Bush Scandals List

191. Palestinian civil war

The Palestinian civil war. January 2006 the populist and rejectionist Hamas (one of the Islamist organizations that Israel had supported in the past as a counterweight to Fatah) wins Parliamentary elections pushing out of government a corrupt but well entrenched Fatah. Clashes between Fatah and Hamas militants begin almost immediately. Despite Bush’s oft stated support of democracy in the Middle East, the US organizes a boycott of Hamas. The US and the Europeans cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel holds back tax receipts. International banking transactions are blocked preventing aid from other countries. The result is a sharp increase in unemployment, poverty, and radicalism in the Territories, especially Gaza where Hamas is strongest. At the same time, the background pattern of Israeli and Palestinian attacks and counter-attacks continues. In the deepening humanitarian and political crisis, Western governments led by the US seek to do end runs around Hamas funneling aid directly to the Palestinian people bypassing the PA and backing the Fatah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an alternative to Hamas. In addition to political support, the US supplies Fatah security forces with weapons. A national unity government is finally cobbled together in February 2007 but doesn’t last. In May, 500 Fatah fighters enter Gaza from Egypt with Israeli approval and Bush okays $40 million to train 4,000 troops directly under Abbas’ control. Violence flares in June 2007 and greatly outnumbered and outgunned Fatah fighters are kicked out of Gaza. On June 14, 2007, Abbas dissolves the "national unity" government. A few days later on June 16, Fatah forces effectively expel Hamas from the West Bank. Instead of accepting the results of a democratic election and engaging with its opponents, the Bush Administration fomented a civil war. As has happened so many times before, it didn’t do its homework or the math, and the consequences were once again not those it expected. The Palestinians are even weaker and more divided. Gaza has real potential to become a full blown humanitarian crisis. The situation is more dangerous and peace even further away.

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