By Ramzy Baroud
"To differ is only human, indeed. But when political and ideological differences within the Palestinian leadership milieu turn into wide chasms that split further an already weakened and oppressed society in urgent need for national cohesion - amid incessant and sadly successful attempts to splinter its national identity - then one must dare question the wisdom and merit of such leadership that would allow for, in fact, instigate such a travesty.
However, it must be admitted that while the inhumanity and apathy toward the plight of the Palestinians is part-and-parcel of the West’s general attitude toward that historically ill-treated nation, thanks to internal Palestinian division and ineffectual power-struggles, Palestinians are being reduced and humiliated with the full cooperation of their own leadership.
History is rife with examples, starting with the Palestinian failure to devise a legible strategy to face the Zionist colonial project in Palestine in the early half of the last century: with a dirty power-struggle quickly surfacing between the Husseini and Nashashibi families, both claiming to be true representatives of Palestinians, the latter labelled a ‘moderate’ while the rest were designated extremists and terrorists. History has repeated itself, many times and so cruelly since then, and many segments of the Palestinian people, whether in Palestine or outside either willingly or out of desperation for a platform to resist, fell victim to factional and sub-factional divisions. Dissension, disunity and discord had indeed become Palestinians’ worse enemy. While Israel cleverly capitalized on these divisions, various Arab capitals played a similar game, buying political allegiances with hard cash.
In recent years, particularity under the Oslo dictates, the Palestinian leadership upgraded its status to that of Israel’s iron fist and most faithful prison guard, in exchange for special privileges to its members of old and emerging elites. Though this episode presumably came to an end in the legislative elections that brought a new government to power in March 2006, the Palestinian people are being pressured to repent and return to the status quo, corrupt or not, so long as Israel is satisfied with the outcome.
Mainstream Fatah is desperate to reclaim its past position, even if unity with Hamas means the sparing of the Palestinians further humiliation and misery. Hamas, wrangling with the taxing nature of politics, is sending mixed messages, injudicious ones from abroad, and more realistic, yet often indecisive ones at home. Both Fatah and Hamas are allowing their desire for self-preservation and advancement to supplant the self-preservation of the Palestinian national unity, or whatever remains of it.
Palestinians are long used to betrayal and indifference; but being let down by one’s own leadership is most painful, indeed."