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Palestinians At Each Other’s Throats

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After Hamas leader Khaled Mashal suggested that President Mahmoud Abbas was trying to undermine the new Palestinian government, Palestinian students at rival universities began attacking each other with everything from rocks to rifles. At least 15 were reported wounded.

The violence continued into Sunday. In Gaza, Hamas and Fatah gunmen traded fire at the Health Ministry. There was a similar incident in the West Bank town of Nablus where dozens of Fatah gunmen took over the municipality building and ordered the mayor, who is from Hamas, to shut down his offices. Elsewhere in the West Bank, thousands of Fatah supporters took part in several separate rallies supporting Abbas and Mashal.

While leaders from both factions have been meeting and calling for an end to the violence, they’ve had little success, and there is now speculation that the fighting could erupt into a civil war.

Just hours ago, Hamas gunmen and police had to rescue the newly appointed health minister after angry Palestinians stormed his office. Hamas blamed Fatah which denied any involvement in the affair.

What is clear is the people’s frustration with the newly-elected Hamas government, the inability of both Hamas and Fatah to form a functioning coalition government, the economic strangulation, and a complete lack of leadership are resulting in explosive levels of unrest, tension, and anger. Neither side seems to be willing to compromise. Worse, neither side seems to be able to control their own gunmen.

The violence continues to spread with occasional pauses to condemn Israel, but even appeals to unite against their common enemy seems no longer sufficient to hide the fundamental differences between the two parties, the economic and social chaos created by years of Fatah corruption and misrule, and the growing distrust in Hamas in a leadership role.

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • Bliffle

    Poor miserable muslims. The imams get them so wrought up about all the injustices (supposedly) committed against them that when they don’t have an American or Israeli handy to abuse they have to abuse each other.

  • It’s important to distinguish the Palestinians from the rest of the Arab word. For some reason, the Arabs have always hated and persecuted the Palestinians–forcing them into camps from 1947-67 when they could have let them build a country.

    As much as I despise their political aim of wiping out Israel, I do feel sorry for their plight. They’ve been used by the Arab/Muslim word as a symbol which has required keeping them in a state of misery.

    (Who’s writing this? I must have taken a “nice” pill this afternoon. Forget all that shit.)

    And that’s the truth!

  • Stan

    “Nice” pill. Send me a carton Mark. I need some of them puppies.



  • troll

    * For some reason, the Arabs have always hated and persecuted the Palestinians–forcing them into camps from 1947-67 when they could have let them build a country.*

    why – ?


  • Joey

    I know what we today consider Palistinians; but do they really exist? Or, have they been fabricated. Ruvy?

  • Stan, sorry, I burned the whole lot. You can’t have those around and be a curmudgeon.

    Troll, great question & it’s going to take me some time to dig up what I’d read in the past. For one thing, most Arabs have always been a nomadic, tribal people with little desire for formal education. Even with the European creation of the faux Arab states in the 1920s, the long tribalistic past is powerful–as we’ve seen.

    The Palestinians, on the other hand, are actually and tragically more like the Israelis, relatively well-educated, more sophisticated, less nomadic, and more urban in outlook.

    But I’ll try to get more info–I’m sure Ruvy can cite it chapter & verse.

    Joey, they exist to the extent that Iraqis, Syrians, Saudis, Jordanians et al. exist–as European constructs. But I think there’s a longer history and connection to the territory known as Palestine. That’s oen reason the place is such a mess–like Africa, the Europeans ignored on-the-ground reality to suit their foreign policy needs as they were nation building.

    And that’s the truth!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    The folks we re talking about are the South Syrian Arabs. Essentially it all breaks down this way.

    This country was pretty much empty 150 years ago. There were a few clans of shepherds and fellahin in villages, a Jewish population in Jerusalem, Tz’fat and Hebron, with Cherkessim (immigrants from what is now Cnechnya) making livings as smugglers and highway bandits.

    Jews came here in the 1880’s with the idea of building up a country and escaping Christian anti-Semitism, particularly Russian pogroms. They set up wineries and planted orange groves – and Arabs came to work for them for cheap. Word spread among the Arab villages that the backwater southwest of Damascus was a place to make money – Jews brought work.

    Each wave of Jewish immigrants set off the same patterns of Arabs coming to look for work because Jews had created opportunities to make a living.

    When the British took over the territory, they promised to created a “Jewish National Home” but did everything they could to obstruct it. They wrecked the agreement that Haim Weitzman and Feisal of Hejaz rteached. The record of British lies, double talk and betrayal of Jews is only matched by their record of lies double talk and betrayal of Arabs. Jews built up this nation over the obstructions and continual objections of the British. The British did what they could to make the borders porous to Arabs, and stop Jews from entering the country. To the day that their damned “high commissioner” left his HQ in Armon haNetziv, the British did everything they could to foment hostility between Jews and Arabs.

