Monday, August 4, 2014

Israel knows this is not the first unity government and that it is not a threat to it's security

One of the many reasons Israel gives to justify it's current round of bombing Gaza (the tunnels, rockets, etc) is the 2014 unity government between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Besides any issues with Hamas' role in the current unity government, one problem with this excuse is that this is not the first time there has been a unity government.  Israel may fear that a unity government may work out because it would change the status quo situation in Palestine, which Israel has said openly it wants to continue.

It is also important to report that the government fell apart due to internal conflicts between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, leading to the coup that put Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip today.

The Palestinians: Background and U.S. Relations January 2014
After Hamas won January 2006 PLC elections, a factional standoff between Fatah and Hamas ensued—with Abbas as PA president and Hamas controlling the PLC and the government ministries.  These tensions ultimately led to armed conflict that led to Hamas’s forcible takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. In response to the Hamas takeover, PA President Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government and appointed a “caretaker” technocratic PA government in the West Bank. 
I have not seen the 2007 unity government mentioned  when discussing the history behind the recent conflict. If it is mentioned at all it is buried near the bottom of the page as I show in this BBC article (3 paragraphs from the bottom). Yes, this is a mention, but hardly prominent.

I have since found some mentions, but they are hardly considered American Mainstream Media or enough consistent coverage to be considered adequate to inform the American public of a complicated history.

Hamas could claim to have eased the blockade; Israel could claim to have forced Hamas to concede security control on the ground to the rivals it ejected in 2007.

Since neither Israel nor Egypt wants to govern Gaza, the only chance these goals have of being implemented is if the moderate Palestinian Authority here in Ramallah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, is invited back into Gaza (from which it was evicted by Hamas in 2007).

A bit of history can help us appreciate what's at stake here. In 2006 Fatah (headed by Mahmoud Abbas) lost to Hamas in a national election for seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Abbas continued as president of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas joined with Fatah in a unity government.

NYT 2014 Unity Government with no mention of 2007

NYT here mentions 2007
The schism between Hamas and Fatah began in 2007, with a brief but bloody civil war that followed a failed unity government after Hamas’s victory in 2006 Palestinian elections. It left Palestinian territory divided, with Hamas ruling Gaza, the impoverished and isolated coastal expanse, and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority governing the larger and more populous West Bank.

Some Palestinian elections history

International Reaction to the Palestinian Unity Government May 2007
Hamas, a U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, surprised most observersby winning a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative election in January 2006. The election was judged by international observers to be competitive and “genuinely democratic.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Overview of Internal and External Challenges March 2006
On January 9, 2005, the PA held presidential elections (which Hamas boycotted), and Fatah candidate Mahmoud Abbas was certified winner and President-elect. Between 2004 and 2006, Palestinians voted in multiple municipal elections to fill 900 local council seats, the first such elections since 1976. 
Palestinian Elections February 9, 2006
Seven candidates competed in the poll. Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) won 67% of the vote and was appointed to a four-year term, Mustafa Barghouti received 21%, and five candidates split the remaining 12%.

