That’s what Hamas is apparently calling Fatah. As the power struggle over the Gaza strip reaches its final stage, it’s clear that the Palestinian Authority is unauthoritative. This probably shouldn’t be completely surprising.
Fatah was made in the image of its founder, Yasser Arafat. Flabby and impotent, years of corruption have turned it into an aged, feeble creature, no match for the youthful Hamas. Fatah’s fighters aren’t fighting. As they flee or surrender, American-supplied weapons are ending up the hands of Hamas.
In any assessment of this state of affairs, the Bush administration deserves some blame. It foolishly insisted on elections that gave Hamas new legitimacy, at least in the eyes of many Palestinians. It was predictable that Palestinians, enraged by Fatah’s incompetence and seduced by the dream, for at least some of them, of destroying Israel, would hand Hamas a victory.
In the end, Bush’s backing of Fatah shows the dangers of trying to micro-manage these conflicts. It and Israel’s attempt to prop up the Palestinian Authority has boomeranged.
The Palestinian Authority is as much of a sham as the American-backed government in Baghdad. All President Mahmoud Abbas can do is croak pitiful reproaches at an emboldened Hamas while it takes control of the Gaza strip. Now what?
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