The topsy-turvy world where the coup-makers are democrats, elected governments 'siezed power by force'and 'western backed' = legitimate and democratically elected
Much of the media have consistently referred to Ismail Haniyeh as “de facto" Prime Minister "in Gaza" and claimed that Hamas siezed power in Gaza by force and aim to destroy Israel. They're giving too much credence to the rhetoric of the Israeli government and its allies.
Haniyeh is the democratically elected Prime Minister of all Palestinians, West Bankers and Gazans. The January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections were verified free and fair by EU monitors. (2), (3), (4),(5).
Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah is the elected Palestinian President, but his appointment of his own ‘Prime Minister’ and Ministers in the West Bank is undemocratic and against the Palestinian Authority’s constitution, which gives parliament, not the President, the power to sack and approve ministers. Hamas has a parliamentary majority (6), (7).
The US and EU governments may recognise Abbas’ appointed, unelected PM and cabinet but the legitimacy of governments does not derive from other governments but from free and fair elections and adherence to a country's constitution. Fatah lost the 2006 elections because of Israel's campaign to overthrow Arafat and Fatah by bombing and sanctions under Ariel Sharon - and because of it's corruption, with many Fatah officials living in luxury by taking aid money that should be going to their people, while the majority of those people suffer malnutrition caused by food shortages.(8), (9), (10)
Hamas didn't 'sieze power' in Gaza either. A coup by Fatah gunmen, armed and trained by Egypt, the US and Israel, failed in Gaza but succeeded in the West Bank. Both factions' gunmen have murdered the other side's supporters (11), (12), (13), (14). The refusal of Israel and the Quartet to lift sanctions after a peace deal and coalition government formed by Hamas and Fatah in 2007 Israel led to renewed civil war (15), (16).
The ‘barrier to negotiations’ is not Hamas but the Israeli government’s refusal of all offers of talks with the elected Palestinian Prime Minister and attempts to overthrow his government by starvation and force. Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshal of Hamas have repeatedly offered negotiations and said that a Palestinian state could co-exist with Israel - and would have to since Israel's military is immensely more powerful than the Palestinians'.(17), (18), (19), (20), (21), (22).
Since Hamas' election the Israelis have made a great show of offering to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah but saying Hamas are terrorists who can't be negotiated with. They now call Fatah "the forces of peace". Four years ago they were saying Fatah were terrorists who couldn't be negotiated with (and Israel's Foreign Ministry website lists attacks on Israelis by Fatah's armed wing every year too). It isnt too hard to make sense of this - the aim is to divide and conquer the Palestinians. In negotiations with Abbas the Israeli government offer him nothing of any substance and continue expanding settlements and seizing water supplies and farmland from Palestinians forced out at gunpoint. As long as the focus is kept on Gaza by sanctions and bombing and rocket attacks on and from it the annexation of the West Bank can continue.
Hamas and Fatah are both involved in terrorism - but they also have political and social wings, with Hamas providing hospitals and schools for everyone (including Christians). Many of Israel's Prime Ministers were terrorists bombing their way to an Israeli state before Israel's foundation - and every one of them has been a war criminal with as much civilian blood on their hands as any Palestinian terrorist.
Bombing and invasions have been tried before to end rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Predictably they create more of them by killing 50 Palestinian civilians for every Israeli civilian killed.
Negotiations are possible - and the only way forward.
(1) = See e.g Guardian 07 Jan 2009 ‘Gaza’s Day of Carnage – 40 dead as Israelis bomb two UN schools’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/07/gaza-israel-obama
Independent 06 Jan 2009 ‘Tunnels – the secret weapon for Hamas’, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tunnels-ndash-the-secret-weapon-for-hamas-1228140.html
(2) = Associated Press 26 Jan 2006 , ‘Hamas Wins Landslide 76 Seats’, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/01/26/international/i094327S41.DTL&feed=rss.news
(3) = House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/17 ; 15 Mar 2006 , ‘The Palestinian Parliamentary Election and the rise of Hamas’, http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2006/rp06-017.pdf (see Section C, page 12 ‘Conduct of the Elections’ – also note the paper mistakenly gives the date of the elections as January 2005 – this must be a typo – the parliamentary elections were a year later)
(4) = Political Risk Monitor – Special Coverage - The January 2006 Palestinian Elections , ‘Palestinian elections: MEPs hail success of democratic process but urge Hamas to take the path of peace’, http://www.politicalriskmonitor.com/hamas/electobserv.shtml
(5) = Europa (EU) News Service 27 Jan 2006 ‘Palestinian elections: MEPs hail success of democratic process but urge Hamas to take the path of peace’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/030-4661-026-01-04-903-20060124IPR04643-26-01-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm
(6) = Ha’aretz 15 Jul 2007, ‘Fatah to boycott parliament session convened by Hamas’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/881670.html
(7) = FMEP/Reuters 9 July 2007, ‘Abbas Exceeded Powers in Sacking Government’,
(8) = Jerusalem Post 27 Jan 2006 'Fatah leaders reeling from 'the big punishment''
5th paragraph reads "Fatah activists here blamed the party's veteran leadership for the humiliating defeat. "The people punished us because of the mismanagement and corruption of the mafia that came from Tunis," said Nasser Abdel Hakim, referring to the Fatah leaders who returned with Yasser Arafat from Tunis in 1994."
(9) = Israel National News 30 Mar 2008 'Fatah PA Corruption Exposed', http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125722
(10) = See http://www.duncanmcfarlane.org/Israel-Palestine/thecoup/ under sub=heading 'Economic Warfare' and source notes and links for it - and also http://www.duncanmcfarlane.org/Israel-Palestine19thJan08/index.html#2
(11) = Haaretz (Israel) 28 Dec 2006 , ‘Israeli defense official: Fatah arms transfer bolsters forces of peace’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/806603.html
(12) = Christian Science Monitor 25 May 2007, ‘Israel, US, and Egypt back Fatah's fight against Hamas’, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0525/p07s02-wome.html
(13) = Guardian 26 Jun 2007, ‘A thankless task with four bosses and no office’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2111447,00.html
(14) = Israel Today 18 Jun 2007, ‘Bush to replace arms Fatah surrendered to Hamas’, http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=13150
(15) = BBC News 9 Feb 2007 , ‘Palestinian rivals in unity deal’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6344297.stm
(16) = NPR 18 Mar 2007, ‘Israel Rejects Palestinians' Unity Deal’, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8983689
(17) = Telegraph 09 Feb 2006 ‘Hamas offers deal if Israel pulls out’,
(18) = Guardian 4 Mar 2006 , ‘Hamas says peace possible at Moscow talks’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1723217,00.html
(19) = Guardian 22 Jun 2006 ‘Climbdown as Hamas agrees to Israeli state’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1803184,00.html
(20) = Ynet news (Israel) 22 Dec 2007 ‘Report: Hamas weighing unconditional truce with Israel’, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3485394,00.html
(21) = IHT 23 Dec 2007 ‘Israel rejects Hamas request for cease-fire talks’,
(22) Guardian.co.uk 21 April 2008 ‘We can accept Israel as neighbour, says Hamas’,