By Ali Abunimah
14 June , 2010
After Israel’s Gaza flotilla massacre, the Abbas Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah has been claiming that it is calling for “unconditional lifting” of the blockade of Gaza. This is in order to jump on the anti-siege bandwagon, and to conceal the PA’s embarrassment about the fact that it has long effectively supported the blockade, along with Egypt.
The PA also denied a report in Haaretz today that Mahmoud Abbas told President Obama Israel should not lift its naval blockade.
When you read between the lines, it is very clear that Abbas continues to support the blockade as a means to exert pressure on Hamas to achieve what the US-PA coup plot of 2007 failed to achieve, the overthrow or surrender of the movement that won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election, and the placement of Gaza under control of PA militias which coordinate all their activities directly with the Israeli occupation, just like in the West Bank today.
In a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington on 10 June, Abbas made it clear his position has not changed. He believes the Gaza siege should effectively remain in place until his US-trained and Israeli-approved collaborator militias return to Gaza in the context of “reconciliation” with Hamas, it being clear that “reconciliation” means Hamas’ capitulation to Abbas’ control and authority. Here is the relevant exchange between Abbas, and Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk:
MR. INDYK: Thank you very much, President Abbas. I would like to get into the negotiations issues with you, but first of all I thought perhaps we should focus on Gaza for a moment. What do you envisage the role for your government, the Palestinian Authority, in this process of easing the blockade and the closure? Is there something that you see that you can work with the Israelis on this?
PRESIDENT ABBAS: I think our government is legitimate representative of the Palestinians and the West Bank and Gaza. So any procedures, any efforts from Israeli or from the international community should come through this government, and we are ready to do everything in our capacity.
MR. INDYK: Does that mean you could have Palestinian Authority monitoring of the passages, for instance?
PRESIDENT ABBAS: Concerning the passages in Rafah, okay, but we have to return back to the agreement which had been signed in 2005 between the Palestinians, the Israelis, Americans, [and] Europeans. So one way to turn back, I think we will return with our presidential guard to Rafah. But this needs to talk about reconciliation. We cannot put them — and the Egyptian part, they should return back to the Gaza Strip through reconciliation, and we are working on the reconciliation.
The rest of the transcript shows that Abbas’ idea of “working on reconciliation” is to do nothing and blame Hamas for the impasse because Hamas has not accepted what amount to surrender conditions. Abbas is — like Israel and the US — using the siege as a form of political terrorism: making the Gaza population suffer as a way to put political pressure to return Gaza to the control of the Abbas-run Authority in Ramallah which proclaims defiance and resistance by day, but coordinates with the Israelis the arrest and suppression of Palestinians by night.