Sunday, May 21, 2006

Playing with fire

Rana Sabbagh has an important article in Al Arab Al Yawm today, where she describes the resurgence of the Fateh movement in the Beqa'a refugee camp. The article tracks how, under government auspices, the movement is regaining control of bodies such as the camp athletic club, which had been controlled by Hamas. According the Sabbagh, the government is worried about the growing influence of Hamas and its Islamist allies, and thus is quietly encouraging the return of Fateh to open activity.

So, the government encouraged the growth of Hamas in the past, to stem the influence of Fateh and the leftist Palestinian movements, and now is using Fateh to stem Hamas and the Islamists. Remembering the lessons of the past, it would seem shortsighted to simply look at these movements as pawns to be played against each other. Both Hamas and Fateh are Palestinian organizations, with agendas that may at certain junctures be compatible with those of the government. However, when these agendas start to diverge, problems start and new rounds of damage control need to be implemented. Reasons against considering the tactic of using Fateh to stop Hamas can be listed as follows:

  1. Internal consistency. Hamas' leaders were kicked out of Jordan for interfering in the county's internal affairs. Politicians working in Jordan need to have Jordanian agendas, no matter what their affilation.
  2. National unity. The concept that Jordanians of Palestinian origin should have exclusive parties is divisive and dangerous. Strong nationalist secular parties should encourage all Jordanians to work together. The scenes described by Omar during the student elections are saddening, and reflect deep problems that should be worked out.
  3. National security. The political divisions in Palestine have the potential of developing into a civil war. We should do our best to stay out, instead of inviting the parties to spread their activities here.
  4. Minding our own business. Palestinians need to work out their problems for themselves. Taking sides will only create more enemies in the long term.

Both Hamas and Fateh have bitten the hands that fed them in Jordan in the past. Both their activities should be restricted, and those parties which view Jordan, with all of her components, as being their central concern should be encouraged to fill the gap. It would be sad if we keep repeating the same mistake.


At 9:37 PM, Blogger Omar said...

I'm gonna overlook your intimidating tone and tell you that this is part of either the "very clever" or "very idiotic" action that the government of Jordan is doing lately.

Another battle in the war against Islamists is to encourage the return of the lift wing inside Jordan and among Palestinians, nothing's surprising.

Actually, it's rather clever to chose such a way, maybe they realised the counter effect of the last Hamas-terror ploy and decided to act with some wisdom.

"Both Hamas and Fateh have bitten the hands that fed them in Jordan in the past.", I would never say such a million-meaning sentence!

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Khalaf, come on man! Jordan can not afford not taking sides this time. There is an unstable situation in Palestine, with one party "Fatah" siding with the Jordanian long-term interests in the reigion. While the other side "Hamas", intentionally and without previous provoking planned terrorist attacks on the Jordainain terrorities and you think that Jordan should stay away of this conflict.

People and countries learn by consequences. Few years ago, and when Arafat embarrased the late King Hussien efforts with the Clinton Adminsitration, His Majesty hosted the Hamas leadership in Amman to teach him a lesson. You always have to use the carrot and the stick.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Omar: Hamas and Fateh both have stabbed Jordan in the back at many junctions. I think that the"million-meaning sentence" has only one meaning, unless maybe you try to count that times treachery has happened.

Issam: Taking sides should reflect who we support in Palestine, not encouraging these groups to build power bases in Jordan. Jordan tried to teach Arafat a lesson by hosting Hamas in Jordan. I think we are the ones who should have learnt our lessons.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a love-hate relationship. when Jordan gets involved Palestine says it's none of their business. when Jordan doesn't get involved it's either blamed for not getting involved or asked to get involved.

but catch-22's aside, the problem we seem to have lies in both national unity and in agendas. 'conflict of interest' comes to mind. people tend to forget that regardless of the population make up this continues to be Jordan, a country with obvious differences from its neighbour Palestine and hence political agendas should be strictly relevant to Jordanian interests and nothing more. any other operations should be restricted or banned.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no other party in Palestine? A choice between Fatah and Hamas seems like a choice between a scorpion and a snake.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Nas: Agreed.

Don: Good question. I really have no problem with these parties working in Palestine. I have a big problem with them working in Jordan.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Before you say the Palestinians bit the hand that fed them. Why did Jordan give citizanships to all the Palsetinians that make up about 70% of Jordan population today? I think the Palestinians fed themselves in Jordan, now one fed them.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon: Do you have a reading disability?

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


No but its obvious you do

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Can't you tell the difference between "Both Hamas and Fateh" and "Palestinians"?

I really don't have time to engage in an infantile arguement with you. I suggest the following site that you might enjoy.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ofcourse you don't have time to engage in an argument with me because you have no leg to stand on.

Actually I do enjoy the Disney site better than watching "3ogla ou jathoo3" gal ou geel ou golna

As much as your blog tries to spread hate, your losing, I like most of the blogs I see except for 2 that are so full of hate yours and another one.

Keep losing

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Yeah yeah


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