Saturday, January 03, 2009

Moderates cast as "traitors"

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Jan. 1, 2009, by Khaled Abu Toameh:

...Many of the "moderate" Arab leaders, including the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas, were not afraid to alienate the Arab street by blaming Hamas for the latest cycle of violence. Some of them are even reported to have gone as far as quietly urging Israel to pursue its military operation until Hamas is removed from power.

Since the beginning of the operation, the Arab media have been full of reports suggesting that Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz had all given Israel a "green light" to attack Gaza.

...the reports have ...sent hundreds of thousands of Arab protesters to the streets to condemn not Israel, but what they regard as their governments' involvement in the "US-Zionist conspiracy" to remove Hamas from power.

The widespread protests are seen by some Arab political analysts as marking the beginning of a popular "intifada" against corrupt, pro-Western Arab dictators. They expect these protests to intensify as the IDF operation continues and the number of Palestinian casualties rises.

...Most of the heat on the Arab street is directed against Mubarak and Abbas - the only two leaders who had the courage to blame Hamas for the war because of its continued rocket attacks on Israel. ....

Several members of the Jordanian parliament, in an unprecedented move, burned the Israeli flag inside the chamber, and called on King Abdullah to expel the Israeli ambassador. At least 20,000 Palestinians and Jordanians staged a huge demonstration in Amman, during which they chanted slogans against Israel, the US and Arab leaders, especially Mubarak and Abbas.

...Mubarak, who is currently facing growing opposition on the streets of Cairo, is also being accused of participating in the Israeli blockade on Gaza by refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing. His declared policy, that the border crossing won't be reopened until Abbas's loyalists are permitted to return to the terminal...Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah ...called on the Egyptians to overthrow Mubarak's regime.

...THE INCITEMENT against Mubarak and Abbas in the Arab media is likely to intensify as Al-Jazeera continues to broadcast horrific images of dead women and children in Gaza. As in the past, it is now spearheading a campaign aimed at discrediting "moderate" Arab rulers, by depicting them as pawns in the hands of the Israelis and Americans. The message that Al-Jazeera is sending to the Arab and Islamic masses is: "You must rise against your treacherous leaders, because they are serving the interests of Israel and the US."

...Operation Cast Lead will not wipe out Hamas completely, even if it results in the demolition of all of the Islamist movement's government buildings and security installations. On the contrary, the operation, by all accounts, is likely to boost Hamas's popularity not only among the Palestinians, but also on the streets of Khartoum, Amman, Cairo and Beirut.

...After January 9, Abbas is likely to come under heavy pressure to step down not only from Hamas, but also from many people in his Fatah faction who accuse him of being a failed leader and who hold him responsible for the fact that Hamas is in power in Gaza.

The talk about a "third intifada" that would be directed this time against the Arab rulers appears to be gaining momentum on the Arab street, where many people are no longer afraid to openly condemn their leaders as "traitors" and "Israeli puppets."

The Arab street is ready for a third intifada, said Palestinian writer Rashad Abu Shawar. "Those Arabs who are exonerating Israel and blaming Hamas are being regarded as traitors," he said. "This week, we already saw the spark of the third intifada on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as inside Israel. These Arab regimes want to see Gaza surrender, so that they can eliminate the term 'resistance' from their lexicon. The third intifada won't only finish off the PA; it will also destroy the illusion of peace with the Israeli enemy."
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