“The Age of Bullies” is not a phrase that I coined. These words were written on a large poster that a Palestinian woman raised and that said, “Palestine of 1967 was made up of fedayeen that of 2006 is made up of bullies”. No one can disagree with the opinion of this woman when three children are deliberately killed because they belong to a pro-Fatah family and a judge is killed in revenge because he supports Hamas. These are the groups in Palestine today. It is a repetition of what is happening in Iraq and of the killing of children, elderly, and simple workers in Iraq.
We are indeed living in the age of bullies. We never had such an era throughout our history of power struggles that compares with this.
In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, bloody struggles took place among the Palestinian factions. These incidents pained our souls but today’s confrontations make our hearts bleed. Nothing is taboo. Children are killed because their father is a Fatah supporter, and an elderly man is killed because he is a Hamas supporter. And what is this war all about? It is about nothing else but power. None of those that are fighting among one another has a plan different from the other. They all make speeches about liberation, the state, and the refugees but they are all seeking their own interests. They are seekers of power and authority and are ready to drag the country to a civil war. These have harmed the Palestinian cause more than the Israelis have tried to do over so many years. They have divided the ranks, brought despair, defeated the local soul, and shocked and pained the Arabs with their ugly deeds. They divided the nation and relieved Israel of the confrontation. Anyone that sees the crimes that are being perpetrated and hears the threats to commit more becomes anxious about the future because we are stepping into an unprecedented phase in the history of the conflict.
We stand at the threshold of the first Palestinian civil war that no one ever imagined would take place no matter how much the Palestinians become divided into teams and camps. We thought that the PLO’s initiative in bringing Hamas to power and allowing it to vote and run in the elections is the best guarantee to contain the dispute democratically. Unfortunately, however, it exposed the ugliest aspects that the two sides have. What Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said in yesterday’s sermon about himself and his party shows that the conflict is almost inevitable. We had thought that he would leave the incitement and instigation to the party juniors since he is the prime minister of all the Palestinians and not just of Hamas. It is obvious that Hamas is rushing to finalize matters by adopting an offensive style in the name and seal of its prime minister similar to the demonstrations of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the fierce speeches of its secretary general. This policy of offense that Hamas is adopting will only lead to more harm to the Palestinians, to their cause, and to Hamas itself. We believe that the outcome of the battle would be bad for Hamas. It is dragging itself to a battle in an arena that is not equal to Hezbollah’s land and support. The enthusiasm of those that support Hamas confirms this point. The incidents that took place in Rafah that Haniyeh said are to confirm sovereignty, the exchanged assassinations, and the direct clash with their adversaries in Ramallah will only lead to a civil war and the fall of the current political system. This anarchy will not serve Hamas or the Palestinian citizen that has been waiting in his camps for 40 years or the region. It only serves Israel and Iran, the two countries that are in most need of political bargaining.