Red Countries> Palestinian Territories

The age-old Arab-Israeli conflict has once again become somewhat of a corner stone of the overall global conflict. Although in essence it’s really only a localised issue, the big powers are again using it as a political bargaining chip as they jostle for whatever dominance they can get. As such, it is necessary to look at what’s going on on the ground in that conflict at the moment (9/10/06), as it is interlocking into the overall mess and is one of the match points of the world war.

The United States, in its attempts to show that they were making some progress on the matter and were, in fact, a neutral party that supported a two-state system, managed to encourage an election for the Palestinian people in January of this year. The Palestinian people chose to vote in the Hamas party and give it many more seats than the currently ruling Fatah party. The United States was very displeased by this turn of events given that Hamas has close links to Iran and they consider them a Terrorist organisation. As the Iranians were being built up as the new bogeymen that needed to be attacked, they had now allowed for a 5th column behind their own lines to be democratically elected into position.

In the light of this, despite all their talk of needing to bring democracy to the Middle East, they chose to ignore the election results and demanded that the Palestinians change the result. As Hamas was now legally elected and this was not possible, they then imposed crippling sanctions against the Palestinian Authority. The entire fledgling Palestinian economy in the territories has since collapsed because of this. Under the intense pressure of the chaos of this complete economic collapse and no doubt aided by outside agents, old divisions between the Hamas and Fatah parties erupted into outright violent confrontation.

They were however, able to hold together a truce back in June just in time for Hamas to launch a daring attack across the border of their Gaza territory in which they captured an Israeli soldier. This sparked a renewed full-scale showdown between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Wave upon wave of incursions and attacks were launched by the Israeli army into Gaza. This was compounded as the Lebanon war erupted in the middle of this. From June until August this year the Palestinians were mostly united in the face of this renewed warfare they were engaging in with the Israelis. But as the Lebanon mess quietened down the Israelis once more began to disengage from the area, although they do continue to launch sporadic air strikes.

In the face of this relative calm the old hostilities between Hamas and Fatah have again erupted to the brink of what many see as a looming civil war. This is most likely being assisted by outside agents of Israel and the United States as one of the oldest methods of defeating an enemy -- the classic ‘Divide and Conquer’ style of warfare. As long as they are at war with themselves, they will be less of a threat should the Iran war begin. Although how they will react in the face of that will be interesting to observe. Quite possibly even a moderate group like Fatah will be shocked into at least staying out of the way whilst the Iranian supporting Hamas will unleash whatever they can muster onto the neighbouring Israelis.

At any rate the situation in Gaza is a complete humanitarian catastrophe with even the United Nations speaking out against the total destruction of the society that the sanctions has wrought. The West Bank is only slightly better off. But the Palestinians there are dealing with the raging civil strife amongst their own ranks and the continuing hostilities with the Israelis, especially over the giant wall. This controversial wall is being built to put a barrier along the entire border between the nation state and the territories but many argue it is an elaborate land grab being used by the Israelis to expand their borders.

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