85895 - Transcription: Strategic analysis: Gaza versus the West Bank

N. Lygeros
Translated from the Greek by Athina Kehagias

When we are trying to analyze what’s going on in the Middle East now, with this crisis in general, we keep focusing on the Gaza issue and completely forget about the West Bank, whereas the West Bank is in fact the dominant part of Palestine if we think about it rationally. Therefore if we take things in order it’s initiated back in 1948, when we will have the 181 resolution, which will create two state entities. But the situation will end in a war after this voting, which took place in ’47, and actually in ’48 things will change and we will enter a different context. However, these facts will change even more in 1950, since it will be Jordan which will take over the West Bank. It will preserve it so well, even though the International community does not accept it, that in 1954, it will even give citizenship to the Palestinians, I mean so that they have the right to be Jordanians. Things will change fundamentally in 1967, when there will be an attack from the Egyptian side, Jordan will assume that Egypt will succeed, therefore it will ally with Egypt and finally it will also lose areas it obtained in the West Bank, first of all for Jerusalem and the region in general. In fact, it will end up in 1988 not having any claim upon a region, which it had partially annexed. This is important because it changes the data. When Arafat’s Palestinian organization appears and says that for us this is now Palestine, things will be different and we will no longer be playing only with Jordan and Israel. This means that in the region the facts will change, they will change many times over, we now know that there are three zones, the first is managed exclusively by Israel, the second is managed by Israel and the Palestinian state and the third part is exclusively managed by the Palestinian state . These are the facts, which are of great importance, and thereafter of course came the Oslo Accords both the first and the second one, which ensured a form of balance, which has no relation to the facts we now know in Gaza. What does that mean? It means that the Palestinian Authority has managed to function within this context, but unfortunately, a confrontation is created, not only with the PLO but also with Fatah and with Hamas.
What does Hamas really want? Hamas wants to claim power through Gaza, it is supported by Qatar, as far as the economic issue is concerned, it also has the influence of Iran, and while the West Bank is trying to find a balance and prove to everyone that it can manage such a state entity in this environment, where I remind you, that we also have Jewish residents within the West Bank, even for matters they manage. What does this mean practically? It means that they have found a way to co-exist even though there is this great difficulty in existence but that on the Gaza side, since the Israeli army has completely left and they have completely withdrawn from Gaza, things have changed and basically Hamas is functioning in a completely dictatorial context, there are no elections after 2006 and it is in fact fighting both the PLO and Fatah, because Hamas considers to be predominant and that it represents what the Gazawis want. The problem is very simple. We don’t give much emphasis on this internal conflict and we are under the impression that the problem is completely external. In actual fact, we now see that the West Bank has not yet taken a specific position, pro Hamas, for a very simple reason, because what is happening between Israel and Hamas, is in the interest of Fatah, of course, it’s in the interest of the entire state entity, even though it cannot express it in a straightforward manner, because it knows quite simply, that Hamas is an extreme element that it cannot deal with.
Consequently, we see that this lack of direct positioning is actually interpreted as a will to clear the context from others without any cost, but at the end we will have to deal with it in this manner. It is good to keep this in mind, in order for us to correctly interpret the data.