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Revolution in Israel and a Palestinian civil war - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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This is not a prophecy for the new year but, rather, an analysis of the latest events. Sharon ’s unexpected political demise resembles a coup d’état and the clashes between Palestinian groups foreshadow a civil war.

We are currently on the verge of a new era in which it remains unclear who will lead Israel and oversee critical issues. Will the extreme right seize power and bring with it difficult years? Or will the Israeli left win and realize the two-state solution according to borders prior to the 1967 war?

Fear of the unknown is caused by the possibility that Benjamin Netanyahu could ascend to power, by way of a victory for the Likud party. The consequences of this win will be dangerous and severe on the Palestinians.

As for the Palestinian camp, we are witnessing signs of a true civil war, where brothers have deviated from the goal and split into warring camps. Some are even prepared to use weapons against the others. In the horizon, one can see a Palestinian civil war, which has already started with the kidnapping of foreigners, accusations of treason and threats of fighting with live ammunition.

Despite Arab prayers for Sharon to join his creator, what follow might be even worse. Their supplications have been heard since Sharon is politically dead, even if he walks out of the hospital unaided. Extremist Zionists will also celebrate after praying for his political death because he forcibly removed them from the Gaza Strip and pledged forthcoming withdrawals in the West Bank.

Between the revolution in Israeli politics and Sharon’s stroke and, on the other hands, sings of imminent Palestinian infighting, we are entering into a dangerous phase. The losers are the Palestinian people and the Arab world.

The only way to influence the Israeli decision-making process is to unify the Palestinian political executive and curtail the Palestinian crisis. If battles between Palestinian groups and organizations erupt, uniting the warring parties will be difficult and require yearlong Arab efforts to unify Palestinian groups instead of working to create an independent Palestinian state.

The Palestinian conflict and Sharon’s absence will provide extremists in Israeli the chance to seize power. Every Israeli, whatever his about the withdrawal, will find security dependent on an increase of power, eventually putting his trust in someone like Netanyahu.

Even though Arab commentators do not acknowledge the steps achieved by the Palestinians, in war and in peace, these accomplishments are important of the Palestinian people, after a decade of deprivation, suffering and collective imprisonment. Up until yesterday, before the latest crisis, the Palestinians had won all their battles including the liberation of Gaza, forcing Israel to partially withdraw from the West Bank, opening roads and the Rafah crossing with Egypt, in addition to a number of important administrative and basic needs that affect everyday life. Palestinians need to realize the dangers of infighting on positions and interests, especially since Israel is currently deciding who will lead its battled or peace against them.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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