Monday, November 26, 2007

In Annapolis, Conflict by Other Means

A new MERO, by Robert Blecher and Mouin Rabbani, of the International Crisis Group. An excerpt:
The squeeze on Hamas in the West Bank is less obvious to the naked eye, but no less real. There have been widespread arrests of suspected Hamas activists, pressures on NGOs and charities affiliated with the movement, and politically motivated hirings and firings -- all of which have generated an atmosphere of intimidation paralleling that experienced by Fatah in the Gaza Strip. Hamas leaders in the West Bank claim that certain government employees, accused of Islamist sympathies, have been denied salaries on the pretext they were “acting against legitimacy.” But it is not only Hamas that is affected, as a Nablus transportation worker complained: “I used to work as a policeman in Jenin. I left in 2000 when the intifada started. Now that things seem to be settling down, I tried to get my job back when the new [interim] government [under Salam Fayyad] started working. I was refused on flimsy and false pretexts. Finally, after I really pushed it, the officer asked me, ‘What is your political affiliation?’ I told him, ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’ He knew that’s what I was going to say. It was no secret. But at least he was honest: ‘That’s why you’re not getting your job back. Affiliate with Fatah and we’ll rehire you.’”

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