With EU aid and diplomatic contact starting to flow back to the increasingly inaccurately named Palestinian authority now that President Mohammed Abbas has sacked the government, a message has been sent to insurgent groups in the Middle East — if you want engagement it is not democracy, but its opposite, that is required of you.

The plain fact of the matter is that under territory law, Abbas has no right to sack a government and appoint a new one without the consent of parliament. Abbas has dealt with that by annulling the law by decree and appointing a government anyway.

Having sacked the people the Palestinians chose to represent them, Abbas can now be fully enrolled into the process of negotiation, as “someone we can talk to”. Meanwhile the tanks wait to roll into Gaza in order to depose Hamas — who were the elected government in any case — and reinstall Fatah, the corrupt non-people’s choice.

As pointed out elsewhere, the ocean of cant about a “peace partner” that’s been unleashed over the last 18 months has so successfully obscured the issue — that the Palestinians wanted Hamas to represent them and that Hamas had declared a ceasefire — that the idea that Hamas somehow were an illegitimately legitimate government has taken root.

For twisted logic you can’t beat Martin Indyk’s SMH op-ed, archly suggesting that:

The failed state of Gaza that Hamas controls is wedged between Egypt and Israel. Its water, electricity and basic goods are imported from the Jewish state, whose destruction Hamas has declared as its fundamental objective.

Oh “failed state”, come on. States control their own borders and population flows. Gaza is a bantustan. Given that control of its own water supply was stolen from it by the creation of Israel, you’d have to say that Indyk’s article has chuzpah at least.

With the bizarre process whereby a former terrorist commander — Abbas/Abu Mazen — takes dictatorial powers and is thus celebrated as someone we can talk to, while Iraqi Sunni insurgents are being armed by the US, we’re a long way from those illusory days when Lebanon’s “cedar revolution” was being celebrated as the beginning of a new stage of sovereignty and self-determination in the region.

You remember Lebanon of course? The place whose “sovereignty and self-determination” got trashed while we stood by.

And will Israel be getting renewed attention from that direction in the days to come…?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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