    The same divisive policies they followed in Guyana, Fiji, India, Cyprus and Ireland they followed here.

    But these Arabs never viewed themselves as “Palestinians” until the State of Israel had been created over the objections of the British, the local Arabs and their “allies” elsewhere. And when it came time for the “allies” to take care of refugees of a civil war, they were nowhere to be found.

    The policy of the Arabs towards their brother South Syrians after 1949 was disgusting. It involved keeping people in rotting camps with the UN to take care of them. Instead of doing what Greeks, Turks, Germans, Poles all did – take in their brothers and care for them – the Arab states discriminated against the South Syrians.

    To get the bastards to admit this – to get their European backers to admit this – is like pulling teeth from a tiger.

    And that, Mark, is the truth!

  • CNN.com’s version of an AP rip and read on fighting in Gaza ended with a very bottom line statement:

    “We have one enemy,” Abu Samhadana said. “They are Jews … I will continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend my people.”

    That says it all, folks.

  • Bliffle


  • troll

    *Each wave of Jewish immigrants set off the same patterns of Arabs coming to look for work because Jews had created opportunities to make a living.*

    Ruvy – do you have any information about which tribes came looking for work over the early years – ?

    the deeper that I dig the more the ‘Palestinian Problem’ appears to arise out of inter tribal (particularly Hashemite) bigotry

    were the Arabs who were thrown into camps on the west bank a mish mash of individuals from tribes throughout ‘Arabia’ – ?

    corollary: why do we not see more ‘west bank Palestinians’ blowing up restaurants in Amman


  • Ruvy,

    Good analysis, but troll’s question remained unanswered–why did and do the Arabs hate the “Palestinians?”

  • Nancy

    The Arabs seem to hate anybody who isn’t themselves; specifically anyone who isn’t a member of the immediate ‘tribe’. They’ve been fighting each other for fun & profit now for over 5,000 years. The problem is, the damned British gave them the technology to make a bigger impact in their murderous habits by giving them guns etc. even tho their minds & culture/religion are/were stuck in the 10th century, a situation that hasn’t changed much in about 100 years. They’re STILL stuck in the 10th century, culturally, religiously, & mentally, but they unfortunately have access to increasingly more sophisticated weapons, etc. that frankly their mindset isn’t ready for. The concepts of tolerance & especially compromise are utterly foreign to them.

  • My wife wants me to go to the bank, but I’ll try to answer this before I go.

    From the Arab point of view, this was south Syria. To please a missionary, Arabs living here might talk about Falastín (Palestine), but that was not their own point of view. They looked towards Damascus or Aleppo(sp?) as a capital or administrative center.

    To my knowledge (my knowledge ain’t the best here), the Arabs who came here were primarily from Syria and Iraq, both of which were provinces of the Turkish Empire, and the new arrivals were often distant relatives of the folks living here. Virtually nobody lived east of the Jordan River. Amman was nothing but a bunch of stone huts.

    After the war of Independence ended, the Lebanese Arabs resented the sudden influx of South Syrian Arabs from Haifa and surrounding areas who had been told that Kawkji would liberate all of south Syria for them. The Jordanians (Bedouin) resented the sudden influx of Arabs from Ramle and central Israel, and the Egyptians didn’t want to deal with the sudden influx of Arabs from Jaffa. All these people had come to work for the Yahud, and had prospered to a degree and were resented by those around them who were not of the same clans. And now, that they were homeless these other Arabs had someone to vent their contempt upon. Only in Jordan was some kind of modus viviendi reached.

    Now to answer Troll’s corollary question. The reason the refugees from here keep their noses clean in the Hashemite kingdom is that when they didn’t in 1969 and 1970 and tried to overthrow King Hussein there, Hussein had them massacred. It was in Jordan that Arafat first showed what a lousy and cowardly leader he was. But since he killed or scared off everybody else from leadership, that bum (and his sycophants) was all they had.

    A native leadership did grow up here under Israeli rule, but Arafat was quick to dispose of them upon his arrivial in 1994.

  • The problem now is the lack of a political party that will really lead the Palestinians. Or maybe it is the financial stifling – they are completely dependant on foreign aid. Unfortunately it seems that they are in a death spiral. They elect a government that might have been able to pull things together (military arm aside). Financial aid from the West is cut, making them more dependant on Muslim nations, creating more pro-Muslim feeling, creating attacks….

