Massad on Palestinian Democracy and the War Between Hamas and Fatah

In al-Ahram, Joseph Massad on Palestinian democracy:


Let us start with some historical precedents to the situation of today. The first time a legitimate Palestinian government was established in Gaza and prevented from extending its authority over other parts of Palestine was in September 1948. It was King Abdullah I of Jordan who at the time opposed the All-Palestine Government (APG) ( Hukumat ‘Umum Filastin ), which interfered with his plan to annex Central Palestine to his kingdom. Indeed, the APG was recognised by the Arab League (who was less shamelessly subservient to imperial agendas at the time than it is today) as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the legitimate heir to the Arab Higher Committee. Repressive measures were undertaken by Jordan’s king to purge the West Bank of all supporters of the APG and many inducements were offered to those willing to support his bid for annexation, dubbed “unification”. Once Abdullah annexed the territory “legally and administratively”, the “international community”, i.e. the United Kingdom and Israel, recognised his expanded kingdom (minus East Jerusalem) while the Arab League continued to oppose it, at the prodding of the APG. The APG would soon disappear from legal and popular memory, with Gaza subjected to complete and total Egyptian administration. Central Palestine was renamed the West Bank and declared as part of Jordan as a step on the way to Arab unity and in support of the Palestinians. Opposition to the annexation was portrayed by the king as opposition to Arab unity and Palestinian liberation. This is precisely what the Fatah putschists and their president are hoping to achieve in the West Bank today, except that the unity they are seeking is an ideological one between the Fatah putschists and their American and Israeli and Arab sponsors.