This blogname was derived from the novel The Secret Life Of Saeed The Pessoptimist by the Palestinian Israeli Emile Habiby: absurdism as weapon against the (ir)realities of daily life in Palestine/Israel. (The subtitle is from a book by Dutch author Renate Rubinstein. It could as well be my motto).
My real name is Martin (Maarten Jan) Hijmans. I've been covering the ME since 1977 and have been a correspondent in Cairo. I started my 'Abu Pessoptimist' blog in January 2009 out of anger during the onslaught in Gaza. The other one, The Pessoptmist, is meant to be a sister version in English. (En voor de Nederlandstaligen: ik wilde in november 2009 een tweede blog in het Engels beginnen en ontdekte te laat dat als je één account hebt, een profiel dan meteen ook voor allebei de blogs geldt. Vandaar dat het nu ineens in het Engels is... So sorry.)
Ex-Arafat aide who exposed Fatah's attempted coup in Gaza in 2007, dies at 74
Hani al-Hassan, once one of the closest
advisers of Yasser Arafat, and the man who in 2007 first brought out
that the so called 'coup' of Hamas in Gaza was in fact a response to an
attempted coup by Fatah, died on Thursday in Amman. He was 74.
al-Hassan was a younger brother of one of the founding fathers of Al-Fatah
and the PLO, Khaled al-Hassan. He was a member of the Central Council of
Fatah and held many functions in the PLO, including ambassador to Tehran and Amman. He
also was briefly interior minister in the Palestinian Authority, a
position from which he was removed in 2003 under pressure from Mahmoud
Abbas, the current Palestinian president, then a key aide to Arafat.Al-Hassan's
main role, however, was that for decades he was a close adviser to Arafat, a
position he retained even after in 1993 he had voiced his opposition against the Oslo Accords. After Arafat's death he remained a national security adviser, until
Abbas sacked him in 2007, because of an interview he gave to al-Jazeera during which he accused a faction in Fatah around the former head of security of Fatah in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, of having instigated the short war with Hamas in Gaza. Al Hassan referred to Dahlan's group as the "collaborators" or the "Dayton group'' (after U.S. General Keith Dayton). He
accused them to have planned a coup against
Hamas and said that Hamas, which seized power, could not have acted otherwise "to protect the national cause'. The
members of the Dayton group, to which Mahmoud Abbas also belonged, are believed to have in turn accused Al-Hassan of warning the leaders of Hamas that an
attack by Fatah was imminent.Al-Hassan
was the first who confirmed, with his statement to Al-Jazeera, that the
conflict in Gaza was started by Fatah with the help of the Americans and with the aim to oust Hamas. His story was later confirmed in an article in the American magazine Vanity Fair.General Dayton was the American general who set up a new Palestinian police force, paid for by the U.S. and in cooperation with Israel and Jordan.