  • troll

    TransJordan was created for the ‘Arab Palestinians’ and only became Jordan by occupying the west bank during Israel’s war for independence

    and note – in theory Jordan gave citizenship to the Arabs thus ‘liberated’

    that country needs to take in its own rather than leaving them for Hamas and the Israelis to deal with…if Jordan wants to fight with Israel over the west bank again fine but stop the fraud that somehow the area belongs to some second Palestinian Arab state


  • Ruvy, when you get back from the bank can you tell us when this migration of Palestinian Arabs from Iraq happened?

    I’m totally surprised – but then again not at all – that they and the Jews both came from the same area. There may yet be hope for you all once this apparent family feud settles down.

    Iraq really was a crucial cradle of civilization back in the day.

  • MAOZ

    A fairly common family name among “Palestinian” Arabs is al-Masri — which indicates their origins in Egypt (Arabic cognate to Mitsraim — “Egypt” in Hebrew).

    Used to be (like, up to the mid-20th [by the Christians’ reckoning] century) that if you referred to someone as a “Palestinian”, your listeners would, if anything, tend to assume you meant that person was a Jew. My Israeli Jewish friends who were born in Eretz Yisrael during the days of the British Mandate were listed on the English part of their birth certificates as Palestinians.

    And I just want to emphasize that when Ruvy wrote in #7 that “Jews came here in the 1880’s”, he’s not indicating that that’s when we initially arrived in this land. We were returning to the Land which G^d had already promised to us thousands of years ago. From the time we returned with Joshua after the exodus from Egypt, our land was never completely devoid of Jews. The Babylonians expelled a great many; later on so did the Romans; but we always had at least a remnant of our people in our land. And though the first really big waves of Jewish return after the Roman expulsion occurred in the 1880’s, there was always, down through the centuries, at least a trickle of return: a family or 2 here, a handful of individuals there.

    In short, it’s not stam coincidental why our national home is here in this specific location.

  • MAOZ,

    Ézeh simHá lir’ót sh’Yehudí aHér omér KAN v’lo sham k’sh’hú m’dabér ‘al Éretz Yisraél.

    What a joy to see another Jew saying “here” and not “there” when he talks about the land of Israel.

    MAOZ is right in all that he says. I had completely forgotten about the name al Masri. There was – until 1949 – free transit between Egypt and Israel and a lot of Arabs who lived in Jaffa, Ashdod (which in Arabic is Isdud) probably came from Egypt. It should be remembered that Arafat was born in Egypt.

  • Troll,

    Just a picky little point. Transjordan was created to shrink the British Mandate territory that would be available to Jews and the son of the ousted Feisal of Hejaz, Abdallah, was made Emir in the early 1920’s by the Brits.

  • Chris,

    The migration of Arabs from Mesopotamia occurred when there was work to be had here. As the Jewish settlement got prosperous in the 1930’s a number of families from Mesopotaia smelt a better brew of Turkish coffee here and came over. Actually it was not that many. But good Jewish medicine helped the Arab birth rate explode.

  • troll

    didn’t Abdalla and his people come out of what is now Northern Saudi Arabia rather than from any ‘Palestinian’ area – ?

    actually this creation (Transjordan) put a Hashemite minority in charge of what became a ‘Palestinian Arab’ majority


  • Exactly, Troll. Hejaz is the Arabian province where Mecca and Medina are. But the goal wasn’t to put a fellow in as a minority monarch over a majority population as happened in Jammu and Kashmir.

    The goal was to give Feisal the sense that he wasn’t being screwed over entirely when the Wahhabi tribes under ibn Saud drove him out of Mecca and Medina. So he had two boys with thrones – one in Mesopotamia and one in Transjordan. Artificial as all hell, but hey, even an artificial throne is better than no throne at all.

    Abdallah got on good with the Bedouins he ruled – with the help of the British trained Arab Legion, of course, and the Arab legion turned out to be the best military force on the field in the War of Independence. Unlike the Egyptians and Syrians, they held on to what they occupied. But poor Abdallah should never have held on to it. His desire to be the King of Jerusalem and of Palestine cost him his life.

    He wasn’t a bad sort. He offered Golda Meyerson the best deal he could afford to in 1948 – an autonomous Jewish state under his rule. But Golda and the Zionist Executive couldn’t accept the deal.

  • This is fascinating. I knew some of the history, but nothing in this detail. I wish the mainstream media would pick this up–the lack of knowledge about the creation of the Middle East is a major problem for Israel–not to mention all the Arabs.

