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August 14, 2009: Backlash

September 9, 2009

That’s a backlash against the Fatah Conference in Bethlehem, and it couldn’t be happening to “nicer” people.

According to Khaled Abu Toameh, a large number of Fatah’s top representatives are questioning the elections for Central Committee held earlier this week. Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) — who failed to receive re-election — has now pronounced what went on in Iran “nothing” as compared to these Fatah elections:

Speaking to Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), Qurei said:

“There are many big question marks about the election, the way it was conducted and the way votes were counted.

“There were behind-the-scenes arrangements that removed some names and added others to the [winning] list.”

Gee, could you imagine that?

Pointing out that three of the men who won — Jibril Rajoub, Muhammad Dahlan and Tawfik Tirawi — worked with Israel in their former roles as security commanders, he charged: “…someone wants to see rubber stamps.

“This is a harsh and difficult phase and there are offers for a temporary state without Jerusalem and the refugees. Apparently there are some people who have taken this into consideration.”

Qurei has hinted that Abbas and his supporters had a hand in what went on. He and others were particularly distressed by the “extremely disgraceful” last-minute inclusion of Tayeb Abdel Rahim — an “old-guard” long time colleague of Abbas — in the list of winners. A preliminary result had shown that Rahim did not have enough votes to be included on the Committee.


Every member of Fatah’s Higher Committee in Gaza has submitted his resignation in protest against what has been called, “massive fraud.” Said Ahmed Abu Nasr,a Fatah leader in Gaza, “These elections have damaged Fatah’s reputation.” This, says Abu Toameh, represents a serious embarrassment for Abbas.

Dozens of Fatah members have signed a petition rejecting the outcome of the election and calling for an independent probe.

With all of this, the results of the election to the Revolutionary Council, second in importance to the Central Committee, have yet to be announced.


Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former PA minister has hailed the Fatah resulting from the Bethlehem Conference “a brand new Fatah.”

But Abu Toameh is saying, not so fast: “Some Fatah representatives are now talking about the possibility of forming a breakaway group called Fatah – the Awakening (Fath al-Sahwa ). Others said that the reaction of the Fatah representatives in the Gaza Strip also indicated that there’s a high probability that they would try to establish their own Fatah party.”

(Sorry I cannot locate a URL for Abu Toameh’s Post analysis, “Showdown in Bethlehem,” which I have in hard copy.)


This past week, Obama, shamefully, awarded the US Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, who, as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had overseen the horrendously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Durban I.

With this crass and insensitive act, Obama has made a clear statement.

I would like to share two commentaries on this event.

The first, by John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN and a really good guy. Bolton analyzes the reasons why Robinson should not have received the award.



The second by Jennifer Rubin (and I thank Yisrael M. for calling this to my attention) addresses the effect of Obama’s decision on the American Jewish community and Jewish politicians.

“I have a slightly different take on the Mary Robinson fiasco. Whether it becomes a ‘tipping point’ for the American Jewish community in political allegiance is not yet clear. But it marked a sharp departure in the behavior and, I think, perception of mainstream Jewish organizations. A combination of support for Obama’s liberal domestic agenda, a desire to maintain access to the White House, and a heavy dose of wishful thinking had contributed to an almost total absence of sharp public criticism of the White House’s increasingly hostile stance toward Israel.

“No more. The inhibition has been broken with the recognition now dawning on Jewish Democrats that this is a president lacking in affection and respect for Israel and for the sensibilities of pro-Israel voters. The aversion to conflict with the administration has been overcome, and I suspect the administration won’t face as pliant a Jewish community in the future.”



There are rumors afloat about the specifics on US-Israel negotiations with regard to a “temporary” freeze on settlement building.

Shimon Schiffer, in Yediot Ahronot today, says the US wants a two year freeze because Obama figures that’s how long forging a peace deal will take (in his dreams).

Netanyahu, says Schiffer, is offering three months, with Israel retaining the right to start building again after that if the Arab states haven’t made their appropriate gestures of normalization.

Understand that this is not officially confirmed. But I don’t like it in any event. If there are “gestures of normalization” does this mean we’re permanently frozen?

Both Netanyahu and Barak (who reportedly would accept a six-month freeze) want the deal in writing, since Obama claimed there was no deal with Bush that had to be honored because there was nothing that was an explicit written commitment. Obama is said to be balking at this as he doesn’t want to go on record as formally authorizing building in the settlements under any conditions.

Schiffer points out that there is also the issue of precisely what constitutes appropriate gestures of normalization — “for example the reopening of a single interest office by one of the Gulf states” — suggesting that Netanyahu might settle for a minor gesture. But, again, we don’t know this. (See the next item.)


According a message relayed by the US, Oman and Qatar may be willing to renew relations with Israel if we freeze settlement construction. (Oman broke ties at the time of the Second Intifada in 2000, and Qatar expelled Israeli in a delegation office during “Cast Lead” earlier this year.)

The Netanyahu government is not responding to this with any particular enthusiasm, as there is no agreement yet on freezing settlements in any event.


Please see this information on J Street, the far left political action committee that claims to be pro-Israel but works decidedly against Israel’s true interests. Every concerned American Jew ought know this: Donors to J Street include Arabs, Muslim Americans, and those doing political advocacy for the Palestinians:



Now Shabbat preparations call. Issues of significance to be considered soon, as time allows (there is NEVER enough time and there are always hot issues):

A tense situation on our northern border, pressure from the US regarding negotiations with Syria, and a report, highly biased, from the UN Human Rights Council regarding our actions in “Cast Lead.”




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