04 April 2006

Is Palestine the new Nicaragua?

According to Aljazeera, Palestine is rapidly becoming the new Nicaragua. While some of the parallels are at the most interesting, the one startling comment is that Hamas is doing this to themselves. I clearly recall many kids in high school that dressed in all black, wore gothic make up and did everything in their power to let the rest of the student body know that they did not want to be part of the crowd. Guess what? We gave them what they wanted. Eventually, there was in-fighting between the goths and many added color to their wardrobe and washed their faces. This seems to be precisely what is occuring in Palestine. Arab News reports:

What is unfolding in the occupied territories is a worst-case scenario, ironically one made possible with the direct help of many Palestinians themselves.

The democratically elected Palestinian government is now officially isolated, as many Palestinians cannot see beyond their own narrow ideological differences and factions. Others cannot resist their total reliance on foreign, mostly European funds to run their NGOs, whose contribution to Palestinian life is still disputed.

It looks as though Palestine is being turned into another Nicaragua. That was the intent from the moment Hamas was declared victorious in the Parliamentary elections last January. US mainstream media conveyed the feeling that an utter miscalculation in US foreign policy took place. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice charged back, leading a campaign of defamation and coercion aimed at isolating the democratically elected Palestinian legislators, further solidifying with the former corrupt political elite.

The isolation was not caused by the U.S. media, nor the Secretary of State; but, by false promises, poor fiscal management and the dreaded "Oh crap we won, now what do we do?"

Nicaragua of the 1960s and 1970s seemed of little concern as long as our formidable man, Somoza, ruled with an iron fist. His people robbed the country senseless until the Sandinistas emerged on the scene, toppling him and eventually his US-armed National Guard. Predictably, the US took on the new Sandinista government, which was described then by the international development organization Oxfam as “exceptional..(in its) commitment to improve the conditions of the people and encourage their active participation in the development process.” On the other hand, it was obvious that Somoza had fled with his country’s entire movable assets.

For reasons that have more to do with US strategic interests than the welfare of the people of Nicaragua, the Sandinistas were labeled a “cancer” that had to be extracted. To do so, Nicaragua was completely cut off, denied any form of aid and was forced to squander its resources to fight off Somoza’s former National Guard, renamed the Contras. The rest, of course, is history. Bullied, isolated and terrified, the people of Nicaragua couldn’t withstand the US-led pressures, and were forced into submission, ditching the Sandinista government in a rare democratic election, orchestrated by the Sandinistas themselves. The human cost for such American adventurism was of course unbearable to ordinary Nicaraguans, though it constituted a mere continuation of US foreign policy in Central America and all over the world.

The Palestinian case is, more or less, being handled the same way: The internal and external pressures, the unreasonable demands, the boycott and the collective punishment. All elements are indeed falling into place to remanufacture that same nightmarish scenario which, it is hoped, would lead to diplomatic deadlock, regional and international isolation and further deterioration in the already unstable (read non-existing) Palestinian economy.

Palestine has every opportunity in the world; work to achieve peace with your neighbor (and largest employer of your people) or wither on the vine.

Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette, Right Wing Nation, Stuck on Stupid and Third World County.

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