Bush wants to wreck the Palestinian Mecca agreement

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AHEAD of next Monday’s summit in Jerusalem, President George Bush’s administration is setting out to wreck the agreement reached in Mecca on February 8 between the two main Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, to set up a National Unity government.

Under the agreement, ministries in the National Unity government will be divided between Hamas, Fatah and other political factions, in addition to the appointment of ‘independent’ figures as ministers. Hamas will still be the largest faction in the government, but Fatah will have a large representation and no group will have an outright majority.

For the past year, since Hamas won an overwhelming majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council and formed a government under Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the US and European Union (EU) has cut off aid to the Palestine National Authority (PNA). Israel has also refused to hand over Palestinian taxes to the PNA and stopped Palestinians getting money through working in Israel.

This has meant that PNA staff, including teachers, have not been paid for months and most families are living well below the poverty line and face starvation.

They are subjected to continual military attacks from the Israeli Defence Force, deploying war planes and tanks, organising assassinations and rounding people up for arbitrary imprisonment.

The work to form a National Unity government was carried out in order to end the economic blockade imposed on the mass of the people of the occupied West Bank and Gaza by the US and EU.

Immediately after the signing of this Mecca agreement, the US and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made clear that it was unacceptable to them because Hamas refused to capitulate to the US-Israel agenda, by recognising Israel and signing up to the 1992 Oslo Accord sell-out.

The Bush regime has told Abbas that the new National Unity government is not acceptable to Washington and that it will join with Israel in maintaining its economic blockade of the PNA.

A spokesman from Abbas’ office said: ‘The Americans have informed us that they will be boycotting the new government headed by Hamas. Fatah and independent ministers will be treated the same way as Hamas ministers are treated.’

This is clearly the message delivered by Jacob Walles, the US Consul General in Jerusalem, when he met Abbas on Thursday before the Palestinian President went to Gaza to meet Prime Minister Haniyeh.

In Gaza, Haniyeh’s government resigned, as agreed in Mecca. Then Abbas immediately re-appointed him as Prime Minister to form the new National Unity government.

As a result of US pressure, Abbas has raised fresh objections to Hamas’ proposals and postponed a planned television broadcast about the new National Unity government due on Thursday evening.

Monday’s summit in Jerusalem, between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Olmert and Abbas, is clearly aimed at wrecking the Mecca agreement.

Bush and the Zionists do not want this agreement between Hamas and Fatah, forming the National Unity government, that can appeal for international aid to end the economic blockade of the PNA.

The US regime wants to starve the Palestinian people into submitting to the demands of the Zionist settler regime of Israel and to provoke a civil war to smash resistance in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In this situation, the peoples of the Arab countries must act immediately to support the Palestinian National Unity government, by demanding their governments provide urgently needed funds. Saudi Arabia should give the $1bn it pledged in Mecca immediately.

The British trade unions must act urgently in support of the Palestinians, impose a union boycott on Israeli trade, communications and business and take strike action to insist the Mecca agreement is carried out.

The Labour government is enforcing the EU economic blockade of the PNA. It must be brought down now by the working class and replaced by a workers’ government that will immediately give its fullest support to the Palestinian people and end their crippling poverty.