Abbas has scheme for toppling Hamas, stirring up trouble between Obama and Netanyahu
debkafile‘s Middle East sources reveal here a comprehensive scheme cooked up by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on the advice of US and British friends for deposing the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip and drawing president Barack Obama over to his side against Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Abbas has written off reconciliation with the Hamas and reunification of the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a feasible goal. He also appreciates that as long as the Palestinians are split between two separate Palestinian entities, Israel has full American backing in avoiding a peace deal with the Palestinians.
This was made clear to him by American visitors to the region earlier this month, including National Security Adviser James Jones, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and White House adviser Dennis Ross and confirmed by British foreign secretary David Miliband.
They warned Abbas that there was a limit to his leeway for serving as an illegitimate president and building illegitimate governments in Ramallah lacking recognition from a legislature dominated by Hamas.
The Palestinian leader has therefore decided to kill two birds with one stone by calling a presidential and parliamentary election for Jan. 24, 2010. This time, he will make sure the extremist Islamist Hamas does not sweep to victory as it did in 2005.
Greatly encouraged by the backing he and his would-be successor Abu Maher Ghanem won from the Fatah conference in Bethlehem this month and its international delegates, Abbas proposes to import the heads of the umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from Arab states and Europe and install them in Ramallah and Jericho. This move would transform the West Bank from a Fatah-ruled territory to the world center of the PLO. He and his cabinet would thus gain legitimacy as representatives of the Palestinian people worldwide not just the 2.3 million living on the West Bank.
His stratagem takes into account that even if Hamas boycotts the vote, it will represent a minority electorate of no more than 1.3 million Gazans compared with the worldwide community which he estimates at 9 million.
If Hamas goes the other way and decides to allow the poll to take place in the Gaza Strip, thousands of international observers will secure the election against attack and forgery at polling booths in both territories.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources disclose that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the live wire in efforts to bury the hatchet between Fatah and Hamas, is totally opposed to the Abbas scheme. He too says peace talks with Israel are contingent on reunification of the two territories. But the Palestinian leader claims a Fatah-Hamas accord is unobtainable leaving the single option of a general election. Abbas is bombarding President Barack Obama in the hope of winning him round to this argument and forcing Israel to enter into peace negotiations on Palestinian terms.
He may have some explaining to do on two points: His Fatah’s commitment to “armed popular revolution as the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestinian… The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity.” T
This “Internal Order” for his movement appears on its website.
The other was Abbas’ refusal to offer an accounting for Fatah’s finances and the billions of dollars received in donations from Western taxpayers over the past 20 years. He shouted down a delegate who demanded this.