So it’s well known that the Israel/Palestine conflict is supported by huge amounts of military aid given to the Israeli state by the US. Israeli fighter jets may as well have the stars and stripes on them, as far as many Palestinians are concerned. And of course, the Palestinians in return receive their share of military and economic aid from their allies throughout the Middle East, including cash given to surviving relatives of suicide bombers. But what I haven’t seen widely discussed is how Abbas, the Fatah leader who clings to his title as Palestinian head of state despite losing an election to Hamas, is retaining power now due to the support of Israel and its allies. I mean, what other Palestinian leader would have been sent arms with the permission of the Israeli government? Not to mention all the economic aid he’s received (and tax revenue, a significant portion of which is collected for the Palestinian Authority by Israel, but only handed over when the Knesset approves of who’s in power). Fatah is (correctly) seen as more willing to cut deals with Israel, and Abbas is therefore a popular guy in Israel, Europe, and the US, but why governments critical of Israel would blindly ignore the democratically expressed will of the Palestinian people is beyond me. It reminds me of Kissinger’s infamous line justifying the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people”: one needs just replace “go communist” with “become unwilling to grant large concessions to Israel”. Whatever one might think of, say, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their place of birth, it seems clear that Abbas doesn’t the right to overrule the expressed will of his electorate. All of which leads to the question, why support Abbas, since he apparently doesn’t have the popular support to win this civil war? I can understand the Israeli government’s realpolitik motivation to encourage the Palestinians to turn their energies to internecine conflict, since it leaves them fewer bullets to direct towards the IDF, but what of the government of, say, France? I don’t get it. Really, the most charitable explanation is willful ignorance, and I don’t want to seriously consider the alternatives.
Anyways. I just had to get that off my chest. We now return to your regularly scheduled stories about me hobbling around on one foot in pleasant domesticity. Happy springtime in January, everyone.