Israel’s Blockade of Gaza, the Mavi Marmara Incident, and Its Aftermath 2010
Under pressure from Saudi Arabia, Hamas and Fatah formed a unity government in February 2007, which proved to be short-lived. In what it considered a pre-emptive act to prevent Fatah from striking it first, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip by force in June 2007. This “coup” prompted PA President Mahmud Abbas to dissolve the Hamas-led government and replace it with the current one under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who administers only the West Bank. Hamas remains in control of Gaza. Israel and the United States reestablished relations with the new PA government, and Israel imposed a tight land, sea, and air blockade on the Gaza Strip, in what it describes as an act of self-defense to prevent arms from reaching Hamas. With the blockade, Israel also hoped to turn Gazans against Hamas by contrasting Hamas rule with the better life of Palestinians in the West Bank. Instead, the blockade isolated the territory and helped to strengthen Hamas’s control.
emphasis mine
On February 8, [2007] Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca produced agreement on a Palestinian national unity government signed by Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of Fatah and Khaled Mashal on behalf of Hamas.
The new Hamas-Fatah unity government won overwhelming Parliament approval yesterday, clearing a final formal hurdle before taking on the challenge of persuading a skeptical world to end a crippling yearlong boycott of the Palestinian government."
The vote was 83-3.
In all, Parliament has 132 members, but 41 are in Israeli detention.
Nine portfolios will be given to Hamas, six to Fatah, four to other parties, and five (including the central ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Interior) to independents. The Interior Ministry controls most of the security forces and was the most contentious issue and it was agreed that Abu Mazen will choose the minister from a list of independents recommended to him by Hamas. The Prime Minister will remain Ismail Haniye, a Hamas leader.
This formulation represents a compromise between Fatah's attempt to get wording that would accept the three demands of the international Quartet (renunciation of terror, recognition of Israel and endorsement of signed agreements), thus bringing about an end to the sanctions imposed by the Quartet and Israel, and Hamas' desire to avoid any commitments that contradict its basic ideology and positions. 

Hamas takes over Gaza
The Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority's security and military intelligence headquarters came after a three-day siege.
Sources close to the Palestinian president said Israel had ignored repeated requests to allow deliveries of ammunition to Palestinian Authority forces, leaving them outgunned by Hamas who have relied on smuggled munitions.
Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh was deposed in the coup.
The Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority's security and military intelligence headquarters came after a three-day siege.
Sources close to the Palestinian president said Israel had ignored repeated requests to allow deliveries of ammunition to Palestinian Authority forces, leaving them outgunned by Hamas who have relied on smuggled munitions.

The Final Outcome of the failed unity government led Israel and America to restart negotiations with Abbas now that Hamas was not considered a government.

CRS Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: The Annapolis Conference December 2007
Factional fighting between Fatah and Hamas in May/June 2007 resulted in Hamas seizing total control of the Gaza Strip. PA President Mahmoud Abbas then declared a state of emergency, dissolved the Hamas-led government, and replaced it with one led by independent, technocrat Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In practice, the Abbas/Fayyad government now administers only the West Bank while Hamas dominates the Gaza Strip.  The Bush Administration and the Israeli government viewed the ouster of Hamas as an opportunity to return to diplomacy.

We must also remember who has been rejecting recent peace deals while they proclaim that they "will do anything for peace"

The Palestine Papers Document Leak 2011

Now we know Israel had a peace partner
What's more, the documents blow apart what has been a staple of Israeli public diplomacy: the claim that there is no Palestinian partner. That theme, a refrain of Israeli spokesmen on and off for years, is undone by transcripts which show that there is not only a Palestinian partner but one more accommodating than will surely ever appear again.

In American media we always here how Arafat in 2000 rejected "95%" of what he wanted, and there is a saying that he "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity"

But who ever mentions Israel rejecting peace deals because it is not enoughThe Guardian

Emphasis Mine
The concession in May 2008 by Palestinian leaders to allow Israel to annex the settlements in East Jerusalem – including Gilo, a focus of controversy after Israel gave the go-ahead for 1,400 new homes – has never been made public.
All settlements built on territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war are illegal under international law, but the Jerusalem homes are routinely described, and perceived, by Israel as municipal "neighbourhoods". Israeli governments have consistently sought to annex the largest settlements as part of a peace deal – and came close to doing so at Camp David.
Erekat told Israeli leaders in 2008: "This is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made." No such concession had been made at Camp David.
But the offer was rejected out of hand by Israel because it did not include a big settlement near the city Ma'ale Adumim as well as Har Homa and several others deeper in the West Bank, including Ariel. "We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands," Israel's then foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, told the Palestinians, "and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it".

Thanks to the Palestine Papers leak we can see Israel behind the scenes.  The problem is when American Mainstream Media keeps these facts behind the scenes.

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