Thursday, September 1, 2016

Palestinian elections: civil war + terror against US?

In the years before Nazi Germany started World War Two, Europe was a train wreck about to happen. In America, some saw what lay ahead. Most didn’t. Others believed the Nazi Aryan world-view was a positive to be admired.

Then, while everyone focused on Europe, the US was blind-sided by the most unexpected of events: Japan attacked the US Naval facility at Pearl Harbor.

The world became engulfed by the fires of war. Millions died.

Today, Europe is, once again, a train wreck about to happen. This time, it’s a Muslim train wreck, not a Nazi wreck. Some say Europe is doomed. Others disagree. They believe the presence of Islam in the West is a positive to be admired.

Now, while everyone focuses on Muslims’ impact on the West, the West could be blind-sided by a most unexpected event: the collapse of the Palestinian Authority into a terror-punctuated civil war that could spill outward and set the West on fire.

As Caroline Glick points out, the wheels are coming off the Palestinian Authority (PA) (“The end of Mahmoud Abbas”, jerusalempost, August 29, 2016). Mahmoud Abbas’s US-trained Palestinian security forces have lost control over several Palestinian cities (ibid). Fatah, which rules the PA, loses strength as Hamas gains strength (the PA is staffed mostly by Fatah members) (Dov Lieber, “Hamas ready to pounce on weak Fatah in local elections, experts say”, timesofisrael, July 28, 2016). 

Fatah falters because ‘Palestinian’ resentment towards the PA reaches a breaking point (Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinians: Anarchy Returns to the West Bank”, gatestoneinstitute, June 16, 2016). This breaking point grows out of the corruption, incompetence, and repressive governance of the PA (Elliott Abrams, as quoted by Jennifer Rubin, “It’s not just Arab governments that want to get along with Israel” washingtonpost, August 30, 2016).

The refugee camps of Balata, Jenin and Qalandya have mostly become no-go zones for PA security forces (Taomeh, ibid).  There are open gun battles between PA security forces and ‘gunman’ in Balata, Jenin, Arab sections of Jerusalem and the Alamaari refugee camp near Ramallah (Aaron Klein, Ali Waked, “EXCLUSIVE – Palestinian Anger Could Explode On Abbas Due To Corruption Charges, Arab Official Warns”, breitbart, June 22, 2016). There’s talk of an Intifada--against Abbas (Toameh, ibid).

Fatah members have dropped out of the PA. They’ve formed militias (Glick, ibid). These militias might be better characterized as ‘gangs’ (Toameh, ibid). They terrorize their Arab neighbours.

For Fatah, the stakes are high in upcoming October 8, 2016 municipal elections. It could lose its grasp on power (Avi Issacharoff, “In Hebron, Fatah faces a civil war at the polls”, timesofisrael, August 28, 2016). Hamas could win enough votes to take over (Rubin, ibid).

If that happens, Hamas will control billions of dollars that now flow into the PA. Much of that money is controlled by Abbas. Not a lot of that money goes to Gaza, Hamas’ stronghold. If Hamas wins and gets its hands on that money, the quality of life in Gaza will improve (at least, for some). Life in the PA could get worse (deduced from Caroline Glick, speech, Maale Adumim, August 29, 2016).

If Hamas wins, Fatah could be crushed without mercy—just as it was crushed in Gaza after elections there (2006). Fatah is threatened. If it loses too badly, it might see civil war as the best way to regain power.

Will that happen?

G-d knows. In fact, no one can even guess where power will go after the elections—if they’re actually held--because no one runs for election on a Hamas ‘ticket’. In the PA, anyone running for office as ‘Hamas’ is liable to be arrested—by either the PA or Israel (Issacharoff, ibid); no one (or, alternatively, very few) openly declares, ‘vote for me, I’m with Hamas’

Without knowing what all the candidates believe in, no one can accurately judge how popular Hamas is. As candidates run for election, their allegiances are promoted through ‘rumour’. 

What could possibly go wrong with that?

Well, what would happen if supposedly pro-Hamas candidates turn out after elections to stand with someone else—Fatah, independent tribal leaders who have begun to band together to establish their own power base, or any one of several other parties?  Could Hamas feel sufficiently betrayed by these post-election ‘changes’ to start a civil war?

G-d knows.

These elections could end more than the rule of Mahmoud Abbas. It could end whatever stability and civil peace the PA currently experiences. Or, through corruption and chicanery, these elections could get Abbas re-elected. Given that Abbas is so unpopular, that outcome could create the most dangerous scenario of all for Palestinians.

These elections could prove cataclysmic. By November, 2016, the PA could be convulsed by internecine street-to-street combat.

If civil war erupts, the game-changer for who should take power could hinge on who pulls off the most daring terror attack outside the PA. After all, ‘Palestinian’ Arabs are world-famous for their most important product: terror. In the PA, a terror attack against a hated enemy brings fame and influence to the backers of that attack. A ‘splash’ terror attack could bring sufficient fame to crown a new leader.

That’s how the PA culture works. Terror creates power.

My bet is that the biggest terror ‘splash’ won’t involve Israel. Attacking Israel in a big way could  worsen post-election PA chaos; if attacked with an unusual ferocity, Israel won’t hesitate to visit upon the PA the same destruction it has visited upon Gaza. Everyone in the PA knows what that means.

Europe, however, is a different story. It will hesitate to retaliate. So, too, might the US, the Big Satan.

-Will these elections be held?

-If held, will the likely outcome be civil war?

-Will some group in the PA blind-side America just as America had once been blind-sided by Japan?

-Or, will Europe be blind-sided? 

G-d knows. The rest of us have to wait to find out. 

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