Olmert and Abbas - two weak leaders in trouble

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Olmert and Abbas - two weak leaders in trouble

The future looks very dark for Abbas and Olmert. It seems much more conflict lies in the near future, according to the end of this great Spiegel article.

Olmert and Bush now pledge to support and promote the West Bank "moderates," and prove to the Gaza "extremists" that moderation pays off. But this policy of separate treatment is unlikely to succeed.

Hamas and its regional allies are not going to sit still and wait for Israel and the United States to overthrow them.

Moreover, following recent rocket attacks on Israel's territory from Lebanon and Gaza -- two areas from which Israel has evacuated -- another West Bank withdrawal appears, essentially, out of the question. Israelis would not want their population centers and one international airport to be attacked, and given Olmert's precarious political stature, he will not risk his coalition with a withdrawal plan that would alienate his right-wing coalition partners.

Between Olmert's narrow maneuvering room and Abbas' chronic weakness, any possibility of Palestinian statehood in the foreseeable future is beyond belief.

Hamas also faces a formidable challenge. Killing off adversaries, taking over their headquarters and looting their homes are easier tasks than feeding 1.5 million people. Religious zeal and militia discipline are not enough, and Hamas will next have to find a modus vivendi with Israel.

In the aftermath of its victory in Gaza, Hamas focused on consolidating its hold on power rather than rocketing Israeli towns and villages -- but there is no stable cease-fire.

Hamas may well try to provoke an Israeli military response that could unify the Palestinians against their occupiers once again.

The situation remains combustible. Israel will try to blockade and contain Gaza while trying to shore up Abbas and Fatah in the West Bank. And there is little appetite to invade Gaza among Israel's national security establishment. But another wave of rockets or suicide attacks by Hamas might push Israel into another major operation.

Meanwhile, Israel now has to contend with hundreds of Fatah supporters and their families who fled to the border crossing, pleading for Israeli permission to move to the West Bank.

If not properly cared for, this pressing exodus from Gaza may turn into another refugee problem, one of many facets of a deepening crisis in the region.

By netchicken: posted on 21-6-2007

It is my ignorant opinion that Abbas and Fatah will be in trouble in the West Bank as well; it is only a matter of time.
Whatever money and other aide that the West gives to Fatah will eventually be in the hands of Hamas. Whatever aide isn't syphoned off by Fatah corruption, anyway.

Speaking of Fatah. Has the world forgotten that Fatah was killing innocent Israelis before Hamas had even been created? Did everyone all of a sudden get stupid and forget that such tactics as looking "moderate" are merely ways to gain footholds for better striking positions?

Only a sadistic warmonger would not want peace, but only a dreamer would think that trying to prop Abbas up will bring peace. The Palestinians in the West Bank decisively voted Hamas to power, too. The majority of them also agree with Hamas that Israel should be cleansed of the pesky Jews and become all theirs.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 22-6-2007

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