Thursday, July 12, 2007

Escalation in Palestine with US support

Since Israel holds between 39 and 41 Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Assembly in its jails, Fatah has, or had, what you could call a de facto majority in the Legislative Assembly, resulting from this large number of de facto abstentions, if you will. Based on the facts on the ground, if you will. Abbas called a meeting of the Assembly yesterday because he needed its approval for the legal continuation of his "emergency government", but as expected the non-kidnapped Hamas members boycotted the meeting leaving it without a quorum to vote on anything. So it couldn't legally extend the term of the "emergency government". But this was "clearly what Mr Abbas wanted", says the New York Times, explaining that "Mr Abbas may be able to declare the government a 'caretaker' until new elections can be held..." pursuant to Article 43 of the Basic Law, which, the NYT explains, "gives him the right to issue decrees in exceptional cases." Not entirely clear? Something escaping you?

Here's the explanation in Al-Akhbar, with the missing piece added:
Hamas was able to block the holding of a session of the Leglsiative Assembly called by Abbas to elect [new parliamentary leadership] and remove Hamas from control of Parliament, taking advantage of the fact that 41 of the Hamas members of the Assembly are in Israeli jails. It appears that Abbas is going to use the blocking of this session to extend the life of the emergency government he has formed, and give it legal powers, on the basis that Hamas disrupted this legal proceeding, a charge that is repeated by all the Fatah spokesmen, on the view that their competitor [Hamas] is intent on establishing a "Somalian emirate" in the Gaza Strip to be a pawn in the hands of regional parties.
Those were the words of the official Fatah spokesman, Ahmad abdul Rahman. Hamas continues to call for dialogue, and Haniyya said what Abbas proposes to do will amount to dissolution of the whole Palestinian political structure. David Welsh, currently the State Department's man in the region, said the US government approves of everything Abbas has done since Hamas took control of Gaza. And the Al-Akhbar reporter adds Condoleeza Rice will be visiting in person on July 18.


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