, welcomed Abbas' overture to Kuwait but argued that Iraqis deserved an apology of their own.

"This is an incomplete apology because it failed to mention the Iraqi side," he said in a statement.

He argued that Palestinian support for Saddam and his "whims" had contributed to the suffering of Iraqi people.

Abbas made a low-key visit to Kuwait in May to attend a conference on the Middle East. His visit did not attract much attention. However, when the late Faisal al-Husseini, then-PLO chief of Jerusalem, came here in May 2001 for a conference, lawmakers slammed the visit as premature.

Last year, Abbas then the prime minister condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in an interview with the state-owned Kuwait News Agency and called the Palestinian leadership's position "incorrect." However, he stopped short of apologizing.

Some 450,000 Palestinians lived in Kuwait before the 1990 Iraqi invasion. Most were expelled or pressured to leave after the country was liberated, and scores of Palestinians were convicted after the war of collaborating with Iraqi occupiers.

Still, Kuwait continued to provide financial aid to the Palestinian people through the Arab League and international organizations.

Abbas' visit to Kuwait is the first leg of a tour of the rich Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

"We tell our brothers in the Gulf we are always in dire need of their support and assistance," he said at the airport.

He did not elaborate on what he was asking for.

Before coming to Kuwait, Abbas visited Egypt, Syria and Lebanon amid signs of movement in the Mideast peace process after Arafat's Nov. 11 death at age 75.

His efforts to heal old wounds began in Syria, where relations with the Palestinian leadership had been sour for years, mainly because of Arafat's signing of unilateral agreements with Israel.

Abbas a leading candidate to replace Arafat in the Jan. 9 Palestinian elections promised Syrian President Bashar Assad the Palestinians would coordinate in future peace efforts. Though a welcome shift from the Palestinians' go-it-alone approach, Abbas' pledge fell short of what Damascus wanted linkage of the Palestinian-Israeli and Syrian-Israeli peace tracks.

In the first visit to Lebanon by a Palestinian leader since Arafat and his PLO guerillas were driven out more than 20 years ago, Abbas spoke of a "positive page" in ties with the country, which views Palestinians with suspicion.

Many blame Palestinian fighters for contributing to the 1975-1990 sectarian civil war and accuse them of running a "state within a state" for more than a decade before being forced out of the country.

In Kuwait, Mohammed al-Jassem, editor-in-chief of the Al-Watan daily newspaper, said Abbas apologized to Kuwaitis because he "needs political and financial support," and it would be difficult for the Kuwaiti government to offer more substantial assistance without an apology.

"My fear and the fear of many Kuwaitis is that Palestinians would return to settle in Kuwait," al-Jassem said. "Palestinians bring with them their political illnesses and they come to stay."




Sharon: Peace Depends on Palestinians

<>Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Says
<>Peace Efforts Depend on Palestinians Reining in Militants

AP - Dec. 13, 2004 - The new Palestinian leadership is not doing enough to restrain militants, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Monday, after attackers blew up an Israeli army outpost in Gaza and killed five soldiers.

The comments marked the first time since Yasser Arafat's death last month that Sharon criticized Arafat's moderate successor, Mahmoud Abbas, though he did not mention Abbas by name. It was not clear whether the outpost attack would disrupt the fledgling good will between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Islamic militant group Hamas and gunmen with ties to the ruling Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack they dubbed "Operation Angry Volcano." Hamas said it had dug a half-mile-long tunnel over four months to reach the outpost.

The attack at sundown Sunday was seen as a challenge to Abbas, who has been trying to persuade militants to halt attacks on Israelis ahead of Palestinian presidential elections Jan. 9. Abbas has criticized the armed Palestinian uprising and enjoys the support of the international community.

Hamas has not given Abbas any guarantees. However, it has limited its attacks to the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, as part of what appears to be a tacit agreement not to carry out bombings inside Israel.

Hamas and other militants have stepped up attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers in Gaza in recent months, as part of an internal Palestinian power struggle ahead of the planned Israeli withdrawal from the strip in 2005.

Sharon said Monday that progress in peace efforts "depends on the Palestinians, if they will act against terror.'

"By now, we don't see any change," Sharon said, speaking in English.

"Myself and my government would like to move forward toward peace, but it depends on one thing, that it should be quiet and I'm really sorry to say that by now we don't see any changes," he added.

Israel has not said whether it will freeze the possible release of up to 200 Palestinian prisoners. In a first response, Israeli helicopters fired five missiles early Monday at what the army said were Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza City. There were no casualties.

The five soldiers killed Sunday were identified as Bedouin Arabs, all members of Desert Reconnaissance Battalion. The battalion, which consists largely of Bedouins, patrols the Egypt-Gaza border, one of the most dangerous areas during more than four years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

Five soldiers were wounded in the double blast, which brought down several structures in the outpost. After the initial explosion, Palestinian gunmen rushed the base, followed by another, smaller blast. A gunman who escaped said he tried to kidnap a wounded soldier, but killed him because the soldier resisted.

The preparations for the attack and the explosion were filmed by Hamas, a method used in the past by the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, which is increasingly training and funding Palestinian militants.

The Hamas video showed masked men lowering barrels presumably containing the explosives into the tunnel. Another shot showed a huge black plume of smoking rising into the air.

The Israeli military said Monday that the tunnels have emerged as a major threat against troops in Gaza, and that there is no easy way to detect them.

Palestinian smugglers have been digging tunnels in Gaza for decades. During the current round of fighting, tunnels have been used increasingly to smuggle weapons into Gaza and also to attack outposts.

Maj. Sharon Feingold, an Israeli army spokeswoman, said the military has spend millions of dollars on technology aimed at detecting tunnels, so far to no avail. "So now the army is using low-teach means, intelligence and searches for houses where the tunnels start," she said. "It's a strategic problem for the state of Israel."

In another development, imprisoned Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti on Sunday withdrew from the race for Palestinian Authority president, boosting Abbas' chances to win the Jan. 9 election.

Barghouti had wavered in recent weeks, twice announcing his candidacy and twice withdrawing. Barghouti, 45, is a leader of Fatah's young guard, which has complained that it is being kept from leadership positions.

His candidacy had threatened to split Fatah and open the way for a third candidate to win. Since announcing his renewed bid a week ago, he has come under growing pressure, including from his supporters, to withdraw.

Abbas, 69, is part of the old guard of politicians who returned with Arafat from exile in the 1990s. He has promised reforms, including holding internal Fatah elections in August, in hopes of appeasing the restless younger activists.

In a letter from prison read at a news conference Sunday, Barghouti endorsed Abbas, but was harshly critical of the Fatah leadership. Barghouti listed several demands, but said they were not a condition for his support of Abbas.

Barghouti rejected efforts to disarm militant groups, a key Israeli demand, and said no agreement should be made without release of all prisoners.

Israel has said Barghouti, serving five life terms after convictions in deadly Palestinian attacks, will not be freed.

Polls last week showed Barghouti and Abbas running a close race.

In Israeli politics, meanwhile, teams from Sharon's Likud Party were negotiating with the moderate Labor and ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas parties to expand Sharon's shaky coalition to enable implementation of Sharon's Gaza pullout plan next year.






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Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2004/12/1235.htm