Who’s behind the Palestinian ‘civil war’?

The familiar narrative used to explain the conflict among Palestinian factions is steeped in the racist ideology that Arab Muslims cannot help but kill one another. In reality, what we are witnessing is an age old strategy of divide and conquer.

The civil war in Palestine is of course a long-held dream of the American and Israeli Right. Israel first secretly supported the sectarian Hamas in order to undermine the secular nationalists of Arafat’s PLO; now they openly take sides with Arafat’s successors in the Palestinian Authority against Hamas, which — as always happens — escaped the control of the puppet-masters who sought to exploit the group for their own ends. But the long-term aim has been achieved: a violently divided Palestinian society, broken down, killing each other off, leaving Israel free to continue its colonization of Palestinian land. As others have pointed out, it’s no wonder that the United States so staunchly supports this policy: after all, it’s what we did to the Native Americans.

It does seems extremely convenient (for Israel) that having recently declared a unity government, Hamas and Fatah have returned to fighting. Why would Israel deal with a unity government and agree to return stolen land, when they can just as easily create inter factional fighting and continue stealing more land? After all, the release of US plans to sink Hamas is just a coincidence, right?

On April 30, the Jordanian weekly newspaper Al-Majd published a story about a 16-page secret document, an “Action Plan for the Palestinian Presidency” that called for undermining and replacing the Palestinian national-unity government.

The document outlined steps that would strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, build up Palestinian security forces under his command, lead to the dissolution of the Palestinian Parliament, and strengthen US allies in Fatah in a lead-up to parliamentary elections that Abbas would call for early this autumn.

The Majd document is based on a Jordanian government translation of a reputed US intelligence document that was obtained by the newspaper from a Jordanian government official. The document, an official at the newspaper said, was drawn up by “Arab and American parties” and “presented to Palestinian President Abbas by the head of an Arab intelligence agency”. The document is explosive.

Should Abbas give his agreement to the plan – which is not yet certain – he would be complicit in a program to undermine his own government.

Understanding the implications of the document, Jordanian government officials ordered that the publisher’s printing house stop the presses while that edition’s plates were confiscated. “The Jordanian security services, which censor newspapers in advance, intervened during the night to stop our print-run,” confirmed Fahd Al Rimawi, an editor at Al-Majd.

On May 1, the Jordanian government explained its decision in a statement issued by the president of the Jordanian Press Association, Tareq al-Moumani. The statement claimed that Al-Majd had repeatedly published reports “based on information taken from intelligence sources and offends the country’s security and interests”.

The fact that the US has used this formula countless times is completely irrelevant to what is taking place in Gaza. Move along. Nothing to see here.