    And Ruvy, no fair talking Lithuanian on this site. We’re all God-fearing, flag-waving, commie-hating Americans here, red, white, and blue to the core. (I’d suggest speaking Yiddish but the one thing I’ll never forgive my parents for is not teaching me Yiddish.)

    And that’s the truth!

  • Mark writes, “Ruvy, no fair talking Lithuanian on this site.”

    I wrote in Hebrew – and provided a translation underneath. You should learn to recognize the language of your ancestors, boychick. I prefer blue and white, my boy. Good colors for a prayer shawl and good colors for a flag. Red is a good color for ink (the only one I’ve been seeing lately).

  • Ruvy, look down. You’re leg was being pulled. I learned how to read Hebrew in years and years and years of Hebrew school–but the idiots never taught us what it meant, just how to mouth the words like a chimp. Sigh.

    And that’s the truth!

  • Mark, that is where they went wrong – with you and with me. But I got lucky. I was hanging around with Israelis when the Six Day War broke out – and it changed my life.

    It’s why I’m writing you from here instead of St. Paul or New York, and why I know the Ivrít (Hebrew). But for all the blue and white, I can’t seem to be able to get rid of the red ink.


  • By the way, Mark, this is picked up on Google if you know how to get it.

  • Ruvy, I tried and, alas, failed. That’s really cool. How do I find it?


  • Search Palestinian throats. Your article will be at the very top.

  • Cool…but where’s my name? Sob. BC gets all the credit.

    And that’s the truth!

  • Take it up with the Big Boss at BC. I’m just a lowly scribbler from Jerusalem.

  • Dustin

    A classmate passed this blog along to us in class, and I’ve really enjoyed what you guys have to say.

    May I indulge myself and ask for a personal favor? Especially from you guys in Israel:

    I am working on a final paper due in a couple of weeks (wow, less actually) about Israeli national security. I am wrapping up a class in my Master’s program in International relations about Middle Eastern Security. I have chosen to analyze Israel and the security challenges as the topic of my paper. Could you guys please tell me the one or two biggest concerns to the average Israeli citizen? Obviously, a big problem is the struggles between Palestinians and the Israelis, but any other insight, experiences, etc would be so valuable to me.

    Great blog!


  • Dustin, you should have picked a country with fewer security problems – like Western Samoa.

    If you want to “wrap up” your masters thesis, we are the wrong guys to talk about. You have a teaspoon and you want to spoon up the Mediterranean. Let me think about this.

    With G-d’s help, I can get back to you soon.

    In the meantime go HERE and look up my articles at Blog Critics – there are 36 of them. Lots of them deal with Israeli security in one fashion or another. Many of them represent MY point of view, as the comments below will show, but in the meantime, they will give you something to chew on.

    Just so you and the others here know, I’ll be gone for a while – nothing personal. I have some locational problems to solve. Wish me luck!

  • Dustin

    Thanks for the link. And how long would a paper about Western Samoa be?

    And just FYI, it’s not my Master’s “thesis” just a paper to wrap up the final term. But it is 40% of the semester grade. I look forward to hearing from you again….


  • Dustin,

    With respect to Western Samoa, after you got done relating the history of the rusting hulk of the German ship Adler, and how Western Samoa is in reality a protectorate of New Zealand, you might have a page or two – with double spacing, lots of “ands”, “the’s” and one sentence paragraphs to give it bulk…

    Heck, if I wasn’t Jewish, I would have headed off to Western Samoa a long time ago. It’s a paradise if you have enough money…lotsa bacon there, too.

    As to Israel, the basic security problem it has is that it exists. The Egyptians would be more than happy to see us dead, as would the Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis, Iraqis and many of the South Syrian Arabs living here, the folks who get called “Palestinians.”

    The Arab solution to the problem is to eliminate Israel. They are backed up by the US State Department, the EU, and the Vatican, but you’ll never get these fine folks to admit to this.

    So, what you need to do is to get out a good map of the Middle East and consider the problem from that point of view. If you are an Israeli, your goal is to survive, and the folks I listed above do not want you to. It is quite a pretty puzzle, what Sherlock Holmes would have referred to as a three pipe problem.

    Whichever side you take on the issue, you have a masters’ thesis.

  • Dustin,

    A final comment. If you really want to understand what our security concerns are, read the article “Lo Nora.” Then think about the next time you get on the bus – how you would feel if you weren’t sure that you’d get to y9ur destination because a suicide bomber with a nail bomb might have a little surprise for you. This is very bottom line stuff that affects all of us.

  • nancy #12:

    youve written much better comments, but this is utter generalizing nonsense.