I am sure many of you have heard about the recent fighting between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine. I don’t claim to be an expert on this issue but the hypocrisy of the United States and the West is beyond the pale.
For starters, I should point out that the major differences between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas (widely labeled as a terrorist/extremis group, by the West in particular) does not formally recognize Israel as a sovereign state and would ideally want to see Israel as an Islamic Republic. Fatah, on the other hand recognizes Israel as a sovereign state and seeks to negotiate a two-state solution. There are much more nuanced discussions to be had but these two groups are in constant political turmoil as they fight for power in the Palestinian territories.
Can you guess which side is most supported by the West and the US? I hope you guessed Fatah.
In any event, things took a darker turn after Palestinian Parliamentarian elections in 2006. We should also keep in mind Bush’s dogged insistence that democracy is the style of government most needed for Middle Eastern countries. In a stunning victory, Hamas wins the majority of the seats and is now a legitimate political force.
Many people ask how Hamas won. Hamas won because they made themselves indispensable to the Palestinian people by “establishing extensive welfare programs, funding schools, orphanages, and healthcare clinics, throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” For Black folks, there are some similarities to be had between Hamas and the Black Panther Party because,
“At the street level, the Party began to develop a series of social programs to provide needed services to black and poor people, promoting thereby, at the same time, a model for an alternative, more humane social scheme. These programs, of which there came to be more than 35, were eventually referred to as Survival Programs, and were operated by Party members under the slogan “survival pending revolution.”
I will come back to parallels between Palestinians and Black folk in another post. Nevertheless, the Hamas victory did not sit well with the West and the dream of democracy turned into a nightmare. So after free and fair elections were held, severe economic sanctions were levied against the Palestinian government which I thought was completely insane. Not only did it make life difficult for the Hamas led parliament to provide much needed services but it also put the West-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in a precarioius position of having to deal with Hamas and have no way to give the people the goods and services they need.
While the West was busy imposing sanctions, Hamas and Fatah played nice and agreed to form a unity government. The important goal of the West though was to essentially force Hamas out of the government. So when fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah recently, Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government. No sooner than the ink was dry, the US announced “plans to lift a ban on direct aid to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ emergency Government in the wake of Hamas’ bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip.” The timing couldn’t have been more convenient and the logic is simple, Hamas = no aid. No Hamas = aid.
Foreign aid should be about the people, not the politics. Why would the West punish the Palestinian people for voting for Hamas into power when Hamas provided goods and services that Fatah could not or was not providing? Aid with conditions isn’t really aid and do we really think (the US) is pulling a fast one on the Palestinian people?
I believe most people of the world really don’t care about politics and all they really want is work, dignity, and a better world for their children. Playing geo politics with aid is no way to gain friends or make the world better because it only creates enemies.
The struggles we face here in the United States would be considered a blessing in Palestine.
Stay up fam,