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Dire Predictions In Palestinian Politics - Parsons

Dire humanitarian consequences predicted in new era of Palestinian politics

The fall of the Palestinian Authority (PA) government of national unity heralds a new era in Palestinian politics with regional and international implications, says Midddle East politics lecturer and author Dr Nigel Parsons.

"For Palestine, it marks the consolidation of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, the effective political separation of Gaza from the West Bank, and the probable entrenchment of Fatah rule over the West Bank from Ramallah."

The humanitarian consequences of Palestinian civilians are likely to be dire, as aid delivery grinds to a halt, says Dr Parsons from the School of People, Environment and Planning.

"Gaza is totally dependent on Israel for basic infrastructure like electricity and water. What happens if the PA ceases to exist and a separate Islamist regime emerges in its stead? Will Israel sever its ties altogether? How will this affect service delivery?

"For the Middle East, the ascent of Hamas in Gaza constitutes a major setback for pro-western Arab regimes in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia; conversely, it marks a triumph for Syria and Iran.

"The Hamas offensive emerged against a background of a prolonged contest for power following the death of Yasir Arafat: Presidential elections in 2005 were won by Mahmud Abbas for Fatah; legislative elections in 2006 were won by Hamas and led to the appointment of Ismail Haniyya as prime minister.

"The critical point of contest between the two was the Ministery of the Interior, responsible for control of the internal security apparatus. Fatah and Hamas had agreed on the independent Hani al-Qawasmi, but he proved unable to assert control over the Fatah-dominated security services and recently resigned. This explains Hamas' focused offensive on the installations of the security apparatus.

"The intra-Palestinian violence gripping Gaza cannot be understood independently of four decades of Israeli military occupation and the Israeli and United States-led international boycott of the Palestinian government since January 2006.

"Subscribing to the Israeli agenda, the US and the European Union heightened the crisis whilst foregoing an opportunity to engage constructively with political Islam. That too will have wider repercussions."


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