December 28, 2008

Structural Disaster

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - JUNE 15:  Armed Palestinian Hamas members drive a armoured vehicle seized from Fatah opposition in front of the offices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 15, 2007 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. After Hamas effectively took over the Gaza Strip on June 14, they now control the police and security and have taken up positions at the Gaza crossings. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the unity government with Hamas and declared the formation of an emergency government. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Palestinian militants from Hamas stand at the desk of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas inside Abbas' personal office after it was taken over by Hamas in fighting in Gaza City, early Friday, June 15, 2007.  Fatah forces collapsed under the onslaught by Hamas, which showed superior organization and motivation. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - DECEMBER 27:   Palestinians inspect the presidential building; the office of president Mahmoud Abbas (which is now under Hamas control), after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets along the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds, killing more than 155 people and wounding hundreds.  (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)With the term of Palestinian president Abu Abbas expiring on January 9th and Hamas refusing to further recognize him, one way to think about yesterday’s bombing of the so-called “Presidential building” in Gaza is in terms of the corrosive Palestinian power split.

Nobody wants to consider war and the loss of life in ironic terms, although the fact that Israel felt the need to bomb the former headquarters of its own Palestinian ally has that feeling. The sequence of images goes like this:

Image 1: June 15, 2007 —  Hamas members drive armoured vehicle seized from Fatah in front of Gaza offices of Palestinian President Abbas. (Hatem Moussa/A.P. )

Image 2: June 15, 2007. Hamas militants stand at/on Abbas’s desk in takeover of his office and Palestinian control in Gaza. (Hatem Moussa/A.P.)

Image 3: Yesterday, December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes destroy Hamas-controlled former offices of Abbas. (Adib Katib/Getty.)

If there was one other photo that might have fit here as still a further symbol of futility, it would have been a shot of Abbas at the White House a week-and-a-half ago saying goodbye to Bush (and his so-called “roadmap”). It looks like TIME, accompanying its article on Abbas, picked out a fitting example, though.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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