Now, let all that first sink in, then read Barry Ruben’s excellent article on the possible upcoming replacement of the Holocaust denying, (non-president) Mahmoud Abbas of the Fakestinian enterprise, Muhammad Ghneim. If you can’t think of this turd as anything but a cold blooded murdering tyrant, (read= hardliner) than you’re delusional. And remember folks, this is the guy that Abbas himself, wants to see replacing him. KGS
There’s nothing written about more often—and inaccurately—than the Palestinians, yet there is curiously little interest about the politics and ideology which governs their behavior. The same situation applies to the man s slated to become that movement’s next leader, only the third to hold that post in 50 years, after Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.The fact that an issue that is supposedly the most important, high-priority question in the Middle East, or even the world, is so little studied in depth has a simple answer. The contemporary narrative is that the Palestinian leadership yearns for a state, an end to the conflict, and peace, while the failure to achieve can be blamed on Israel. Yet even the slightest real examination shows the exact opposite is true.This point is only underlined by looking at the current candidate for next leader, Muhammad Ghaneim, often known as Abu Mahir. Of all those who might credibly have been considered for the leadership of Fatah—and hence of the PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA)—he is probably the most hardline one.Ironically, while media coverage of the 2009 Fatah Congress stressed the accession of young and more flexible leaders, the 72-year-old Ghaneim certainly does not fit that description.Born in Jerusalem on August 29, 1937. His first political involvement was with the Muslim Brotherhood but he became a founding member of the Fatah movement in 1959 and active ever after, involved mainly in recruitment and organizational matters.It is difficult to say to what extent Ghaneim’s early involvement with radical Islamism has shaped his thinking and whether it would make it easier for him to reconcile with the even more radical Hamas. Most Fatah and PLO people came out of more secular Arab nationalist or leftist movements. The only prominent leader who blended an Islamist background with nationalism was Arafat himself, and this certainly remained a prominent theme in his worldview during his entire career.Ghaneim’s big career break came in 1968 when at the age of just 30 Arafat appointed him commander of Fatah’s forces in Jordan. And later that year, at age 31, he was put by Arafat on Fatah’s Central Committee in charge of the organization and recruitment department.It is impossible to overstate the importance of these two jobs. At that time, Jordan was a Fatah stronghold and the group constituted a dual government alongside that of King Hussein, the country’s nominal ruler. Fatah guerrillas—and shortly after Arafat took over the whole PLO—had military bases from which they launched attacks on Israel across the Jordan River. Arafat must have had an extraordinarily high opinion of Ghaneim to appoint him to such a sensitive post.Since so much of this task was involved with military matters, Ghaneim took a short officers’ course in China. On his return, in 1969, Arafat gave Ghaneim still a third chore, as is deputy for military issues. While the details aren’t clear this means Ghaneim must have played a central role in planning and implementing scores of guerrilla and terrorist attacks.The other job was just as important. Ghaneim played a central role in selecting those to be given key jobs and just how much authority each had. Of course, everyone was far below Arafat in power but Ghaneim was about as essential as a second-tier figure could be. That job is also useful in making contacts with those who would continue to be top people in the movement in ensuing decades.In 1970, Fatah overplayed its hand, was defeated by Jordan’s army, and had to flee to Lebanon. Ghaneim continued his organizational and military duties there. When the PLO and Fatah were forced out of Lebanon in 1982, Ghaneim accompanied Arafat to Tunis. From 1982 to mid-2009 he remained living there, though as early as July 2007 he may have begun visiting the PA-ruled territories in the West Bank.Ghaneim didn’t return with Arafat in 1994 because, despite serving Arafat closely and loyally for 35 years, Ghaneim rejected the Oslo accords of 1993 as too moderate. Only continued armed struggle, total victory, and Israel’s destruction were worthy goals in his eyes.While Arafat’s strategy sought these things covertly, the compromises involved in such a pretense were too much for Ghaneim, who openly criticized his old chief. He stayed in Tunisia despite numerous invitations from Arafat, starting in October 1994, to join the PA and instead insisted Arafat cease all negotiations with Israel.Ghaneim moved closer to the popular Farouq Qaddumi, often referred to as the second most powerful man in Fatah and PLO or as the PLO’s “foreign minister.” Qaddumi rejected the Oslo agreement and kept up a close connection with Syria. Arafat undercut him but Qaddumi was so strong in the movement that he could never be fired altogether.Finally, Ghaneim decided to return and support Mahmoud Abbas. While the details are not clear, this coincided with Abbas naming him as successor, which was certainly a great incentive for changing sides. Despite some analysts claiming that Ghaneim has moderated his positions, there is absolutely no evidence that he has done so.