Friday, December 23, 2011
How to make Hamas acceptable to the West? Make it member of the PLO.
The Egyptian paper al-Masry al-Youm published a fascinating analysis about the reasons behind Hamas’ coming membership of the PLO.
Here are some of the most important excerpts:
“We are in a big crisis. The Palestinian Authority used to get support from
Arab countries, but they are too busy with their internal affairs.
We need to create popular resistance that draws the world to our struggle,
and that doesn’t give the Israelis the justification to hit us hard. The
non-violent approach is part of a strategy for our present situation to draw
world sympathy to our cause.”
This “paradigm shift” is aimed at strengthening the group against the
multiple pressures it faces, and the fact that it is also in a “vulnerable
situation against the Israelis, who have a huge propaganda machine”, Ahmed
Youssef, a political adviser to Ismail Haniya, a senior Hamas leader and
former prime minister, told Egypt Independent in an interview in Cairo. “Elections will end the division between the West Bank and Gaza. We’re
restructuring the Palestinian landscape now that [Hamas leader] Khaled
Meshal and [PLO chairman and Fatah leader] Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to form a power sharing system,” Youssef said.
He added that Hamas needs to engage with Arab governments and the West in “a power sharing system that will allow us to observe world politics,
international law and gain legitimacy.”
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and
Europe, and its main support base is in Gaza, which is under Israeli siege”.
The article also discusses the problems Hamas is facing since the revolt in Syria started.
Khaled Mashal is now looking for a new location to set up the Hamas headquarter after he refused to back Assad in crushing the uprising in Syria. It could be that as a result of Hamas joining the PLO, Mashal will set up office in Gaza.
So what does the agreement between the PLO (read Abbas) and Hamas really mean?
First of all it shows the true meaning of an event that took place in Gaza on April 24 1996.
On that day the Palestinian National Congress gathered to discuss amending the articles in the PLO charter that dealt with the destruction of Israel.
In the end an overwhelming majority voted in favor of the proposal to change the charter.
As soon as the vote was over, confusion about the meaning of the decision started. In the Arab language the PLO said that a decision was taken to change the charter but the English version of the same statement said that the charter had been changed.
Fifteen years later a new PLO charter without the articles dealing with the elimination of Israel, has yet to be published.
From the statements of several Fatah leaders earlier this year, it has become clear that there is little difference between Fatah and Hamas when it comes to the ultimate goal of the Palestinian struggle. One only has to watch what Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Lebanon TV about the ultimate goal of the PA UN bid to understand this.
Here is what he said:
“President [Abbas] understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end’.
‘If we say we want to wipe Israel out, it is not acceptable policy to say so. Do n’t say these things to the world, keep it to your self “.
The problem until now has been that Hamas believed that ‘armed resistance’ was necessary in order to achieve the demise of Israel, whereas PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas believes that the non-violent approach is the best way to achieve the Palestinian goals. Of course Abbas will not say openly that his new policy of isolating Israel by political means has the same goal as Hamas’ terror does.
So he will continue to pay lip service to the peace process, because he cannot afford loosing Western funding of the PA.
What the al-Masry al-Youm analysis suggests, is that Hamas now realizes that -from a tactical point of view - Abbas’ approach is better, at least for now.
What we can expect next, is a public relations campaign to make Hamas ‘salonfähig’ to the West. In fact the campaign has already started. Pro-Palestinian commentators point out that Hamas’ membership of the PLO means that it now accept the Oslo accords and the existence of Israel.
The statements made by Hamas leaders during the 24th anniversary of the Hamas movement in Gaza last week are real however.
Here is what Hamas PM Ishmael Haniyeh said during that rally:
“We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the River [Jordan]. God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine.”
Haniyeh later called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to start a war for the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem.
These statements should serve as a stark warning to the world that for Islamic movements (like Hamas) and states it is allowed to make a Hudna (temporary truce) and to use Taqiah (deception) as a tactic to defeat the enemy.