The Civil War Continues in Palestine

Unfortunately, my “Middle East” and “War” tags go together more often than not. This time it’s about a rare piece of good news from Palestine – an AP photographer who had been kidnapped was released – but the subtext is still depressing.

An Associated Press photographer was released Tuesday after a harrowing day in the hands of Palestinian gunmen who abducted him at gunpoint in Gaza – the latest in a string of kidnappings of foreigners in the chaotic area.

Emilio Morenatti, 37, was brought before midnight to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by Fatah officials. It was not immediately clear who kidnapped him, though officials said he was taken by criminals.


In the past two years, militants have frequently kidnapped foreigners as bargaining chips to get relatives released from Palestinian prisons, secure government jobs or settle personal scores. In most cases, the kidnappings were brief and the hostages released unharmed.

Fortunately, Palestine is still not as bad as Iraq. It’s largely ethnically non-plural, with the exception of Jewish settlers (who are obviously not party to the civil war); it has a Christian minority, but it’s small enough that Islamist groups focus on killing Jews and secular Palestinians of any religion rather than on killing Christians. In particular, the Sunni-Shi’a and Arab-Kurd dynamics of Iraq are entirely absent.

The problem with this emerging civil war is that the standard solution, an international intervention, is impossible. Any outside force will either be perceived as too pro-Israeli, ensuring even more violence in Palestine, or as not pro-Israeli enough, ensuring that Israel will take exception to the whole plan.

9 Responses to The Civil War Continues in Palestine

  1. Zionism is a disease that has led to terrorist attacks such as 9/11. Together we can end Zionism now!

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It wasn’t Zionism, but the International Jewish Conspiracy (and no Jews died on 9/11, too – Saudi propaganda says so, so it must be true).

  3. SLC says:

    Re Nathan Finkelstein

    I suspect that Mr. Finkelstein is related to Norman Finkelstein, the notorious lier and antisemitic Israel hater. The latter Finkelstein is nothing but a piece of filth masquerading as a human being who, along with his cohort Noam Chomsky fill faculty positions at reputable American universities and spew out their hatred of both the US and Israel. In fact, their hatred of the State of Israel is nothing but a straw man to hide their real hatred, that of the USA. I find it entirely disengeneous of them to live in this country, which they hate with a vengence approaching that of Osama bin Laden.

  4. SLC says:

    May I suggest that one consider the approach advocated by the Irish novelist and diplomat Conor Cruise O’Brian who was involved in the Arab/Israeli issue as a UN representitive in the 1960s’. Based on his experience, he concluded that the best approach was to let them fight it out; when they got tired of fighting, then would be the time for outside intervention. Thus, US and/or Israeli strategies of assisting one faction or another should be avoided, with the understanding that they might not be adverse to negotiating with the winner, if there is one. This was the ultimate approach taken by Britain and France during the American Civil War, when they finally decided that intervention was not in their interest.

  5. Alon Levy says:

    It all depends on the intensity of violence. When there is genocide going on, outside intervention is necessary. When there isn’t, it generally only messes things up more due to local resentment.

    Besides which, there’s the other question of who to back. It’s unthinkable to back Hamas. Backing Fatah will only let Hamas portray itself as a national movement opposed to the US-supported Fatah.

  6. SLC says:

    Clearly, then, the only option is to let them fight it out. The State of Israel has the means, but not the will to give the Palestinians the Eichmann treatment while the Palestinians have the will but not the means to give the Israelis (or each other) the Eichmann treatment.

  7. shergald says:

    We are so used to hearing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that we forget that this conflict is based on a 39 year military occupation and the continual violation of international law by the Israelis. Whatever difficulties the Palestinians have internally, it is entirely a consequence of differences in how to deal with the injustices wraught by this illegal occupation.

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