Sunday, June 17, 2007

Choosing between two governments in Gaza

In Gaza the reality of being ruled by two governments for some is becoming a daily dilemma. My neighbor Mohamed is a police officer and responsible for security at the AlAqsa University in Gaza City. His superiors in the West Bank have informed him he is to remain home and will continue to receive his monthly salary. In return local Hamas authorities have informed the police force that they will be dismissed from the police if they do not appear for work.

Mohamed is faced with a tough decision, does he respect local authorities, which after all represent the Palestinian people’s elected government and at the end of the day are those that have most say in his day to day life in Gaza (after all the Fatah authorities deserted him along with other non-Hamas supporters, in Gaza)? Or, will he obey those that actually pay his salary, the new emergency government, not elected by the people and yet the governing body recognized by the West and other Arab nations alike as the sole representing political body of the Palestinians?

Mohamed says his colleagues will determine their actions according to who is paying their salaries. If the local Hamas authorities will pay them for their services they will obey them and go to work. If they continue to be paid by the President and his new emergency government in the West Bank they will remain at home.

Word has gone around that some officers will report to the West Bank authorities which members of the police force are obeying Hamas orders and working and that these will then be removed from their posts and their salaries canceled. This way they say the emergency government will determine who is a Hamas supporter (those that obey Hamas orders and work) and those that are Fatah supporters (those that obey Fatah orders and remain at work).

The future is unclear. How long will the Hamas government last in Gaza? Will the emergency Fatah government actually stand by “its people” in Gaza as it promised today? How about the economic boycott that is beginning to be carried out, within two days Gaza will run out of petrol, the electricity company will be forced to shut down, within a week supplies of most basic foods will run dry, will Israel continue the economic blockade?

Meanwhile, temporary Hamas policemen took to the streets today wearing brand new Hamas vests; traffic in the streets has never been so organized and disciplined. Finally, the Gaza Strip has just one government and just one police force governing it. A sense of order and security are the upsides that come along with the fear of a very uncertain future.

Meanwhile, a Katyusha
rocket fired from Lebanon, landed in Israel. With a government proving itself to be rather incapable, Israel is getting into one prickly situation after another and sending 20,000 soldiers into Gaza sounds to me like another worthless bloodbath.


DADABASE said...

you are in Gaza. tell the truth. stop playing both sides. PLO and FATAH are history for collaborating with EUSRAEL. Palestine now has a single future, and it is called a Hammas lead struggle for liberation and an independent government. Tell us... who pays your bills in Gaza? what makes you think we believe you without knowing whop pays you? what are you doing in Gaza? and why are you there? come clean tabula. come clean.

Karin said...

It's so hard to know what to say, but thank you for continuing to tell the world how it is in Gaza, Philip. Look after yourself and may God be with you.

anyango said...

naser and i are keeping tabs on you together :) agreed that we are more concerned about those in gaza who really can't leave than we are about you, but all the same, thoughts and prayers are with you.

Joe said...

Philip is not Palestinian - he works for a western aid agency.

Juan Moment said...

From the bits that make it across my awareness radar, I get a pretty bleak picture of what’s going down in Palestine. Despite loosing the last election, Abbas set up Fayyad as Prime Minister, an ex-IMF executive, the same man who only pulled some 2 or so % at the last election. How does that make sense? This man is obviously not flavour of the month. How is he meant to gain popular support?

In the current dispute it seems that Dahlan’s fighters didn’t have the enthusiasm or incentive needed to face Hammas in Gaza, their chiefs all ran with their tails between the legs. Hammas 1:0 Fatah. What gets me though is this: With the current split between West Bank and Gaza comes this seemingly already widely accepted notion of Hammas running Gaza and Fatah the WB. But hey, if I remember correctly then Hammas won the election also in the WB, not just Gaza. True?

I guess Palestinians live in Palestine, they know what’s going on, know of the puppet role Abbas and his Fatah are having in the unfolding scenario. That’s why the majority there has chosen Hammas, they must have had their reasons, even many of the more secular voters. It’s role appears to be transforming more and more into being political of nature rather than religious, a fact recognised throughout the Palestinian Territories. I hope the feeling of unity amongst the people of Palestine will be strong enough to defeat any attempts to divide them.

However, this current infighting in the PA is playing into the hands of Israel, and I am afraid that USrael will now use this conflict amongst the Palestinian brothers to further drive a wedge between the WB and Gaza. Give the carrot in form of limited fund releases to corrupt Abbas, only to be spend on the WB of course, whilst at the same time giving the stick in form of a total embargo to Gaza residents because that’s where Hammas is in control. Withholding vital aid and critical resources used as the political tool of choice. A disgrace.

DADABASE said...

then don;t play the hand of EUSRAEL. come out and support hamas in your blog, in your conversation and tell everyone that what hamas did was dignified, because they prevented a house to house civil war that PLO had already agreed to do on behalf of the colonizers. hamas should be praised for ending the civil war in gaza, USA and Israel could not use PLO to conduct massacres in Gaza. now its up to the usual killing machine (IDF) to enter the picture. EUSRAEL (including EU as you see) failed to use Palestinians to push their agenda, and since PLO was ready and willing, we can only thank hamas for this preventive measure.