Call it an open secret. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and like-minded Fatah officials collaborate with Israel's occupation harshness.
At least since Oslo, they served Israel at the expense of their own people. Abbas is more Israeli sheriff than legitimate president. He suppresses peaceful demonstrations, targets free expression, fills West Bank detention centers with political prisoners, and governs as an illegitimate Quisling head of state.
As chief Oslo negotiator, he unconditionally surrendered to Israeli demands. He became known for flexibility and subservience. His bosses reside in Tel Aviv and Washington. He's more stooge than statesman. He's rewarded with White House photo-ops and other handsome benefits.
So is Fayyad. His background explains why. He's a political opportunist. He and Abbas are Israeli double agents. Their policies are double-dealing. They punish their own people for their own self-interest.
Fayyad is a CEO technocrat. His credentials include a University of Texas economics doctorate, teaching experience at Jordan's Yarmouk University, and economic research employment at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.
From 1987 - 1995, he served as a World Bank and IMF official. Until 2001, he was IMF's man in Palestine. He was Yasser Arafat's finance minister.
In Palestine's 2006 legislative elections, his Third Way party got 2.4% of the vote. Palestinians wanted no part of him or his party. After Fatah's 2006 coup d'etat co-opted the PLO, PA and West Bank, Abbas illegitimately made him prime minister.
Abbas' term expired in January 2009. He hasn't scheduled elections and remains in office.
Under them and Fatah collaborators, power is concentrated in the executive branch. Palestinians are betrayed and ill-served. Democratically elected Hamas officials are marginalized, excluded, and arrested at the behest of Israel.
Since mid-September alone, 120 West Bank Hamas members and supporters were detained. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the widespread sweep. It called on Fatah leaders "to fully comply with the law and stop political arrests."
Those targeted were first summoned for questioning. It was a trap. Arrests followed. Others were seized at home or work. Victims include Hamas leaders, reconciliation figures, former prisoners, journalists, youth activists and university students.
Among them are Fuad al-Khuffash, Director of the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights; Waleed Khaled Ali, Director of the Office of Palestine Daily in Salfit; and Sheikh Riad Rasheed al-Walweel, a prominent West Bank reconciliation figure.
It's not the first time this happened and won't be the last. At the behest of Israel, Fatah leaders salute and obey. Palestinians have two enemies. Their liberating struggle persists on two fronts. Israel is an illegal oppressive occupier. Fatah leaders reflect betrayal.
Khalid Amayreh is a West Bank-based journalist. On September 21, he headlined "Even Netanyahu admits PA is an Israeli interest," saying:
It should raise eyebrows that Israel "is hastening to rescue the Palestinian Authority (PA) from its crushing financial-economic crisis" at the same time it brutalizes Palestinians daily.
Netanyahu isn't being "charitable, generous, magnanimous, or" good-neighborly. He didn't change his spots. Nor have others around him and most Knesset members. They believe in Jewish exceptionalism. Arabs are considered subhumans.
Fatah leaders go along for benefits they derive. Doing so condemns their own people to continued occupation harshness.
Israeli money transfers reflect less than meet the eye. Amounts involved represent "Palestinian money the occupying power collects on behalf of the PA in accordance with the (1994 Oslo) Paris protocol which effectively put the entire Palestinian economy under Israel's mercy."
Israel levies about $100 million monthly. It's for commodities Palestinians import. "Normally, Israel (extorts) bloated commissions and hefty salaries for (its) operatives" involved.
Last week, Netanyahu ordered $63 million in transfers. He claimed to be helping ease the PA's fiscal crisis, saying:
"We are working on several fronts in order to help the Palestinian Authority cope with its economic problems. We have made several agreements in the taxation agreements."
"We are advancing several transfers. We have also helped with Palestinian workers and with a series of other steps in order to make things easier for them."
"Of course, there is a global reality and it is also related to the internal management of every economy, but for our part we are making efforts to help the Palestinian Authority survive this crisis. I hope they will succeed in doing so, this is in our common interest."
