The final stages

Mustafa Barghouti, Al-Ahram, May 11-17:

Even if Mother Theresa were brought back to life and made president of the Palestinian people Israel would still refuse to recognise a Palestinian negotiating partner. Such recognition would mean that Israel would have to negotiate, which is the last thing it wants as long as there exists the possibility to impose the realities it wants unilaterally. Meanwhile, the regrettable internal conflict between Hamas and Fatah is only one of any number of excuses the occupation throws out as a smokescreen as it forges ahead with its plans. Indeed, if anything Israel is working to fuel the conflict so that it flares into full-fledged civil war. To Israel, that would perfectly cap its current intensification of incursions, arrests and bombardments in what amounts to nothing less than the final phases of the Zionist project, now modified to grabbing the largest amount of land possible and forcing the Palestinians into prisons and cantons.