Monday, July 16, 2007

Darwish: "Public Suicide"

On Monday the Arab League, imprisoned Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan AlBarghouthi, Hamas hardliner Dr Mahmoud A-Zahar and Hamas' political bureau chief Khaled Misha'l all called for dialogue between the two factions. This came after Micha'l admitted to mistakes undertaken by Hamas during their military takeover of the Gaza Strip a month ago. Yet, the actions taken by the two groups in the past days seem ever further from these spoken words.

Monday Hamas replaced the Fatah city countil of Rafah, promising to do the same in other Fatah lead cities across the Gaza Strip. Abbas' new caretakever government promptly rejected any contact with the new council. Meanwhile in the West Bank Mahmoud Abbas recently blamed Hamas for allowing Alqaeda to take root in Gaza while backing Israel in calling for the opening of the Israeli-run Karm Abu Salim border crossing which would successfully seal the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza and completely sever Hamas contact with the outside world. Dialog does not seem to be on the horizon.

During his first appearance in Haifa after 35 years of exile Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish declared sarcastically, "We became independent, Gaza became independent of the West Bank... for one people, two countries, two prisons." The poet labeled the infighting a "public attempt at suicide."

For his part George Bush called for a new peace conference which he says
will be "a moment of choice" for Palestinians to choose between Islamist Hamas and Abbas' moderate leadership. Hamas spokesman Ismail Rodwan responded saying, "such a summit will lead to increased pressure on Abbas, and will tear a deeper rift between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."