Propping up Fatah is key for Israel. At the same time, Hamas is vilified, its members and supporters targeted and arrested, and Gaza remains under suffocating siege.
Last week, "a high-ranking PA official (said) Israel" wants the PA weakened but not destroyed. It wants it subservient and compliant with Israel's will. It wants services rendered as Israel's enforcer.
It wants Palestinians doing some of its own dirty work. It wants nothing obstructing its ability to ravage West Bank and East Jerusalem communities freely.
Abbas, Fayyad, and like-minded collaborators willingly go along. They turn a blind eye to repeated crimes against humanity. They repeatedly commit their own.
Last week, the main al-Haras, Hebron police station was assaulted and vandalized. Israeli intelligence "saboteurs and provocateurs" were involved. Palestinians were blamed for their crimes.
PA West Bank control reflects "the biggest obstacle impeding the establishment of" sovereign Palestine and full de jure UN membership. It should have happened a generation ago. To this day it hasn't because PA officials won't institute steps enabling it to be accomplished.
In early September, Abbas told Israelis visiting Ramallah that the Jewish state "was created to last forever." He's Palestine's main problem. He collaborates against the interests of his own people.
On September 24, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass covered an aspect of the same issue. Her article headlined "The Palestinian Authority - devoid of any authority," saying:
Oslo was supposed to assure Palestinian self-government. Instead, it reinforced occupation harshness.
PA-run radio airs programming favorable to Israel. One talk show "provides airtime to family members of people imprisoned in Israel." They're brutally treated political prisoners. Their crime is praying to the wrong God and wanting to live free on their own land.
Broadcasts invert or downplay reality. Family members denied visitation rights make due with commenting on air about their loved ones.
Some settle for a brief "'How are you, habibi? We're all fine. Don't worry about us. We hope you're taking care of yourself and your health, and that you'll be released soon - you and all the other prisoners.' "
Others comment at more length. Doing so obscures occupation harshness. Between talk shows and news, public service announcements are aired. They encourage people to pay electric bills. They claim "non-payment strengthens the occupation."
The common denominator of these broadcasts reflects what attorney Yael Barda covered in her book titled "The Bureaucracy of the Occupation: The Regime of Movement Permits 2000 - 2006."
She disputes Neve Gordon's conclusion in his book titled "Israel's Occupation." She summarizes his view, saying:
"Since the Oslo Accords, the force used against the Palestinians has changed and is now a sovereign power employing legal control by means of the law and policing forces; it does not intervene in civil decisions and does not distinguish between those who oppose the occupation and those who accept it ..."
Barda believes the following:
"After the administrative and regional separation enacted as a result of the Oslo Accords, control over the lives of the Palestinians and interference in their civilian matters did not decrease; on the contrary, it grew."
Her view derives from extensive personal observations. She witnessed occupation harshness firsthand. It dominates Palestinian life ruthlessly. Fundamental human and civil rights are denied.
Military order diktats govern virtually everything. Free expression, movement, and most else are denied. Occupied lives are crushed into submission. Oslo instituted brutalizing state terror. PA collaborators permit it and commit some of their own.
"It's enough to think about the terrifying presence of the Border Police, Special Patrol Units and National Insurance Institute inspectors in East Jerusalem neighborhood and villages, turned into choking pockets of poverty by the Israeli government, in order to remember the potential of direct control and its predatory nature," said Hass.
"It's enough to remember Area C in which Israel will not allow an old Palestinian community to build toilets or install a solar energy system."
Israeli and PA security forces freely arrest Palestinians any time, anywhere, for any reason or none at all. Children are brutalized like adults. They're terrorized, arrested, tortured, and at times imprisoned.
Israeli occupation created "a confusing hybrid of military-colonial state of emergency and civilian autonomy. The duality and all its contradictions are the glue that makes it hard to undo." PA collaboration makes it much harder.
Hass called it the "genius" of Oslo. Israel got everything it wanted. Palestinians "were left with autonomous pockets that only reinforce Israel's rule."
They're on their own to change things. A third Intifada is long overdue.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
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